Last week, in one of its periodic self-congratulatory editorials, the Wheeling Intelligencer bragged about the "wide range of viewpoints" on its editorial page. As I noted, last Thursday’s edition included it usual collection of right-wing, far right-wing, and crazy right-wing opinion writers. Today is no different. Yes, there’s Rich Lowry suggesting how Donald Trump’s convention fits into traditional Republicanism, Pat Buchanan banging the war drums about China and Russia, and someone named Chris Talgo telling us that most Americans agree with Trump on schools.
Talgo’s column interested me because I had just seen the two issues his column focused upon, school choice and American exceptionalism, as a tweet by the West Virginia’s Republican Party:
I was unfamiliar with Talgo and so I did a little research to see if he fit my” crazy right-wing” category. I was not surprised. He’s apparently a prolific writer: in the last 24 hours he’s written “BLM Actually Means ‘Be Like Marx’” and “Is US COVID-19 death count inflated?” for which his answer is apparently “yes.” I concluded that Talgo does meet the Intelligencer standard.
Since there is a lot of evidence out there for and against school choice, I was curious as to what Talgo used to make his case. On school choice, he supports his opinions with research from Beck Research which he labeled as a “Democratic polling firm.” I could find no connection to the Democratic Party whatsoever, but Beck Research was connected to the American Federation for Children, which surprise, surprise is a pro-choice advocacy group. That’s his best source? Yes, it’s his only source.
On “American exceptionalism,” Talgo tells us that he taught school for five years and that he was “shocked at how negatively the United States is portrayed in general.” He concludes that the United States “is rarely portrayed as exceptional in today’s classrooms.” Talgo, the West Virginia Republican Party, and Trump may be on to something. Here’s a recent graph that demonstrates how exceptional the United States, under Trump’s leadership, is: