The Silent Majority Isn’t Static
David S left a comment to a recent post by Marc that indicates a lack of subtleties in his view of the political order:
– the silent majority-? Marc, where were the silent ones during the last election? The election that was this country’s last real political referendum. Were the silent majority unable to rouse themselves for an election about the course forward concerning two full scale wars that had ground on for years? Were they equally uninterested in a tanking economy? Did they just decide they had better things to do on election day? Silent majority? I know its a Nixon term, but it probably can be applied to the present administration and not a noisy minority.
Considering the facts that we are in the midst of war and recession and fear and superstition- when the going gets tough, the cowardly go to tea parties.
The obvious rejoinder is that “the silent majority” did, in fact, rouse itself in the last election. The anger now evident on the political scene is attributable to its sense that it was duped. The American people thought that they were getting, with Obama and the Democrats, a centrist, reasonable party. The assumption, generally, is that the two major parties are mere shades of the same thing, and the United States wanted the other shade, after the Bush presidency. Instead, the Democrats’ mantra, when they’d been handed power, became “elections have consequences,” and they’ve set about proving that those consequences were not to Republican partisans so much as to the American people — the silent majority.
“Now, a lot of those voters appear to be bolting to the GOP,” Holland said. “Republicans now have a whopping 38-point advantage on the generic ballot among voters who dislike both parties.”
Republicans also have a large and growing advantage among independents. Sixty-two percent of independents questioned say they would vote for the generic Republican in their district, with three in 10 saying they’d cast a ballot for the generic Democrat. That 32-point margin for the Republicans among independents is up from an 8-point advantage last month.
The hope, now, is that the Republicans will at least conclude that the real consequence of elections is to the elected — that they must actually govern as if they are representatives. As the emergence of the Tea Party shows, this may be the last chance for the “shades of the same thing” bipartisan structure to function to the satisfaction of voters. The Republicans are benefiting from the lack of other options, and if they do, indeed, win hugely in November, they’ve only got this one chance to prove that a third option is not needed.