Monday, May 23, 2016
Donald Trump and the Fascist Question
Donald Trump may be looking and sounding crazier than ever. Calling for guns to be allowed in classrooms.
While also calling for Hillary Clinton's bodyguards to be disarmed.
But despite his deranged statements, polls suggest his support is surging.
And that he is now matching and even surpassing Clinton's lead.
The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Clinton’s lead over Trump has dwindled to merely three points — with 46% of voters supporting Clinton, compared to 43% for Trump. Clinton towered Trump by 11 percentage points in the same poll just last month, and held a double digit lead over him since December. Now, her lead is so thin it falls within the poll’s 3.1% margin of error.
Pollsters say the main reason for Trump's surge, is that despite the reservations of some Republican leaders he is gaining the support of independent voters.
Trump’s renewed rush comes largely thanks to independent voters, who have been swayed to the bullying businessman as he marches uncontested to the GOP nomination.
Trump won with independents in both polls — with a staggering 13-point lead with them in the Post/ABC survey.
And some pundits are now wondering whether it's time to ask that old question: is this how fascism comes to America?
Republican politicians marvel at how he has “tapped into” a hitherto unknown swath of the voting public. But what he has tapped into is what the founders most feared when they established the democratic republic: the popular passions unleashed, the “mobocracy.”
Conservatives have been warning for decades about government suffocating liberty. But here is the other threat to liberty that Alexis de Tocqueville and the ancient philosophers warned about: that the people in a democracy, excited, angry and unconstrained, might run roughshod over even the institutions created to preserve their freedoms.
For if the Republican leadership, that didn't do enough to stop him when he was weak, thinks it can now control him by rallying around his campaign, they may be dangerously deluded.
What these people do not or will not see is that, once in power, Trump will owe them and their party nothing. He will have ridden to power despite the party, catapulted into the White House by a mass following devoted only to him.
Today, less than 5 percent of eligible voters have voted for Trump. But if he wins the election, his legions will likely comprise a majority of the nation. Imagine the power he would wield then. In addition to all that comes from being the leader of a mass following, he would also have the immense powers of the American presidency at his command: the Justice Department, the FBI, the intelligence services, the military. Who would dare to oppose him then?
For the monster they helped create could end up devouring them, as well as their country.
This is how fascism comes to America, not with jackboots and salutes (although there have been salutes, and a whiff of violence) but with a television huckster, a phony billionaire, a textbook egomaniac “tapping into” popular resentments and insecurities, and with an entire national political party — out of ambition or blind party loyalty, or simply out of fear — falling into line behind him.
And of course the question that should haunt the Democratic leadership is whether they have been backing the right candidate.
The polls have one more surprise in store: Democratic second-runner Bernie Sanders continues to stand tall against Trump in a hypothetical matchup.
Sanders — whose path to the Democratic nomination is nearly impossible — would have a 15-point lead over Trump if two went toe-to-toe in the general election, according to the NBC/Journal poll.
In a race filled with animosity, Sanders seems to be only candidate most voters like. In both polls, the Vermont senator is the only remaining candidate whose positive responses from voters outnumber the negative.
You know, if I was an American and I had no choice but to support Hillary in a matchup against Trump, I would. Despite my many reservations about her.
Because for me it would be unthinkable not to vote to stop a fascist.
But if Trump's support keeps growing, and Clinton's support keeps shrinking, if I was a super delegate I'd ask myself some hard questions about where the Democratic establishment might be leading that party and that country.
And in the meantime, I'm still praying for a miracle.
And still have high hopes for Bernie...
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