Crisis of Legitimacy


The most recent CNN/ORC International survey finds that “The public’s trust in the federal government has dropped to an all-time low… Just 15 percent of Americans now say they trust the government to do what’s right just about always or most of the time.” This figure is down 10 points since last year. This underscores what Stan Greenberg wrote two months ago in a New York Times Op-Ed: “This distrust of government and politicians is unfolding as a full-blown crisis of legitimacy…[Voters believe] that government operates by the wrong values and rules, for the wrong people and purposes…Government rushes to help the irresponsible and does little for the responsible. Wall Street lobbyists govern, not Main Street voters. Vexingly, this promotes both national and middle-class decline yet cannot be moved by conventional democratic politics. Lost jobs, soaring spending and crippling debt make America ever weaker, unable to meet its basic obligations to educate and protect its citizens. Yet politicians take care of themselves and party interests, while government grows remote and unresponsive, leaving people feeling powerless.”

To read Greenberg’s prescription for a government that is seen as increasingly illegitimate, click here.