Gallup headlined on December 18th, “Americans View Government as Nation’s Top Problem in 2017”. Their report made clear that though this finding was unprecedented, it’s part of a longer-term trend, toward Americans naming America’s own “government as the most important problem facing the nation.” In a democracy, the public do not view the nation’s government to be (as in America) their enemy (which is the case if they view the “government as the most important problem facing the nation”). Americans increasingly view the Government as their enemy.
In a dictatorship, only the people who control the government are satisfied with the government; but, in a democracy, the public are satisfied with the government — or else that government will be replaced in elections by people who control the government and who do provide government that the public approve of. In the United States, we’re instead moving in the exact opposite direction: steadily going from one government to another, none of which wins the public’s approval; and the present American government winning the public’s approval even less than its predecessors did. This is not the situation that exists in authentic democracies. It’s what one expects to find in a country that’s ruled by a dictatorship. Dictators don’t need to worry so much about polls, because they don’t represent the public; they exploit the public — they use the public.
The only scientific study that has yet been done on the question of whether the U.S. is, in fact, run by a democratic government, or instead by a dictatorial one (specifically by an oligarchy, or a government that represents only the richest citizens), was published in September 2014, and it found clearly that the U.S. is definitely not a democracy, but the other type: that “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy”, whereas “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy”; and, furthermore, that, “The real-world impact of elites upon public policy may be still greater” than their statistics indicate, because the researchers weren’t able to measure the impact that the super-rich have on policy, but only the impact that the rich have on policy (versus the impact that the total American public have on policy). The rich control America’s Government, but whether the richest do, wasn’t able to be researched, as of 2014.
This academic study’s scientific methodology was so good, so that no one, as of yet, in the more than three years since its publication, has been able to find any flaw in its data or methodology. Its headline, like its writing, was as dull as possible, “Testing Theories of American Politics”, and this (and especially its atrocious writing) might at least partially explain why America’s mainstream press overwhelmingly has ignored that seminal and landmark study in the social sciences, and especially has ignored that study’s enormous implications, regarding contemporary U.S. politics and government. (A vastly clearer presentation of that study, and of its findings, can be found here in this 6-minute video summary of it.)
Increasingly after that time, particularly after Donald Trump’s becoming U.S. President on 20 January 2017, polls are confirming strongly that what this scientific analysis said, describes, even more starkly than before, the American reality — that the U.S. federal Government now blatantly ignores public opinion, and is controlled instead only by the rich.
One example of this phenomenon was recently headlined by me “Poll: By 2-to-1, Americans Oppose Moving U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem”, and it reported that in the only two published national polls in the U.S. that were taken prior to Trump’s announcement that the U.S. Embassy in Israel will be moved from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem — one having been a November 2017 poll of 2,000 Americans, published on December 11th, and the other being a September 2017 poll of 1,000 U.S. Jews — the overall U.S. public opposed any such move by 63% to 31%, and U.S. Jews opposed it by around similar percentages (though the polling-questions on the two polls differed significantly and therefore their findings are not directly comparable). Furthermore, that article also linked to another question which was included in the November poll, and which showed that only a minority of Americans — almost all of whom are Democrats — believe that Russia is a “foe” of the United States; and, of course, the U.S. federal Government (even the existing Republican one) does consider Russia, more than any other country, to be America’s foe; so, that, too, presents a stark contrast between the Government and its public.
Furthermore, on December 14th, Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager, the pollster Mark Penn, whom she had mis-cast into the role of her campaign’s strategist in 2008, headlined at The Hill, “Mueller, FBI face crisis in public confidence”, and he summarized numerous polls which were finding that whereas Americans overwhelmingly distrust President Donald Trump, Americans distrust even more the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that’s trying to find reasons to impeach and remove him from office. Americans are getting increasingly scared of their Government, and now distrust both sides of it.
Another addition to these polls that show America’s public to be ignored by America’s Government (other than for the public to be manipulated by means of the major newsmedia that the billionaires who control this Government own), was also issued on December 18th, and this poll was headlined “Half The Public Say Their Taxes Will Go Up Under GOP Plan”. It scientifically sampled 806 Americans, and reported that:
“Nearly half the American public (47%) disapprove of the tax reform bills passed by the Senate and House and just 26% approve. … Strong disapproval (35%) of the proposal far outweighs strong approval (13%). … In ‘swing’ counties where the margin of victory for either candidate was less than ten points, 30% approve of the plan compared with 38% who disapprove. … Many Americans see this bill more as an attempt by Republicans to gain a political victory and would rather see Congress scrap this plan and start over. … Half of the public (50%) predict that the federal taxes they pay will go up with the plan now under consideration by Congress. Just 14% say their taxes will go down. … The public was much more optimistic right before Trump took the oath of office in January. Back then, two-thirds expected that the middle class would benefit from the policies of a Trump administration.”
All polls show that the American public believe overwhelmingly that only the rich will benefit from the Trump/Republican tax-law changes. (If purely the long-term impacts, such as the resultant soaring public debt, are considered, then this perception, by the public, of the tax-law changes, is almost certainly accurate.) The blatancy with which U.S. federal policy violates what the polls show that the American public overwhelmingly want (such as reducing the federal debt), and imposes instead upon the public what they clearly don’t want (such as increasing that debt), is now stunning.
Such findings provide yet additional evidence that the far more extensively documented findings in the massive study “Testing Theories of American Politics” apply with special force today, probably even more so than they did in the period from 1981 to 2002, which was the period that that empirical study had examined in detail. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter expressed publicly on 28 July 2015 (even before Trump was President), that, “Now it’s just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and U.S. Senators and congress members.” He was stating what is, by now, an increasingly proven fact. America is a dictatorship.
However, current U.S. Government office-holders haven’t publicly expressed any such view, although the Democratic U.S. Presidential candidate whom Hillary Clinton ‘beat’ in 2016, Bernie Sanders, has come the closest to saying it.
It’s not even clear, however, whether a majority of Americans actually want a democratic government. On 9 September 2015, the YouGov poll headlined “Could a coup really happen in the United States?” (which question presumed that a U.S. coup hadn’t already happened, such as on 9 December 2000, or on 22 November 1963, though there is evidence that it happened in both cases), and YouGov reported that “when people are asked whether they would hypothetically support the military stepping in to take control from a civilian government which is beginning to violate the constitution, 43% of Americans would support the military stepping in while 29% would be opposed.” Perhaps many in that large 43% plurality of Americans were somehow blissfully ignorant that the American Government routinely not only was “beginning to violate” but routinely had been and were violating, the U.S. Constitution, such as by placing onto its Supreme Court, anti-Constitutional ‘Justices’ who arbitrarily label political money as “speech” that’s unlimitedly protected by the First Amendment, so that unlimited political spending by billionaires can effectively control the U.S. Government (such oligarchy as is now scientifically established to be the case), or by violating the Constitution in so many other ways, such as by simply not enforcing certain laws in certain cases, such as by refusing to prosecute the banksters whose frauds caused (and who profited from) the 2008 financial crash — they perpetrated a massive unpunished crime against the public, and this is supposed to be ‘democracy’. But regardless: a 43%-to-29% plurality of the nation’s public are so pro-military as to favor a U.S. coup under that vague condition; they would prefer the military, an intrinsically anti-democratic authoritarian institution, to take direct control over the U.S. Government — as if there could be some valid excuse for this intrinsically dictatorial institution to overthrow the established and supposedly legal government, and to replace it by one that’s not just supposedly, but blatantly, illegal to be in control of the Government. This would mean that America’s billionaires — people who already own and profit from the military’s weapons-making firms — will take control of America, even if they don’t already have control. They control the military-industrial complex, because they control the Deep State that, in any capitalist country, IS the military-industrial complex. They control the weapons-manufacturing firms such as Lockheed Martin, and also the megabanks, and the lobbying firms, and all the rest of the systematic corruption (the Deep State), which controls the U.S. government.
That same poll (question 13) also asked “Do you believe that the military has a duty to protect the Constitution against domestic enemies?” and 72% answered “Yes” and 12% answered “No.” Thus, by a 6-to-1 margin, Americans don’t know the difference between the function that the military and CIA are supposed to perform, versus the function that the police and the FBI and entire Justice Department are supposed to perform. As if that’s not frightening enough about America, Americans now support the nation’s military-industrial complex above all other institutions, public or private. The war-making institution isn’t used only for defense (though its PR euphemism is ‘the defense establishment’ and it should instead be called “the invasion-and-coup establishment”), but it is also — and now almost exclusively — used for invasions and coups that are based on lies (from ‘the defense establishment’, boosting their own business), such as invasions and coups against Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, and Ukraine 2014. Instead of despising that institution of conquest, Americans now admire it, above all others — and far above all the rest of the U.S. Government.
So: “Could a coup really happen in the United States?” A coup wouldn’t even be necessary in order to produce here dictatorship, which has already long existed in this country. And, while domestic spending is being slashed by the existing U.S. regime, military spending (which already is as large as the next ten largest national military budgets in the world) is soaring. Why would America’s generals want to perpetrate a coup? They’re already getting almost everything they want — and without the opprobrium they’d suffer from a coup. It would be plain stupid for them to do that. The very question which was asked in that poll was a bad joke, but a full 72% of the U.S. public not only didn’t ridicule the idea, but actually endorsed it. They endorsed what’s commonly called a ‘police state’, but which actually is a “military state” — rule by the military. Maybe that’s what we’ve already got. But, behind the military-industrial complex, stand the nation’s billionaires — the people who really run U.S. foreign policies. If that brute fact can’t become understood by the American people, then not only does democracy no longer exist in the U.S., but the basis to create (or restore) democracy here is likewise absent. Americans are big supporters of the military-industrial complex. The U.S. public have been deceived about what it is, and what it isn’t — so deceived, that they place it at the top, as the most respected of all institutions. How much more upside-down — black is white, white is black — like Big Brother’s “Newspeak,” could the U.S. public be duped to be, than that? If America’s invasion-and-coup institution is at the top, then why are all the others held in lower esteem than this — the most-corrupt of all institutions in America?
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.