Apparently there is a Trump-Orban-Putin authoritarian alliance as well as coordination and support for the Trump re-election campaign. It did seem more inevitable that Mitt Romney would choose party over country if only to demonstrate a potential leadership position upon the repudiation of Trumpism. Apparently he can vote one way on impeachment as a random act to demonstrate that America might be a “land of idiots”, useful or otherwise.
Hungarian president Viktor Orbán announced yesterday that he was endorsing President Trump’s reelection campaign. It is fairly uncommon for sitting American presidents to receive election endorsements from foreign leaders, and yet the endorsement fits into a pattern of sorts. Trump has already been endorsed by Russian president Vladimir Putin. He has worked openly with Russian intelligence agents in Ukraine, who represent the corrupt, Russophile wing that was deposed, despite the efforts of Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort. And perhaps even more unusually, Trump has given his own endorsement, to Polish president Andrzej Duda.
This odd network of international support has no geopolitical logic. Russia’s support for Trump is rooted primarily in the — shall we say, special — relationship between the two leaders. But the links with Hungary and Poland reveal a deeper ideological alliance. What draws these leaders and their regimes to Trump is a shared contempt for liberal democracy. Putin, Orbán, Duda, and Trump all rose to power in democratic systems and have turned them toward authoritarianism. They are joined in a common project to discredit liberal democracy
But it is telling that the fantasy takes the form of Trump as authoritarian, beating down peaceful demonstrators (and apparently entitled to engage in even the most grotesque fraud to prevail). They have stopped objecting to the comparison with Putin and begun coveting it.
Unlike under the last Republican administration, the United States is no longer declaring a crusade against an “axis of evil.” That is the good news. The bad news is that we’ve joined one.
Russian lawmakers, state media experts and pundits on tightly-choreographed TV shows openly reveal that the Kremlin is still rooting for Trump. But Moscow has a growing concern that this time around, their preferred candidate might lose. Appearing on a state TV show The Right To Know, Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of the Kremlin-funded propaganda networks RT and Sputnik, said about Trump’s chances of re-election: “I think Trump will lose, but then I think there will be a major blow-up from the standpoint of accepting or not accepting the outcome of the election. They’ll be battling over that for a long time, who knows how it might end.”
Having openly wished for Trump to drive the United States into civil war, Russian state media figures are now relishing that idea with renewed enthusiasm. They believe it would destabilize America to such an extent as to undermine its very sovereignty, thereby untying the Kremlin’s hands to wreak even more havoc upon the Western world. Appearing on Russia’s state TV show The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev, analyst Dmitry Drobnitsky explained his belief that U.S. elections “can be considered America’s internal affairs only up to the point when an actual civil war starts there.” The idea of a coup d'état seems all but inevitable, Drobnitsky argued: “The loser in this election would be an idiot to accept the outcome.”
Russian state media repeatedly echoed Trump, who is doing the Kremlin’s bidding by attacking the legitimacy of the 2020 elections, falsely suggesting that mail-in voting is completely fraudulent, and that Democrats are rigging the process to falsify the outcome. There is no doubt that the Kremlin would align with Trump in case of a contested election, as the groundwork for accusing the Democrats of fraud has been laid in advance.
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) September 22, 2020
— Hamish Mitchell (@H_MitchellPhoto) September 22, 2020
— Bob Geiger (@GeigerNews) September 22, 2020