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  • Donald Trump as Authoritarian Populist: A Frommian Analysis

    Douglas Kellner

    Chapter from the book: Morelock, J. 2018. Critical Theory and Authoritarian Populism.

    In this article, the author discusses in detail how Erich Fromm’s categories can help describe Trump’s character, or ‘temperament’, a word used to characterize a major flaw in Trump during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign and his rule as president. In The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (1973), Fromm engages in a detailed analysis of the authoritarian character as sadistic, excessively narcissistic, malignantly aggressive, vengeably destructive, and necrophiliac, personality traits arguably applicable to Trump. In the following analysis, the author systematically deploys key Frommian socio-psychoanalytic categories to Trump and his followers to show how they can illuminate Trump and authoritarian populism. Kellner argues that while Trump does not have a full-fledged fascist ideology, or fascist party apparatus, he possesses an authoritarian personality and has a mass authoritarian movement that represents a form of rightwing populism. This analysis illustrates the continuing relevance of the Frankfurt school analysis of the authoritarian personality and Erich Fromm’s work in analyzing authoritarian personalities and movements.

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    Kellner, D. 2018. Donald Trump as Authoritarian Populist: A Frommian Analysis. In: Morelock, J (ed.), Critical Theory and Authoritarian Populism. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book30.e

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    Published on Dec. 17, 2018