As an amateur student of modern history and politics, it has been a surreal few weeks. In times of perceived crisis the greatest beneficiaries are always reactionary political movements that would be otherwise beyond the pale, but for a hundred years in the United States two-party dominance has emasculated the gamut of extremist movements which have menaced and sometimes toppled other Western democracies. We may be witnessing the first time in a century that the system struggles to contain one of the political flavors of the week. At the least, the very word "fascism" has never been a living thing in the American political vocabulary - until now, when all of a sudden it has become unavoidable. It will be fascinating to see how the Republican Party deals with its lunatic fringe turned lunatic voting bloc.
Thankfully, American democracy is almost certainly stronger than this challenge, but the idea of American exceptionalism is being proven a myth, as we see a not-insignificant segment of 21st-century White America shamefully abandon the most basic and sacred ideals of liberty, justice and equality in favor of hysterical xenophobia and mindless fear - just as not-insignificant segments of 20th-century Germans, Italians, Britons (Mosley's British Union of Fascists), Frenchmen (Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front) and others did (and are