What is the silent majority? Does it exist in the US in 2020? If so, will it turn out for President Trump and win the election for him like it did in 2016? These are all intriguing questions.
I think the answers to these questions are very clear. The answers are “I don’t know, and neither does anyone else.” Why? Because, if it exists, its members, by definition, are silent. They do not make their opinions known, except at the ballot box on Election Day. Some analysts maintain it does and it will; others scoff at the idea as wishful thinking. Read on, and I provide my opinion with which you may feel free to disagree.
Wikipedia defines the silent majority as “an unspecified group of people… who do not express their opinions publicly.” The existence of a silent majority is not a new concept. I found references to it as early as 1831 when NYS representative Churchill Cambreleng blamed it for the defeat of a bill he had sponsored.
In the run-up to the 1920 presidential election Calvin Coolidge’s campaign staff portrayed him as the champion of the silent majority. Coolidge took this designation most seriously. He was commonly known, mockingly, by the nickname “Silent Cal” for his habit of speaking as little as possible.
More recently, the term was employed by the Nixon-Agnew Campaign in the run-up to the 1972 election. Like now, that was a very turbulent time characterized by violent protests. The primary target was the Vietnam War, which was growing very unpopular. It seemed that the country was moving quickly and decisively to the “left.” The GOPers maintained that there was a silent majority that would vote for President Nixon, and they were proven correct when he won in a landslide.
Likewise, 2020 has been a topsy-turvy year and not just politically. Up until March it seemed that President Trump would be re-elected handily. The Dems’ ill-advised attempt to convict him of impeachment had failed decisively. He had defeated ISIS. His energy policies had enabled us to become energy-independent for the first time since the mid-20th century. The economy was the strongest ever. Unemployment was at or near record lows for all demographic groups. The stock market was flying making the middle class feel richer than ever. He had even gotten Congress to pass a crime bill favorable to African Americans and other minorities.
Then, out of nowhere, we were hit with the ultimate gamechanger – the COVID-19 virus from China. The virus necessitated an unprecedented virtual shutdown of the economy. Overnight, the economy deteriorated from the best ever to a virtual depression. Unemployment levels rose to levels not seen since the Great Depression. Many people were scared and confused. This was followed by the brutal police killing of George Floyd, which has sparked violent protests, looting and destruction in city after city.
Now, in the space of three months, Mr. Trump’s re-election prospects have gone from very good to very poor. He is down in all the polls by as much as 14 points, both nationally and in the swing states. At the moment, although the political landscape can and often has changed quickly, it seems like his only chance to win depends on the strong support of the silent majority, which may not even exist.
The poster child for the current violence, looting and wanton destruction of private and public property is the Black Lives Matter movement. In my view, this moniker is misleading as the above lawlessness has gone far beyond a proportionate response to the killing of George Floyd and occasionally other African Americans by policemen. The mob is being egged on by a biased media, clueless celebrities, “tweeters,” and far left politicians who have hijacked the Dem Party. They don’t realize that their opinions do not reflect those of the majority of Americans who don’t live on twitter and who prefer peaceful protest and law and order to violence and disorder.
As an aside, has anyone noticed that virtually all of the aforementioned destruction has been occurring in cities that are and have been controlled 100% by Dems, in some cases, for decades such as NYC, Minneapolis, Chicago, LA, Seattle, Atlanta, and Washington, DC? Hmmm. Food for thought. Makes one wonder what the ramifications would be if the Dems won the upcoming election and controlled the entire country, doesn’t it?
Quiz question: With all of NYC’s current problems, what is one of Mayor De Blasio’s foremost priorities? See answer below.
As often happens, the movement has been hijacked by ultra-violent fringe elements. They could care less about Floyd, black lives, and the minorities and immigrants whose businesses they destroyed. They know nothing about the history behind the statues and monuments they are destroying. Founding fathers, former presidents, Civil War heroes, abolitionists, Francis Scott Key, and even George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are fair game. They don’t care. It’s all about power and control. Their sole goal is to create enough anarchy and destruction so that Mr. Trump loses the election in November. In the words of one BLM anarchist they want to “burn down the [American] system” and rebuild [it] How and what are they planning to rebuild? They probably haven’t even thought that far ahead. Anyone who challenges them or their methods is branded a “racist” and faces the loss of their livelihood and their reputation without due process.
History tells us that eventually these radical movements go too far, reach a tipping point and self destruct. Eventually, the majority will turn on them and declare, “enough already!” For example, that is what happened to McCarthyism in the 1950s. Many of us are familiar with the story. Senator Joseph McCarthy had become very powerful and feared by claiming the country and its institutions, such as various government agencies and the entertainment industry, were riddled with communists. Most of the claims were without foundation, but that did not seem to matter. Everyone was afraid to challenge him lest they be branded a communist, lose their job, be blacklisted and/or be imprisoned. (Sound familiar?) Finally, at a Senate hearing investigating possible communists in the Army, Joseph Welch, the Army’s special counsel, had had enough of these wild, baseless accusations. He famously admonished McCarthy: “Have you no sense of decency?”
That moment proved to be the beginning of the end for McCarthy and his movement. I say, enough of the baseless “racist” accusations. America may have some racists, both black and white, but by no means is it systemically racist as some claim. Maybe it was prior to the 1960s, but not now. Anyone who thinks it is should compare it to other countries. What the country needs now is another “Welch moment.”
I believe that the majority of voters are horrified over what is happening to their country. They are decent, reasonable people who are just trying to get by in these difficult times. They work hard to provide for their families. They have neither the time, the energy, nor the inclination to riot or march in a protest. But, they also realize that there is no justification for the current level of violence and destruction. They hate it and are embarrassed by it. However, they are afraid to do or say anything lest they be accused of racism. Heck, even most of our elected leaders, whose main job is to provide security and law and order for their constituents, members of the media (except for Fox News), and high-profile, well-respected celebrities are afraid.
Even many African Americans are opposed to the destruction being caused under the name of BLM. This opinion was put forth recently by Black Entertainment TV founder Robert Johnson who opined that most African Americans he knows actually mock the white anarchists who are destroying landmark monuments. He labeled them “borderline anarchists” who know “absolutely nothing” [about the struggles of African Americans]. I’m sure these African Americans to whom he is referring agree that black lives do matter. Even most white people do. I do as well, but I go further. I agree with Dr. Ben Carson who recently intoned on Fox News that “ALL lives matter” – white, black, Asian, women, young, old, yours and mine. Our life is the most precious commodity we have. We only get one, and this is not a “dress rehearsal.”
I believe and fervently hope that most of these silent majority voters secretly support Mr. Trump and would vote for him. They may not like him on a personal level; they may think he is arrogant, self-centered, narcissistic, and boorish. I don’t disagree with that assessment. However, I have learned to focus on what he does, not what he says.
I think they would prefer his policies of capitalism, self-determination and law and order to the socialism, government control, disorder and chaos that a Biden presidency would bring. There is no doubt that Biden is firmly under the thumb of the far left wing of the Dem Party nor that it would control his presidency. Mr. Trump needs to do a better job of explaining those differences to the voters. If he does he will have a good chance to win.
Many members of the silent majority won’t admit it to their friends, relatives, co-workers or even to pollsters. They are afraid of being mocked or worse. But, they can express their opinions at the one time and place it matters – on Election Day, at the ballot box. That is what they did in 2016. Let’s hope for a reprise.