It Defies Explanation
Robert A. Levine 8-4-23
We live in a nation whose prime institutions are denigrated by large majorities of the population. Gallop surveys have shown a steady drop in Americans’ confidence in virtually all important public institutions, including the military. Small businesses are the most trusted bodies, with 65 percent of the population having faith in them. However, even this is lower than it was 3 years ago at 70 percent. Only 60 percent of Americans have confidence in military and only 43 percent in the police. And just 34 percent trust our medical system whom people rely on constantly. Organized religion and the church have a 32 percent approval, the Supreme Court 27 percent, banks, the public schools and the presidency 26 percent, newspapers 18 percent, the criminal justice system 17 percent, big business 14 percent, and Congress 8 percent. Given these numbers, with such low levels of institutional trust, it is amazing that America is a functioning state, though there are some who might dispute that description.
However, what is more amazing is the number of people who accept Donald Trump’s lies and believe that the 2020 election was stolen from him. According to a recent Monmouth poll, 30 percent of respondents believe that Trump won the election and Biden used fraudulent methods to steal it from him. Only 59 percent of Americans believe that Biden won the election without any chicanery, 93 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of independents. 21 percent of Republicans agree that Biden actually won fairly, while 68 percent he won because of voter fraud. These numbers are nearly unchanged from a Monmouth poll shortly after the election itself. The unwillingness of so many Americans to acknowledge that Biden won the election fairly is in spite of the dozens of court cases that Trump brought to challenge the election that were all dismissed for lack of evidence.
In Monmouth’s poll, about half of Republicans call the events of January 6, 2021 that breached the Capitol a legitimate protest. How can so many Republicans still support Trump so avidly when his behavior is so malign and he engineered an obvious attempt to overturn the election and thwart the will of the American people? He tried to mount a coup and directed an insurrection against the government. Can people just ignore these actions? Are his supporters insurrectionists or criminals themselves? What is even more surprising is that many Republicans believe that Trump committed serious federal crimes and they still support him in his 2024 run for president.
All the indictments against Trump for trying to overturn the election by fraudulent means have not appeared to sway Trump’s acolytes to abandon him. There are currently 72 charges pending. In fact, he has been able to raise more money on the basis of these indictments. Perhaps many of his supporters are just naïve and do not understand the seriousness of Trump’s actions and what they meant in terms of our democracy and our constitution. But it defies belief that Americans do not trust the nation’s institutions and so many still have confidence in Trump as a leader.
Buy The Uninformed Voter on Amazon and Barnes and Noble