The polling company Rasmussen Reports conducted a survey of 1,000 “likely voters” in the United States earlier . One of the questions they asked was:
The Declaration of Independence says that governments derive their authority from the consent of the governed. Does the federal government today have the consent of the governed?
It’s tempting to read too much in to this. For one thing, a phrase like
“consent of the governed” is an 18th century
political philosophy term of art and doesn’t necessarily work well for the
snap judgments untutored moderns have to make in phone surveys. Also, that
survey question was surrounded by a handful of others (about legislator
recidivism reelection rates, whether legislators listen to their
constituents, and even if “a group of people selected at random from a phone
book [would] do a better job addressing the nation’s problems than the current
Congress”) that seemed designed to summon up cynicism about government.
However, if the authors of the Constitution had decided to build in the ability for the people to take a “no confidence” vote to withdraw their consent from the government, the wording of that survey question is probably pretty close to the wording they would have chosen.