Politicians and pundits had a conniption over the weekend following the release of poll results highlighting the radical divisions in our body politic.

Here were some of the more headline-grabbing stats from the new University of Virginia survey:

  • 80% of Biden voters and 84% of Trump voters agree that elected officials from the opposite party represent a “clear and present danger” to American democracy. 75% of Biden voters and 78% of Trump voters believe the same about Americans from the other party.
  • 80% of Biden voters and 82% of Trump voters are concerned that they or someone close to them might experience personal loss or suffering due to the effects of the other party’s policies.
  • 41% of Biden voters and 52% of Trump voters would favor red/blue states seceding from the union to form their own separate country.

The full results are worth a read, but one theme emerges loud and clear: Americans are terrified of those on the other side of the aisle.

They feel this so strongly that near majorities of both parties (46% of Biden voters and 44% of Trump voters) agree it would be “better for America” if the President could take action “without being constrained by Congress or the courts.”

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Americans are so afraid of the other side, in other words, they’re willing to throw out our republican system of governance and welcome a dictator as long as he or she will impose the kinds of policies they agree with.

I understand why pundits are concerned, but I don’t understand why they’re surprised or confused.

I have the opportunity to visit dozens of states every year and meet the hardworking, everyday Americans who keep our country afloat. These folks express similar sentiments to those in this survey, but they offer a simple explanation for their fear.

The federal government has grown too big and too powerful. It asserts control over every area of our lives, and it can change those policies on a whim.

Whichever party controls Washington can radically change the nature of our nation, and the Americans I speak with understand that.

These people may not be cable news talking heads, but they aren’t ignorant. They see how the game is played: get control of Washington, cram down as many policies as you can, and fight like hell to keep the other side from gaining control.

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When the other side does take control, it’s terrifying. We saw this in the hysterical, slanderous opposition to Trump’s Supreme Court nominees. We see it in the faces of parents who have realized they must gain control of their local school board to push back against Joe Biden’s radical education agenda.

Because we’ve abandoned our federalist system, Americans don’t feel like they can escape The Swamp’s overreach. They can’t move to a red state or a blue state to flee policies and values they don’t agree with. Washington controls all, and every election is a fight to the death.

Is it any wonder that large percentages of Americans want their state to secede? If we had preserved the system the Founders envisioned, Idaho would be free to be Idaho and California would be free to be California.

Instead, Californians are terrified the next Republican president will ban abortion or end their gun control regime, and Idahoans are terrified the next Democratic president will impose CRT training on all public schools or revoke nonprofit status from their local church.

Division is nothing new in our country. But we’ve never had such an all-powerful federal government. If we can’t limit Washington’s power and return that power to the people and the states, I fear for our country’s future.

In my mind, the only real solution is an Article V Convention of States. Red or blue, the federal government will never willingly give up its power. A Convention of States can propose constitutional amendments that limit federal power, and these amendments are proposed and ratified by the states, not D.C.

Article V has been described as the “break glass in case of emergency” solution buried in the Constitution. This survey proves that now is the time to use it—before it’s too late. 

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.