The focus of this post is on the fascist aspects of Trump’s rhetoric and plans. It argues that, if Trump wins the presidency in November, he and his administration are likely to implement his anti-democratic vision.

Is he a fascist?

Federico Finchelstein has written extensively about fascism. In his most recent book, The Wannabe Fascists: A Guide to Understanding the Greatest Threat to Democracy (publ. 2024 by the University of California Press), he identifies “the four pillars of fascism,” including: (1) “violence and the militarization of politics; (2) “lies, myths, and propaganda”; (3) “the politics of xenophobia” and racism; and (4) dictatorship (pp. 16-17). He argues that Trump is not quite a full-blown fascist, but rather a “wannabe fascist because he has not yet become a “dictator.”

“Well before January 6, 2021,” Finchelstein writes, “Trump had already established (to some alarming extent) three of the four pillars of fascism: violence and the militarization of policies, racism, and lies. The element that Trumpism was missing was dictatorship. And then the attempted coup d’etat happened….Had his attempt succeeded, Trump would have most likely become a dictator. In that scenario, it would have been more appropriate to think of him as a fascist. Because he wavered and failed, I [Finchelstein] call him a wannabe fascist” (p. 18). This could all change if Trump wins the presidential election in November, 2024. The plans of Trump and the Republican Party are clearly anti-democratic and revolve around the idea of Trump as the permanent leader, a “one-person [with] absolute and permanent rule” (p. 152). 

Trump’s rhetoric has become more fascistic

Robert Reich reports on May 22, 2024, that Trump’s rhetoric is “now openly embracing fascism” ( Here’s some of what he writes.

“As I’ve noted, on Monday evening Trump posted a 30-second video on his Truth Social site featuring images of hypothetical newspaper articles celebrating his 2024 victory and referring to ‘the creation of a unified Reich’ under the headline ‘What’s next for America?’”

Reich continues.

“There have been indications of Trump’s fascination with fascism before this. Consider his uses of fascist language — calling immigrants ‘vermin’ who ‘poison the blood’ of America — and his repeated fascistic claims that ‘I am your voice. I alone can fix it.’

“Besides, the white Christian nationalism that Trump touts bears a remarkably close resemblance to Nazism.

“During his time in office, Trump reportedly claimed that Adolf Hitler ‘did some good things.’ Trump berated his generals with insults like, ‘you f—king generals, why can’t you be like the German generals … in World War II?’ according to the account of former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

But this Third Reich video is the first time Trump has explicitly embraced Nazi fascism.”

“The ‘Third Reich’ was the official Nazi designation for its regime from January 1933 to May 1945, as the presumed successor to the medieval and early modern Holy Roman Empire of 800 to 1806 (which the Nazis designated the First Reich) and the German Empire of 1871 to 1918 (which they called the Second Reich). Hitler stoked resentment against the loss of the German Empire and against Jews, whom the Nazis often referred to as globalists.

This is not the first time. “In July 2015, during Trump’s first bid for the White House, his campaign’s official Twitter account posted — and then quickly deleted — an image featuring Nazi soldiers superimposed between the stripes of an American flag. At the time, the executive vice president of the Trump Organization — a fellow named Michael Cohen — blamed the post on a ‘young intern’ who apparently ‘did not see very faded figures within the flag.’

“Trump’s defenders argue that there’s no valid comparison between Trumpism and Nazism, yet Trump and his campaign continue to invite the comparison.

“I don’t believe the Monday post was a mistake. I believe Trump is now moving to openly signal his embrace of fascism.”

A Trump “threat tracker”

A group of scholars have created the “American Autocracy Threat Tracker, including Norman L. Eisen, Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Siven Watt, Andrew Warren, Jacob Kovacs-Goodman and Francois Barrilleaux (

 Both autocracy and fascism are concepts that identify an all-powerful dictator who controls government policies, with the support of the rich and powerful and a subservient grassroots movement. They are– fascism and autocracy - synonymous.

Such a government has multiple ways of suppressing any opposition that exists in the society, through control of the military, media, courts, education, and other important institutional sectors, as well as through economic and finance-related policies.

The authors of the Tracker provide a lengthy, continuously updated account of the anti-democratic, autocratic [and fascistic] aspirations and planning by Trump and his allies. 

Here are the first pages of their critique of Trump’s “autocratic” aspirations.

“Former President Donald Trump has said he will be a dictator on ‘day one.’ He and his advisors and associates have publicly discussed hundreds of further actions to be taken during a second Trump presidency that directly threaten democracy, the rule of law, as well as U.S. (and global) security. These vary from Trump breaking the law and abusing power in areas like immigration roundups and energy extraction; to summarily and baselessly firing tens of thousands of civil servants whom he perceives as adversaries; to prosecuting his political opponents for personal gain and even hinting at executing some of them; to pardoning some of the convicted January 6th rioters he views as ‘great patriots,’ ‘hostages,’ and ‘wrongfully imprisoned.’ We track all of these promises, plans, and pronouncements here and we will continue to update them.”

“We assess there is a significant risk of autocracy should Trump regain the presidency. Trump has said he would deploy the military against civilian protestors and his advisors have developed plans for using the Insurrection Act, said he would invoke the Alien Enemies Act to conduct deportations of non-citizens, continued to threaten legally-established abortion rights, and even had his lawyers argue that a president should be immune from prosecution if he directed SEAL Team Six to assassinate a political opponent. Trump also seeks the power to protect his personal wealth as he faces staggering civil fines, and to bolster his immunity as he faces 88 criminal charges in prosecutions in different parts of the country. He has predicted a ‘bloodbath’ if he is not elected (although his meaning has been contested, with some saying he was referring to violence and others that ‘Trump was talking about US automakers.’) At a Veterans Day rally last year, Trump said he would ‘root out’ political opponents who ‘live like vermin within the confines of our country’ warning that the greatest threats come ‘from within’ (words that, according to ABC News and others, ‘echoed those of past fascist dictators like Hitler and Benito Mussolini,’ and alarmed historians.)

The fascist plan

“Trump’s dictatorial aspirations are complemented by an extensive pre-election plan to fundamentally alter the nature of American government: the Heritage Foundation’s 2025 Presidential Transition Project (Project 2025). Created by Trump allies and staffed by those including his past and likely future administration appointees, it is in the words of Heritage Foundation president Kevin Roberts, a plan for ‘institutionalizing Trumpism.’ Trump has returned the compliment, saying of Roberts (and Heritage) that he’s ‘doing an unbelievable job, he’s bringing it back to levels we’ve never seen … thank you Kevin.’


“Project 2025’s plans are set forth in an 887-page document entitled ‘Mandate for Leadership: the Conservative Promise.’ It details a program to consolidate power in the executive branch, deconstruct the federal administration, and strip remaining agencies of their independence. It proposes to dismantle or radically overhaul the Departments of Justice and State; eliminate the Departments of Homeland Security, Education, and Commerce; radically repurpose other agencies; and eviscerate the professional civil service. Project 2025 is complemented by other 2025 planning efforts by, for example, the America First Policy Institute, the Center for Renewing America, and the Conservative Partnership Institute.

Trump and his associates are reportedly discussing building an administration around loyalists who would ‘stretch legal and governance boundaries’ to accommodate an ‘aggressive use of the vast powers of the executive branch’ (in the words of Project 2025).” 

Bribing big oil and gas companies

Among the most disturbing developments in Trump’s tirades is his deepening embrace of an environmentally-devastating, fossil-fuel-based energy policy. Trump wants the financial support of big oil and gas companies, in return for which he offers unregulated fossil fuel production, domestically and internationally. Such a policy would wreak havoc on the environment, producing rising greenhouse gas emissions, rising temperatures, warming oceans, an increasing number of severe weather events (e.g., wild fires, droughts, flooding), along with melting glaciers, the destruction of coral reefs, and massive dislocations of people. Abrahm Lustgarten considers the latter point in his new book, On the Move: The Overheating Earth and the Uprooting of America. Lustgarten writes,

“As the planet slowly cooks, people will do what they have done for thousands of years in response to changes in their environment: they will move.” He continues: 

“…in the United States, a quiet retreat from the front lines of western wildfires and Gulf Coast hurricanes is hollowing out small towns. These are the subtle first signals of an epochal slow-motion exodus out of inhospitable places that will, as the climate warms further over the lifetime of today’s children, untold on a global scale.” He adds: “Scientists estimate that as many as one in three people on the planet will find the places they live unmanageably hot or dry by 2070” (pp. 5-6).


“In the United States, drought, coastal flooding, crop failures, intensifying hurricanes, extreme heat, and wildfires will begin to overlap and close in on the country from its edges, slowly making entire regions less attractive and even, in some cases, unlivable….Some places will be reshaped – or even erased. Others will limp through climate purgatory, roiled by stagnation and economic disruptions that will replace growth. And still other regions may thrive” (p. 6).

Lustgarten says that such changes are not inevitable, but it will take policies that reduce our use of fossil fuels. This would “require the United States and the rest of the world to adopt electric vehicles and appliances and electrify the rest of its infrastructure, to vastly expand renewable energy, and to shut down coal- and natural-gas fired power plants as quickly as possible. It will require shifting how land is used, to hold more carbon in the ground and preserve more forests, and it means, in general, toning down runaway consumption. We buy – and use – too much” (p. 265). Elect Trump, and we are sunk. 

Trump is opposed to any policies that undermine production and consumption of oil, gas, and even coal. This is reflected in his recent meeting with “big oil execs,” as reported by Jake Johnson ( Johnson writes:

“Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made a straightforward offer to some of the top fossil fuel executives in the United States during a dinner at his Mar-a-Lago club last month, which marked the hottest April on record.

“According to new reporting, Trump pledged to swiftly gut climate regulations put in place by the Biden administration if the oil and gas industry raises $1 billion for his 2024 presidential campaign.

“The "remarkably blunt and transactional pitch," reported by The Washington Post, was Trump's latest explicit statement of his intention to give the fossil fuel industry free rein to wreck the planet if he wins a second term in power. Executives from Exxon, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, and other prominent fossil fuel companies reportedly attended the Mar-a-Lago dinner.

“Late last year, Trump said he would be a dictator on the first day of his second term, vowing to use his executive authority to ‘close the border’ and ‘drill, drill, drill’ for the fossil fuels that are driving global temperatures to catastrophic extremes and imperiling hopes for a livable future.

“The Post reported Thursday that Trump said a $1 billion investment in his run against Democratic President Joe Biden would be a ‘deal’ for Big Oil ‘because of the taxation and regulation they would avoid thanks to him.’

“‘The contrast between the two candidates on climate policy could not be more stark,’ the Post noted. "Biden has called global warming an 'existential threat' and over the last three years, his administration has finalized 100 new environmental regulations aimed at cutting air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, restricting toxic chemicals, and conserving public lands and waters. In comparison, Trump has called climate change a 'hoax,' and his administration weakened or wiped out more than 125 environmental rules and policies over four years."

Trump is focused on “personal gain”

Robert Reich maintains in an article published on May 10, 2024 that “Trump Would Sell Anything for Personal Gain—Even Planet Earth” (

As examples, he refers to “the Trump Bible” (which also includes a copy of the U.S. Constitution, Pledge of Allegiance, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights). And to “Trump shoes” (ranging from the nearly all-gold ‘Never Surrender’ high tops priced at $399 to the lower-cut ‘Red Wave’ and POTUS 45’).

Now, Reich reports, Trump is “selling the entire world.”

“When Trump sat down with some of America’s top oil executives last month at Mar-a-Lago, according to the The Washington Post, they complained of burdensome environmental regulations, despite spending $400 million to lobby the Biden administration in the last year.

“Trump’s response? He would offer them a better deal.

“He told them to raise $1 billion to return him to the White House and he’d reverse dozens of Biden’s environmental rules and policies and stop new ones from being enacted (according to people with knowledge of the meeting, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private conversation).

“The $1 billion ‘deal’ would more than pay for itself, Trump told the oil executives, because of the taxes and regulations they would avoid thanks to him.”

“At that Mar-a-Lago dinner, the former president told Big Oil executives that they’ll have an even greater windfall in a second Trump administration — including new offshore drilling, speedier permits, and other relaxed regulations — if they sink a billion into his campaign.

“Trump promised to immediately end the Biden administration’s freeze on permits for new liquefied natural gas exports — a top priority for the executives. ‘You’ll get it on the first day,’ Trump said.

“Trump told the executives that he would start auctioning off more leases for oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, another priority for several of the executives. He railed against wind power. And he said he would reverse the restrictions on drilling in the Alaskan Arctic.

“Trump also promised that he would scrap Biden’s rules for electric vehicles. The rules require automakers to reduce emissions from car tailpipes but don’t mandate a particular technology such as EVs. Trump called the rules ‘ridiculous’ in the meeting with donors.”

Trump’s proposals would lead to devastating domestic and international consequences. Most climate scientists are horrified by trends

Trump pays no serious attention to the warnings of climate scientists. The scientists want a phase out of fossil fuels. Contrary to the dismissive views of Trump and his advisors, Olivia Rosane reports that “77% of Top Climate Scientists Think 2.5°C of Warming Is Coming—And They're Horrified” ( Here’s more of what Rosane writes.

“Nearly 80% of top-level climate scientists expect that global temperatures will rise by at least 2.5°C by 2100, while only 6% thought the world would succeed in limiting global heating to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels, a survey published Wednesday by The Guardian revealed.

“Nearly three-quarters blamed world leaders' insufficient action on a lack of political will, while 60% said that corporate interests such as fossil fuel companies were interfering with progress.

The survey on which these data are based was conducted by The Guardian's Damian Carrington, who reached out to every expert who had served as a senior author on an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report since 2018. Out of 843 scientists whose contact information was available, 383 responded. “77% predicted at least 2.5°C and nearly half predicted 3°C or more.”

“The 1.5°C target was agreed to as the most ambitious goal of the Paris agreement of 2015, in which world leaders pledged to keep warming to "well below" 2°C. However, policies currently in place would put the world on track for 3°C, and unconditional commitments under the Paris agreement for 2.9°C.

“The survey comes on the heels of the hottest year on record, which already saw a record-breaking Canadian wildfire season as well as extreme, widespread heatwaves and deadly floods. The first four months of 2024 have also been the hottest of their respective months on record, and the year has already seen the fourth global bleaching event for coral reefs.”

"I think we are headed for major societal disruption within the next five years," Gretta Pecl of the University of Tasmania told The Guardian. "[Authorities] will be overwhelmed by extreme event after extreme event, food production will be disrupted. I could not feel greater despair over the future."

Scientists are not giving up

“Despite their grim predictions, many of the scientists remained committed to researching and speaking out.

“‘We keep doing it because we have to do it, so [the powerful] cannot say that they didn't know,’ Ruth Cerezo-Mota, who works on climate modeling at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, told The Guardian. ‘We know what we're talking about. They can say they don't care, but they can't say they didn't know.’"

“Others found hope in the climate activism and awareness of younger generations, and in the finding that each extra tenth of a degree of warming avoided protects 140 million people from extreme temperatures.”

“Many of the scientists who still saw a hope of keeping 1.5°C alive pinned it on the speeding rollout and falling prices of climate-friendly technologies like renewable energy and electric vehicles. Also on Wednesday, energy think thank Ember reported that 30% of global electricity came from renewables in 2023 and predicted that the year would be the ‘pivot’ after which power sector emissions would start to fall. Experts also said that abandoning fossil fuels has many side benefits such as cleaner air and better public health. Though even the more optimistic scientists were wary about the unpredictable nature of the climate crisis.

“‘I am convinced that we have all the solutions needed for a 1.5°C path and that we will implement them in the coming 20 years,’ Henry Neufeldt of the United Nations' Copenhagen Climate Center told The Guardian. ‘But I fear that our actions might come too late and we cross one or several tipping points.’

Several scientists gave recommendations for things that people could do to move the needle on climate. Humphreys suggested "civil disobedience" while one French scientist said people should "fight for a fairer world."

"All of humanity needs to come together and cooperate—this is a monumental opportunity to put differences aside and work together," Louis Verchot, based at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia, told The Guardian. "Unfortunately climate change has become a political wedge issue… I wonder how deep the crisis needs to become before we all start rowing in the same direction."

The publication of The Guardian's survey prompted other climate scientists to share their thoughts.

"As many of the scientists pointed out, the uncertainty in future temperature change is not a physical science question: It is a question of the decisions people choose to make," Texas Tech University climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe wrote on social media. "We are not experts in that; And we have little reason to feel positive about those, since we have been warning of the risks for decades."

“Aaron Thierry, a graduate researcher at the Cardiff School of Social Sciences, pointed out that The Guardian's results were consistent with other surveys of scientific opinion, such as one published in Nature in the lead-up to COP26, in which 60% of IPCC scientists said they expected 3°C of warming or more by 2100.”

Concluding thoughts

Trump and his allies, including the Republican Party, threaten America and the world with their quest for power. If they win in the November elections, they will be in position to implement and consolidate their fascist plans, Among the most calamitous effects would be the curtailment of Constitutional protections for most Americans, the creation of a highly regimented society, in which people pay homage to Trump the ”messianic leader,” and corporate-friendly policies that generate high-levels of inequality and environmental devastation. In such circumstances, Trump and his family, along with favored allies, will acquire massive wealth.