News and Commentary

Chuck Todd Agrees Democrats And Republicans Becoming ‘Patriots And Traitors’
Moderator Chuck Todd appears on Meet the Press" in Washington, D.C., Sunday, March 15, 2020.
William B. Plowman/NBC

Ignoring years of data indicating the Republicans have higher levels of patriotism than Democrats, Chuck Todd agreed that the GOP is becoming the party of “traitors” and that the GOP’s natural opponents, the Democratic Party, is quickly coming to represent the nation’s last remaining “patriots.”

The host of NBC’s “Meet the Press” found himself repeating the opinion of a Democratic pollster, who likened divisions within the modern-day Republican Party between Liz Cheney and supporters of Donald Trump to the eve of the Civil War.

“I don’t often disagree with President Biden. But President Biden said there’s a … mini-Civil War going on in the Republican Party,” said Cornell Belcher, Todd’s guest on Sunday’s program. “Chuck, the Civil War is over, and the conservatives have lost — and they’ve … lost to tribalists who want to promote the Big Lie.”

He went on to say the Big Lie of 2020 election fraud “undermines democracy” by suggesting that we “throw out the will of the American people. And it’s fomenting … attacks on our government.”

“Right now … our greatest national security threats are actually from this fomenting of these lies,” said Belcher, who worked for the Democratic National Committee under Howard Dean before serving two stints on Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns and becoming a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

“There’s something bigger at stake here than just partisanship. You know, with all this talk about Civil War, I think back. You know, Ulysses S. Grant at the start of the Civil War said, ‘There are but two parties now: traitors and patriots.’ I’m afraid, Chuck, that we’re, we’re increasingly coming back to that time,” Belcher concluded.

Todd responded with a clipped, “I — I fear, Cornell, that myself.” The host did not have time to elaborate on his views, because he had to break for a commercial.

Virtually every word spoken during that segment is not just erroneous — it’s the opposite of the truth.

Before a combination of left-wing Democrats and Republicans repurposed the phrase, the “Big Lie” had historically been identified with the Nazi Party’s propaganda techniques. Adolf Hitler mentioned the method in Mein Kampf, although he ascribed its practice to the Jewish people.

The idea that Democrats are the party of super-patriots, while Republicans are a hive of Civil War-era rebels turns 161 years of history on its head. Ulysses S. Grant, the second Republican president, helped put down the Confederate rebellion for the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln. But the patriotism gap between the two parties endures.

In 2020, 67% of Republicans said they were “extremely proud” to be American, as compared with just 24% of Democrats — rebounding from a record-low 22% the previous year.

The year 2019 “saw a record 54-point gap in the percentages of Republicans and Democrats who were extremely proud to be Americans,” according to Gallup. “The gap is narrower [in 2020] — 43 points — because of the decline in Republican pride” during the intervening year.

Self-identified liberals are almost four times as likely as conservatives to say they would like to live in another country (18% of liberals vs. 5% of conservatives), according to the 2017 report produced by the Ear to the Ground Listening Project.

Experts have found even modest and intermittent exposure to patriotic ideas make young people more likely to join the GOP when they grow up. A 2012 Harvard study found that children who witness “Fourth of July celebrations” are more likely to vote — and to vote Republican — than those who did not attend patriotic events in childhood. “There is no impact on the likelihood of identifying with or voting for the Democrats, indicating that the Fourth of July moves preferences to the right,” the researchers concluded.

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