A new survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds Republicans are far more likely to cite a culture grounded in Christian beliefs and the traditions of early European immigrants as essential to U.S. identity.
Democrats are more apt to point to the country’s history of mixing of people from around the globe and a tradition of offering refuge to the persecuted.
While there’s disagreement on what makes up the American identity, 7 in 10 people – regardless of party – say the country is losing that identity…
About 65 percent of Democrats said a mix of global cultures was extremely or very important to American identity, compared with 35 percent of Republicans. Twenty-nine percent of Democrats saw Christianity as that important, compared with 57 percent of Republicans.
Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to say that the ability of people to come to escape violence and persecution is very important, 74 percent to 55 percent. Also, 25 percent of Democrats said the culture of the country’s early European immigrants very important, versus 46 percent of Republicans.
AP talks to one deranged individual, clearly a Trump supporter:
Reggie Lawrence, a 44-year-old Republican in Midland, Texas, who runs a business servicing oil fields, said the country and the Constitution were shaped by Christian values. As those slip away, he said, so does the structure of families and, ultimately, the country’s identity.
“If you lose your identity,” Lawrence said, “What are we? We’re not a country anymore.”
What a nutjob!
A prof quote cuts to the chase:
Patrick Miller, a political science professor at the University of Kansas who studies partisanship and polling, said the results reflect long-standing differences in the U.S. between one camp’s desire for openness and diversity and another’s vision of the country grounded in the white, English-speaking, Protestant traditions of its early settlers.
In short, the political divide between Democrats and Republicans is morphing into one of:
- Multiculturalism vs. WASP-ness (Whiteness)
- Cultural Diversity vs. Cultural Commonness
- Rootless Cosmopolitanism vs. Rooted Tradition
The poll found Democrats were nearly three times as likely as Republicans to say that the U.S. should be a country made up of many cultures and values that change as new people arrive, with far more Republicans saying there should be an essential American culture that immigrants adopt.
Republicans overwhelmingly viewed immigrants who arrived in the past decade as having retained their own cultures and values rather than adopting American ones.
The trajectory of where this increasing polarization is going is obvious.