It is a common practice for candidates to seek and receive political endorsements when running for office – it purportedly adds to the candidate’s credibility, depending on the endorser. All candidates in all political parties seek endorsements, Democrats seeking the approval of other influential Democrats, Republicans endorsing other Republicans, etc. So no one should be surprised when one fascist endorses another – as is the case when Vladimir Putin – the closest thing to a fascist dictator still holding office – endorses our home-grown Donald Trump, Republican fascist candidate for president. As The Hill noted: “Putin had kind words for his ‘stablemate’ Donald Trump during an annual end-of-the-year Q-and-A session in Moscow.”
“He’s [Trump] a really brilliant and talented person, without any doubt…It’s not our job to judge his qualities, that’s a job for American voters, but he’s the absolute leader in the presidential race.”
Now, it is certainly one of the primary responsibilities of our president to get along with other world leaders. No one should be surprised then when Trump said – in response to a question at the second Republican debate about Putin’s military support for Syrian leader Bashar Assad, an enemy of the U.S.: “I would get along with Putin.”
However, consider what these two men stand for and what this endorsement really implies. Both men are avowed fascists – an authoritarian, nationalistic advocate for an extreme right-wing system of government, someone who is intolerant and uses repressive means to curtail the views or practices of others.
Their similarities are disturbing to behold. Trump, referring to the SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage tweeted: “Once again the Bush appointed Supreme Court Justice John Roberts has let us down.” Putin shares those ideas, declaring that Russia must ‘cleanse’ itself of homosexuality.”
They are both very popular among neo-Nazi and white supremacy groups for their anti-minority rhetoric. On June 28, twelve days after Trump’s announcement that he wants to deport Mexican immigrants, the Daily Stormer, America’s most popular neo-Nazi news site, endorsed him for president: “Trump is willing to say what most Americans think: it’s time to deport these people…The Daily Stormer urged white men to vote for the first time in our lives for the one man who actually represents our interests.”
While in Putin’s Russia, his appeal among Russian ethnonationalists was on full show back in March at the International Russian Conservative Forum, a conference organized by a pro-Kremlin ultranationalist party to cement far-right ties. As one participant put it: “The salvation of my generation is the great Russian people, because Vladimir Putin understands that the rights of the majority should be put before the whims and perversions of the minority. Dowson…Obama and America — they’re like females! They’re feminized men. You have been blessed by a man who is a man! And we envy that.”
Similar sentiments are cited by Trump supporters, who love him for his “strength” and for his “determination” while the reasonable and sophisticated policies of the Obama Administration are constantly berated for their “weakness,” the right-wing and FOX News slander the President for his “mom jeans” and his lack of overcompensating masculinity.
Putin is notorious for his totalitarian repressive methods to curtail freedom of speech and freedom of the press in Russia. Similarly, Trump has recently advocated “closing up” the internet to curb radical extremism in conjunction with his advocacy for a national registry for Muslims, and a ban on the acceptance of Muslim refugees into the United States.
“We’re losing a lot of people because of the internet…We have to see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what’s happening. We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that internet up in some ways. Somebody will say, ‘Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people.”
Given both Trump’s and Putin’s affinity for fascism, one shouldn’t be surprise when Putin says “He [Trump] wants to move on to a new, more substantial relationship, a deeper relationship with Russia, how can we not welcome that?…Of course we welcome that.” What he really means, of course, is that he would welcome the presidency of a man who would let Putin run roughshod over the vulnerable republics of Eastern Europe and fulfill Putin’s dreams of Eurocolonial conquest.
Of course, the issue for us and for the freedom-loving Republican Party in particular is: How is this man, this xenophobic, fear-mongering racist fascist, Donald Trump, while advocating these repressive policies leading their party’s race as their candidate for president in 2015 – in the United States?
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.