For anyone old enough or having a very good memory (or access to old newsreels), the antics of Donald Trump, right down to his strutting on stage and jutting jaw, can’t but help recall images of Il Duce. More disturbing, the violence shown by his “defenders” lately toward protesters, not to say his encouraging remarks about punching people in the face, hauling them out on stretchers, and silencing them physically (or worse), has the uncomfortable ring of Fascist rallies in both Italy and Germany in the decade prior to World War II. Or at least the Jerry Springer Show.
The threat of violence on the part of his “millions and millions” of followers if somehow Trump is not crowned with the laurels of the Republican candidacy may be comic theater or something more dangerous. In any case, “making America great again” now seems like hankering after the pre-election riots and belligerent Congresses of the late nineteenth century, when Senators and Representatives occasionally duked it out in the Capitol Building or caned each other in public. Whether or not the Republican Party survives the coming catastrophe, the political climate is likely to remain toxic for some time to come.
What was it Roosevelt said, “the only thing to fear, is fear itself”?