A recent opinion poll from Quinnipiac University shows that Americans are split when asked which Party they want to control the US Congress after the mid-term election. Though respondents prefer the Democratic Party by a percentage that is less than the margin of error. Respondents also prefer Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party Presidential nominee by a wide margin, while there is no clear favorite for the Republican Party Presidential nominee. Clinton is also favored, by margins between 8 and 15%, to win the general election against the top four Republican hopefuls. In the midst of the questions about Presidential hopefuls and which Party is doing a better job in Congress was a question that asked “How much of the time do you think you can trust the government in Washington to do what is right; almost all of the time, most of the time, only some of the time, or hardly ever?”
I found the results to this question very interesting. Only 2% of respondents said they trust the federal government to do the right thing almost all of the time, and only 13% said they trust the federal government to do the right thing most of the time. That means that a shocking (or not so shocking) 85% of respondents do not trust the federal government to do the right thing more than half of the time. These results do seem to correspond to other recent polls that show Congressional approval at approximately 13%, and a recent poll from Rasmussen that shows that only 17% of potential voters think the federal government has the consent of the governed. These polls do beg the question: when an overwhelming majority of people disapprove of the government that claims to represent them, at what point can it be said that the government no longer has the consent of the governed?
Most people will say that anyone in the United States is giving their consent by remaining in the country. However, that assumes that tacit consent is the same as expressed consent. It also assumes that expressed consent can not be withdrawn. This flies in the face of facts. Expressed consent can be withdrawn in a wide range of circumstances. For instance, someone can withdraw consent to having an interview recorded; one can withdraw consent from a wide range of contracts, including marriage; and one can even withdraw consent from sexual relations. If consent can be withdrawn in all of these circumstances, why then can consent not be withdrawn from a government?