First off, let me say that arguing whether Trump hits the definition of “fascist” or not is a subjective and growingly unfruitful enterprise. Thoughts:
- Eco’s list has been widely criticized, first for being vague and leaving too much room to subjective interpretation of the politicians’ statements, and secondly (and more importantly) for omitting economics, which was really the launching pad for Hitler’s career; you point this out correctly at the end of your article.
- One wonders why Eco’s list is used, considering Hitler himself gave us a list HERE. As you rightly point out, there are other frameworks.
- My sense is that the administration critics who want to make a point prefer Eco’s list to Hitler’s because (a) Eco’s is less specific and thus easier to make Trump’s obviously blustery blowhardy inspecific statements match up to, while (b) Hitler’s list is more objective and thus more difficult to make the “Trump as Fascist” case against. Not accusing you, just saying.
- Statements are one thing, actions another. Trump is, as I’ve said, a loose lipped blowhard who contradicts himself from day to day. So, we are forced to find his real views in his actions, not what comes out of his mouth. And up to now, his actions have been pretty garden-variety conservative, and don’t match up well to Eco’s list nearly as well as his words do.
- The use of Eco’s list, being subjective, can also be used to make the case that politicians of BOTH parties are “fascist” to a relative degree. When the criteria is vague enough, and the opus of the politician long enough, everyone is going to put their foot in that hot-pot from time to time.
- However, the largest problem with the Eco list, and with the desire to label Trump as fascist, is economics. Fascists do not give up power; Hitler certainly didn’t, exerting more and more government control over corporations as time went on, nationalizing some, others regulating them to the point they had no choice but to do what the state wanted. Trump gives back government power to the corporations, being a free market capitalist who finds new reasons to deregulate businesses each day, it seems. That alone negates the “fascist” banner, or at least makes him a mixed bag.
I would term him at this point as a highly authoritarian centrist, neither a fascist or socialist.
YMMV of course. Appreciate the work you did on your article. Thought provoking.