Way Too Many People Want an All-Powerful President
By now, it’s no secret that Americans have largely divided along political lines and really don’t like the people in the opposing tribe. What’s a work in progress, though, is the growing willingness to do something very dramatic about that mutual loathing so that a temporarily dominant faction can’t be obstructed by its enemies. Increasingly, our countrymen contemplate a balkanized future in which newly formed statelets are led by woke or MAGA Caesars. It’s a future worth averting through some solution that lets people run their own lives independent of their opponents, if that’s at all possible.
“Significant numbers of both Trump and Biden voters show a willingness to consider violating democratic tendencies and norms if needed to serve their priorities,” the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics reported last week of its latest poll. “Roughly 2 in 10 Trump and Biden voters strongly agree it would be better if a ‘President could take needed actions without being constrained by Congress or courts,’ [more than 40 percent of both groups at least somewhat agree] and roughly 4 in 10 (41%) of Biden and half (52%) of Trump voters at least somewhat agree that it’s time to split the country, favoring blue/red states seceding from the union.”
These poll results aren’t outliers, but part of an evolving trend. Last year, the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group noted that “one-third (33 percent) of Americans have at some point in the last three years said that they think having ‘a strong leader who doesn’t have to bother with Congress or elections’ would be a good system of government.”
On a related note, in June of this year Bright Line Watch found that “levels of expressed support for secession are arrestingly high, with 37% of respondents overall indicating willingness to secede. Within each region, the dominant partisan group is most supportive of secession.” Among Republicans, the highest support for breaking up the country was found in the South, at 66 percent. About 47 percent of West-Coast Democrats favored creating their own nation.
“Rather than support for secession diminishing over the past six months, as we expected, it rose in every region and among nearly every partisan group,” the researchers added.
So, this involves more than frustrated politicians and pundits playing at the idea of installing a dictator or fracturing the country; something close to half of the population thinks these are intriguing ideas, worth seriously considering.
Resentment of the other tribe doesn’t come without encouragement from above, it’s worth emphasizing. President Joe Biden says Republicans should “get out of the way” so they don’t “destroy” America. That sounds much like his predecessor, President Donald Trump, who suggested that Democrats “hate our country” and “can leave.” Divisive
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