Are American Voters Uninformed or Simply Stupid?

During the Obama administration, MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, one of the chief architects of Obamacare, said the “stupidity of the American voter” and a “lack of media transparency” were critical to the passage of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

Needless to say, Gruber’s comments ignited a firestorm of outrage.

But was Gruber wrong when he made those off-the-cuff remarks about the American electorate and media at an academic conference in 2013?

Sadly, it appears that he may have been right in his assessment.

Just look at what happened during the 2020 presidential election and the recent midterm elections.

During the 2020 presidential elections, social media and mainstream media colluded with the Biden campaign to censor any reference or reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop, which was filled with evidence of the Biden family’s questionable and possibly illegal business schemes with several foreign nations.

Look at the recently concluded midterm elections. Americans are suffering under the worst inflation in 40 years; an estimated four million migrants have flooded our nation illegally, weak leadership and flawed foreign policy strategies have crippled American power and influence, anti-American energy policies have driven up gas and home-heating fuel costs, and violent crime and theft in big cities are rampant. Much of this went unreported by the mainstream media, and when it was reported, it was spun so that the Biden administration was shielded from criticism.

As a result, instead of voting to change things, American voters preferred to keep Democrats in charge of the Senate, electing flawed candidates such as the mentally impaired George Fetterman of Pennsylvania to Congress.

The so-called “red wave” in the House of Representatives turned out to be a red ripple, with Republicans gaining a bare majority.

Why? Why are American voters apparently so oblivious to reality?

Two recent surveys provided some answers. Both showed that Americans are woefully ignorant when it comes to their country and its governance.

Ask Americans to name just one Supreme Court Justice, and 65 percent can’t, according to the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

It gets better. Ask Americans to name the three branches of their government, and 36 percent of Americans can’t. Ask them to name just a single branch of government, and 35 percent can’t even do that. Most have little or no concept of American history, and only 26 percent can tell you who our enemies were during World War II. Just five percent can tell you the five freedoms guaranteed under the Bill of Rights. (Freedom of  Speech, Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Religion, Freedom to Peacefully Assemble, and Freedom to Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances)

However, in a nation consumed like no other with celebrity and fame, ask Americans to reel off the names of the top rock stars, “gangsta” rappers, Hollywood stars, superstars in the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball, and any number of mindless reality TV shows and their minions and guess what? You will have no problem getting an answer.

So while Gruber was pilloried for his remarks, the sad truth is that he is right. American voters are stupid—or perhaps apathetic or indifferent are better descriptions. They certainly are ill-informed, thanks to a mainstream media that has sold out to the Democrat Party.

Lying to Americans, as the Biden administration does when it insists our southern border is “secure,” is viewed as an acceptable tactic. Even though the Border Patrol reports that thousands of migrants are swarming into the country week after week, the Biden administration figures Americans are too stupid to know or see what’s going on.

While some might conclude that such a conclusion is an unfounded opinion, it was backed up recently in a groundbreaking survey by the U.K. research firm Ipsos MORI. That survey highlighted the political “ignorance” of 11,527 people across 14 countries

It found that Americans are second only to Italians in how little we understand our nation and the issues facing it. (See Graphic)

Here are a few of the questions asked and the results:

  • What percentage of the U.S. population identifies as Muslim?

Americans guessed: 15%.  Reality: 1%

  • What percentage of the population do you think are immigrants to America?

Americans guessed: 32%. Reality: 13%

  • Do you think this statement is true or false: Violent crime is rising in America

70 percent of Americans guessed: False. Reality: True.

  • What percentage of American girls aged between 15 and 19 years give birth each year? Americans guessed: 23.9%. Reality: 3.1%

Back in 2008, Rick Shenkman, the editor-in-chief of the History News Network, published a book entitled: Just How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth about the American Voter.

Shenkman found that most Americans were, among other things:

  • Ignorant about major international events
  • Knew little about how their own government runs and who runs it
  • Were nonetheless willing to accept government positions and policies even though a moderate amount of critical thought suggested they were bad for the country
  • Were easily swayed by stereotyping, simplistic solutions, irrational fears, and public relations babble.

Shenkman found that Americans, when they do pay attention, do so when they perceive that an issue may impact them, their families, or their friends personally. That is not earth-shattering, but it does say something about the fact that Americans, like it or not, are part of the global family.

I spent some two decades as a foreign correspondent, covering stories throughout Asia and Latin America. During that time, I discovered that relatively few Americans had any understanding at all of the impact events and policies in places like China or Japan can have on their lives.

For example, when products are manufactured more inexpensively in China, India, or Vietnam, that often means higher-paid Americans lose their jobs.

When rapacious government policies allow a Chinese steel company to export its products at a price that is lower in the American market than the price charged in the domestic Chinese market and thereby unfairly undercut American steel makers, that is called “dumping.”

What most Americans may not know is that dumping is legal under World Trade Organization rules unless the aggrieved foreign country can demonstrate the negative impact of the exporting company on domestic producers. In order to counter-dumping, most nations use tariffs and quotas to protect their domestic industry from the negative effects of predatory pricing. President Trump did just that with China, and he was pilloried by the mainstream media for it–demonstrating that our media have little regard for the American worker.

But let’s return to that Ipsos MORI survey and Gruber’s unflattering characterization of the American voter.

We often decry the quality of elected officials today. But what about the quality of voters?

How can we make informed decisions about places like Ukraine, Afghanistan, China, and Iran or rampant government spending and societal issues if we have no understanding of the essential specifics involved?

The answer is we can’t because it appears that America’s mainstream media no longer feel any responsibility to inform voters with accurate, unbiased, and trustworthy information. Instead, they have become propagandists for the Biden administration in much the same way the old Soviet Union’s state-controlled media, such as Pravda and Tass, did for the ruling Communist party.

Most mainstream media outlets have opted to support and endorse one political party—the Democrats. That is clear when fully 93 percent of all reporters, editors, and producers are either members of the Democrat Party or support Democrats in local, state, and national elections.

Is it any wonder, then, that the American electorate is fed just one side of an issue and is not exposed to information that might prove damaging to liberal candidates and causes?

Need proof? Once again, just look at the 2020 presidential election when the mainstream media refused to cover and report on Hunter Biden’s laptop and the Biden family’s questionable business dealings with China’s communist party, Russian oligarchs, and corrupt business interests in Ukraine.

Only today, when 14 FBI whistleblowers have come forward to a House committee with details of how the FBI, the Justice Department, and Big Tech covered up and ran interference for Joe Biden, are most voters learning of the Biden family’s misconduct.

When the American voter is incessantly deceived by a complicit news media, a corrupt Justice Department, a politically biased Washington bureaucracy, and an iniquitous White House, is it any wonder that they appear stupid or uninformed when they go to the polls?

American educator and philosopher Robert Maynard Hutchins may have said it best:

“The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and intellectual undernourishment.”

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About Ronald E. Yates

Ronald E. Yates is an award-winning author of historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy. Read More About Ron Here

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