Trump Is Trying To Normalize Shameless Fascism In The US
Trump is seeking to desensitize his base to his fascist rhetoric and 2025 plans. This is part of a broader right-wing effort to normalize fascism as a viable alternative governing ideology in America.
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At a rally in New Hampshire over the weekend, Donald Trump once again claimed that immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country.” This time, he went beyond just targeting undocumented immigrants and targeted immigrants as a whole. Notably, he only mentioned immigrants from majority non-white countries:
“They let — I think the real number is 15, 16 million people into our country. When they do that, we got a lot of work to do. They’re poisoning the blood of our country. That’s what they’ve done. They poison mental institutions and prisons all over the world, not just in South America, not just to three or four countries that we think about, but all over the world. They’re coming into our country from Africa, from Asia, all over the world.”
This rhetoric not only reads like it’s straight from a white supremacist terrorist’s manifesto, it’s echoing Nazi Dictator Adolf Hitler. In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote: “All great cultures of the past perished only because the originally creative race died out from blood poisoning.” Hitler was talking about Jewish people and other groups he targeted as “undesirable.”
While Hitler comparisons have been largely seen as hyperbolic in the past, multiple mainstream media organizations and historians are now making this comparison.
The Biden Campaign responded with a straightforward statement:
“Donald Trump channeled his role models as he parroted Adolf Hitler, praised Kim Jong Un, and quoted Vladimir Putin while running for president on a promise to rule as a dictator and threaten American democracy. Trump is not shying away from his plan to lock up millions of people into detention camps and continues to lie about that time when Joe Biden obliterated him by over 7 million votes three years ago.”
This new blood poisoning remark comes after Trump’s November Veterans Day speech, where he promised to “root out the Communists, Marxists, Fascists, and Radical Left Thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country.” This vermin remark rightfully drew comparisons to Hitler and Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini.
There is no spinning Trump’s depraved dehumanization of immigrants and overtly authoritarian rhetoric. He’s saying he will be a dictator on day one, calls people who disagree with him “vermin,” claims all non-white immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country,” and promises he’ll jail his opponents. He’s repeated this multiple times, all while promising to detain millions of immigrants in camps, implement ideological screenings, and expand on his previous administration’s Mulsim ban.
This rhetoric is overt white supremacy and fascism. We have to call it what it is. This is not hyperbole. This is reality.
It goes beyond just words and promises. The Trump Campaign, along with his allies working on Project 2025, are plotting to purge up to 54,000 federal employees to replace them with trained GOP loyalists who will turn the executive branch into a tool of the far-right.
There’s a reason Trump is choosing to go full fascist ahead of 2024. As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow points out, it’s because this strategy has worked historically. There’s also the free media he wants from this. But more than that, it’s because he’s seeking to normalize this explicit, shameless fascism among his base.
Why Trump Is Ramping Up His Fascist Rhetoric
If you’ve watched Trump’s speeches over the past few months, you’ll notice they’ve grown increasingly fascist. It’s not that his previous rhetoric and speeches weren’t fascist - he’s always echoed this rhetoric. But it’s gradually increased in ferocity and shamelessness.
This has been an ongoing effort for over eight years by Trump, who walked into the Republican Party taking advantage of their decades-long Southern Strategy. He’s slowly cranked up the fascist rhetoric over time, replacing dog whistles with bullhorns.
Trump’s process since 2015, arguably since 2011 with his spread of birtherism, has always been to slowly desensitize his base to more extreme and depraved rhetoric and actions. Trump began his campaign by declaring that Mexican immigrants were rapists, but he didn’t go as far as to say they were poisoning the blood of our country yet.
When he was president, he began calling undocumented immigrants who were gang members “animals.” That was in May 2018, right as his administration issued their zero-tolerance policy, which systemically separated migrant families at the border.
Trump did the same thing with Muslims, repeatedly equating the people as a whole with terrorists. Then, he entered office and issued an illegal Muslim ban in week one of his presidency.
You see the pattern? Trump’s dehumanizing rhetoric always preludes dehumanizing policy.
Now, Trump is doing the same thing. By overtly quoting fascist dictators of the 20th century and proudly declaring he will be a dictator on day one, Trump is seeking to get his base on board with his increasingly depraved campaign and the fascist depravity he plans to unleash if he wins re-election. Unfortunately, it seems to be working.
Trump is, by far, the frontrunner of the 2024 Republican primary, and his rhetoric is appealing to his base. A new Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll asked likely Republican caucusgoers about Trump’s statements and whether they would be more likely or less likely to support him after hearing it. The results are scary:
"The radical left thugs that live like vermin" in the U.S. need to be rooted out - 43% say they are more likely to support him.
Immigrants who enter the U.S. illegally are"poisoning the blood" of America - 42% say they are more likely to support him.
To deal with immigration, Trump would authorize "sweeping raids, giant camps, and mass deportations" - 50% say they are more likely to support him.
This is why Trump is starting early. He needs to get his base trained and ready to defend him in the general election and get on board with these extreme stances. As he continues this rhetoric, those percentages will only increase. Repetition is a key propaganda tactic of authoritarians. If you look back at polling of the belief in stolen election claims, they increased over time as Trump repeated them over and over again.
Trump’s praise of dictators like Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin is also part of the strategy.
Trump isn’t acting alone, of course. Some of his most extreme allies in the Republican Party and right-wing media have helped a lot. Fox News, in particular, especially when Tucker Carlson had his show, has been warming their viewers up to authoritarians for years.
Tucker Carlson has been amplifying and praising Hungary’s far-right authoritarian leader, Viktor Orbán, and interviewed him over the Summer, where he praised Trump.
More notably, last week, as President Biden hosted Ukrainian President Zelenskyy at the White House, the Heritage Foundation (organizer Project 2025) and Republican lawmakers hosted Orbán to discuss ending aid to Ukraine. The contrast speaks for itself.
Far-right authoritarianism is a globally collaborative movement.
What all this amounts to is Trump and his allies seeking to normalize fascism as an alternative governing ideology in America. Scapegoating immigrants, falsely claiming America is currently in chaos, and claiming that he alone can fix it is a tried and true fascist strategy.
Will This Work In The General Election?
This may work to rile up Trump’s base, but as more Americans tune into the 2024 presidential campaigns, it will surely turn off a sizable percentage of Americans.
As the son of two immigrants from Sierra Leone, I can speak for myself in saying that this rhetoric is not only dangerously fascist, it’s disgusting. My parents came here in search of a better life and found it. They raised a family of productive, proud Americans. Far from poisoning the blood of this country, immigrants enhance this country.
Hopefully, this rhetoric mobilizes the same pro-democracy coalition that united to defeat Trump in 2020 and has remained active in midterm and off-year elections.
Only time will tell. But one thing is for sure: we all have to put in the work and do everything we can to ensure that this form of fascism doesn’t win in 2024 and beyond.