Trump hearts Putin and pundits react.

What Conservative Pundits Think of Trump’s Love of Putin

What Conservative Pundits Think of Trump’s Love of Putin

The Slatest
Your News Companion
Sept. 9 2016 4:53 PM

This Week’s Conservative Pundit Tracker: Putin’s Back!

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Trump hearts Putin.

Petras Malukas/AFP/Getty Images

Each week we’re publishing a new chart showing where our group of 25 right-wing pundits stand on the question of Trump, and you’ll be able to look back at past weeks to see if minds are changing. Our categories are “Voting Trump,” “Voting Clinton,” “Not Voting,” “Someone Else,” and “Inscrutable.” Someone else means either a third party candidate or a write-in. Inscrutable includes pundits who have voiced opposition to both Trump and Clinton, but are otherwise undecided, and those who are sharply critical of Trump but haven’t stated a preferred alternative. Click on a pundit’s head to see what he or she has said about the election this week. (If someone doesn’t write or speak or tweet—crazy, but possible—in a given week, we’ll assume they are “thinking…” Also: We are scouring the internet obsessively, but it’s a big place and it’s possible someone will say something that we miss. We are confident you’ll let us know in comments if so!)

Will the Inscrutables pull it together come November? Will anyone else jump on the Hillary train? Will more pundits coalesce around a third-party candidate? Or will everyone eventually fall into line for Trump between now and Election Day? Keep an eye on this weekly tracker to find out.

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This election is a bizarre mashup of Groundhog Day and South Park, wherein every day we wake up in the middle of the latter’s legendary “Giant Douche vs. Turd Sandwich” episode.

For the umpteenth week in a row, Hillary Clinton spent several days dealing with the fallout from her email scandals and the complicated connections between the Clinton Foundation, the State Department, and Bill Clinton’s fat bottom line. And for the umpteenth week in a row, Donald Trump found a way to make us forget all that by doing something preposterous.

In a “commander in chief” forum on Wednesday night, Trump said of Vladimir Putin “he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been” and lauded Putin’s high approval ratings.

He kept it up on Thursday, going on Russia-owned RT America to criticize U.S. foreign policy and blame Democrats for trumpeting the idea that Russian hackers might have broken into the party’s databases.

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Trump’s affection for Putin prompted his supporter Hugh Hewitt to tweet:

That prompted more of the same conservative infighting that has been a hallmark of this election, with particularly strong backlash from Jonah Goldberg, Max Boot, Bill Kristol and others, as my colleague Ben Mathis-Lilley has noted.

The pundits we’re tracking are both increasingly weary of this issues-free campaign and entrenched in their positions, be it pro-Trump, pro-Hillary, or pro-anyone else.

Commentary’s Noah Rothman speaks for many of us:

On to the tracker:

Rachael Larimore is the online managing editor of the Weekly Standard and a former Slate senior editor.

Osita Nwanevu is a Slate staff writer.

Andrew Kahn is Slate’s assistant interactives editor. Follow him on Twitter.

Chris Kirk is a web developer at New York magazine and Slate’s former interactives editor. Follow him on Twitter.

Holly Allen is a Slate web designer.