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History As It Happens

Sep 15, 2022

President Biden told supporters at a reception for the Democratic National Committee that Donald Trump and his loyalists within the GOP -- "MAGA Republicans" -- subscribe to an extreme philosophy that Mr. Biden described as "semi-fascism." If you spend any amount of time on social media, you'll see fascism everywhere. Pundits, political scientists, historians, anyone with a Twitter account -- are offering their takes on whether Republicans are steering the United States toward fascism. In this episode, the scholars Jeffrey Bale and Tamir Bar-On argue Trump's critics are dangerously distorting history. Fascism is a distinct ideology from other forms of populism or illiberalism or ultra-nationalism, whatever one thinks of Trumpism. Moreover, they contend the threat to democracy posed by right-wing fringe groups has been egregiously exaggerated for cynical political purposes.