The drift on the right toward Vladimir Putin is remarkable. An Economist- YouGov poll in December found that while only 9 percent of Trump voters had a favorable view of Obama, 35 percent had a favorable view of Putin. In February, Gallup reported that the proportion of Republicans viewing Putin favorably rose from 12 percent in 2015 to 32 percent this year.
Not surprisingly, given what Putin did to defeat Hillary Clinton, his favorability among Democrats dropped, from 15 percent in 2015 to 10 percent now. But note how unpopular Putin was with Democrats in both surveys. What’s striking is that a three-point gap between the two parties in 2015 is now at 22 points.
Putin, of course, will lend support to any political movement — right or left, separatist or nationalist — that disrupts the West. But he seems especially interested in creating a new international political alliance focused on conservatives and the far right.
He is casting himself as a strong supporter of religion and conservative values, and as an opponent of gay rights. Late last month, Putin staged a highly public audience in Moscow with Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate in this spring’s presidential election in France. Of course, Putin denied he was trying to influence French voters.
Putin is active in the United States, too. In a recent Time magazine article titled “Moscow Cozies Up to the Right,” Alex Altman and Elizabeth Dias reported on Russia’s efforts to build ties with America’s Christian conservatives and the gun lobby.
These days, any liberal who raises alarms about Trump’s relationship with Russia confronts charges of McCarthyism, hysteria and hypocrisy. The inclination of many on the left to assail Putin is often ascribed to partisan anger over his success in undermining Clinton’s candidacy.
There’s no doubt that liberals are angry, but ask yourself: Shouldn’t everyone, left, right and center, be furious over Russia’s efforts to inject calumny and falsehood into the American political bloodstream?
Just another example of the fact that the ethics and morality which the conservatives are constantly braying about at the top of their lungs is not even kiddy pool deep, and will shift depending on how well it suits their need for power.
Decades ago Republicans claimed that they were the most dangerous foe that America had ever faced, but help steal an election for their candidate and the next thing you know the conservatives claim they are our partner in fighting terrorism and demand that we get rid of all of those silly sanctions.