Faith in America and institutions is collapsing: Poll

1


Citizens are tired of the status quo, but they do not have faith in U.S. institutions to address their concerns. Confidence in national institutions is falling across the board, and there are no signs of a sudden reversal of this trend. On Tuesday,
Gallup
released the results of its
2022 poll
surveying participants on their confidence in institutions throughout society.

Small businesses
took first place, with 68% of respondents expressing “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in them. At 64%, only one government institution has the support of a majority of the public: the military. There is little confidence in the three branches of the federal government. Congress has 7%, the presidency dropped to 23%, and the
Supreme Court
barely takes the cake with 25%.

The average percentage across all major U.S. institutions is 27%. The overall decline since 2021 is largely consistent across the political spectrum. “All partisan groups are generally less confident in the 16 U.S. institutions than they were a year ago, with average declines of four points among Republicans, five points among Democrats and six points among independents,” according to Gallup.

The driving force behind the decline varies by partisan affiliation. Republican faith in the military fell 10 points, while Democratic faith in the institution rose four points. However, every partisan group lost confidence in the presidency. Republicans reported a 10-point drop in confidence and landed at a grand total of 2%. Independents had a 13-point decrease, while Democrats dropped by 18 points.

What changed since 2021 to cause such a drop in confidence for the presidency? Since 2021, the United States has faced rapidly surging inflation, rising grocery prices, and higher costs at the
gas
pump.
Afghanistan’s
government collapsed after a failed 20-year effort by the U.S. government to build a functioning democracy, and the nation watched as soldiers and government officials fled the country in a dysfunctional evacuation campaign. The list goes on and on, but everyone can point to an event or trend within the past year that has eroded their faith in our nation’s institutions.

In another
Gallup



poll released on June 29
, 38% of respondents reported they were “extremely proud” to be an American. Another 27% said they were “very proud,” while 22% said they were “moderately proud.” With a record low amount of people being extremely proud of their nationality, it doesn’t take a political science degree to realize that something is fundamentally wrong with the state of our union.

Unless you are a small business or the military, the average citizen does not believe in your ability to do your job. The public is increasingly less proud of their nation, and the values that bind us are falling apart. Combine the loss of national identity with
declining attendance in house of worship membership
,
and you get a shared identity crisis. If we aren’t proud to be American and do not have any religious values that transcend our nationality, what do we have?

Republicans have the upper hand in 2022 and future elections because the Democratic Party willingly gives it to them. Democratic leaders have backed themselves into a corner by defending America’s legacy institutions, while Republican populists promise to tear down any corporation and government bureaucracy that has done them wrong. America’s attitude toward national institutions very clearly favors the Republican mindset over the Democratic mindset.

However, Republicans are also quick to defend the status quo when it comes to the Supreme Court, the Senate filibuster, the Electoral College, qualified immunity, and more, while Democrats attempt to reform or abolish them. There is no political party that is taking a uniform stance on the nation’s institutions. Political establishments pick and choose their battles because they want to maintain what electorally benefits them and eradicate what can be used against them. This is far from a new development; that’s just politics.

Yet the sense of complacency we have with these trends is the root of the problem. An increasingly apolitical population is losing confidence in the nation for a wide variety of reasons, and every side believes it is losing the culture war to some degree. Ross Perot is the relatively most successful figure in breaking the two-party mold in modern American politics, but he fell far from achieving his goal: nationwide reforms. The U.S. needs a political figure that can harness the demand for upheavals in institutional norms, and it needs one sooner rather than later.

James Sweet is a summer 2022 Washington Examiner fellow.





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