They pull me back in…

Alright I know I kind of made a promise to stop writing about the Trumputin affair, but now that reasonable voices are starting to rein in some of the recent hysteria, and as the goals of the Kremlin become clearer (HINT: It’s more about screwing Hillary than supporting Trump), an interesting picture is starting to emerge.

Trump may have royally screwed up. Possibly due to his advisers’ connections in Moscow and his all too predictable say-the-opposite-of-whatever-the-perceived-establishment-does style of speaking, it’s beginning to look like he may have made a grave miscalculation as to his base and their influence.

When we think of Trump’s base, we often look at the most extreme examples such as the ultra-edgy “alt-right”and the neo-Nazis. This is where you’re most likely to find the anti-American Putin fanboys. They’re seriously alienated by American society and they have bought into the fantasy that Russia somehow embodies the kind of society or values they hold. Trump’s problem is that this demographic, while loud and obnoxious, is rather tiny and holds little sway in politics.

A much larger portion of Trump’s base obviously consists of the more mainstream Republican party base, and this is where the problem lies. These people support Trump because he talks like the pundits they listen to on the radio; he talks tough and shoots from the hip (incidentally this is the worst way to shoot in case you didn’t know). He says he’ll be tough on immigration, stop Muslims from getting into the country, bomb Muslims abroad, and punish the Chinese. This is going to make America “great” again, because it’s apparently less than great at the moment.

It is here that we get to the crux of that problem. That base, the bulk of conservative voters, simply don’t go for the whole “screw America, hooray for Putin” rhetoric. Many of these people still see Russia as the “Cawmyoonist” Soviet Union, headed by an anti-American KGB “agent.” These are people who got pissed about Obama “apologizing” for America in Cairo, and bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia. Hell, those people see Obama as a Marxist agent intent on destroying America. If Obama’s a Marxist and you don’t know that the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, you’re probably not going to be too happy about Trump’s sucking up to the Russians, however superficial it may be.

What is more, Trump has increasingly been portraying himself as the opposite of a “hawk,” but he’s really in the wrong party for that. I don’t want to sound like Sean Hannity here, but speaking as a leftist myself I know that if you want to be genuinely anti-war and stick up for foreign governments over the American government, you’ll find more support on the left. That speaks very poorly for the state of the modern left these days, but it is a fact. By contrast, the vast majority of conservative voters don’t see anything wrong with hawkishness. That’s what makes America great- bombing the shit out of everyone because they failed to recognize that America is America and they didn’t America properly when America told them to America right for the last goddamned American time. They complain about wars when Democrats are leading them, but more often than not they charge them with being too soft, too cautious, too weak.

inyelling

“Why yes, I’d love to have a conversation about how Russia is actually better than America, the anti-Israel Ay-rab Assad is a good guy, Iran is cool because Russia likes them, and Hezbollah is not a terrorist group.”

It’s really starting to look like Trump has fallen into a trap, an outgrowth of the feedback loop between his anti-establishment pro-Russia statements and Russia’s pro-Trump propaganda. This short interview transcript I just picked up off Twitter seems to give us a very vivid image of His Royal Orangeness painting himself into a corner. And what is more, he seems to realize it:

trumpinterview

You see that? That’s Trump furiously attempting damage control, trying to balance the pro-Putin stuff that appeals to a loud but tiny part of his base with the typical hawkish tough talk that the much larger base expects and demands. The Russians don’t respect Obama? So how are you going to earn their respect, Donnie? Are you going to earn their respect by caving into their every demand? If so then who next, Agent Orange? The Chinese? ISIS? Mexico?  Yes, Orange Julius, you’re going to have to use military force to get that respect, aren’t you? But keep it a “secret” because you don’t want to upset several thousand internet-bound alt-right nerds who fap to photos of Putin and dream of one day moving to Russia to marry a demure, submissive blonde virgin with supermodel looks, excellent cooking skills, and a total lack of self-esteem, dignity, and personal goals. Yes, Mr. Tangerine, you don’t want to lose their vote!

The Russians who think highly of Trump had also better reevaluate their best buddy based on this. Assuming he’s not a total coward who has no intention of backing up any of his showmanship, Trump is probably more likely to start a conflict with Russia, and for the stupidest reason. It may be because “Russia is threatening our strategic mayonnaise reserves.” More likely it will start around 9 May, the reason being that Russia celebrates the victory of the Red Army instead of acknowledging the “true winner of World War II, who is Ronald Reagan, of course.” Oh my little vatniki, won’t you feel stupid then?

Granted, a lot of this is admittedly speculation on my part, based on my own personal experience and knowledge of the American far right and Putinophilia. I’m sure many of those people hate Hillary Clinton so much they’ll swallow their disgust and vote for Trump. Many conservative voters, like most Americans, don’t care about Russia or Putin; those folks may still vote for Trump. But I think there’s bound to be a significant, possibly rising number of Republicans who may turn against Trump or fail to turn up for him on that fateful day in November. They will be those who supported other candidates in the primaries, people who have value conflicts with Trump, and yes, some might see him as “soft on the Reds.” After all, you don’t spend nearly eight years standing around in public dressed as an 18th century Bostonite and screaming “COMMIE! COMMIE! COMMIE!” just to elect a guy who says the “KGB agent” in Moscow is a pretty swell guy. Do I need to bring up the reaction to Obama telling Medvedev he could be more “flexible” after the 2012 election again?

The funniest thing about all this is that as it starts to shape up, it’s all too Kremlin-y, from both sides. Trump is a man unconcerned with reality and the consequences of his words and deeds. Ditto on the Kremlin. They both decide they want something and the world is however they see it. Then they inevitably bite off way more than they can chew and and their desperate, ever-changing denials end up making them into a laughing stock. Trump takes the anti-establishment image to a place where many conservatives won’t follow. As such, he may cost himself the election as a result (let’s hope). The Kremlin, motivated largely by a petty grudge with Hillary Clinton, hilariously finds itself hemmed in by America’s two-party system as it expresses support for a guy who says he’ll shoot down their planes. It’s a tragic comedy practically begging to be made into a screenplay.

 

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19 thoughts on “They pull me back in…

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Wow, Akira Kalashnikov? Really? I’d say “Thanks for the link to pseudointellectual ramblings,” but judging from your pen name and style I’m guessing you’re maybe 16-17 years old and I’m not going to beat up on children.

      Hopefully you’ll find new, cooler friends this upcoming school year and then you’ll move past this misplaced admiration for the nutcase Dugin.

      Reply
  1. AndyT

    On a lighter note, I’ve come to like the word “Trumputin” – it would fit well in a fairy tale, between the Krampus and Rumpelstiltskin.

    Reply
  2. Shalcker

    I don’t know, going with “This OUTRAGEOUS thing TRUMP said THIS WEEK is SURE TO DOOM HIM!!!” … every week for how many weeks now? … feels more like strategy at this point.

    Trump seems to think “any publicity is good publicity”, hell, he actually tweeted this in response to Michelle Obama speech plagiarism gaffe (and didn’t actually fire editor who was responsible for that): “Good news is Melania’s speech got more publicity than any in the history of politics especially if you believe that all press is good press!”

    Guess “Trump is TRAITOR!!!” was his best bet on overshadowing Democratic Convention.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      It’s true that giving him so much attention is a large part of the problem. Recently I was listening to Adam Tod Brown’s Unpopular Opinion podcast and one guest suggested that not mentioning Trump or mentioning him only when absolutely necessary might have been a better route for the DNC speakers.

      But what we see here is that Trump may have gone too far in baiting the pro-Hillary pundits. Unfortunately in an election cycle like this, you kind of have to keep reevaluating everything week by week. Who knows? Trump might start rattling off a bunch of anti-Russian stuff suddenly. He could rightly point out how weak the Obama administration has been toward Russia and remind everyone about Hillary’s “reset.” “I’m betraying Ukraine? The GOP platform still upholds Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sanctions against Russia! Even Obama’s policy is against supplying weapons to Ukraine! Why is everyone looking at me? I wasn’t in charge!”

      All this branches nicely off of his “Russia’s doing this because they don’t respect our weak leader” rhetoric.

      Reply
      1. Asehpe

        And yet I have a hard time believing he will ever say any of this. Up until now, his lead is good, and he has a number of committed voters who aren’t going to change their minds no matter what happens. Why risk? Let the DNC start with the “Trump is a commie lover!” line of attack. If it looks like it might fly, he may do something; but if his voters simply think “it’s crazy Democrats lying again to hurt our Big Orange Daddy” and stop listening, then he won’t say anything. Why should he, in this case?

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        I still don’t think the Dems should dwell on this, but probably the best tactic they could use is appealing to conservatives and reminding them how they called Obama a traitor and a Communist, then comparing this to Trump’s sucking up to Russia. They can also point out that these brave Tea Partiers managed to endure 8 years of Obama without losing their guns and freedom, an as such they can endure at least four years of Hillary.

  3. Paul Canning (@pauloCanning)

    This is what I’ve been saying! Yes, you could see it as just more dumb shit from the Donald but the media have a smell in their nostrils now: he won’t disclose his taxes. This is going to get stoked again and again, for one reason every time Julian Assange releases something.

    Before the Hillary camp had not made much of this, now if they are not prepping targeted ads aimed at the military-industrial complex in Virginia and Colorado they aren’t doing their job. And how about my notion that they’ll reach out to E European minorities, like the one million of Ukrainian descent in the Rust Belt, now? Still a daft idea?

    Reply
    1. Mr. Hack

      I don’t know about one million of Ukrainian descent in the Rust Belt, as there are about that many in the whole US, but certainly several hundred thousand anyway. With the election hanging on the balance of perhaps 300,000 undecided voters (this is hat I’ve heard), this could turnout to be a bigger issue than one might suspect. It’s certainly an issue that differentiates the two, and one where Trump is vunerable. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how Trump’s ‘lovefest’ with Putin evolves over this election season.

      Reply
      1. Jim Kovpak Post author

        I wouldn’t put much stock in these people being a solid voting bloc. Many of them are far removed from their roots. Again, look at people like Tim Kirby- Polish roots, even Polish relatives, but he meets some Russians in Kazakhstan and later goes full on Duginite.

        I have Polish/Western Ukrainian roots and even I became this total Russophile (and sadly to say, Putin admirer) when I was young, before I returned to see the reality of his rule up close.

        Many factors can figure into this. There are Americans who don’t really know their heritage or don’t care. Or they, like myself, could have been raised by the side of the family without that heritage.

  4. ericblair

    Trump is doing his level best to split the Republican party between the old-school actual neocons and hawks who have got to be popping their blood pressure meds, and the grifters who couldn’t care less. Trump doesn’t need just acquiescence, he needs actual support from the state parties and national apparatus to simply staff the campaign. If you’re thinking dirty tricks, nobody’s going to go out on a limb to fix an election for this guy.

    While I generally agree that Trump himself has no personal back channel to the Russians and the DNC email attack was a target of opportunity, there’s more to this. Have a read here about Carter Page, the combo Trump advisor and Gazprom hack who tends to get ignored. Trump’s campaign cared about nothing in the Republican platform except for changing to to reject military support to Ukraine, which is slightly more than simply being a thoughtless asshole about it.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Oh I’m familiar with Mr. Page. But the Page connection is one of these examples I’ve talked about where people aren’t looking at all the business connections to Russia, focusing only on those linked to Trump.

      Also it’s worth noting that Trump’s change to the platform basically brings it in line with the current administration’s policy on Ukraine. The rest of the policy, like sanctions and recognition for Ukrainian territorial integrity, are still in the platform as far as I’ve heard.

      Of course someone could press Trump on that too. How is he going to make Putin respect him by changing his policy to line up with Obama’s?

      Reply
  5. Gabriel Gerard

    Another excellent post on Cheeto Benito, Jim. If everyone in America had the same attitude towards Trump as you do, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

    Reply

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