The release of the latest Gallup poll was hardly surprising in finding that most Americans are deeply upset about this election and the state of our political system. After all, the two major parties that control this nation have given voters the two most unpopular candidates in the history of presidential politics to choose between. In speaking around the country, I have been struck with how angry people are in both liberal and conservative areas. Yet, what really surprised me is that there are 28 percent of Americans who are actually satisfied with our political system and this election. Who are these people?
One answer is that they are more like to be Democrats. Some 49 percent of Democrats are actually satisfied with this political morass. Only 8 percent of Republicans say that they are satisfied.
The historical average for Gallup has been 37 percent, which itself is chilling evidence that our political system has not been embraced by even a bare majority in the entire time (since 1979) that Gallup has been polling on the question.
What is also surprising is that this satisfaction figure is up. In August, it was only 17 percent.
I cannot imagine a citizen looking at this process and feeling satisfied, even if you support one of the candidates. This election has reaffirmed to many that the duopoly of power in this country has reached a truly absurd and disconnected state with the electorate. On the Democratic side, Wikileaks has confirmed an effort by DNC officials and various media figures to guarantee Clinton’s nomination. Over half of voters view the entire system as rigged. On the Republican side, the opposition to Trump is now so great that the Democrats could win the Senate and the Supreme Court as well as the White House by simple default. Both candidates are viewed as thoroughly dishonest by the vast majority of voters.
Yet, over one in four of us are sitting at home and saying “I like this. This is good.”
“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
We are the nation that produced Washington, Madison, and other great leaders. Yet, over a quarter of us think this selection is just fine. Washington was wrong about his hope for a system without parties. It was inevitable. However, we control our political system and we can change it. I have written previously about such reforms (here and here). Hopefully, the other three-quarters of disgusted voters may finally be sufficiently disgusted to take action.