Trump supporters are a curious breed. They seem to advocate for a form of patriotism that has room for such extreme viewpoints as supporting Putin, Bond villain turned statesmen.
This quote is directly from the Politico article:
“Today, these figures are no longer on the fringe of GOP politics. According to a Morning Consult-Politico poll from May, an astonishing 49 percent of Republicans consider Russia an ally. Favorable views of Putin – a career KGB officer who hates America – have nearly tripled among Republicans in the past two years, with 32 percent expressing a positive opinion.”
Seems like approval of Putin has snowballed among Republicans in a relatively short time-span. Another quote from the same article might help to explain why:
“Russia has been targeting the American right since at least 2013, the year Putin enacted a law targeting pro-gay rights organizing and delivered a state-of-the-nation address extolling Russia’s “traditional values” and assailing the West’s “genderless and infertile” liberalism. That same year, a Kremlin-connected think tank released a report entitled, “Putin: World Conservativism’s New Leader.”
The argument sucked from the bone marrow of these quotes is that ideology trumps geography. Fair enough, I guess. If you are a whackjob conservative, it makes sense to some degree. Why pay homage to Suit and Country if you perceive the country as lacking in the values that stick to you like glue? But let’s use the conservative mind as a stomping ground for a minute. Using traditional shaming tactics, Putin portrays the West as “genderless” (so, hitting the note of “masculinity”) and “infertile” (the vaguely Christian notion to reproduce at all costs). What I take from this is that many conservatives see these views as superior to other arguably traditional values that have helped to sustain their free-wheeling, oft incoherent ideology, such as the tenet of democracy, the legal system, etc.
Innate biases of conservatives are only partially to blame. The conservative media had a large part to play in narrowing or crystallizing the set of beliefs that conservatives cherish. Maybe the conservative media was cunning enough, like rabid badgers, chipping away at the horizon of what should be considered traditional by emphasizing what Republicans most held dear. It’s really hard to say–would those biases have been able to sustain themselves, or would they have increased in emotional intensity without the massive uplifting feeling of knowing that a massive media arm was on your side? A powerful megaphone that represents millions available every day of the week is a powerful motivator to continue believing.
The GOP, with its anti-gay, anti-masculine crusade, has largely defected to Putin. He’s another Fox News contributor, if you think about it. Many of its personalities will go for the jugular of Putin’s enemies. Essentially, it’s another extension of Russia’s state-run media. Those watching, with ideologies already firmly in place, look for a paragon of those values, a perfect human example that molds their beliefs into a hard wall of arms and legs. In other words, simply another expression of white nationalism.
In many ways, Putin is a self-styled conservative not bound to what Republicans consider “political correctness” or the entangled layers of the legal system. He’s recruited them, and they’ve recruited him.
Republicans-caught between a balding demigod and the confederate flag. To them, while they won’t admit it outright, such a vision makes the eagle look like a light weight. I guess it’s fairly likely then that as Republicans’ list of enemies grows, so will Putin’s. It’s a winning system for the would-be Emperor. Why quit now?