MSNBC's Jon Meacham said the stark differences between the Democratic and Republican parties will be on display this week at the GOP convention.
The Republican National Convention begins Monday as a hybrid virtual and in-person event due to the coronavirus, and the presidential historian told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that he dreads what's coming.
"There are perennial forces of nativism, nationalism, tribalism, people confronted by chaos, confronted by what they see as chaos or a shifting world respond viscerally," Meacham said, "and one of the projects of the Enlightenment and one of the projects of America, however flawed in the beginning, was that visceral passion, that fear of the other -- of some changing circumstance in which you would feel dislocated that that passion -- could, in fact, be managed by reason."
"By understanding that, in fact, democracies work when more people have a stake in them," he added. "Prosperity is essential to the survival of democracy, the rule of law, religious tolerance and liberty. That's what reason gave us as they examined the human experience."
But he said a Republican Party that has completely surrendered to President Donald Trump and his conspiracy theories could no longer be considered a reasonable or rational force.
"We're about to see a convention that is this fascinating combination of nepotism and narcissism wrapped up in nationalism," Meaham said, "and I think the choice couldn't be clearer, right? Last week was about you, this week is going to be about them. So who do you want in charge of your affairs?"