Republicans are often the first to brandish a flag or claim the mantle of patriotism or to question others’ patriotism over something as trivial as wearing a flag lapel pin. When it comes to the substance of American values, however, recent survey results, demonstrate that Republican views increasingly are hostile to bedrock American values.
Nothing demonstrates this more than their willingness to suspend the democratic process if President Trump called for it.
Over Half of Republicans Would Support Trump Call to Postpone 2020 Election
A recent Yeshiva University poll asked the question: If Donald Trump were to say that the 2020 presidential election should be postponed until the country can make sure that only eligible American citizens can vote, would you support or oppose postponing the election? The result:
- 52 percent of Republicans said “yes”; and
- 56 percent said yes if Republicans in Congress joined in.
A June 2017 NPR/PBS Survey found that 25 percent of Republicans think we have gone too far in expanding the right to vote – a view shared by only 11 percent of adults overall.
A July 2017 Center for Public Opinion Poll asked if public officials should be chosen by majority vote. While 59% of Democrats strongly agreed with this proposition, only 40% of Republicans strongly agreed.
Republicans Do Not Believe in a Free Media
A March 2017 Pew Survey asked adults if they believe that news organizations being free to criticize political leaders is important to maintaining a strong democracy in the United States. The result:
- Overall 64% said yes;
- Only 49% of Republicans agreed.
A June 2017 NPR/PBS Survey asked respondents about various freedoms, one of which was freedom of the press. The result:
- 48% of American adults were okay with the current freedom the press, while only 24% believe we have gone too far in expanding the freedom of the press.
- In contrast, 42% of Republicans (and 49% of Strong Republicans) believe that that we have gone too far in expanding the freedom of the press.
A July 2017 Center for Public Opinion Poll asked whether a journalist runs a story with unnamed sources, stating that the Trump administration had colluded with Russia to influence the election, should the Trump administration be able to force the journalist to name their sources. The result:
- 67% believed that a journalist should be allowed to protect their sources;
- in contrast 52% of Republicans supported forcing journalists to name their sources, but only 19% responded the same when asked about an anti-Obama administration story.
The same survey asked if the media should be able to report the news without government censorship. While 73% of Democrats said yes, only 49% of Republicans agreed.
A June 2017 Pew Survey found that 85% of Republicans believe the national news media is having a negative effect on the country.
Republicans Do Not Tolerate Dissent
A June 2017 NPR/PBS Survey asked views on the right to protest or criticize the government. The result:
- 52% of Americans are okay with the right to protest or criticize the government while only 17 percent thought we have gone too far in expanding the right;
- In contrast, 41% of Republicans (and 47% of Strong Republicans) believe we have gone too far in expanding the right to protest or criticize the government.
A July 2017 Center for Public Opinion Poll asked if members of a group hold a rally to protest, and some of the participants in the rally chant derogatory terms, do you think they should have the right to hold another rally, or do you think that
their right to hold rallies should be forfeited? The result:
- 46% of Republicans believed a group chanting derogatory terms forfeits its right to future protest;
- The number increased to 51% when asked about Black Lives Matter, but fell to 35% if it was an Alt-Right rally.
Republicans Have Troubling Views on Race
A 2016 National Opinion Research Center Survey on racial views asked the question whether African Americans are worse off economically because most just don’t have the motivation or will power to pull themselves up out of poverty? The result:
- 55% of White Republicans agreed (compared to only 26% of White Democrats); and
- 42% of White Republicans believed African-Americans were lazier.
A 2011 survey of Mississippi Republicans found that a plurality (46%) believed interracial marriage should be illegal (as it was before the Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia in 1967). That same poll found that Mississippi Republicans wished the Confederacy had won the Civil War by 38-21 percent.
Republicans Are at War With Facts and Knowledge
A July 2017 Pew Survey found that 58% of Republicans believed that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the way things are going in the country, while 72 percent of Democrats believe the opposite. You know, that old Faber College motto: “Knowledge is Good’.
A March Gallup Poll found that 61% of Republicans are climate change skeptics as compared to 11% overall.
In terms of the 2016 election, a recent Yeshiva University poll found:
- 47% of Republicans believe Trump won the popular vote;
- 68% of Republicans believe millions of illegal immigrants voted; and
- 73% of Republicans believe that voter fraud happens somewhat or very often.
Recent surveys with respect to President Obama, the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton found that:
- 42% of Republicans believed that President Obama was born in Kenya;
- 64% of Republicans believed that the unemployment rate had increased under President Obama (when it had fallen to 4.6%); and
- 49% of Republicans believed it was either definitely or probably true that “leaked email from some of Hillary Clinton’s campaign staffers contained code words for pedophilia, human trafficking and satanic ritual abuse”.
Trump Supporters Condemn NPR for Tweeting Declaration of Independence
Nowhere was this trend more evident than on July 4th when NPR began tweeting the Declaration of Independence in 144-character installments.
From The Washington Post:
For about 20 minutes Tuesday, NPR traveled back to 1776.
To echo its 29-year on-air tradition, the public radio network’s main Twitter account tweeted out the Declaration of Independence, line by line.
There — in 113 consecutive posts, in 140-character increments — was the text of the treasured founding document of the United States, from its soaring opening to its searing indictments of King George III’s “absolute tyranny” to its very last signature.
Who could have taken issue with such a patriotic exercise, done in honor of the nation’s birthday?
. . . Trump supporters, that’s who.
Are We Still One Country, If We Do Not Share the Same Values?
While these poll numbers are disturbing, they raise a bigger question – are we amidst or heading towards a political civil war? If we are a nation defined by certain Constitutional values, what happens when a large segment rejects those values? These are difficult questions without any easy answer.