Donald Trump's rise as a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination set off a flurry of articles labeling him a fascist. These pieces -- which have appeared on sites as varied as Newsweek, Common Dreams, and CounterPunch -- are misguided. Calling Trump a fascist promotes a distorted understanding of fascism and obscures the fact that Trump's demagogic hate-mongering is deeply rooted in mainstream U.S. politics.
Some leftists have declared recently that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is fundamentally “anti-political” rather than right wing. But the evidence they offer actually highlights the similarities between Trump and earlier right-wing populist candidates Patrick Buchanan and George Wallace. This debate also highlights the need to combat both Trump’s demagoguery and the political establishment he is railing against.