How should we think about the candidacy and presidency of Donald Trump? What trends and concepts are important for understanding them? In How Fascism Works, Jason Stanley attempts to make a scholarly argument that, given the history of fascist tactics, the past three years make up a moment of fascist politics. The book is not intended to reflect and capitalize on popular hysteria about Trump. Whether or not it ultimately distinguishes itself in this way is another matter.
Stanley, a professor of philosophy at Yale, provides a highly general account of what fascist politics entails. He aims to paint a picture that’s vivid enough to be helpful in identifying fascist moments but abstract enough to be applicable across changing historical conditions, which he says ultimately determine “the regimes [that fascists] enact.”