Democratic politicians are constantly trying to ‘prove’ they love the US. Yet actual Americans seem more realistic about their country’s failings
Donald Trump has long openly embraced his nationalism. But on Thursday he took it to a whole new level. In his speech at the White House conference on American history, he attacked “the liberal indoctrination of America’s youth” – a standard trope for any Republican speech these days – and said he would set up a commission to introduce “patriotic education” that would develop a “pro-American curriculum that celebrates the truth about our nation’s great history”.
Still, this is hardly surprising. Trump is a far-right politician and chauvinistic nationalism is part and parcel of far-right ideology. What makes the US so exceptional is that patriotism, and even chauvinism, is shared across the political spectrum. All US presidents are keen on saying the US is the greatest country in the world, if not in world history. It is one of the few things Republicans and Democrats tend to agree on.
It is exactly because the US is not the greatest country in the world that the task of the Democrats is so vast and so important
Cas Mudde is the Stanley Wade Shelton UGAF professor of international affairs at the University of Georgia, the author of The Far Right Today (2019), and host of the new podcast Radikaal
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