Why far-right Republicans praise Putin
OOut of the war comes the weirdest talk, and the weirdest of the weird when it comes to Ukraine is the Republican Party’s affection for Putin. The main voice of conservatism in America has somehow fractured along lines that no time traveler from the 1960s, 70s, 80s or 90s would believe.
In the early 1990s, it was a common claim among Republicans on the campaign trail that their party had “won the Cold War” (an oxymoronic statement as that may be). Ronald Reagan telling Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall is an iconic American moment that schoolchildren across the United States learn about in history class. John McCain, the Republican challenger and Arizona senator who ran against Barack Obama in 2008, was dismissed as out of touch by his opponent for saying Russia was still the country’s most dangerous enemy; but McCain continued to say so until his death, repeatedly calling Putin a “thug” and a “killer.” Anti-communism is an American value, but especially a Republican one: while you might hear Democrats or Independents like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talking about the benefits of socialism, no Republican would be heard dead saying the phrase in a sentence that didn’t also include the word “evil”. Indeed, despite Democrats claiming they are the natural choice for “people of color,” Republicans again and again win the votes of Cuban and Venezuelan Americans and their descendants because of this relentless anti-socialist stance.