Whatever else can be said about Donald Trump, he is fiercely individualistic. Indeed, a major part of his appeal comes from the fact that he’s untethered to any movement or party or even financial interests besides himself. The Republican establishment hates him. He has no affiliated politicians at other levels of government. He runs no party organization or really any political organization with any goal other than promoting himself, personally. And his arguments about how to make America great generally rely on his own skills — his prowess at making deals, his personal strength, etc.
This runs in sharp contrast to the fascist tradition, which, while emphasizing cults of personality for leaders, is nonetheless fundamentally concerned with the collective, with the state being redeemed and the fascist political organization being built to redeem it. That aspect is foreign not just to Trump but to 21st century American society in general. “People are extremely individualistic. No one would dream of putting them in identically colored shirts and putting them in regimented youth movements, action squads,” Paxton says. “If someone were proposing that I’d take the parallel more seriously.”