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In the run-up to the American elections a friend of mine on Facebook described Donald Trump as a fascist.

I thought that was an exaggeration. A loud-mouth certainly: a canny media operator, able to play upon people’s prejudices. But a fascist?

Where are his Blackshirts, his street-fighting army?

Does he have corporate backing? Does he have a political party even, given that mainstream Republicans are against him?

No, Trump isn’t a fascist, although he has the potential to turn into one. He has an army of fanatical followers, many of them armed, all of them angry.

Had he lost the election, maybe he could have organised them into a fighting force.

As it is, he’s won. He’s going to be revelling in his new found power. He doesn’t need to organise an army, he’s got the American army to play around with instead.

I think people here in the UK misunderstood Trump’s appeal. All we heard were his outrageous statements about Muslims and Mexicans.

What we didn’t hear were his views on the economy and the state of American industry. This is where his appeal to middle America really lay.

He was promising to rebuild their decimated infrastructure, to put up tariffs, to bring back jobs.

He is also an isolationist, someone who is sceptical of the endless cycle of war.

The alternative was Hillary Clinton, a fully paid up member of the war-party.

Hillary had stated categorically that she was going to impose a no-fly zone over Syria.

Now try and imagine what that would have meant.

In the end, this wasn’t a win for Trump, it was a defeat for the Democratic Party.

It was the Democratic Party which subverted Bernie Sanders’ popular campaign in order to ensure that one of its own had the ticket.

Bernie would have beaten Trump for sure. He appealed to the same demographic, and was making the same economic promises.

Only in Bernie’s case it wasn’t just rhetoric.

Trump pretends he is a man of the people. Bernie really is.

In the end we will all just have to wait and see what happens next.

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From The Whitstable Gazette, 17/11/2016

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