March 31, 2017 Donald Trump and AuthoritarianismHaaretz
“this creates a political discourse that emphasizes negative elements, that paints a picture of a society in crisis that needs a strong leader to save it. So you have people like Trump asserting that nothing is working, everything is a mess, and only they can set things right and ‘Drain the swamp.’ By the way, it was Mussolini who coined that slogan. Originally, he meant it literally: to invest in infrastructure and reclaim malarial swamps to transform them into beautiful modern towns. And then it became a metaphor for reclaiming, rehabilitating all of society. And the trick was, of course, that some people could not be rehabilitated. In World War II, this ‘draining’ included the Jews, many of whom had supported fascist politics early on.
Ruth Ben-Ghiat is an internationally renowned historian, speaker, and political commentator on fascism, authoritarian leaders, and propaganda. Author or editor of nine books and dozens of op-eds in CNN, The Washington Post, and more, she is Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University, and Advisor to Protect Democracy.