Since Obama took office in 2008, this unholy trinity has worked overtime to undermine liberal democracy and shift the Republican Party further rightward. Wealthy oligarchs such as the Kochs and Mercers funded training and campaigns for hand-selected far right candidates, and utilized fake grassroots movements to unseat less extreme GOP candidates. They orchestrated the Citizens United case to eliminate soft money restrictions so they could further expand their influence. Far right GOP operatives undertook a coordinated effort to suppress Democratic votes through gerrymandering and aggressive voter ID laws, and gutted the Voting Rights Act by bringing carefully planned challenges to a sympathetic Supreme Court. At the same time, corporate and religious right wing media stoked a non-stop propaganda machine to gain support of the white working and middle class by appealing to racism and economic insecurity.Which brings us back to 2016. Putin saw in Trump’s candidacy a perfect opportunity to sow discord and doubt in America’s electorate and weaken the U.S. whether or not he won the election. When he defied expectations and started winning primaries, some on the far right realized that he had enough charisma and name recognition to carry the GOP nomination, and that with no clear ideology of his own (other than “what’s in it for me”) he could serve as an ideal Trojan Horse for their extremist agenda. The fact that many on the right already had a strange admiration for Putin, and that both white supremacist and fundamentalist Christian supporters had close ties to Russia probably served to lessen concern among GOP electeds that their candidate might be compromised by a foreign nation.So the next time Congress declines to investigate Russian influence or ethics breaches by the Trump administration, just remember: they’re getting exactly what they want out of this arrangement, and will continue to enact their far-right agenda as long as they have the votes. Congress, Trump, and Putin all back the same vision of a Christian, white nationalist, authoritarian world order that will protect the wealth of oligarchs while suppressing women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and anyone else they perceive as a threat to their control.