Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Following terror attacks in France and the US, presidential hopeful Donald Trump called for Muslims to be barred from entering the United States. This form of controversial rhetoric has been a consistent theme during the Trump campaign. Some, including Jeb Bush’s national security advisor, are suggesting that his political ideology resembles fascism. So, we wanted to know, is Donald Trump actually a fascist? Well, the problem with identifying a fascist is that the label is applied to a huge number of differing political theories. It was actually Italy’s Benito Mussolini who's considered the founder of fascism in 1919. In a nutshell, the ideology is based on strengthening a country through extreme nationalism, a powerful leader, and the exclusion of “weaker” groups. An essay by Italian philosopher, Umberto Eco, distinguishes fourteen characteristics which are found in fascism, and have been the subject of accusations against Donald Trump. In a nutshell, Eco says that fascism relies on a cult of tradition, while rejecting modernism. In many ways, new ideas are seen as the beginning of modern depravity; that with a breakdown in moral and traditional order comes chaos. It is then unsurprising that even Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again” plays in line with traditionalism. And his fear of things like the internet speaks to the fascist fear of modern depravity. Another hallmark of fascism is anti-intellectualism. In this way, knowledgeable criticism is not only ignored, but ridiculed. Trump says that he is “very smart”, but he has also suggested that knowing things doesn’t make you a good leader. Further characteristics are based on the idea that dissent and diversity are bad, and they weaken discourse and society. Almost by definition, Eco says that fascism is racist, or at the very least “anti-diversity”. Trump’s rampant xenophobia, within which he proposes deporting 11 million immigrants, and blocking entry to the US for Muslims, is an open appeal extreme nationalism. In his presidential announcement speech, Trump latched onto another important fascist quality. Enemies of the state are defined as being strong and needlessly wealthy. At the same time, they are able to be brought down by a heroic, charismatic leader. For Trump, this enemy is China, and he is that leader. There are even more subtle aspects of Trump’s rhetoric and campaign which reflect fascist attitudes of “machismo” and sexually demeaning mores. The way Trump speaks to and about women, as well as in relation to other men illustrates these thoughts. But perhaps the most identifiable aspect is what is called “the big lie”. The concept of newspeak, for using language and discourse to support lies and half truths. Despite being regularly called out as lying, Trump simply denies the allegations. He usually attacks the source of the accusation, and often the media in general. Still, despite the many similarities, some say that Trump isn’t necessarily a fascist, but rather, an opportunist. Trump’s lack of ideological direction suggests that a vocal portion of the US public is calling for a fascist candidate, and Trump has simply filled that role. The scariest thought is not that Trump is a fascist, but that American voters want one. For a deep dive into the history of fascism and its different definitions, watch our video. Thanks for watching! don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss out on our new videos.