There’s no doubt that the Trump presidency has been contentious. One of the most shocking election results in recent history has given us a president that has divided opinion in a huge way with policies like the border wall and the repeal of Obamacare. During the election campaign, anti-Trump protesters were quick to denounce him as a fascist. That’s a pretty strong claim to make about a person, regardless of what you think of them, but is there any truth behind it. Fascism is defined as a system of authoritarian rule characterized by an uncompromising dictator and violent suppression of opposition. It represents a complete destruction of democracy and every single one of its values. Can that really be said of the presidency of Donald Trump?


Fortunately, it looks like we might be getting an answer to that question, courtesy of four political scientists that have been tracking his presidency since day one and assessing any potential attacks on democracy so that they can highlight these attacks to groups like the National Endowment for Democracy. They are committed to protecting and upholding democracy around the world, including the United States. The four political scientists that have been keeping an eye on Trump have released their findings, and luckily, they don’t tell a tale of authoritarianism.

Recent research into the American population has found that less and less people are concerned with democracy than they were before. The number of people that are completely committed to democracy is falling with each generation and people are becoming more accepting of alternative, more authoritarian ideals. That’s one of the reasons that concerns about Trump are growing.

The opinions on democracy in America are massively polarized and, depending on whether you’re for or against Trump, you’re likely to have a wildly different view. Supporters of Trump are less concerned with freedom of press and freedom of elections because the system is currently working in their favor. However, the anti-Trump camp has raised concerns about those things, particularly fears about Russian involvement in the recent presidential elections.

Polls about whether America was offering equal voting rights were equally split. Supporters of the president overwhelmingly agreed that it was, while opponents went completely the opposite way. However, the most worrying result was that political scientists were even less optimistic than opponents of Trump.

While those results seem to spell disaster, the reality behind them is that views on democracy are tied into political opinion. The people that didn’t want Trump to be president stand to gain something from saying that the system is undemocratic, rather than accepting that popular opinion was against them.

When it comes to the actual presidency, there were no findings to suggest the Trump president was characterized by direct attacks on democracy. What they found instead was that the main defining point of his presidency so far has been sheer incompetence. It still doesn’t bode well for the country, but it is less worrying than an attempt to break down democracy.

Whether you like him or not, labeling Donald Trump a fascist is an irresponsible and inflammatory thing to do because it devalues the experiences of people that have suffered under a true fascist.