There was one thing in our surveys that united ordinary Republicans and Democrats: a sense of anger that for four months, their elected leaders had relentlessly jabbed at the country’s gaping partisan wound. For some, it became exhausting to pick up their newspapers or turn on the TV each day. Very few of the respondents we talked with felt triumphant about how impeachment ended. Instead, they mostly thought the two parties had fought to a messy draw.
“The Democrats were bullies, but the Republicans were just as bad,” said Megon Burkit, 43, who identifies as a Republican. “They didn’t have a strong defense. I think everyone is blowing smoke up our butts.”
The price of this anger and disillusionment appears to have been a loss of trust in public institutions — Congress, the news media, the presidency, you name it. A majority (65 percent) of Americans said their level of trust in the American political system had decreased because of the impeachment process. “Democrats, Republicans — it’s starting to feel like nobody has ordinary working people’s interests at heart,” said Alleyne. (She said in our survey that she leans toward the Democrats.) “They’re not trying to help us. They’re just fighting. Nothing seems to be coming together.”