On the fascist tradition in American politics

Jeremy Cliffe writes:

Sarah Churchwell, professor of American Literature and Public Understanding of the Humanities at the University of London, has an essay in this week's issue of the New Statesman on the fascist tradition in American politics. Churchwell sees elements of that tradition in Donald Trump's America.


She writes:


"Whatever one’s opinion of Donald Trump, there is no denying that his political success to date represents its own kind of triumph of the will, one built on a political carnivalesque. Trump’s manifest need for the adoration of his crowd, his desire to exhibit to the world the cheering hordes of his political rallies, may seem like an ersatz copy of the authentic rallies of fascist leaders of yore. The fact that show business is at the heart of Trump’s unstable political ­project sometimes leads to the argument that Trump isn’t fascist, but merely an ­entertainer. Fascism was always about entertainment, however: the deep root of its poison was that it made hatred entertaining."


You can read her full essay here and listen to her discuss her arguments, and review the US presidential election campaign, on this recent episode of our World Review podcast.

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

Free trial CSS