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GOP, DeSantis using ‘homophobic tactics’ from Russia’s ‘authoritarian playbook,’ LA Times op-ed says

Republicans are waging war on progressive rhetoric by shutting out ideas and utilizing “homophobic tactics” out of Russia’s “authoritarian playbook,” according to a Thursday op-ed in The Los Angeles Times.

Author Kurt Bardella delved into his criticism by highlighting Ronald Reagan, a beacon among contemporary conservatives, saying since he “tethered the Republican Party to the Christian right,” the GOP has established objectives that “Trumpism” helped bring closer to reality.

The objectives, rooted in what Bardella claims are “white, Christian and fundamentally opposed to Western ideals of pluralism,” are also allegedly far closer to communism than the goals of their leftist adversaries. 

“While Republicans have sought to alarm voters with ludicrous fears of Democrats wanting to enact ‘communism,’ the America they want is much closer to that of Soviet and Putin’s Russia,” he wrote. 

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(Original Caption) 1974 - Republican Elephant graphic, the symbol of the Republican Party.

(Original Caption) 1974 – Republican Elephant graphic, the symbol of the Republican Party.

“In fact, the actions conservatives are embracing and what’s happening in Russia are so similar that comparisons cannot be considered hyperbole,” he added.

Bardella dove into his comparison, beginning with a discussion of “homophobia” among the GOP, saying the term “pedophile” is applied to LGBTQ persons among Republicans at home and Russians abroad.

He then doubled down on his link between anti-LGBTQ sentiments from Russia and the GOP by digging into Florida Gov , saying his state’s “Parental Rights in Education” law mirrors Russia’s “gay propaganda” law that increased stigma around LGBTQ people under Putin’s influence in 2013.

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Russia's President Vladimir Putin, left, watches President Donald Trump, right, walk past him as they gather for the group photo at the start of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, left, watches President Donald Trump, right, walk past him as they gather for the group photo at the start of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Taking another jab at DeSantis, Bardella cited Florida’s recent restriction on controversial textbooks containing elements of Critical Race Theory and gender rhetoric and compared this to Soviet-era book bans.

“These actions both in Russia and in the United States are enabled by a relentless propaganda machine that distorts reality and cripples people’s ability to discern facts from falsehoods,” he wrote.

“Although Republicans fixate on the notions of freedom and liberty, the policies they’ve already enacted and want to push in the future are a direct path to authoritarianism. They’re already setting terms for what Americans can and cannot do in their bedrooms, in their OB-GYN’s office, and what children are allowed to learn in the classroom,” he added.

Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida. Photographer: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida. Photographer: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Since Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill, was signed into law this month, backlash from the opposition surged, with critics capitalizing on similar narratives of homophobia and authoritarianism.

Taylor Penley is a production assistant with Fox News.

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