“We have we have seen throughout this war solid support from the American people, solid support from the Congress in a bipartisan and bicameral way for continuing to support Ukraine and we’re going to stay focused on that,” National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby told CNN regarding the poll. “It’s not just important to the people of Ukraine, but it’s important to our European allies and partners, particularly our NATO allies, given that this fighting is on the on the doorstep of many of those NATO allies.”
Kirby’s comments echo those of Bush-era Vice President Dick Cheney, who, in 2008, was confronted with polling data showing a vast majority of Americans opposed the war in Iraq, and infamously responded: “So?”
Cheney continued by adding that we “cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.”
Such blatant disregard by elected officials regarding views of the majority is clearly nothing new, but what makes it particularly dystopian is the recent emphasis by cable news channels about the merits of – and threats to – “our democracy”.
For years now, a majority of Americans have supported legalizing marijuana, and yet the drug war continues to rage on without an end in sight.
More recently, a 2023 poll showed a majority of Americans don’t want Trump or Biden to run for office next year, and yet they persist in haunting us with their unwanted presence. It was the same story back in 2016 when the choices were Trump vs Hillary Clinton, who were the “two most unpopular presidential candidates in more than 30 years of ABC News/Washington Post polling.”
Examples like these are truly endless. Time and time again, we see a majority of Americans supporting or opposing a policy and politicians blatantly ignoring them in favor of the monied interests which brought them to power.
Unwanted wars such as the one in Afghanistan, the one in Ukraine, or the one in Iraq – where the US still has troops as of 2023 – continue because of what has become known as the “military industrial complex” – a network of defense companies which spend millions every election year to support their hawk of choice.
There’s nothing democratic about any of this, and the talking heads on cable news networks who make repeated comments about our “democracy” are either totally oblivious and out of touch with reality or entirely complicit and invested in propping up illusions of a system that doesn’t actually exist.
In 2014, a Princeton study took data from nearly 2,000 public opinion surveys and compared what the people wanted to what the government actually did. What they found was that the opinions of the bottom 90% had no impact at all.
The study’s authors concluded that “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”
And while the study may have its limitations, the writing is on the wall and has been for a long time. Special interests donate millions to Biden, Trump, Mickey Mouse, or whoever, because they see it an investment opportunity – because they expect something in return when that politician gets into office.
After every election, both of the major parties repeatedly make it clear that they care more about wealthy donors than the everyday voters coming out to support them on Election Day. Sadly, the Biden administration’s support for sending billions more to Ukraine – despite what appears to be a shift in public opinion – is just more proof.
Jon Reynolds is a freelance journalist covering a wide range of topics with a primary focus on the labor movement and collapsing US empire. He writes at The Screeching Kettle at Substack. Reprinted with permission.