On Tuesday evening, MSNBC’s Joy Reid, fed up with President Trump’s incessant focus on American patriotism, shot off a tweet designed to take him down a peg:
The art of politics used to lie in somehow convincing your political opponents to side against motherhood, the flag, and apple pie. Now Democrats do it by instinct.
The insanity of this statement is obvious: church, family, police, military, and the national anthem are not 1950s “tropes.” They are historical unifiers in the United States — and they remain so. Most Americans still attend church, and without the social fabric provided by religious community, communities tend to devolve into atomistic individualism. Family is the greatest bulwark against poverty and violence in American society. Fully 57% of Americans still have a lot of trust in police; 72% have a lot of trust in the military. And most Americans still have a sneaking fondness for the American flag.
But Reid sees these symbols as divisive. She thinks that an America proud of its exceptional heritage and its pillar institutions is somehow intolerant. If that’s the side Democrats want to take, so be it — but they should be aware that most Americans are still proud of that signifier. Trump knows that. Democrats used to. Not anymore, apparently.