Anti-Trump Protester
An anti-Trump demonstrator participates in a protest organized by at McPherson Square in Washington, D.C., Jan. 18, 2017. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

Monday afternoon, a photo from the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., hit Twitter like a flame.

The poster is based on an article from 2003 about fascism, and it got people talking. Bullet points such as “disdain for human rights” and “powerful and continuing nationalism” had people making connections to recent events, such as President Donald Trump’s recent executive order to temporarily ban refugees and people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States.

The poster also had people asking: What exactly is fascism?

Fascism is a “political philosophy, movement, or regime… that exalts nation and often race above the individual,” according to Merriam Webster Dictionary, where the term has been trending in searches for the better part of the past year. A fascist country has a centralized government led by a single, powerful dictator. Fascism also suppresses any sort of opposition, and it involves “severe economic and social regimentation."

In the grand scheme of language, the word “fascism” as a political movement is relatively new — it only showed up about 100 years ago in Italy. Before that, fascio simply meant a bundle or group; but in 1914, the word “Fascista” was used for the first time and referred to members of a fascio, or a political group. Five years later, the word began to describe Benito Mussolini, the man who would become the notorious dictator of Italy before World War II.

Arguably the most infamous fascist leader was Adolf Hitler, who led the Nazi Party in Germany and ordered the deaths of 11 million people.

In October, the Washington Post evaluated whether Donald Trump was fascist based on 11 attributes of the ideology: hyper-nationalism; militarism; glorification of violence and readiness to use it in politics; fetishization of youth; fetishization of masculinity; leader cult; lost golden-age syndrome; self-definition by opposition; mass mobilization and mass party; hierarchical party structure and tendency to purge the disloyal; and theatricality.

In the end, the Post awarded Trump 26 out of a possible 44 “Benitos” (or fascist points), and argued that the then-presidential candidate was an “amateurish imitation of the real thing.”

Anyone can argue about the nuances of fascism and its attributes. But ultimately, the United States is a democracy with three branches of government and checks and balances — there’s no single dictator with ultimate power, and therefore, it isn't a fascist country.