This Happened Here
Amerikaners, Neoliberals, and the Trumping of America
This book examines the Trump phenomenon and presidency as fascist. Fascism here connotes not generically "bad" politics or a consolidated political-economic regime (Mussolini’s Italy or Hitler’s Germany) but a set of political, movement, and ideological traits understood within the context of the neoliberal-capitalist era. While Trump’s election defeat is a respite, the nation is far from out of the neofascist woods. Defeating the menace will require political and societal restructuring far beyond what is imagined by Democrats. This argument is developed across seven chapters that recount Trump’s assault on the 2020 election, specifically define the meaning of fascism as it is used in this book, demonstrate the neofascist nature of the Trump presidency, engage intellectual class Trumpism-fascism-denial, analyze the Trump base, root Trumpism in a longstanding and indeed founding American white nationalism, examine why Trump rose to power when he did, and suggest paths for fascism-proofing the USA.
Table of Contents
Introduction: “The Hell it Can’t”
Chapter 1: One Night of Dancing, 77 Days of Fear and Death
Chapter 2: The Fascist Wolf Defined and Foretold
Chapter 3: A Fascist in the White House, 2017–21
Chapter 4: The Anatomy of Fascism Denial
Chapter 5: Amerikaners and Trumpenvolk
Chapter 6: America Was Never Great: On “The Soul of This Nation”
Chapter 7: De-Trumping America
Afterword: A Sleepwalking Interregnum?
Paul Street is an independent progressive policy researcher, award-winning journalist, historian, and speaker. He is the author of nine books, most recently Hollow Resistance: Obama, Trump, and the Politics of Appeasement. Street writes regularly for Counterpunch.
"Paul Street is one of the best social critics in the United States. His newest book, This Happened Here: Amerikaners, Neoliberals, and the Trumping of America is a fresh, critical, insightful and much needed analysis of the legacy of the Trump presidency and how Trumpism has morphed into an updated form of fascism. Street puts to rest the endless arguments claiming Trump is not a fascist and does so by drawing upon the resources of history, political theory, sociology, and the best type of investigative analysis. His writing is clear and lyrical throughout the book. His analysis of fascism in its post-Trump form and the Trump base is the best I have read. Street is a straight shooter and displays a courageousness and brilliance in the book that should be a model for every public intellectual in America, and a resource for every member of the public when it comes to holding truth to power. His interweaving of critique and hope collapses the false binary of either despair or denial occupying much of the debate about fascist politics. The book is an absolute necessary treasure for anyone concerned about the threats now facing the ideal and promise of American democracy. Give this book to all your friends and hope that every teacher in America assigns it to their students."
Henry A. Giroux, McMaster University
"As the left’s foremost political historian today, Paul Street has been ringing the alarm bell against the rising threat of American fascism for years. His work is sorely needed in a time of mass denialism, when tens of millions of Americans have convinced themselves that fascism can never 'happen here,' despite rising rightwing extremism and the threat it poses to the republic. It’s no exaggeration to say that this is one of the most important works on fascism written in modern times. It provides a comprehensive guide for understanding fascism as a concept, and its rise in modern America as related to the politics of the Trumpian right and its enablers across the ideological spectrum. This book is a must read for anyone concerned with the future of American politics and democracy."
Anthony DiMaggio, Author of Rising Fascism in America