Here’s some striking numbers about American political preferences: A new Reuters poll finds that one-fourth of respondents support “the idea of your state peacefully withdrawing from the United States of America and the federal government.” More:
Secession got more support from Republicans than Democrats, more from right- than left-leaning independents, more from younger than older people, more from lower- than higher-income brackets, more from high school than college grads. But there was a surprising amount of support in every group and region, especially the Rocky Mountain states, the Southwest and the old Confederacy, but also in places like Illinois and Kansas. And of the people who said they identified with the Tea Party, supporters of secession were actually in the majority, with 53 percent. […]By the evidence of the poll data as well as these anecdotal conversations, the sense of aggrievement is comprehensive, bipartisan, somewhat incoherent, but deeply felt.
The story suggests that frustration with the centralized, Fordist system run from D.C. is behind these numbers. Indeed, that frustration bears some similarity to the dissatisfaction driving the campaign for Scottish independence. As Walter Russell Mead pointed out in his recent essay on the aftermath of the Scottish independence vote, even though the U.K. survived, the vote is a warning sign for European governments that new economic, cultural, and political pressures will create a demand for greater devolution in the years to come. Even though American secessionist movements are hardly likely to get off the ground, the centralized blue model is collapsing here, too—and people want something more nimble and more local to replace it.