Nearly 1/3 Of Americans Could Imagine Supporting a Military Overthrow of Federal Government

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Published on: September 11, 2015

For many Americans, a coup in which the military seizes control of the federal government is starting to seem like a refreshing alternative to the existing administration, according to a new poll.

Conducted by YouGov, a new survey has found that 29 percent of Americans could imagine a scenario where they would support a military takeover in the United States. A total of 41 percent could not imagine supporting such an event. And so while the coup-supporters are still decidedly in the minority, the fact that the option polls so highly is remarkable. This translates to 70 million Americans who are potentially ready to support a coup.

The survey results revealed a clear political divide. Republicans were more than twice as likely to rate a potential coup more highly than Democrats, with the two parties polling 43 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

Part of the suspected reason for fondness towards a U.S. coup is that military officers consistently garner more public support than politicians. From the same survey, 70 percent of respondents think that officers want what’s best for America, compared to just 12 percent who think the same of members of Congress—a major disparity. In fact, 71 percent of respondents believe that members of Congress only want what’s best for themselves. Local politicians don’t fare much better at 59 percent.

While federal civil servants don’t perform as poorly as local politicians, 37 percent believe that they want what’s best for themselves, and only 22 percent think that civil servants have the best interests of the country at heart.

Police officers, in comparison, are viewed similarly to the military, though not quite as positively. A total of 55 percent of respondents think police officers want the best for the country, with 24 percent holding that these officers just want what’s good for them.

Talk of a military coup in the U.S. recently prompted renewed discussion after a professor at West Point was recently forced to resign following revelations that he authored several controversial articles. In one of those articles, titled “Alea Iacta Est: The U.S. Coup of 2017,” he argued that military officers, far from simply having the right to overthrow the government, may have a duty to do so if the federal government acts against the best interests of the country.
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