Forget Hamas! Sharpton Asks Maddow to Explain How Trumpism Looks Like Fascism

News & Politics

MSNBC may have benched its al-Jazeera veterans as hosts, but they left Rev. Al Sharpton, whose inflammatory remarks against “white interloper” Jews live in New York infamy. On Saturday’s Politics Nation, Sharpton brought on fellow MSNBC host Rachel Maddow to promote her book Prequel, which draws a strong line between American Nazi sympathizers in the World War II period and Trump supporters, especially the election-denying rioters.

The liberal book reviewers at Kirkus touted the thesis: “America beat fascism once. Maddow’s timely study of enemies on the homefront urges that we can do so again.” But Maddow played coy on Saturday when the analogy was Trump and Hitler. October 7 makes this whole thesis a little dicey. 

AL SHARPTON: A lot of Americans associate modern-day fascism with Trumpism, and you mentioned Trump. This week, the former president, and current Republican front runner, by the way, was fined by a judge for trashing a law clerk online. Trump has tried to undermine the institution of the courts during his various trials. Just as [he] subverted — the Justice Department, and the media, while the president and even the election. In your view, are these the tactics of a fascist?

RACHEL MADDOW: That’s a very good question, and I feel like, you know, a lot of people get their hackles up when you apply terms that we’re more comfortable using in a historical context, or terms that we’re more comfortable using about other countries to our modern politics today. I mean, certainly when it comes to Nazism, there’s no analogy at all. Nobody’s Hitler but Hitler. Nobody are the Nazis but the Nazis. There’s no modern analogy to that whatsoever.

Really? No one seems to cherish Hitler’s memory and follow his example in slaughtering Jews in our current time?

Maddow has to try and suggest Trump is anti-Semitic, which is a little embarrassing when his Jewish son-in-law was recently negotiating peace between Israel and Arab countries: 

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But fascism and authoritarianism are ideological concepts that applied in lots of other countries, and at other times in American history. I sort of feel like your mileage may vary, as to whether or not that’s the word you want to apply here. But authoritarianism always has the same tactics. They bring violence to bear on the political process, so it squeezes normal people out of politics, because they get intimidated. They use scapegoating, and crazy conspiracy theories about minorities. Particularly about Jews, to make us think that there’s some secret cabal who’s controlling everything, and we need a strongman to lead us.

They tell us not to believe journalism, not to believe science, not to believe experts, just believe what the leader tells you. You can’t trust anything else. And they make it so it seems like our democracy doesn’t work. That they make it so your vote doesn’t count, or you believe your vote doesn’t count, or you believe all voting is rigged. And If you start getting all those four factors together, you can call it whatever you want, but we’ve seen it happen in country, after country, after country. In the 20th and 21st centuries. We know that it leads towards abandoning democracy, and installing a strongman instead.

Deep liberal thinkers like Maddow can never imagine that liberals tell you not to believe conservative journalism or conservative experts, but that’s not seen as anti-democratic, because they’re not Democrats. 

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