There is very little history can teach us about this manifestation of authoritarianism. And it is serious. (I've written about it on my page, if you're interested.) Conventional sense-making tools like those that rendered your viewpoint, however, are outdated and do more damage than good. When we get caught up in our fear of an empty man and build him up to be a dangerous monster, our attention and energies construct the very monster we fear. Our narratives become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your comment contributes its small part to that process.
The practices authorized by the conventions of the office this old white man is occupying are what's creating the damage, not some brilliant fascist who stands on the shoulders of previous authoritarians. He does not seem like "just a clown." He is a vacuous, unwell, fragile white man who stands where he does because we stand on convention, in fear.
The problem with the country is cultural, not political. An election will not fix it. When we get smart in the U.S., we'll stop focusing on cults of personalities in politics and address the cultural conditions in conservative white rural America that created the possibility of the 45th. He is spectacle and distraction, while enablers implement lethal policies.