In alignment with President Donald Trump’s claim of a deep state operating within the government, the vast majority of Americans believe that an unelected group of officials is secretly directing the national policy of the United States.
A poll conducted by Monmouth University earlier this month found that more than 7 in 10 Americans believe in the existence of a deep state once the term is defined. Deep state is as a cabal of government employees who collude to influence state policy without regard for elected leaders.
Given that the term has become politically charged after Trump repeatedly employed it, the survey authors were surprised that the belief in a deep state crosses party lines.
“We usually expect opinions on the operation of government to shift depending on which party is in charge,” Monmouth University Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray said in a statement. “But there’s an ominous feeling by Democrats and Republicans alike that a ‘Deep State’ of unelected operatives are pulling the levers of power.”
The researchers found that 63 percent of the people surveyed were not familiar with “deep state” as a term, while 37 percent were very familiar or somewhat familiar with the phrase. Once the survey defined the deep state, 74 percent of those surveyed said they believe that it exists.
On the campaign trail, Trump often referred to the deep state as the “political establishment” in Washington. His warnings materialized as soon as he took office with a flood of compromising leaks flowing from different branches of government.
Between January and July last year, the Senate Homeland Security Committee tracked 125 leaks, a rate 7 times higher than during the same period under the Obama and Bush administrations.
“You know, there is no country like our country,” Trump said in a speech in December last year. “But we have a lot of sickness in some of our institutions. And we’re working very hard. We’ve got a lot of them straightened out.”
“The only thing they really care about is protecting what they’ve been able to do, which is really control the country,” he added. “And it’s not to your benefit.”
In the speech, Trump also made reference to the “deep seeds inside.”
Americans’ fear of a deep state was again confirmed when text messages surfaced between two top FBI officials, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The couple discussed an “insurance policy” in case Trump won the 2016 election as well as a “secret society” meeting.
Both Strzok and Page were part of Special Counsel Rober Mueller’s investigation of allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Their text messages revealed an intense bias against Trump. Strzok was reassigned when Mueller saw the messages and Page left before they were discovered.
But Strzok and Page were only part of what appears to have been a deep state connection to the Russia-collusion investigation, which Trump has called a “witch hunt.” A memo declassified by the House Intelligence Committee showed that an unverified dossier funded by Hillary Clinton and the DNC was at the core of the Russia investigation. The now-fired Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe told the committee that his agency would never have applied for a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign without that dossier.
The House Intelligence Committee concluded a year-long investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections last week. The findings show that there is no proof of collusion by anyone in the Trump campaign and Russia, but do reveal serious abuses of surveillance by government employees of the former administration, among other alarming issues.
Jasper Fakkert contributed to this report.