Donald Trump spent the weekend reminding the world that he is a fascist who says fascist things. In calling his opponents “vermin” this past weekend, Trump once again conjured language used by Adolf Hitler. And the traditional media continues to mostly paper over how incendiary Trump’s rhetoric is, while also downplaying the very real message of authoritarian rule Trump is expressing.
On Monday, “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough had on Brian Klass, a professor of global politics at the University College London, to discuss Trump, his rhetoric, and what it means for democracy in America. Scarborough, a critic of Trump, asked Klass whether we needed to show more ambivalence about Trump being something of a Nazi.
“I think you can try to claim that there was a coincidence the first time this happened,” Klass said, but after seven years of Trump, “it's quite clear that he's lifting not just rhetoric but actual plans from the authoritarian playbook.” He continued:
I study the breakdown of democracy, and I don't know how to say this more clearly. We are sleepwalking towards authoritarianism, and people are not waking up to this. And the Constitution is not written with magical ink. It is protected by the people who make brave choices during moments of political peril and we are in one of those moments.
So the question is, do voters wake up as well? Because our political class is not rising to the challenge. They're not distancing themselves and the Republican Party from this rhetoric. They're just sort of pretending like it doesn't exist. And we are literally walking towards a world in which Donald Trump is going to consolidate power, politicize the rule of law, and break down democracy one day at a time, and I think that's something that we have to really grapple with as we head towards the election next year because that is the biggest story in American politics and nothing else comes close.