by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Trump is staking his reelection on a “silent majority” of people who he believes will rally to him as the last line of defense against urban lawlessness and attacks on national symbols. But the silent majority may not translate into either a popular vote or an electoral majority, Republican strategists increasingly fear.
“Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities,” Trump said in his Fourth of July celebration remarks at Mount Rushmore. Zeroing in on both the cultural conflicts and traditional “law-and-order” themes, Trump declared, “The American people are strong and proud, and they will not allow our country and all of its values, history, and culture, to be taken from them.”
Trump tweeted last month: “THE VAST SILENT MAJORITY IS ALIVE AND WELL!!! We will win this Election big.” …
… The phrase is borrowed from Richard Nixon, who was elected president in 1968 during a similar period of unrest. While accepting the Republican nomination, he celebrated “the great majority of Americans, the forgotten Americans, the non-shouters, the non-demonstrators.” He added, “They’re not racist or sick, they’re not guilty of the crime that plagues the land. They are good people; they are decent people. They work hard, and they save, and they pay their taxes, and they care.”
This is similar to how Trump describes the MAGA base. His backers also frequently talk about “hidden voters” who exist undetected by pollsters and aided his unexpected 2016 win.
Still, recent polling shows Trump far from the 49-state landslide reelection Nixon won in 1972. The current president’s numbers have gotten worse since the George Floyd protests began, suggesting the silent majority is even quieter than it was before — or no longer a majority.