Ever since he signed on to the idea of a federal database and visual identification for Muslims in America, some of Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans have deemed him a fascist. I wrote as much two weeks ago and Slate’s Jamelle Bouie later presented an even more detailed case, but it’s another thing entirely when a fellow candidate, John Kasich, breaks out some Niemoller-esque language to condemn Trump. Others, including advisers for Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, took to Twitter to make the allegation.
Even New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, a staunch social conservative, took up the question on Thursday. Ultimately, he dismissed the charge. But whether or not Trump supports a fascist policy at this stage of the campaign may matter less than whether his audience has bought in.
A new Public Policy Polling report released this morning found that Trump has a commanding lead in New Hampshire. But perhaps more alarming is that 53 percent of all Trump supporters in the state agree with him on that Muslim database idea. Forty-nine percent want to close all mosques in the United States. (To boot, 58 percent believe his lie about “thousands of Arabs in New Jersey” celebrating the September 11 attacks.)
Douthat argued that Trump “isn’t actually building a fascist mass movement” and hasn’t won a primary yet. The latter seems more likely to happen with each passing day. Perhaps Douthat and any other doubters will wake up then. Or maybe when he wins South Carolina, too. Or maybe by the time Trump is nominated. They’ll get it eventually, right?