You got to hand it to him: Trump has a way of turning reality on its head.
Take, for instance, this notion of the “silent majority,” his characterization
of the American voters he claims to represent. Who are these people?
In a recent rally in Greenville, South Carolina, the Donald tells a reporter
how he sees them:
So you have a silent majority in this country that feels
abused, that feels forgotten, and that feels mistreated.
And it’s a term that hasn’t been brought up in many years,
as you know. People haven’t heard that term in many years.
And it’s sort of interesting as to why. There are all different
reasons, but I think it’s a very descriptive term. Every time
I speak, I have sold out crowds. Every time I speak, I have
standing ovations–every single time. It’s the silent majority.
They want to see wins. They want to see us have victory.
We’re not having victory anymore in this country…
Let’s take a moment and parse the logic here. In his view of reality, it is not
those who actually endure the inequities of our culture (women, people of
color, queer folks, immigrants, etc.) that constitute the abused, forgotten,
or mistreated. Rather, it is those who feel that they’ve been on the losing
side of Obama’s America that require his attention and advocacy. And because
these are the people who flock to his rallies, naturally they comprise a “majority”
of the American public. (You may have to be egomaniacal yourself to make
that last leap.)
That this phrase is dog whistle freighted with “racial overtones” should hardly
come as a surprise. As reported in The Washington Post yesterday:
For many, the “silent majority” is a not-so-subtle reference
to white people who need/want to take “their” culture and
country back. And, the argument goes, they would be taking
it back from those who aren’t white.
Trump may have no interest in the historical provenance of the “silent majority,”
but it is worth remembering that it first appeared in a speech given by Richard
Nixon in 1969, ostensibly “to rally whites against perceived encroaching threats
to their culture and way of life.”
H/t: Real Clear Politics