Essays & Op-Eds

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  • Cultural Criticism
  • Donald Trump and American Democracy
  • Fascism and the Global Right
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President Donald J. Trump addresses the nation on the South Asia strategy

Trump’s ‘trial balloons’ test our commitment to freedom

How does a democratic political culture turn into something more authoritarian? How do leaders persuade people to accept their repressive agendas, scapegoat targeted groups and disrespect democratic norms? In the …

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U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo participates in a media interview with Fox and Friends in New York City, New York on April 5, 2019.

Being Trump’s Mouthpiece Is Risky for Fox News — and Democracy

Fox News may be enjoying large audiences right now, partly because of its close relationship with the president, but the network is taking a real risk — both to itself …

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Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana

I monumenti fascisti restano in piedi

Quando Benito Mussolini, alla fine degli anni trenta, si preparava a ospitare l’Esposizione universale del 1942 a Roma, commissionò la costruzione di un nuovo quartiere a sudest della città che …

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Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana

Why Are So Many Fascist Monuments Still Standing in Italy?

In the late nineteen-thirties, as Benito Mussolini was preparing to host the 1942 World’s Fair, in Rome, he oversaw the construction of a new neighborhood, Esposizione Universale Roma, in the southwest …

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Trump’s authoritarian playbook — what’s next?

Just before Donald Trump took office, I argued that our new President would likely follow the “authoritarian playbook,” an approach toward governance that privileges executive power and makes the leader’s …

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Senator Mark Warner

Liberals are reclaiming patriotism from the right

We will remember 2017 as the year patriotism started to acquire a new vitality and force among Democrats — and the year that the GOP lost control of its narrative. …

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Greg Gianforte's jail mugshot

Montana body-slam reveals a GOP problem

Montana’s starting to look more like Moscow, after then-Republican House candidate Greg Gianforte’s assault Wednesday on Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. As the Guardian reported and a Fox News reporter in …

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President Donald Trump delivers his Joint Address to Congress

Trump at his most dangerous

Sometimes political change happens suddenly. You wake up, and a military junta has taken over your country, or some other kind of revolution has happened. But other times, the climate …

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Does Cultural Crisis Breed Artistic Fertility? A Look Through History to Understand Today

Creativity thrives in times of upheaval, and many of us now certainly feel the ground shifting under our feet. For the foreseeable future, we’ll be living with and governed by …

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President Trump and President Erdoğan

Trump’s congratulatory call to Erdogan is revealing

It’s a haunting image. A basement space with blacked-out windows, crowded with camera equipment and journalists who were assigned to cover the Leader during the state visit of a foreign …

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Ruth Ben-Ghiat Portrait

Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s essays and op-eds translate her vast knowledge of the logic of power and the authoritarian playbook into analyses of the operation and endgame of the global right today, including in Donald Trump’s America. Her writings on hate speech, leader body politics, and the power of symbols reveal how propaganda works and remind us of power of images to shape opinion and feeling. Her op-ed on photographs of the Trump-Putin summit was one of CNN’s “Top 10” for 2018, and her 2017 New Yorker essay on the persistence of Fascist monuments in Italy sparked an ongoing international debate on the legacy and memory of Mussolini’s regime.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat Portrait

Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s essays and op-eds translate her vast knowledge of the logic of power and the authoritarian playbook into analyses of the operation and endgame of the global right today, including in Donald Trump’s America. Her writings on hate speech, leader body politics, and the power of symbols reveal how propaganda works and remind us of power of images to shape opinion and feeling. Her op-ed on photographs of the Trump-Putin summit was one of CNN’s “Top 10” for 2018, and her 2017 New Yorker essay on the persistence of Fascist monuments in Italy sparked an ongoing international debate on the legacy and memory of Mussolini’s regime.

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