NOTED Australian writer Don Watson has labelled Donald Trump’s presidential campaign “fascist” at a Perth event to promote his Quarterly Essay on the American election.
Watson, an author of fiction and non-fiction, was a speech writer and advisor to former Prime Minister Paul Keating.
Speaking to a packed house at The University Club at UWA on Tuesday night, Watson said he had been disheartened by the growing divisions within US society.
He said that up until late last week, when the tape of Trump boasting about forcing himself on women surfaced, he had been neck and neck with Hillary Clinton.
Watson said Trump’s campaign, using mythology and fear to solidify his base, was riddled with the extreme right.
“The word that we should use is fascist,” he said.
“’Creep’ doesn’t do and ‘salesman’ doesn’t do.
“I think that if you apply the criteria that we generally apply when we talk about European fascism, or South American fascism, Trump’s campaign fits just about very one of those.
“The calling up of American mythology, using exceptionalism as a sort of means of emphasising betrayal; the orchestrated hate rallies that he ran in the course of all those primaries, whipping crowds into frenzies of loathing and fear.
“I don’t think he knows what a fascist is, but I don’t see why we shouldn’t use the term to describe him.”
But Watson said the uncovered tape had likely ended Trump’s chances of becoming president.
“He’s now probably gone,” he said.
“If he has gone, it’s hard to see what happens next.
“I don’t know what to make of Hillary Clinton.
“It seems a very strange thing to do in 2016, but I think the world should hope that Hillary Clinton discovers her old moral Methodism.
“The thought that Methodism might save the world seems odd now, but I think the old grassroots campaigner, the woman who wanted to do good in the world as opposed to the politician of sometimes dubious, shall we say, methods, is really the hope.
“If she wins easily, it might be that she sees the chance to be more than just the first woman president.
“There’s plenty that she could do.”