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Letters to the Editor: Obama wasn’t a socialist, and Trump isn’t a fascist

Trump supporters listen as he speaks at a Duluth rally.
President Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Duluth International Airport in Minnesota on Wednesday.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: Alfonso Gonzales Toribio likens President Trump’s supporters to the “historic blocs” of fascist movements in the past. In reality, the members of Trump’s bloc in 2016 included working-class voters who were tired of career politicians, Republicans and independents who found Hillary Clinton to be an intolerable candidate, and voters who supported President Obama but switched to Trump because they were still looking for hope and change.

Toribio asserts that Trump voters represent the foundation of fascism, with Trump as their strongman leader. Strongman leaders have dissidents arrested and put in jail or killed. No amount of Trump claiming “fake news” has led to the crushing of his vocal critics.

Just as Obama was not a socialist, no matter how many exasperated heartland conservatives blared it on talk radio, Trump is not a fascist, no matter how many liberal theorists weave their own current personal political preferences into the fabric of history and claim it as instructive.

The likelihood of Trump hanging onto power if he loses the election is far less than that of progressives filling the streets in anger if he wins.

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Joe Blackman, Sierra Madre

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To the editor: Toribio’s summary of the appeal of fascist dictators throughout history was very interesting but left out the most important information: What can be done to prevent this situation or deal with it once it has happened?

Could we have foreseen the rise of Trump and prevented it? Most did not think Trump would win, and we don’t know how to deal with him now. He continues to ignore the laws and procedures that allow our democracy to flourish.

Trump and his allies seem to be 10 steps ahead of us while we scratch our heads and agonize over his continuing appeal. We can’t seem to beat him or even meet him at his own game.

What have we learned so we can prevent Trump’s ilk from ruling again?

Kathleen Cressy, Ventura

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To the editor: As much as I appreciate his quoting imprisoned Italian political theorist Antonio Gramsci’s notes from 1926, I think Toribio misses an important point about the Trump base.

It is a truism, in political philosophy, that when the right wing makes political gains, it is because the left has somehow abandoned its constituency.

While Toribio recognizes the danger of right-wing identity politics, he has not recognized that it is left-wing identity politics that have abandoned whole segments of the working class and left them to identify with the ruling class.

Not until the left abandons identity politics will it be able to reclaim the support of the unified working class, its true constituency.

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Charles Berezin, Los Angeles


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