Many commentators have written well and forcefully about the incipient fascism now gripping the Republican Party and the nation at large. Take a look at Harold Meyerson's piece today in the Washington Post. [The Post informs me that I have "read my limit of free articles" in the Post for this month and since I refuse to pay for the privilege, I cannot go back and copy the URL for a link in this post.] Other authors have drawn suggestive comparisons between Trump and Francisco Franco or have called to mind the many shameful episodes in American history when the country succumbed to xenophobic lawlessness.
I have become more and more persuaded that there are dangers here that in their potential for genuine harm outweigh the understandable and pleasurable schadenfreude we on the Left experience at the prospect of a Trump candidacy. I have no idea what Trump actually believes, and quite possibly neither does he. But then, I have no idea what Hitler really believed. It is worth recalling that Nazism did not begin with a proposal for the Final Solution. It swept through Weimar Germany, arguably the most sophisticated and intellectually advanced European country at that time, fueled by the resentment of the German people at the punitive provisions of the Versailles Treaty and their longing for lebensraum. The resentments giving life to Trump's assault on American legal and moral norms are different, of course, but the sentiments are quite similar.
Could Trump defeat Clinton in the general election? Not as things now stand. The polls are quite reassuring. But imagine a Paris-like attack somewhere in America in September or October 2016.
What is to be done?, to echo someone to whom I do not often look for inspiration. We need to speak out, although that will have little or no impact on those whose thinly veiled fascist leanings are given legitimacy by Trump's campaign. Beyond that, I fear that when the Primary season is done, if Trump has indeed captured the nomination [as I have argued, in a recent post, he well might], we will have no choice but to do everything we can, individually and collectively, to ensure a Clinton victory. America can survive yet one more President in thrall to Wall Street. I am not so sanguine that it can survive full-grown nativist fascism.