(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
Downtown Magnets High School

Opinion: Donald Trump: a fascist leader

Fascism: “a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.”

According to a Newsweek Op-Ed by Robert Paxton, a political scientist and historian specializing in fascism, former President Trump had shown signs of fascism during his 2016-2020 presidential term with threats of violence, use of media and the exploitation of Americans’ fear, but he had never crossed the line.

That is until Trump incited the Capitol insurrection to overturn the 2020 election, resembling a fascist march in Paris of 1934, where veterans of World War I tried to break into the French parliament, Paxton wrote in Newsweek.

However, in Trump’s second impeachment trial to charge him of inciting an insurrection, Trump was acquitted because the votes to convict him did not reach the necessary two-thirds of the senators or 67 votes. This means that even though he lost the 2020 election and was impeached by the House of Representatives twice, Trump can run for president again in 2024, according to NPR.

Although Trump was acquitted in his second impeachment trial, Trump should not be reelected by American voters in 2024 because of his role in inciting the Capital insurrection, spreading propaganda and misinformation on media that created chaos and danger, and soliciting foreign countries to interfere with both his 2016 and 2020 elections.

On January 6, former President Trump mutinied democracy by inciting a violent riot at the Capitol building on the pretense that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from him by Biden. Trump had been claiming election fraud since the results of the election, and on January 6, he manipulated this sentiment to cause an uprising among his supporters and declared: “‘if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.’”

By hinting at violence and rioting through his diction in the term “fight,” Trump knew the consequences of his speech and the uprising that would occur because of it. Although it can be argued that Trump was only promoting a peaceful protest using figurative language, Trump’s statement was worded as if to call for extreme action in which violence might have been necessary.

Furthermore, Trump directed his supporters towards the Capitol building, exclaiming: “‘we are going to the Capitol.’”

Trump was aware of the mob’s violent attitude, but he continued to lead them toward the Capitol building causing injury and deaths. These events occurred because Trump tried to deny democracy and use violence and fear to overturn the election results, making him unfit as a president.

Not only did Trump try to deny the fact that he had lost the 2020 presidential elections, but Trump also spread misinformation on the media that was misleading and dangerous. Trump promoted hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID-19 even though there was evidence that it didn’t, creating chaos in a pandemic where information is crucial in keeping people safe.

He posted a video on Twitter which “claimed hydroxychloroquine is ‘a cure for Covid’ and ‘you don’t need a mask’ to slow the spread of coronavirus,” according to CNBC.

The spread of this misinformation threatened the wellbeing of citizens that listened and believed Trump. As the president, Trump should have been a reliable source of information that American citizens could trust because of how influential the position of president is. However, Trump didn’t listen to facts and instead posted what he believed to be true, even if it wasn’t.

Hydroxychloroquine has been experimentally proven to not cure coronavirus. A study by the New England Journal of Medicine found it was no better than a placebo in preventing infections from the virus. 

Another study by the National Institutes of Health found patients who received the drug were more likely to be severely ill within 48 hours than those who didn’t receive the drug at all, according to CNBC

Even though the facts were accessible and knowledgeable doctors had undermined the credibility of hydroxychloroquine, Trump still claimed that it was a cure for coronavirus solely based on his personal experience, creating disorder and peril.

Trump claimed that the 2020 election was rigged by Biden, but at the same time, he tried to illegally interfere with both his 2016 and 2020 elections by requesting foreign countries to aid him in exposing his opponents.

In 2016, he asked the Russians to look for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. Russian asked if he was joking, but Trump said no. That same day Russian intelligence made their first attempt to break into serves in Clinton’s personal office. 

This action was an illegal attempt to interfere with the 2016 elections by Trump that goes against the democratic process of the US.

According to a Just Security article by Kate Brannen, Trump repeated this act for the 2020 elections by soliciting Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and pressuring China for information on Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son. His solicitation of Ukraine’s president Zelenskyy led to his first impeachment in 2019 on the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress revealing the degree of his crime.

Furthermore, in an interview by ABC, Trump mentions he would have no problems accepting “foreign dirt” to help him win and would not alert the FBI.

Trump clearly reveals that he wouldn’t follow the democratic process of the US elections and would use illegal means if it meant winning the presidential elections, further proving his unworthiness as the president of the US. 

While some readers might believe that Trump isn’t guilty of his charges because he was acquitted in both of his impeachment trials, Trump was still impeached twice based on illegal actions and the 57-43 vote to convict former President Trump in his second impeachment trial was the most support from both parties ever in a presidential impeachment trial.

Trump was acquitted in both impeachment trials because the necessary two-thirds out of one-hundred senators that would need to convict him were not reached, according to The Guardian. Because such a large majority of the senate is needed to convict a president, it is very difficult to remove a president from office and has never happened before in history.

However, the vote seemed to be bipartisan support for conviction, according to The Guardian. The outcome reflected both the evident raw anger of senators toward Trump’s conduct and the tight grip he holds over his party, according to The Guardian

Because Trump’s impeachment trial was the closest to convicting a president, it can be shown how dire Trump’s actions were in threatening the democracy of the US and that although he was acquitted, Trump should not be allowed to have another term of presidency.

Although some American voters might believe in Trump’s innocence and ability as president because he was acquitted in both of his impeachment trials, Trump’s actions in instigating an insurrection on the Capitol based on his claims that he was the rightful winner of the 2020 presidential election, his use of media to spread misinformation that could have threatened people’s lives and his invitation of foreign influence to support himself in the presidential elections prove his unworthiness of the position of President.

Therefore, Trump should not be reelected in 2024 by American voters to protect the US’s state of affairs and democratic values. Trump has revealed his authoritarian stance when he started a riot on the Capitol building causing death and injury and his lawless behavior in soliciting foreign countries such as Russia, China and Ukraine to gain information that would aid him in winning the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.

He has also proved his inability to help the American people by expressing false information on public media that was deemed dangerous and misleading.

If you are an American citizen, it is your duty to do your part in protecting the democratic government by voting responsibly in the 2024 presidential elections for someone who will work to improve our country and the world, instead of holding it back.