US National Pride Declines Sharply
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
On the eve of their July 4 national holiday celebration, the national pride of the people of the United States fell this year to the lowest rate since the beginning of the 20th century.
According to an extensive Gallup survey, only 70 percent of Americans say they are proud of their nationality and less than half (45 percent) say they are extremely proud of it, marking the second consecutive year that the latter proportion is no longer in the majority.
Those who claim to be supporters of Democrats continue to lag far behind those who, being Republicans, claim extreme pride in their nationality. U.S. scientific achievements in military and cultural/artistic fields are among those of which they are the proudest, while the political system and the health and welfare system are those of which they are the least proud.
Citizens’ extreme pride in their U.S. citizenship has steadily weakened in recent years, and the current reading, according to Gallup’s June 3-16 survey, marks the lowest point to date in such indicators. The latest decline of two percentage points from last year’s 47% is not statistically significant.
The highest proportions in this aspect of the measure were 69% and 70%, respectively, between 2002 and 2004, after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, when the U.S. public expressed the highest patriotic levels and mobilized in support of the U.S. government. However, since the beginning of George W. Bush’s second term in office in 2005, less than 60 percent of Americans have expressed extreme pride in being Americans.
The latest general declines in patriotism have been largely driven by Democrats, whose pride has historically been smaller and has fluctuated more than that of Republicans. The last extreme pride reading of 22% of Democrats is the lowest of the group in Gallup’s 19-year measurement, and is half of what it was several months before Donald Trump’s election victory in 2016.
Interestingly, most Republicans say they remain extremely proud of their country, and the latest reading – which was 76% – is only 10 points below the 2003 high. Even when Barack Obama held the presidency, the Republicans’ extreme pride never fell below 68%.
U.S. patriotism shows itself as another victim of the markedly polarized political climate in the United States today. For the second time in 19 years, less than half of Americans say they are extremely proud of their country. The decline reflects the collapse of pride in the Democrats since Trump took office. This is despite the fact that, among Republicans, it has increased slightly rather than decreased on the basis of nationalist and even chauvinist policies, reflected in the slogan Make America Great Again!
While supporters of both parties agree that they are not proud of the U.S. political system, this can be attributed, in both cases, to President Trump’s low approval rating.
Democrats’ awareness of Trump’s historically low rate of presidential approval in the international community may also be a contributing factor to the decline of patriotism in this latest poll. Gallup data from earlier this year found that only 31% of Americans (including 2% of Democrats) think foreign leaders have respect for Trump.
Politics is affecting Democrats’ overall pride in their country more than in Republicans. The “independents,” that is, those who are not tied to either of the two parties the system admits, have historically manifested less pride in being Americans than the Republicans. Currently, 41% of them express extreme pride, which is the lowest reading of this trend.
Several subgroups that typically identify with the Democratic Party (women, liberals, and young adults) express lower levels of extreme pride in being U.S. citizens.
American patriotism is the latest victim of the markedly polarized political climate in the United States today. For the second time in 19 years, less than half of American adults say they are extremely proud to be Americans. The decline reflects the plummeting pride of Democrats since Trump took office, contrasted with a slight rise among those who declare themselves Republicans.
July 17, 2019.
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