Sigma: Journal of Political and International Studies


Blake West


United States government, two-party system, United States politics


Confidence in America’s government institutions has continually decreased over the past decade. In the year 2020, this growing lack of public confidence in government became apparent as the government failed, in the public’s eye, to solve numerous problems over the course of the year. The 2020 election showcased suspicions and fears directed at the American electoral system and the validity of America’s constitutional institutions. In recent polling data by the Hill, it was revealed that 33% of United States citizens believed that the Presidential Election in 2020 was unfair (The Hill 2021). Within the Republican Party alone, Forbes magazine found that 68% of Republicans believed that the elections were rigged, with 52% outright denying the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s victory (Forbes 2020). This growing lack of confidence in government institutions in the United States is not just a trend at the national level, nor is it just a trend within the Republican Party. Recent media reports regarding police shootings involving African-Americans have caused the public’s confidence in the police to drop to a 22-year low of 52% (Gallup 2015). At the same time, public trust in other institutions has also decreased. For instance, according to a survey done by the Associated Press in October 2020, the government response to COVID-19 has caused the number of Americans who expressed confidence in state or local governments to drop from 63% in April to 26% and has caused only 36% of Americans to have confidence in federal health institutions (Netburn 2020).