shockingly low number of respondents -- 21% -- believe that America's government is deriving its "just powers from the consent of the governed,"
a criterion for democratic legitimacy set forth in the Declaration of Independence.
This number should be seriously disturbing to those in power in Washington.
Of course, respondents aren't saying that the US government itself is somehow illegitimate procedurally
. It was elected and installed via the democratic process.
But if the statement is taken literally, it means respondents were implying one of two substantively troubling things: Either they believe that: (1) the US government has started wielding so much power (in violation of the vision of the Declaration and the Constitution) that it is no longer restricted only to its "just powers" but has usurped much else; or (2) the people are not consenting to how the government is exercising its power.
Either way, it should ring a real alarm bell to the Democrats who still cherish hopes of pushing through an agenda that becomes ever more unpopular by the day.
For the GOP, it should do much more. It should increase the party's resolve to become, again, the party of freedom -- limited government power -- and the party of responsiveness . . . the one that actually listens to and obeys the public will.