Geoff Eley: “Is Trump a Fascist?”

We are going through “a particularly extreme kind of dual crisis, in which two separate things happen together. First, the given political arrangements no longer work in a way that enables stable governance to occur. Second, those governing arrangements malfunction so badly that they forfeit the consent of the people.  That’s the kind of dual crisis we’re currently experiencing. The polity is broken. Even worse: very large numbers of people have stopped believing that it can be fixed. On the one hand, we have the withering of democratic practices in the state, whether inside the legislature or in the relations of Presidency, Congress, and Supreme Court; or in the attack on voting rights and the conduct of elections; or in the curtailment of civil liberties and the size of the carceral state. On the other hand, there’s now a default belief among the citizenry that government consists only in burdensomeness, corruption, incompetence, and non-accountability; there’s a still widening popular belief in what I would call the non-intelligibility of power, the belief that power is exercised in a distant place, behind closed doors and opaque glass, by conspiracies of elites who are beholden to no one and simply do not care. Now when these two crises occur together – crisis of representation, crisis of consent; government paralysis, democratic impasse – we are in deep trouble.”