The presidential campaign of businessman and current Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has been controversial from the very start. Much of the controversy has been related to the statements that Trump has made in speeches to his supporters or through his use of social media outlets like Twitter.
While those remarks have been cheered on by Trump’s supporters, protesters have also become a staple at his rallies. In the latter case, Trump can be heard telling security to remove them, with some of his supporters inflicting physical violence on protesters.
To get a sense of what Americans across the country are thinking about Trump’s philosophy, the Huffington Post and YouGov conducted a joint survey that asked 1,000 people whether or not Trump’s campaign had any resemblance to fascism.
The political viewpoint of responders offered the expected response, with 71 percent of Democrats agreeing either somewhat or strongly that elements of fascism were present in Trump’s campaign. Among independents, 45 percent of them agreed with one of those two options, while even 28 percent of Republicans also concurred.
Winning the under-30 demographic will be difficult for Trump if these poll numbers continue, since 60 percent of those individuals saw his campaign from a similar prism. Not surprisingly, minority demographics were even stronger in their belief, with 64 percent of African-Americans and 72 percent of Latinos seeing Trump as a potential fascist.
The economic status of those being polled seemed to make little difference in the final results, with 49 percent of the people in the select brackets: under $50,000, $50,000 – $100,000 and over $100,000, all noting the potential parallels to fascism. In contrast, just 30 percent rejected that statement.
The strong agreement by Latinos should come as no surprise. That’s because Trump launched his campaign last June 16 by making the building of a wall between the United States and Mexico one of the cornerstones of his campaign.
In making his case in that announcement, Trump stated that those coming into the country from Mexico were either drug dealers or rapists. That led to a firestorm of protests, but Trump has been able to maintain his status at the top of the polls and is likely to be officially nominated for president during the Republican convention that begins on July 18.
A succinct definition of fascism, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is that it consists of, “very harsh control or authority.” Such accusations have become commonplace for those ejected from Trump rallies.
Trump himself has made comments, encouraging supporters “to knock the crap out of” any one throwing something at him. That’s led to incidents like the one in North Carolina where one supporter sucker punched a protester, with Trump briefly indicating that he would pay the supporter’s legal fees after the man was arrested. Another involved and African-American woman in Louisville being pushed and shoved by his supporters.
Trump has made his disdain for the media covering him a prominent part of his campaign, accusing them of lying. He indicated that, if elected, he would work to make it easier for libel cases to go forward, which critics saw as an attack on the First Amendment.
The fact that the media is essentially fenced in during rallies is much different than standard media relations for candidates. One journalist covering Trump, Michelle Fields, was allegedly grabbed by Trump’s security while following him.
With Trump expected to face former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the general election, many more examples of such actions may develop.