Columnist explains how Trump's Republican party mirrors the failed Soviet system

Columnist explains how Trump's Republican party mirrors the failed Soviet system
Putin Screengrab

Generation X-ers and Baby Boomers who are old enough to have lived through the Cold War can remember a time when Americans were taught to regard the Russian government as their enemy. But the Soviet Union ended in 1991, and modern-day Russia has a right-wing government under the authoritarian President Vladimir Putin. However, Washington Post writer Catherine Rampell sees some parallels between the Trump-era GOP and the old Soviet Union — and she outlines them in her latest column.

Under the leadership of President Donald Trump, Rampell asserts, the Republican Party has a lot more in common with the “Soviet system” than it would like to admit.

“The Grand Old Party has quietly become the pro-Russia party—and not only because the party’s standard-bearer seems peculiarly enamored of Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Rampell writes. “Under Republican leadership, the United States is starting to look an awful lot like the failed Soviet system the party once stood unified against.”

Rampell cites various examples, including Trump’s trade policy — which she says resembles “central planning” more than free enterprise. Under Trump, she writes, the U.S. government “has inserted itself into more markets…. While the Trump Administration claims it wants China to move in a more market-oriented direction, it also wants it to promise that theoretically private Chinese companies will buy soybeans from the United States and not Brazil, regardless of quality or price.”

Rampell adds, “Needless to say, picking winners and losers was once a thing Republicans abhorred—a practice embraced only by failed socialist states. Today, the Republican standard-bearer picks winners and losers even within the government itself.”

Trump, Rampell goes on to say, is a “would-be autocrat” who “surrounds himself with toadies who spend more time scheming against one another—sometimes to comic effect—than trying to offer their boss sound guidance or thoughtful policy solutions.” Trump’s sycophants, she points out, “praise him relentlessly: his brains, his leadership, his ‘perfect genes.’ Sometimes, they appear afraid to stop clapping, echoing stories of forced standing ovations for Josef Stalin recounted in video footage and Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago.”

Rampell concludes her piece by observing that Trump “is picking and choosing which government functions are allowed to function: yes to his offshore drilling plan and tax refunds—no to the Smithsonian museums.”

“All branches of government may be equal,” Rampell asserts. “But some, it seems, are more equal than others.”

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