Remember when our presidential scandals were not so scandalous? When Fox News thought it was a big deal that President Barack Obama wore a tan suit or ordered Grey Poupon on a hamburger?
Life was so much simpler then. So much simpler than having a president openly trying to prevent the count of legally cast votes or undermine the Postal Service to prevent the delivery of ballots.
Assessments of the Trump presidency can be complicated, especially when trying to separate hyperbolic criticism from reality. And while impeached President Trump might not be an elitist who likes tasty hamburgers, there is an overriding question that has stalked his reign: Is Donald Trump a fascist?
Once upon a time, you see, Americans were darn near unanimous in their belief that fascism was evil. But now? Now, in the age of invectives and overstatements and boiling partisanship, it can be difficult to maintain a grasp on accuracy. Definitions become diminished; epithets become too easy. So, in an effort to offer a fair assessment of Trump and his presidency, I sent a note to Peter Hayes.
Hayes is a smart guy. Author of “Why?: Explaining the Holocaust” and a bunch of other books; editor of “How Was It Possible? A Holocaust Reader”; former scholar-in-residence at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He also is a professor emeritus at Northwestern University, and many years ago I had him for a class about Nazi Germany. So, he understands fascism about as well as anybody.