A recent poll by Scott Rasmussen has found that 72 percent of voters say that political elites believe they are superior to everyday Americans. A majority of both Republican and Democrat respondents believe political elites consider themselves better than average citizens.
Rasmussen’s poll asked 1,200 voters: “Do political elites believe they are superior to everyday Americans?” The answer, across the ideological, gender, racial, and geographical spectrum, was a resounding yes. Not only did 80 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Democrats answer yes, but 86 percent of very conservative and 75 percent of very liberal voters answered affirmatively.
There was a 10-point margin between men and women, coming in at 78 percent and 68 percent, respectively. The highest mark among age groups was the 77 percent of those ages 45 to 54 who answered yes, compared to 65 percent of 18- to 24-year-old respondents and 66 percent of those ages 65 and over.
Responses were relatively consistent across racial lines as 74 percent of whites, 66 percent of blacks, 71 percent of Hispanics, and 70 percent of other respondents answered affirmatively. Geographically, 77 percent of suburban, 70 percent of urban, and 66 percent of rural voters answered yes.
Perhaps the most pronounced differential involved employment, as 82 percent of private employees answered yes, while just 63 percent of government employees did so.
Few questions could unite such a wide array of respondents as this particular question did. And no event displayed politician’s elitism more clearly than the COVID-19 response. During the government-mandated lockdowns. Americans of every race, age, gender, political affiliation, and socioeconomic status in nearly every state were required to drastically alter their lifestyles to combat COVID-19 even as millions lost their jobs — and yet a shocking number of politicians were caught hypocritically violating their own orders. Many politicians also harassed, belittled, and threatened their suffering citizens and played various political games under the auspices of COVID-19 relief while never going without their own taxpayer-funded paychecks.
Possibly the most infamous example is California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s attendance at a birthday party inside of an expensive restaurant. The party included more than 10 people from numerous households (including healthcare lobbyists), they didn’t wear masks, and they weren’t socially distanced. Newsom has imposed some of the most stringent restrictions in the country, and his hypocrisy has angered many.
He is now paying dearly for his harsh, out-of-touch attitude. Last year, citizens kicked off an effort to recall the governor. By December, organizers claimed to have received the signatures of 800,000 citizens who want Newsom gone. That effort accelerated in the wake of Newsom’s dinner party and this past week, the petition numbers passed the minimum threshold needed to trigger a new election. Newsom’s hypocrisy and elitism were cited by many as the reason for their antipathy.
One northern California resident said, “The guy’s out of control. He’s a tyrant. He thinks he’s king, not governor. He’s not the king. It’s ‘we the people.’ He works for us. He’s supposed to work for ‘we the people,’ and he’s not.”
Another resident said, “He’s really screwed up all of this. Really more than anything, it’s just the flaunting. Good for ye, not for me. You can’t go make a living, but I’m going to go party it up with lobbyists, so that in my book…bottom feeders actually rank higher than that.”
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was all over the map in his COVID-19 response, one day on television joking about the virus with his brother, CNN star Chris Cuomo, another day threatening and blaming his constituents, including restaurant owners and the Orthodox Jewish community, and yet another promoting the book he penned during the pandemic.
Now, the governor is under fire for flat-out lying about his nursing home policy and withholding damning evidence showing that nursing home deaths from COVID-19 were considerably higher than initially reported, in part because health officials did not include the deaths of nursing home residents who had been transferred to hospitals after being diagnosed with the virus. “Who cares?” Cuomo famously stated after the real numbers came out. “…Died in a hospital. Died in a nursing home. They died.”
Newsom and Cuomo are just two of the many politicians who have been accused of thinking more highly of themselves than their constituents during the COVID-19 crisis. Other politicians flouted their own mask mandates, jetted off to exotic locales, attended packed protests and election celebrations, and spent more time exacting political revenge than working to provide needed relief to everyday Americans, many of whom haven’t been able to work or send their children to school or attend funerals or even celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with family because of those same politicians’ COVID-19 restrictions.
As the Rasmussen poll shows, Americans are an understanding group, but they’re not naïve or stupid. Whatever generous feelings they may have had for politicians before the COVID crisis are largely gone. Americans now recognize exactly who their leaders are and how much contempt they have for the people they are supposed to serve.