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OPINION: Erosion of Trust in the Institutional Left

By Manzanita Miller


Big government leftism has experienced a rapid erosion of public trust over the past four years due to three national calamities: COVID, Biden, and the border.

President Joe Biden’s approval rating has been alarmingly low for more than 12 solid months and Americans say by a two to one margin Biden’s policies have personally hurt them, yet the Democratic Party refuses to entertain other options and continues to push for Biden’s nomination. This refusal has eroded trust in the Democratic Party.

On top of that, the record-high number of illegal aliens streaming across the southern border has prompted a plurality of Americans to declare a border crisis and demand stricter border control. More Americans now view the border crisis as a threat to the economy and national security.

Lastly, the institutional left’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which undermined freedom of association, deprived citizens of medical privacy, and put the nation into an economic coma from which it has yet to recover, is far from forgotten.

All three issues have deeply marred the brand of corporate leftism that has swallowed the Democratic Party and will have serious repercussions in years to come.

The draconian response in blue states and cities to the coronavirus deeply eroded public trust in centralized power and has driven coalitions of former left-leaning groups away from Democrats. The pandemic appears to have pushed parents of school age children toward the right politically due to school closures and mask and vaccine mandates pushed by leftists. 

We also have evidence that the pandemic altered the political inclinations of young adults and has pushed large numbers of Gen Z voters toward the right. Battleground state polling from the New York Times shows a double-digit decline in support for Biden among young voters. The Times poll found Biden winning a scarce 47 percent of the vote from 18–29-year-olds in November, a 22-point decline compared to 2020.

Then there is the institutional left’s refusal to bench Biden and replace a clearly incompetent man with someone more politically and practically feasible. 

Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, who said he wouldn’t vote for Biden, recently tweeted on X that, “the biggest mistake Democrats have made is supporting @POTUS [Joe] Biden for a second term.” Ackman pointed out that by pushing Biden, Democrats gave Biden “false confidence” that he can win the election and dissuaded alternative Democratic contenders from emerging.

Mounting evidence shows a fracturing of the left, with Biden losing double-digit support among key coalitions of swing voters who supported him in 2020. Americans may have their concerns and reservations about Trump and “preserving democracy,” but most recent public opinion polls show a majority of Americans give Trump positive marks on important issues, including the economy and immigration. 

A recent Siena College/ New York Times poll found Americans say by a two to one margin Biden’s policies have “personally hurt” them more than helped them, but the public say by a 15-point margin that Trump’s policies have “personally helped”.

Lastly, the institutional left has been dismally wrong on pushing their destructive open-borders policy, an agenda that could not be more out of step with the needs and opinions of American citizens. Under Biden’s reckless open-borders agenda, 9 million illegals have entered the country through the U.S.-Mexico border.

A series of opinion polls since Biden’s border crisis became an inescapable threat to civil society show that the public is increasingly unwilling to accept the assault on the southern border.

A recent NPR / Marist poll finds that Americans have adopted an aggressive deportation mindset on handling illegal immigrants, with the nation saying 51 percent to 48 percent that all illegals should be deported. This is a drastic change from just a few years ago and speaks to voters’ growing distrust of the institutional left’s open-borders agenda.

After four years of the Biden regime and grave lapses in judgment on COVID and open borders, this particular brand of leftism has lost substantial credibility. No one is saying the public is fully rejecting all aspects of liberalism, but it is hard to argue that the draconian style of big-government leftism has not taken a substantial hit.                

Manzanita Miller is an associate analyst at Americans for Limited Government Foundation, the research arm of Americans for Limited Government, a libertarian political advocacy group. The organization conducts policy research and publishes reports with the goal of reducing the size of the government.

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