Monday, July 6, 2015

Tyranny Of The Majority Update

A pretty disturbing poll from Rasmussen: in the wake of June's Supreme Court decisions on Obamacare and same-sex marriage, a third of Americans now believe that judicial branch should be able to be ignored

Following last week’s controversial U.S. Supreme Court rulings on Obamacare and gay marriage, voters believe more strongly that individual states should have the right to turn their backs on the federal courts.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 33% of Likely U.S. Voters now believe that states should have the right to ignore federal court rulings if their elected officials agree with them. That’s up nine points from 24% when we first asked this question in February. Just over half (52%) disagree, down from 58% in the earlier survey. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Perhaps even more disturbing is that the voters who feel strongest about overriding the federal courts – Republicans and conservatives - are those who traditionally have been the most supportive of the Constitution and separation of powers. During the Obama years, however, these voters have become increasingly suspicious and even hostile toward the federal government.

Fifty percent (50%) of GOP voters now believe states should have the right to ignore federal court rulings, compared to just 22% of Democrats and 30% of voters not affiliated with either major party. Interestingly, this represents a noticeable rise in support among all three groups.

Fifty percent (50%) of conservative voters share this view, but just 27% of moderates and 15% of liberals agree.

Half of Republicans and half of conservatives no longer believe in the federal judicial branch as a check or balance to the other two branches.  I'm betting you'd find even higher numbers among these same groups that the executive branch should be ignored if the mob of WE THE PEOPLE is large enough.

This line of thinking should be terrifying, because we went through it 150 years ago at the cost of hundreds of thousands dead and a war that split the nation.

But we're at the point where tens of millions of Americans no longer believe their government is legitimate simply because they disagree with it.  That's not how a representative democracy is supposed to work. It is however a recipe for another disastrous period in American history and one of our two major political parties is now openly advocating for such conflict.

Increasingly I think we're heading for some dark days ahead.


Scopedog said...

Increasingly I think we're heading for some dark days ahead.

I hope you're wrong Zander, I really do. However, I have been worrying about possible dark days ahead; although it was not his fault, the election of President Obama uncovered and unleashed strong anti-government feelings on both the Right and the Left.

Again, none of this was Obama's fault. He won in 2008 and 2012 fair and square and his achievements have helped millions in this country from all walks of life. But his progress has been stymied by actions from the obtuse Right and a Left that is more interested in cutting its nose off to spite its face.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

Here's a news flash for you: 33% of any group is kookooberries. That is why we require supermajorities, not unanimities, to pass and enforce major changes in policy under our system of representative democracy.

By an astonishing coincidence, that no one could possibly have foreseen (experienced people who have been paying attention excluded, of course), 33% is the level of support that Bernie is polling in New Hampshire. This makes the Sanderistas giddy with anticipation, for doubling his support in the past two months clearly indicates that he will double his support again in the next two months.

More sober and less drug addled observers understand that 33% of the vote was lying around to be swept up like dog vomit from the elwiors and the chronic whiners: how well he manages to broaden his appeal to pick up normal people will be the test of Bernie's future.

Certainly I am concerned about dark days ahead, but my nightmares take the form of a duly elected and appointed President-Congress-Supreme Court Troika controlled by the Republicans and wreaking havoc upon everyone they hate. As much as I romanticize the sense of unity at the Daily Kos back in 2002-2006, it was a unity born of desperation and the need to stop the monster by any means; for the purity trolls, that meant even at the price of making common cause with the despise left Democrats. After all the accomplishments of the Obama presidency, the bad guys will have their objects of hate all lined up in a neat little row and they will be swinging away the minute they take office.

So, extralegal revenge fantasies by the Republicans are an issue but I do not believe them to be the major threat.

Usual caveats apply: I could be wrong, things look different in different parts of the country, I try to be as cold in my assessments as reasonable so events might not turn out so bad.

Yastreblyansky said...

Want to speculate about whether this has something to do with our education system's emphasis on STEM over humanities because we have to be economically practical for our public school–educated worker bees while the drones at Dalton and Exeter need a rich cultural no-test schooling to train them to be the masters of the universe? There's an awful lot of people around who really don't know what's in the Constitution (like Article 3) or why.

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