For Democrats like Joe Biden and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it’s the kind of news to hate.
The party that stands for more government control over the lives of Americans – whether it’s telling parents they can’t make decisions for their children or hiring 87,000 new IRS agents to snoop on personal finances – has staked its reputation on providing “solutions” for the American public.
But as a poll out Tuesday shows, it couldn’t be more wrong.
“Government” itself is the No. 1 issue Americans are concerned about for the second time in as many years and the seventh time in the past 10 years, according to the Gallup survey.
An average of 19% of adults mentioned some aspect of the government as the biggest problem facing the U.S. in polls from January to December.https://t.co/nd5rs8aYd7
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) December 13, 2022
“An average of 19% of U.S. adults have mentioned some aspects of the government as the most important problem facing the country in Gallup’s 11 measures this year,” the polling organization reported.
“The government edges out the high cost of living or inflation (16%) and outpaces the economy in general (12%),” it said. “Further down the list, immigration, unifying the country, COVID-19, race relations and crime each average 4% to 6% of mentions in 2022.”
Of course, the term “government” encompasses a lot in the United States in 2022, from garbage collection at the local level to funding Ukraine’s resistance to the Russian invasion at a cost of almost $700 per American taxpayer.
But Gallup’s question was worded like this: “What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?”
That implies both national significance and an emphasis on domestic politics.
And there’s no question about which party represents the pinnacle of Big Government in American politics. It was Democrats who passed – without a single Republican vote – the hideously misnamed American Rescue Plan in March of last year. (The same legislation that helped spur the inflation that’s racking Americans in grocery stores today.)
And it’s Democrats who demand that the same government that’s doing so little to help those it claims to champion do even more, while actively hurting American livelihoods that are going to pay a price for it.
For a president like Joe Biden, who has spent virtually his entire adult life working in the federal government, that news would represent the rebuke of a lifetime. (It has to be “would represent,” since it’s a good bet the doddering executive will never learn about it from the Wormtongues in the White House.)
For an up-and-coming socialist like New York Rep. Ocasio-Cortez — soon to be facing life in the minority party for the first time since she came to Congress – it should represent bracing news that her idea of imposing massive government control over American lives through charades like the Green New Deal isn’t acceptable to Americans, native-born or immigrant, who appreciate the freedom that’s part of the country’s DNA. (It has to be “should,” because it’s doubtful the Democrat is capable of learning a thing if it contradicts her progressive ideology.)
Perhaps tellingly, the poll of 1,020 adults from around the country was conducted beginning Nov. 9, the day after the midterm elections, and ended Dec. 2. Even after the biennial exercise in democracy, in other words, Americans were down on the state of the government they elect. The margin of error was 4 percent, according to Gallup.
It’s possible, of course, that the poll was influenced by election uncertainty in states such as Arizona and Colorado, and the fact that the majority of the House of Representatives in the new Congress was not clear for more than a week, but 2022 is no outlier. The Gallup poll’s results about the country’s biggest concern have been remarkably consistent in recent years.
And that’s good news for everyone but Big-Government Democrats.
For Americans as a whole, those who believe in the country’s foundational principles no matter what brand of political insanity might be currently in control in Washington, the poll’s results are reassuring — and consistent.
The only three times in the past decade that “government” was not considered the country’s biggest problem, according to Gallup, were in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic took its place; 2016, when the economy was No. 1 (and Donald Trump was elected); and 2013, when the economy was No. 1 again, as it had been since the financial crisis of 2008.
There is no doubt the results of recent elections have been disappointing. The Democratic wave that took control of the House of Representatives in 2018 ended up hamstringing President Trump’s second term, first with the “Russian collusion” hoax and then with a farcical impeachment that was destined for failure before it even began.
The 2020 presidential election went forward in an atmosphere marked by massive, biased malpractice by establishment media outlets and machinations of social media barons, not to mention suspicious Election Day events that will remain an asterisk in the country’s history. (A broken water pipe halting vote-counting in the swing state of Georgia? Seriously?)
It ended what in a sane world country would be considered one of the most successful presidencies, by any measure, the country has ever seen – a strong economy at home and a strong foreign policy that defeated enemies and, not coincidentally, helped ease longtime international tensions.
And the 2022 midterms were a disappointment, even if they did give Republicans control of the House of Representatives (and retired Nancy Pelosi from House leadership for good).
But the bottom line is that the country was not founded as a nation of serfs dependent on the largesse of their overlords, and it is not that today.
As Ronald Reagan put it in his first inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1981, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”
That was true four decades ago, in the aftermath of the domestic and foreign affairs disaster of the Jimmy Carter presidency that Reagan followed. It’s true now, in the middle of the domestic and foreign affairs disaster that is the Joe Biden presidency.
Democrats can ignore it if they choose. Their party is built on it.
But they can’t ignore it forever.
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