In temperament, he was “bombastic, inconsistent, shallow and vainglorious.” On political questions, “he made up his own reality as he went along.” Physically, the qualities that stood out were “the scowling forehead, the rolling eyes, the pouting mouth.” His “compulsive exhibitionism was part of his cult of machismo.” He spoke “in short, strident sentences.” Journalists mocked his “absurd attitudinizing.”
Remind you of someone?
The description of Benito Mussolini comes from English historian Piers Brendon’s definitive history of the 1930s, “The Dark Valley.” So does this mean that Donald Trump is the second coming of Il Duce, or that yesteryear’s Fascists are today’s Trumpkins? Not exactly. But that doesn’t mean we should be indifferent to the parallels with the last dark age of Western politics.Stephens then goes to note how the current period of economic problems do not go anywhere near matching those of the 1920's and 30's. In fact, he goes on to point to the positives in the American economy, as a way of deflating the Trump fanbase's feelings that the country needs a new, quasi-fascist, style of leaderhsip.
But - and here's the big but - why doesn't Stephens then go onto to acknowledge that the Republican's own hyperbola about the economic crisis Obama was allegedly causing was not well founded, and it is their own behaviour that has caused the rise of the Trump base?