Is MAGA Fascist? Part II
Appeal to a Frustrated Middle Class, Obsession with a Plot, & Permanent Warfare
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Welcome back! If you’re just joining us, this is part two of our analysis comparing Donald Trump’s MAGA movement to the 14 characteristics of Fascism established in Umberto Eco’s essay “Ur-Fascism.” I intended for this to be two parts, but it’s long enough to justify a part three, which will be out next week. If you missed it, catch up on part one, which covered points 1 -5, here.
Characteristics #6 - #10
#6. Appeal to a Frustrated Middle Class. Eco elaborates on this “middle class,” describing them as: “a class suffering from an economic crisis of feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups.”
This one gets fuzzy, as Americans think about “class” as a proxy for “income” and “education level.” And while there’s a false narrative that Trump’s base is “working class,” our best understanding of their income brackets is ≈ $75k, slightly above the median household income of $71,186.
Determining voting trends by income levels is self-reported at exit polls, so it should be taken with a bath of salt. But what isn’t debatable is Trump’s appeal to those “frightened by the pressure of lower social groups.” Implicit in Trump’s campaigns was a promise to maintain America’s racial-social-economic hierarchy. This culminated with the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, where MAGAiets dropped their masks and said the quiet part out loud into police loudspeakers.
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#7. Obsession with a Plot. The “plot” in question is an attempt to destroy the nationalism of the home country, which Fascists use to give their followers a “clear social identity.” Once the identity is established, they build boogeymen who want to “attack the identity from within and without. As Eco says:
“The followers must feel besieged.”
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