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[Revision] | American Duce, Robert O. Paxton | Harper's Magazine

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American Duce


It is powerfully tempting to call the new president of the United States a fascist. Donald Trump’s bullying tone, his scowl, and his jutting jaw recall Benito Mussolini’s absurd theatrics. His dramatic arrivals by plane (a public relations tactic pioneered by Adolf Hitler) and his excited dialogues with crowds chanting simple slogans (“U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” “Lock her up!”) recall Nazi rallies of the early 1930s. In his stump speeches, Trump is fond of deploring national decline, which he blames on foreigners and despised minorities; disdaining legal norms; condoning violence against dissenters; and rejecting anything that smacks of internationalism, whether it be trade, institutions, or existing treaties. All of these were fascist staples.

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is a professor emeritus of social sciences at Columbia University and the author of many books, including The Anatomy of Fascism. A version of this essay appeared in Le Monde in March.