PUTINISM’S APPEAL TO THE MAGA BASE

Axis of Evil

Daniel McIntosh, PhD.
ILLUMINATION-Curated
21 min readMay 31, 2024

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Putin, Trump, and the Clash of Civilizations

(Tucker Carlson Fawns Over Vladimir Putin, 2024. Creative Commons)

Long before Trump announced his first presidential campaign, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump were already in an unholy alliance. It is not an alliance of equals. They are not friends. It is possible that neither man can understand friendship. All they can imagine is a circle of reliable sycophants. But there is an axis between them. Trump sees in Putin a model of the “strongman” he aspires to be. Putin sees in Trump a tool he can use. And both are engaged in a common cause: a campaign against liberal democracy.

Trump did not win the 2016 election because of Russian election interference. The interference was there, but it only had a marginal effect. To the extent it worked, it was because an element of the electorate was already receptive to it. “Charismatic” leaders like Trump only maintain their charisma if there is an audience willing to follow. Without that audience, Donald Trump is just a tired old man.

Putinism shares qualities with Trump and the MAGA movement. Both rely on a self-imposed, self-contradictory, active blurring of the past and present, war and peace, internal and external threats, military and non-military means, perception and reality. Like Trump, Putin avoids offering a consistent policy map or a clear vision for the…

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Daniel McIntosh, PhD.
ILLUMINATION-Curated

Writer, consultant, public speaker. Tired of living in the Dark Ages. Working for something better. Top writer in politics and economics.