il Duce Trump

Amazing isn’t it? The more audacious he is the more ardent his followers become. I know at least one – a woman that I know through a friend of mine. Sez she: “Trump is the best thing to happen to America in a long time.” Actually, forever. We’ve never had fascist that has resonated so well with the radical right of this country. We’ve never seen a Donald Trump because we’ve never before tolerated one to get this far. He is categorically the closest thing to a Benito Mussolini type fascist we’ve ever seen.

From a WaPo op/ed penned by Dana Milbank (Dec 8):

Trump’s chin-out toughness, sweeping right-hand gestures and talk of his “huge” successes and his “stupid” opponents all evoke the Italian dictator’s style. Monday’s breathtaking announcement that he would block all Muslims from entering the United States has many pointing out the obvious fascist overtones.

Milbank isn’t alone in his worry. Ted Koppel took the unusual approach to appear on Fox News the other day with this barb:

Well… the fact of the matter is that he and Benito Mussolini have this sort of arrogant approach in which they say very little in terms of substance, but the manner in which they say it gets the crowds excited.

Back to the woman who thinks that Trump is god’s gift. I pointed out his well-known racist remarks and asked her if that was a reason to worry. “No,” sez she. “He’s no more a racist than anyone else.” HUH? Then I ran across an op/ed by Josh Marshall on the Talking Points website.

I continue to believe that Trump’s embrace of racism, anti-Mexican immigrant bigotry and Islamophobia is largely opportunistic. My only hesitation in calling it cynical is that I think Trump may be the type who, once he finds something convenient to say, then starts to believe it.

Opportunistic racism. I was gobsmacked. That’s like saying you’ll sell your soul for a beer. Hate for fiat however misdirected, may seem logical for one driven for power. Machiavelli (another Italian) pointed this out in his treatise The Prince:

Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for everyone can see and few can feel. Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are.

So, in other words, we can say anything to get ahead, so long as the illusion of the eye is maintained. Yep. Sounds about right. And it comports well with the one from Mussolini himself:

You must always be doing things and obviously succeeding. The hard part is to keep people always at the window because of the spectacle you put on for them. And you must do this for years.

Il Duce Donald.

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