You may have noticed something astonishing recently—the love that some American conservatives have for bullies and tyrants. What is that all about?
A poll that came out right after the Russians invaded Ukraine showed that 1 in 4 Republicans blamed Joe Biden and not Putin for the war. Because their statements are so appealing to them, the Russians are using statements by Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson on their televisions with Russian subtitles. Trump and Carlson are producing Russian propaganda! The Russians have already used actual statements by Trump and Carlson as part of their propaganda machinery. That is how enthralled some American right-wingers are with Putin. He is their kind of strongman. They envy him! I know not all conservatives can be tarred with the same brush. Many of them have spoken out loudly against Putin, but when the two most influential conservatives in America agree on their approval of Putin we must take notice!
Steve Schmidt, a former Republican strategist who lost all confidence with that party after it elected Donald Trump said Trump had “a fetish for autocracy”. Tucker Carlson seems to share those views.
Former Trump has consistently acted like a tin-pot dictator and no one should be surprised. While he was president, he frequently made it clear that he admired dictators such Vladimir Putin of Russia, Xi Jinping of China, Rodrigo Roa Duterte of the Philippines, and Kim Jong-un of North Korea. Trump admires strongmen. He admires bullies and that is the mark of an authoritarian or even a fascist. While he was president, he also tried to twist the arms of Ukrainian political leaders by withholding aid payments to that country in order to dig up dirt on his political rival (at the time) Joe Biden. He also used the Department of Justice as his personal law firm against all protocols, and has done much else to make it clear to anyone who pays attention that he is an authoritarian at heart.
Then after Russia invaded Ukraine on flimsy justifications that Russia was there to save Ukrainians from a neofascist government, Donald Trump, like a true New York real estate mogul, told the world what he really thought of Putin. He said,
“Putin’s smart. I mean he’s taking over a country for $2 worth of sanctions. I’d say that is pretty smart. Listen, he’s taking over a country; really a vast, vast location and a great piece of land with a lot of people and just walking right in.”
In other words, Trump was jealous of the great real estate deal Putin made by invading Ukraine. Never mind the 44 million Ukrainians who had their government taken away from them. This is the bizarro world of Trumplandia. As the journalist Julia Ioffe said about Putin and his cronies: “They take a little bit of truth and spin it into a cotton candy ball of lies.”
Bill Maher said as early as 2018, “We thought Russia would become more like us, but we have become more like the Russians.”
What really concerns me, about this issue is the 55 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump, though his popularity seems to be waning, he is a still a force to be reckoned with. So is Carlson.
Reporter Lulu Garcia-Navrro of the New York Times said, this,
“There was just a poll. out showing that Putin was more popular among Republicans than any senior Democratic leader, including the American president.”
Bill Maher and others have for some time been commenting on the attraction of the American right to Putin. In the case of Trump this was near man crush. It is really surprising what has happened. A sea change has occurred. The Republican party used to be so anti-Russia that they were nearly rabid on the subject. Ronald Reagan became Saint Ronald by defeating the Ruskies economically and calling on Mr. Gorbachev to “bring down that wall.” It didn’t happen but Reagan became a hero on the right. George Bush attacked the evil empire and the axis of evil. Yet for some reason the Republicans have flipped on Russia. Why is that?
Anne Coulter in June 2017 said: “In 20 years, Russia will be the only country that is recognizably European.” What was she getting at there? I think she was getting at appearance. Matt Drudge in 2013 said “Putin is the leader of the free world.” The free world? White Supremacist, David Duke in 2004 called Russia “the key to white survival.” There is a big hint there.
All of us have noticed how the world has become a lot more diverse. London used to be completely white. When I was in London in 2017 I was struck by what a a wonderful diverse city it was. I was pleasantly surprised by this. But some people don’t like diversity. We must acknowledge that. Some people think the white people are being replaced. They are being displaced from their positions of dominance. And that scares a lot of people. I have talked to people like that.
Russia has resisted diversity. They don’t want diversity and make no bones about it. Gays and lesbians also have a difficult time there. Putin has made it clear that they are not welcome in Russia. He does this openly. But not only Putin, many of the Russian people are like this. They are attracted to what Yale Historian Timothy Snyder has called “Christian fascism of Putin” that does not tolerate diversity. To them holy Russia has no room for diversity. They don’t want gays, lesbians, or blacks.
As Maher said, “Republicans don’t see Russian meddling in our election as bad thing. They see it as white people helping white people. To the people who are afraid of a diverse world, Russia is their savior country. ”
That is exactly what fascism is all about. Keep the inferiors out so we can dominate the country. This attraction of American conservatives to Putin and his cohorts betrays their allegiance to fascism. Like the Nazis before them, they want white supremacy. Actually, I think it goes beyond white supremacy but that is a big part of what some of them like about Putin. In future post I will say what I mean.