Meet today's almost fascists and learn the warning signs to intercept them on the road from populism to dictatorship.
With The Wannabe Fascists, historian Federico Finchelstein offers a precise explanation of why Trumpism and similar movements across the world belong to a new political breed, the last outcome of the combined histories of fascism and populism: the would-be fascists. This new type of populist politician is typically a legally elected leader who, unlike previous populists who were eager to distance themselves from fascism, turns to totalitarian lies, racism, and illegal means to destroy democracy from within.
Drawing on almost three decades of research on the histories of fascism and populism around the world, this book lays out in clear language what the author calls the "four pillars of fascism"—xenophobia, propaganda, political violence, and ultimately dictatorship. Finchelstein carefully explains how and why wannabe fascists like Trump, Bolsonaro, and Modi embrace the first three pillars but don't quite succeed in dictatorship and total suppression of the popular vote. The Wannabe Fascists stresses the importance of preventing despots from reaching this tipping point and offers a clear warning for what's at stake.