The Republican Party is now nothing more than a cult. A new Ipsos/Daily Beast poll finds that Republican voters are more likely to view North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un favorably than the American woman their party has demanded they hate, Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi: Among Republicans, 19 percent answered that they had a “favorable” view of Kim; 68 percent said they had an unfavorable view. But only 17 percent were favorable towards Pelosi, while 72 percent found her unfavorable.
The numbers for both North Korean dictator and member of the American opposition party were both abysmal, of course, but do give some credence to the notion that Republicans would, by an albeit-slight margin rather support an authoritarian monster than an American from the other party (Democrats did not repeat this performance, by the way; it, like many fetishes of modern conservatism, is not a “both sides” phenomenon.)
This may be understandable. Fox News has spent considerably more time demonizing the enemies of Republicanism than on unfavorable coverage of the world’s worst dictators. It’s no surprise Republican voters are now thoroughly pudding-brained about this, and as anyone who has watched an elderly relative fall into conspiracy-minded paranoia and racism after consuming a daily diet of network blowhardism, merely rendering viewers pudding-brained is not even the worst thing Fox has done to their audience.
Consider our times: On this particular day, the Republican administration is mounting a full-court effort to lie about their recently enacted “zero tolerance” policy stripping children from their refugee parents at the border. The Republican House and Senate are steadfastly refusing to step in, spending their time instead on efforts to sabotage criminal investigations into the acts of members of that administration. Conservative propaganda efforts are relentless, demanding cages not be called cages, insisting that separating families is necessary because the refugees are only pretending to be families, and continuing to demonize anyone seen as an enemy of the party with conspiracy-addled notions of a deep state undermining the glorious national leader.
There is ample evidence that a measurable subset of Republicans would rather see the nation a dictatorship than be obliged to compromise with the notions of the other side. This particular poll hints that all that would be required would be pairing conservative demonization of the political opposition with praise for the ideas of “strong” national leaders like Kim Jong Un. In normal times, efforts to do so would be met with such widespread revulsion, from both inside and outside the movement, that a media outlet like Fox would not dare go so far, but we are very far removed from normal times.
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