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New study claims blue states more patriotic than red states
Patriotic kids

Mark Twain popularized the phrase “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics,” and a new study claiming blue states are more patriotic than red may well be an example of what the author had in mind.

The WalletHub study examined both military and civic “engagement” across all 50 states to come to its conclusion. The “most patriotic” state was Georgia, which the study considered a blue state since it went for Joe Biden in 2020.

Georgia — a blue state? 2020 election count controversies notwithstanding, Donald Trump currently is beating Biden pretty handily in Peach State polls for this year’s election. Then again, it does have two Democratic U.S. senators.

Military engagement in the study was weighted with a total of 25 points, while civic engagement got 75. The former included counts active military personnel, number of veterans, and number in the reserves.

What’s in the latter is a bit head-scratching, however: among other things, the number of adults who voted in the 2020 primary and presidential elections, a “U.S. history/civics education requirement,” trial/grand jury participation, and … the number of AmeriCorps and Peace Corps volunteers. 

Data from both AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps were used in the study, too. Conservatives were wary of the former from the very beginning — and with good reason, according to a report from The Daily SignalAnd Peace Corps volunteers are “most likely” to be affiliated with the Democratic Party.

The quantification of what for me is actual volunteering (or “informal” which is the “assisting others outside of an organizational context, including doing favors for neighbors”) appears to be culled from the U.S. Census Bureau (also listed as a study source).

Noteworthy is that relevant data from the Census Bureau was collected in conjunction with, yes, AmeriCorps and appears to rely on self-reporting (with “proxy” responses permitted).

(Boomers and Gen Xers have the highest formal and informal volunteer rates. The lowest in both? Gen Z.)

Further, active military and “average military enlistees per 1,000 civilian adults between 2015 & 2020” were given “double weight,” whereas the weight given to those who voted in the 2020 presidential election was tripled.

MORE: College towns are transforming red states, ‘decimating the GOP’

Still further, the study used data from the United States Election Project, which is run by University of Florida Political Science Professor Michael McDonald. The project’s website prominently features McDonald’s book “From Pandemic to Insurrection: Voting in the 2020 Presidential Election.” Oh.

There’s also an “Ask the Experts” section in the study featuring eight college professors who offer answers to questions such as “What are the characteristics of a good patriot?” “What are the best ways for an individual to show patriotism?” and “Should we be raising our children as global citizens first or as Americans first?”

In answer to that last query, Cornell University’s Glenn Altschuler said “The world is so interconnected and climate change poses such an existential threat to every one of us, that we and most especially our children must learn how to promote the interests of our country while combating threats to planet Earth.”

Altschuler also said patriotism is best promoted by “demand[ing] unflinching devotion to the facts and the truth, warts, and all, about America’s past, present, and future – and repeal legislation and regulations that censor presentations, discussions, and debates about ‘hot button’ issues, including race and sexual identity.”

He likely had Florida in mind as he has criticized the state’s alleged efforts at “erasing” the history of “slavery and racism.” Except Florida hasn’t actually been doing that.

The professors wax poetic about balancing America’s interests with those of the planet, and warn of “dangerous” nationalism — “where one’s own nation or people are believed to outrank all others.”

But thankfully, some are more realistic.

For example, Vanderbilt’s Richard Lloyd, a sociology professor(!!), accurately sums up why Donald Trump currently is the 2024 favorite despite a pair of impeachments and multiple criminal (or “criminal”) convictions:

[Military service] has been usurped by institutions of higher education. It is the case that at the most elite universities – the places that attract the most privileged American students, and that promise to reproduce that elite status – the very idea of military service has become very remote indeed. Moreover, the trendy ideology on these campuses, borne by a minority of students who nonetheless wield a large megaphone, is to denounce patriotism and indict the United States for its sins of imperialism and white supremacy.

[Rural, military] communities have been in steady economic decline for decades, while also becoming bastions of conservative resentment. Surely the manifest unfairness of unshared sacrifice during the War on Terror contributes to the anger. One can sympathize with their sentiment that their patriotism — and indeed their claim on “authentic” American identity — is more legitimate, having been purchased with blood. Since 2001, we have created a lot of military veterans who return home to landscapes of diminished opportunity. Many are scarred, either mentally or physically, from wars abroad that the country now wants to disown. This is a problem. [Emphasis added.]

I’d additionally factor into “conservative resentment” the constant (and worsening) mainstream media bias and capitulation of more and more cultural institutions to far-left causes. For example, why would any conservative bother tuning in to a late-night “comedy” show these days? Colbert, Kimmel, and (to a lesser extent) Fallon are all shameless shills for the Democratic Party.

Resentment, especially since 2016, also may affect the study’s overall count given right-leaning folks’ (growing) distrust in government and its institutions (like AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps) … not to mention election integrity.

MORE: Media hyped up ‘brain drain’ from red states: report

IMAGE: Young America’s Foundation

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.