WASHINGTON -- For over two years now, a peculiar combination of the media and the Democrats has been goading Donald Trump, always to painful effect -- painful for both sides in this vituperative battle but particularly painful to the media and the Democrats. Not much good has come of it.
The media and the Democrats vilify Trump as a Hitler, a fascist, a racist, a misogynist, a homophobe and so forth. What is more, they do not approve of his hair. Interestingly, they do not disparage him as a Stalin, a Castro or a communist. Why do they not dip into their arsenal of dread phraseology to call him a Stalinist, a Castro or a communist? Is it because they still see these comrades as the good guys? Do they perceive communists as liberals without the red tape? What Henry Wallace once called liberals in a hurry.
Do the media and the Democrats harbor some lingering respect for these historic friends of the working class? Are they somewhat smitten by the bilge of the left? Do they even understand the term "fascist"? What would Sen. Chuck Schumer or Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi describe as Trump's fascist traits? His songs? His martial music? What is his daily uniform? All I see is Donald's sober business suit, always worn with a tie, a white shirt and wingtip shoes. How does this uniform differ from that of Schumer?
What is all this talk of fascism? Fascism generally features politicians who favor one-party dictatorship above democracy. Fascism favors a glorified sense of nationalism, often of race over the individual. In governance it favors centralized government and is heavily militaristic. Actually, when you compare fascism with communism, it is pretty much the same thing, though the German and Italian fascists always were smarter dressers, and their guns usually worked better. The communists even caught up with German racism eventually. Both the Germans and the Russians were anti-Semites.
What is more, now that the latest edition of Democrat is coming out as a socialist I guess they have all the more reason to stay clear of calling Trump a communist or a Stalin or a Castro. These Democrats are at least Stalinists in the economic sense, and they can always adopt the one-partyism and militarism later.
Yet to return to my original point about the effect these coarse terms are having on the public discourse, particularly for the media and the Democrats: All the media and the Democrats achieve, it seems to me, is enraging Trump, who resorts to his Twitter account and fires off a volley that leaves the media and the Democrats the worse for wear. The fact is that Trump is better at it than they are, and he usually amuses. The media and the Democrats never do. Hitler was not funny. Nor was communism. Donald's "fake news" has caught on, and everyone knows who authored the term, along with "Crooked Hillary" and "Pocahontas" and "Crazy Bernie" and all the rest.
When the race really gets under way, what will Trump make of poor old Joe Biden, the gaffable one (I shall take credit for that one)? Biden was caught red-handed, as they say, filching from a speech by Neil Kinnock of Britain's Labour Party. Kinnock is not even an American. Already Trump has dispatched Beto O'Rourke with his notice of the former congressman's "hand movement." "Is he crazy?" Trump said. He had only a few hours to come up with that one. Well done, Donald! Beto has yet to recover. There will be two dozen more Democratic candidates who bite the dust before Trump finishes off the final Democratic candidate. Will the candidate be the one from South Bend, or is there another would-be John F. Kennedy out there? It is going to be vastly amusing.
As I say, it is destructive language from both sides, but from one side it is at least amusing. I noticed this when I first met Trump in 2013. He is very entertaining. I can well imagine him, long after he is out of office, relaxing with friends and watching old tapes of himself up against the Republican gang in 2016, and then against Hillary, agelastic Hillary. She thought she could beat him, and after she lost she plotted with her friends in the intelligence community to run him out of office. She, a life-long liberal, threw in with certain chieftains of the FBI and the CIA (and presumably others) to turn these institutions against the American people in an election. They were the kind of liberals who were always haranguing us against the police power of the state. But they were the first in American history to turn the intelligence community against us. Clinton has been a malign force in American politics since her early days. I am glad she turned her back on Goldwaterism.
These next months will be interesting.
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the author most recently of "The Death of Liberalism," published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.