By Heather Digby Parton
Over the past five years or so, I’ve had no problem using the “F” word (fascism) to describe what’s been happening under President Trump and the Republican Party. I wrote about it here in Salon all the way back in 2015, noting that I wasn’t the only one. In fact, it was his fellow Republicans who were the first to use the term to describe him. All you have to do is go back and read that full-page newspaper ad Trump took out in 1989, headlined “Bring Back the Death Penalty, Bring Back Our Police,” to understand his fundamental authoritarian nature.
Even though we knew from the beginning that we were dealing with an essentially authoritarian leader, our awareness of it has sometimes been subsumed amid the sheer chaos of daily news over the past five years. But if you look at the various issues Trump is most obsessed with, whether it was the lurid obsession with terrorist violence and refugees during the 2016 campaign or his preoccupation with immigrants, the pardoning of war criminals, his flirtations with dictators, the endless threats to jail his political opponents and muzzle the press, the valorizing of the Confederacy and the openly racist “law and order” campaign of this year, it’s pretty clear what gets him excited — along with his devoted following.
But wait, you say: Donald Trump only cares about himself! He’s not interested in anything as abstract as “issues,” not even the ones that tickle his lizard brain. But these are not mutually exclusive things. You see, Donald Trump genuinely believes he is scientifically superior to all those “others” and that they must be kept in check, with whatever level of violence may be necessary.
He doesn’t talk about this a whole lot, but it definitely comes up from time to time. Just this past weekend in Minnesota, in the midst of one of his most rambling, racist rallies in a long while, Trump said this, startling quite a few people who perhaps weren’t aware of his deep and abiding belief in eugenics: