Chuck Todd Giddy Over Dems ‘Embracing’ Liberal Label

On Sunday’s Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd eagerly touted the latest Gallup poll showing 51% of Democrats and 26% of Americans overall identifying themselves as “liberal.” He excitedly told viewers that “Democrats are embracing the label” and that it was “no longer a dirty word” in politics.

“Not long ago, Republicans loved calling Democrats liberal. They didn’t mean it as a compliment. And for a while, it was effective. Today, Democrats are embracing the label,” Todd proclaimed as he teased the upcoming segment. Minutes later, during the show’s Data Download segment, the NBC moderator hyped the new Gallup survey and asked: “Among Democrats, is the term, ‘liberal,’ no longer a dirty word?”

 

 

“2018 was the first time a majority of Democrats, 51% of them, called themselves liberal,” Todd noted, adding: “It’s quite a change from where things stood when Bill Clinton was president. In 1994, 25% of Democrats called themselves liberal.”

He then looked at ideological labels among Americans overall:

And it’s not just Democrats, by the way, who are more comfortable calling themselves liberal. The public, overall, is more comfortable calling themselves liberal. In 1992, 17% of Americans said they were liberal. In 2018, the number is now 26%, a nine-point increase. And in the same period of time, the percentage of folks calling themselves conservative remained mostly flat among the electorate as a whole, while the percentage of moderates has decreased by eight points.

Todd happily explained one reason for the shift: “Now, this shift in language we use is actually mirroring the shifting attitudes in our politics. Consider issues that used to be criticized as, quote, ‘too liberal,’ in the mid-’90s.” He eagerly cited issues like marijuana legalization and gay marriage as examples. The NBC Political Director conveniently ignored the years of liberal media advocacy in favor of such cultural changes.

Moments later, he piled on with another poll finding: “Here’s further evidence the electorate has shifted leftward. In 1992, 41% of Americans believed their taxes were about right or too low. Believe it or not, in 2018, a majority of Americans, 51%, said the same thing.”

Wrapping up the segment, Todd admitted: “None of this is to say the United States is now some bastion of liberalism. More people, overall, still consider themselves moderate and conservative.” However, “as the Democratic Party moves even more leftward in the age of Trump,” he told viewers to “pay attention to how 2020 Democrats handle issues the liberal base of the party is pushing for, like Medicare-for-all or abolishing and replacing ICE.”

One wonders if the press will actually hold Democratic 2020 contenders accountable for such radical political views or simply celebrate them.

Usually, the media are loathe to ever use the “liberal” label to accurately describe the political ideology of Democrats. Meanwhile, reporters are happy to hurl “conservative” or “far-right” labels at Republicans frequently. Several Media Research Center studies featured on NewsBusters over the years have clearly documented this pattern:

Double Standard Anyone? Ten Times More 'Conservative' Labels for Alito than 'Liberal' Tags for Kagan

MRC Study: Nets Pile on 62 Conservative Labels for GOP Candidates vs. 3 Liberal Tags for 2007 Democrats

Journalists vs. the 'Far Right,' 'Hardline' and 'Ultra-Conservative' House GOP

The Liberal Media’s Perpetually Skewed SCOTUS Coverage

Perhaps this will change now that the term “liberal,” according to Todd, is “no longer a dirty word.”

Here is a full transcript of the January 13 segment:

11:14 AM ET

(...)

CHUCK TODD: Not long ago, Republicans loved calling Democrats liberal. They didn’t mean it as a compliment. And for a while, it was effective. Today, Democrats are embracing the label. That’s next.

(...)

11:17 AM ET

TODD: Welcome back. Data Download time. When it comes to ideology, there’s actually a degree of difference within the parties, not just between them. There are conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans. But here’s a question we had in response to data released from Gallup this week. Among Democrats, is the term, “liberal,” no longer a dirty word? Boy, will that have some impact on 2020.

2018 was the first time a majority of Democrats, 51% of them, called themselves liberal. 13% said they were conservative, while only 34% of Democrats referred to themselves as moderate. It’s quite a change from where things stood when Bill Clinton was president. In 1994, 25% of Democrats called themselves liberal. 25% called themselves conservative. The rest, moderate.

And it’s not just Democrats, by the way, who are more comfortable calling themselves liberal. The public, overall, is more comfortable calling themselves liberal. In 1992, 17% of Americans said they were liberal. In 2018, the number is now 26%, a nine-point increase. And in the same period of time, the percentage of folks calling themselves conservative remained mostly flat among the electorate as a whole, while the percentage of moderates has decreased by eight points. Hello, polarization.

Now, this shift in language we use is actually mirroring the shifting attitudes in our politics. Consider issues that used to be criticized as, quote, “too liberal,” in the mid-’90s. Only 25% of Americans were in favor of marijuana legalization. And only 27% believed gay marriage should be recognized. 2018, those numbers: 66% and 67%, respectively.

And these aren’t just random issues. Bill Clinton was the Democratic candidate who felt that he had to say, quote, he, “didn’t inhale” marijuana. And he was the Democratic president who signed the Defense of Marriage Act. These issues were a big part of his candidacy and presidency.

Here’s further evidence the electorate has shifted leftward. In 1992, 41% of Americans believed their taxes were about right or too low. Believe it or not, in 2018, a majority of Americans, 51%, said the same thing.

None of this is to say the United States is now some bastion of liberalism. More people, overall, still consider themselves moderate and conservative. But as the Democratic Party moves even more leftward in the age of Trump, pay attention to how 2020 Democrats handle issues the liberal base of the party is pushing for, like Medicare-for-all or abolishing and replacing ICE.

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