It an be argued that there are certain parallels between the Russian President and the U.S. Presidential hopeful.
Both men promise to restore the faded glory of their countries, without specifying how they will do so. The use of vulgar phrases also unite the pair, making them seem like your Ordinary Joe, or Yuri, while they are both in fact billionaires. And despite a narcissistic craving for the limelight and some obvious political faults, both are popular at home, writes David Ignatius for The Washington Post.
Self-confidence makes Trump attractive to voters
Trump wants to return America to its former glories, much like Putin has promised in Russia. “We have no victories,” Trump told NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.” “As a country, we don’t have victories anymore. And it’s very sad.”
The official slogan of Trump’s campaign is “Make America Great Again!” which he borrowed from Ronald Reagan’s speech at the 1980 Republican convention. Although the promise of a strong U.S. is attractive to many, Trump’s rhetoric is as much psychological as political.
Part of Trump’s appeal is his seemingly unshakable self-belief, which allows him to promise a national resurgence without providing details of how he will make it happen. Putin plays a similar game in Russia, using his confidence to cover up recent military and economic losses.
“Within the system, Mr. Putin has developed his own idealized view of himself as CEO of ‘Russia, Inc.’ In reality, his leadership style is more like that of a mafia family Don,” write Fiona Hill and Clifford G. Gaddy in their book, “Mr.?Putin: Operative in the Kremlin.”
Putin working for Russian revival since 1999
One of Putin’s key advisers, Gleb Pavlovsky, told the Guardian in 2012 that an “unseen, unrepresented layer of people” in Russia dreamed of a so-called revanche which would restore the country’s past glory. “By revanche , I mean the resurrection of the great state in which we lived, which we became used to,” Pavlovsky explained, adding that Putin was one such believer.
Putin later spoke of his blueprint for a revival in December 1999, underlining the importance of a strong state that could rejuvenate national self-confidence.
“Russia has [just] experienced one of the most difficult periods in its many centuries of history..?.?. She faces the real danger of becoming not just a second- but even a third-tier country. To prevent this from happening, we need an immense effort from all the nation’s intellectual, physical and moral forces,” he said.
Popularity may not last long for Trump
One area in which Trump beats Putin is his brazen self-promotion, which reaches levels which would be embarrassing to most other people. His personal website portrays him as “the very definition of the American success story,” conveniently forgetting the fact that he has gone bankrupt four times.
Trump has picked a fight with immigrants, railing against illegal immigration and provoking opposition from Latin American countries due to racist comments towards Mexicans and other immigrants. Despite alienating some sections of society, Trump is remarkably popular.
The strange thing to realize is that Trump at times appears to be largely devoid of political ideas, and yet his authoritarian style has struck a chord with the American public, which usually does not react well to such figures. Although Trump is riding high in the polls right now, past experience would suggest that it will not last long enough to see him ensconced in the Oval Office.