Historians seem to have a hard time coming up with a definition of Fascism that they can agree on. My suspicion is that a large part of the problem is that many of them come to the table with their mind already made up as to what they expect to find and are just trying to line up enough facts to superficially justify that conclusion and to hell with any inconvenient facts.
One of the more annoying symptoms of this inability to define Fascism in an objective and historically accurate manner is the chorus from the Left in America today that Conservatives and Republicans are somehow Fascists with a political ideology related in some way to that of real Fascists like Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
As is often the case, especially when dealing with those on the Left, the truth is often just exactly the opposite. Modern day Democrats have far more in common with classical forms of Fascism than do those depicted as being on the right in America.
What really is Fascism? If you voted for President Trump, refuse to bow down to the dictates of Political Correctness, or don’t agree with a litany of positions of the Left today then you are in danger of being called a Fascist. Antifa (Anti-Fascist Action) political agitators will feel smugly moral in using violence to intimidate you with the sole purpose of making sure that only their views can be spoken safely in public.
A lot of academia and pundits want to place Fascism on the Right of the political spectrum. That is an illusion. Before WW2 a lot of Leftists showed great admiration for Italian Fascism under Mussolini and often for German Fascism too (while the rest were fawning over Stalin and Soviet Communism).
When the horrors of the Holocaust were revealed at the end of WW2 these same people quickly changed their tune but not their basic principles. The Left had to find a way to disassociate itself from Auschwitz and Dachau. The perfect ploy was to pretend the Nazis were on the Right side of the political spectrum and the Left has been singing that tune ever since.
They assert that Mussolini and Hitler made themselves enemies of the Socialists and the Communists. Therefore because Socialism and Communism are clearly on the Left, then of course Fascism must be the opposite pole on the Right. Wrong.
Perhaps they don’t know that “Nazi” in German means “National Socialist German Workers’ Party“?
In the Old Testament (Jewish Tanakh) in 1 Samuel 8 we have the interesting story of how the people of Israel were tired of being ruled by judges and desired to have a king instead:
“So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.They said to him, ‘You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.'”
“[The Lord said to Samuel] ‘This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. … and you yourselves will become his slaves. ...'”
And that is kind of what happened. Be careful what you wish for!
In America today it seems like we are teetering between these same two options. On the one hand the office of the President has acquired more and more power to rule by decree (executive orders), and judges have become bolder and bolder in asserting their right to declare just about anything they don’t like as “un-Constitutional,” most recently in the case of President Trump’s executive orders on immigration.