Unconditional party love is no way to love democracy

The China Post news staff

In the 2012 U.S. presidential election, Republican candidate Mitt Romney called Russia America’s “number one geopolitical foe.” Four years later, the same party picked a nominee with exceptionally kind views of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. At one point, candidate Donald Trump went as far as criticizing his own nation in defense of Putin. When Fox’s Bill O’Reilly described Putin — accurately — as “a killer,” Trump retorted that the U.S. was not “so innocent” either.

This week, Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, recused himself from investigation of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election after the Washington Post reported that he met with that country’s ambassador to Washington twice last year during Trump’s election campaign. This revelation contradicted his remark at his Senate confirmation hearing that he had engaged in no communication with the Russians at that time. Sessions is the second senior figure in Trump’s administration to face trouble due to shady Russian ties — his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned less than a month in office after similar revelations. Behind the Republican Party’s change from Romney’s Russia-bashing party into the Moscow-friendly GOP led by Trump is one of the biggest dangers to democracy: that contentious elections turn people from the same nation against themselves. Most of the Republican voters supported Trump for president not because they found him suitable for the job but because they harbored such distrust and disgust of the Democrats and their candidate Hillary Clinton that they would embrace anyone running against her.