Charlie's Blog: The Silent Majority

8.23.2015

The Silent Majority


And so tonight—to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans—I ask for your support.
RICHARD NIXON

The most entertaining show of the summer television season is whatever show Donald Trump is currently on. This guy has taken over the media with his campaign for president, and he is riding a tidal wave of popularity. The media is apoplectic about this guy and why he is doing so well. They first tried to dismiss him. Now, they are trying to explain and understand his popularity and failing. They also hope he will implode before the actual voting though they are going to enjoy the ratings he generates in the interim. They don't get this guy, but I get this guy. I understand his popularity and why he is doing so well. And for those who dread a Trump presidency, be afraid. This guy can win and win big in 2016.

Trump appeals to Nixon's famous "silent majority." These are the quiet Americans who weren't protesting in the sixties and seventies, but they did vote. Nixon got the majority part right, but these people have never been silent. In fact, they tend to vote for the loudest mouth in any campaign. In this instance, that mouth belongs to Donald Trump.

If you want to understand Trump, you have to understand this silent majority. Trump understands them. He even used Nixon's term to refer to them. He gets what these people are about. The media does not. So, who are these silent majority types?


The silent majority are the white blue collar people who do the dirty jobs in America every single day. In Nixon's day, they were overwhelmingly men, but the silent majority includes women now. In recent elections, they were referred to as "soccer moms" and "NASCAR dads." The one constant is that they are working class people. They might be farmers, truck drivers, factory workers, or unemployed wishing they had a job. But these folks don't wear suits and ties to their workplaces. This is why the media don't get them.

It is a truism in business that you don't get rich selling to the rich. There aren't that many rich people. If you want to make a fortune, don't make Lamborghinis. Make Ford F-150 pickup trucks. If you want to get rich, sell to the poor. In politics, you don't win elections by catering to the rich either. The rich people's money may pay for campaigns, but the candidates still need the votes of the masses to get into the White House. Most candidates are divided between what the money wants, what the media wants, and what the masses want. They need all three to win, so they have to pull off a trick where they appeal to all three in a weird calculus that turns out the wishy washy almost cookie cutter candidates we see today that say one thing in a campaign and do the other when elected.

Donald Trump has exploded the calculus with the simple arithmetic of being rich. This leaves him having to cater purely to the masses and the media. Trump is media savvy knowing that ratings are what matters. So, he generates ratings with controversy.

 

It doesn't matter if it is All in the Family, The Morton Downey Jr. Show, or YouTube. Controversy yields eyeballs and ratings. Trump knows this which is why he is always edgy. Of course, this approach lacks dignity befitting a president, but this has never been a problem with the silent majority. This is because they aren't silent. I have lived with them and worked with them. Trust me, they are loudmouths. When they see another loudmouth on the tube, they recognize their own and give their support.

The media largely ignores the silent majority because they see these people as imbeciles. The more fitting term would be the "ignored majority." This is why any candidate who demonizes the media automatically gets support from the silent majority. The silent majority feels the sting every time the microphone is given to some protester with a sign or the head of some liberal organization with ten members.

What does the silent majority believe and what do they want? They are basically conservative but in the most primitive way. A true conservative is someone who can read, and the silent majority aren't into reading. They don't have much grasp of the issues except that their lives suck. They are proudly patriotic but in the same way they might root for a football team. They just want their team to win, and they always blame the coach which is the President.


This patriotism expresses itself in a belief in a strong military and a desire for war. This is logical when you consider that the silent majority are the people you find in the cheap seats at a hockey game. America is never greater than it is when it is kicking some other country's ass.

On the domestic front, the silent majority believes the problem with America are those blacks on welfare that don't work and those Mexican immigrants that do work taking away all the good jobs that the white folks don't want because they involve backbreaking manual labor. Foreigners overseas are also hated because American companies like to move their factories and production over there to take advantage of the slave labor. Somewhere in this mix of racism and xenophobia, the silent majority fails to see the moneyed interests and corporations behind all of this preferring to blame the black or brown persons they see instead of the rich white guys that they don't see.

There's not much more to the silent majority than these issues. The genius of Donald Trump is that he taps into this effortlessly by wearing a red hat that says "Make America Great Again." He smack talks Mexican immigrants and praises law enforcement which taps into the unspoken racism of the silent majority. He waves the flag and talks about rebuilding the military as if the USA doesn't already possess the largest military arsenal in the world. Trump may sound like a complete idiot, but he knows how to press the buttons of the silent majority. He cleverly talks past the media to these people. The media needs these people for ratings.

Trump isn't the first guy to tap into the silent majority thing. Nixon and Reagan did it. H. Ross Perot did it in the nineties before imploding. Jesse Ventura did it to a certain extent in Minnesota. Basically, if you wave the flag and talk tough, you will win the vote of the silent majority. I would like to say there is some humble virtue in this silent majority, but there isn't. If they were church going people who believed in God and country, I could like them. But they are the ones you find at a monster truck show.


A better candidate than Trump for the silent majority would be Bernie Sanders. Like Trump, Sanders is a maverick, and he has a better grasp of why the lives of the silent majority are in the toilet. But Sanders is a Democrat and a socialist. These things put Bernie Sanders beyond the favor of the proletariat he claims to represent. Marxism is great at diagnosing the problems, but it provides a cure worse than the disease.


The problem in this country is elementary. The people who run things are evil, and the people who can change things are stupid. Those stupid people are the silent majority. As for Donald Trump, I don't think he is stupid. This leaves the question of good and evil. The man is no saint, but he seems less slimy than Hillary, Jeb, and the rest. Being rich affords him the luxury of running out of conviction than necessity. But let's be clear about one thing. The biggest thing Trump believes in is not God nor a set of principles but in himself. This desire for ego gratification makes him as bad or worse than all those other politicians. Trump might make it to the White House, but he will almost certainly turn it into the Trump White House replete with all the bad taste he is famous for in all his properties. The man claims to love America, but he loves himself more. I suspect he will be the pride before our fall.