The title of this essay poses the most critical question of this election. If Donald Trump were really a Republican, then citizens could cast ballots in good conscience for him (or for third-party candidates), knowing that the future of our country remained secure. However, if Trump were a Fascist, then every American who values democracy, human rights and constitutional government must vote for his only viable opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
For far too long, people have casually flung around political labels as pejoratives devoid of literal meaning. It is good, therefore, to revisit some actual definitions.
Over the last eight years, conservatives have often derided the current president as a “socialist,” but Obama never proposed a total government takeover of all private property and businesses to ensure full employment and an equal distribution of wealth. (Even Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a democratic socialist, fails to meet that literal definition of socialism.)
With equal absurdity, dumb leftists used to call recent Republican presidents “Fascists.” But the Bushes never rejected democracy, human rights and religious liberty. Neither president ever threatened political opponents with violence or imprisonment, or argued for a police state. They never modeled misogyny, wooed white nationalists, or expressed contempt for minorities and the disabled. No Bush ever boasted, “I love war,” encouraged nuclear proliferation or seriously considered nuking anyone. Neither president ever explicitly advocated war crimes, urged naked imperialism and traded Valentines with brutal dictators while questioning longstanding alliances with the rest of the free world. No Bush ever argued for slamming the door on immigrants, refugees or free trade. Everyone lies sometimes, but neither Bush ever based an entire presidential election campaign on a totally fact-free Big Lie propaganda push.
However, Donald Trump — having done all of those things — has incontrovertibly earned the Fascist label.
With the exception of 1860 — the election that cast the country into Civil War — the US has never seen a higher-stakes presidential contest.
History shows that the first time an authoritarian wins an election is the last time anyone’s vote matters for a long time — maybe ever. Ask the people of Russia, who cannot get rid of Putin because they no longer have free and fair elections. Ask the people of too many countries across Asia and Africa who have seen elected leaders abolish democracy and declare themselves dictators for life. Ask the people of Venezuela, who have not had a fully free and fair election since first electing Hugo Chavez. Ask the people of the many eastern European countries who made the mistake of electing Communists after World War II, only to find themselves trapped behind the Iron Curtain for four decades under the iron fist of Soviet rule.
Since winning the White House requires an Electoral College majority, next week’s vote boils down to a simple binary proposition:
- Elect Hillary Clinton to preserve American democracy, prosperity and security; or…
- Vote for anyone else to surrender the country to Fascism and dire peril.
Recognizing that Trump betrays their fundamental principles, many Republicans and GOP-leaning independents have sensibly withdrawn their support from the con man who hijacked their party. Some have even screwed up the courage to endorse the Democratic nominee.
Tragically, the election remains close. About 80% of rank-and-file GOP voters continue to support Trump. Either the party label fools them, or they support his redefinition of American conservatism as Fascism.
Incredibly, some citizens remain determined to risk the future of the Republic by casting votes for Trump through third parties.
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for president (and a former Republican), concedes that “Trump’s a Fascist.” If he had the courage of his convictions, then Johnson would follow the lead of his running mate, Bill Weld, who essentially endorsed Hillary Clinton last night.
As for Green Party nominee Jill Stein, she appears to relish the prospect of a descent into Fascism: “If a Trump presidency would mean that we have to fight ignorance in the streets — I’m ready for that. I know that kind of racism. We already live in that kind of racism every day — let’s bring it to light and start calling it out.”
For a lady who poses as a hippie peacenik, Stein sure seems ready to rumble.
Or — just an idea — we could eschew bloodshed in the streets entirely and bury racism peacefully at the ballot box by voting for Clinton.
Stein and fellow fools falsely equate the Democratic nominee’s flaws with Trump’s Fascism. The specks in Clinton’s eyes are unmistakable, but infinitesimal compared to the cords of lumber lodged in the billionaire’s bloated orbitals. And while HRC cultivates compensating virtues, her Republican opponent possesses no discernible redeeming qualities.
If the Democratic nominee offered nothing but the perpetuation of a corrupt status quo, then that would be far better than risking the ruin of our civilization under the Fascist misrule of a narcissistic demagogue.
In fact, Clinton offers a robust reform agenda, a mixture of moderate and liberal proposals. Moreover, her history of successful bipartisanship in the Senate offers hope that she may find common ground with Congress in ways that have eluded President Obama to date.
This country has serious problems to solve, but we remain one of the most free, just and prosperous civilizations in human history. Trump would imperil all of that. Only an overwhelming verdict for Hillary Clinton can secure a better future for Americans, our children and the world.