Gaslighting Tactics Used by Fascist leaders

The fascists use of gaslighting has made the American people go to war against each other, instead of seeing who the real enemy is and what the real enemy is doing to America. Let’s analyze and compare the gaslighting tactics used by three fascist leaders: Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. 

Fascists Rise to Power during times of major political and economic upheaval.

  • Adolf Hitler rose to power after Germany’s defeat of World War I, when it was a nation strapped with monstrous debt, runaway inflation and a failing economy.
  • Vladimir Putin rose to power after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when chaos threatened the interests of post-Soviet billionaires. 
  • Donald Trump rose to power when there was need for a new world order to address changes in technology, jobs, and global warming. Addressing climate change threatens the interests of some billionaire oligarchs. 

Fascists who rise to power are financially backed by billionaire oligarchs. Whether a leader rises to power by legitimate or illicit methods, it takes a lot of money to rise to political leadership.  

  • Adolf Hitler was backed by wealthy German industrialists and oligarchs.
  • Vladimir Putin was backed by Russian oligarchs.
  • Donald Trump was backed by billionaire oligarchs, including the Koch Brothers, Robert Mercer, and Sheldon Adelson.  

Fascists do not address the real problems. Solving real problems is complicated. It means building trust, cooperation, collaboration and mutual respect. Focusing on real problems undermines the interests of some oligarchs and the fascists’ power by focusing on the needs of the working and middle classes.

  • Adolf Hitler refused to address the core economic problems that beset Germany after losing World War I.  
  • Vladimir Putin refused to address the needs of the Ukraine to become a free and sovereign nation, independent from Russia.
  • Donald Trump refuses to address the real needs of America, which include acknowledging climate change and preparing American workers for the jobs of the future. 

Fascists incite fear and hate. Instead of focusing on real problems, fascists fabricate huge scapegoats and blame them for the problems. 

  • Adolf Hitler blamed Germany’s economic woes on the West, the Bolsheviks, and the Jews.
  • Vladimir Putin blamed Ukraine’s desire for independence on the West, especially the United States and the European Union.
  • Donald Trump blames the changing job market and the loss of manufacturing on the Mexicans and the European Union.

Fascists identify specific scapegoats and demonize minorities. By demonizing minorities, attention is diverted from the real problems and blamed completely on these scapegoats. 

  • Adolf Hitler demonized Jews, Bolsheviks, Catholics and Intellectuals. 
  • Vladimir Putin demonizes Jews, Gays, Ukrainians, the West and the European Union.
  • Donald Trump demonizes Muslims, Mexicans, Women, Liberals and Democrats.

Fascist leaders believe in nationalism. A fascist leadership believes in nationalism at all costs, no due process, and the rule of law is no longer valid. 

  • Adolf Hitler invaded Poland and Russia.
  • Vladimir Putin invaded the Ukraine.
  • Donald Trump undercuts our European allies and aligns America’s political stance with our longstanding enemy—Russia.

Fascists are always innocent and perfect. A fascist is never wrong, and always innocent of any wrongdoing. Fascists never apologize for their wrongdoing, even when caught red-handed.  If you question a fascist’s wrongful action, you will be attacked, vilified, exiled, and, in some cases, be put to death. 

  • Adolf Hitler denied any knowledge of the Holocaust when questioned by his personal lawyer, Hans Frank. 
  • Vladimir Putin denied the 2014 invasion of the Ukraine. 
  • Donald Trump denies…. everything, including Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Fascists incite fear and hatred with constant gaslighting. This is because it is far easier to build a base of support by scapegoating and demonizing social groups to divert attention away from the real problems. Fascists do not want to solve real problem. They spread inflammatory messages and bold-faced lies that are intended to create divisiveness, pitting man against man (James Comey), men against women (Kavanaugh), adults against children (Stoneman Douglas survivors of mass shootings). Fascists accuse their enemies of the egregious misconduct and crimes that they themselves have committed, for example, inciting mob violence. The money that backs fascists is used to buy massive amounts of advertising on Radio, TV, Newspapers and magazines and on Social Media through algorithms (bots, memes and trolls) to spread malicious gossip and bold-faced lies everywhere on the internet. 

As a leader Donald Trump embodies the two main elements of fascism: radical authoritarianism, and forcible suppression of any opposition. Since Trump has taken office, his rhetoric is dominated by inciting fear and hatred to further his dictatorial power and by using bold-faced lying to undermine his opposition. It is up to Americans to take back America, if not for us, then for the sake of our children. Otherwise, we will all have to pay the price.  #TakeBackAmerica

Part Two of a Three-part series. Stay tuned.

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Patricia Vaccarino

Patricia Vaccarino has over 30 years' expertise working with a wide range of national and international clients, in all areas of public relations: managing worldwide campaigns for global companies and developing strategy for small companies, startup ventures, and individuals.


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