How Trump is changing Republican Party values

Since when do GOP voters like Russia? Since Trump came along.

Broken GOP Trump
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock/Pashalgnatov, Xurzon, AnjelaGr)

Growing up in the final years of the Cold War on a steady diet of Chuck Norris movies, "Evil Empire" rhetoric, and Hulk Hogan-era wrestling, I thought Americans' hostile view of Russia was as absolute and unchangeable as the tides. The idea that any Americans, let alone conservatives, would ever grow to see Russia as a friend of the United States was inconceivable. We'd sooner see Americans embrace soccer as the national sport.

Yet here we are, less than 30 years later, and some Republicans appear to be reconsidering the former Red Menace. This change of heart can be chalked up in part to President Trump, who, despite criticism from GOP lawmakers, has cozied up to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and says getting along with Russia — long assumed to be the default enemy of freedom, the American way, and all this country holds dear — is a good thing. The voters are with him: Surveys show Republican voters are developing a less hostile stance toward Putin-era Russia.

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