Trumping political success through an irate silent majority

Four years ago Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga rebirthed the musical-cicada of the 1937 song, “The Lady Is a Tramp” . . . which makes me think that maybe we could be facing in 2016 a reenactment of the 1968 presidential election, this time Donald Trump taking the role of George Wallace; a political musical that could appropriately be given the lyrical title, “The Politician Is a Trump.”

Alabama’s Gov. Wallace, unable to represent the Democratic Party in the presidential election, created back then his own party: The American Independent Party; a party that by embracing Wallace’s views on segregation gave Richard Nixon ease-of-entry to the White House. Donald Trump, with his equally verboten stand on immigration as Geo. Wallace was on segregation, is not likely to receive the seal of approval from the old guard in the Republican Party, which brings the possibility that Mr. Trump, in boastful arrogance, might decide to invest a few of his many millions in a third party candidacy which could add a new chapter to his book, “The Art of the Deal,” if elected; or create fresh material for his television pseudo-business repertoire, if turned down by the electorate.

Richard Nixon made hay of the term “Silent majority” back in November 1969 to defend his Vietnam War policy. It has since been used by American politicians to legitimize and expand the nature of a non-descript huge following they claim as their own, quite often asserting the existence of magnified populism and an implied democracy. Nixon’s baton seems to have been now passed to Donald Trump, as he submits his candidacy for the highest political office in the land, and grabs the microphone to broadcast his unfiltered stand on immigration. A message that questionably-qualified experts in the media are quick to devour, then defecate on a public more receptive to shallow issues dealing with celebrities than anything of social significance or depth.

In truth, there is no silent majority in the United States of America, and there has never existed one other than that represented by the number of converted-to-dust ancestors. A collection of vocal minorities, yes; but most definitely not a political silent majority! (Oftentimes, however, low voter turnout may confuse us to the possible existence of a silent politically-indifferent majority; a topic worthy of study by our social scientists.)

There are, nonetheless, silent substantial minorities bordering the majority rim on some specific critical issues that affect the body politic; their standing on those issues not adopted or represented by either of the two ruling parties openly because of political “incorrectness” or unsavory bigotry which politicians prefer to overlook or deny. These days, the unwillingness, or incapacity, of the government to secure the nation’s borders from waves of economic invaders, negatively tagged as illegals by some, and positively by others as undocumented immigrants, is an issue not being properly, or directly, addressed politically by America’s Tweedledee and Tweedledum parties.

It should come as no surprise when a politician, or would-be politician, unceremoniously breaks ranks with the party to claim leadership on a specific issue that overshadows the rest, and immigration seems to be one in our current political cycle, that such individual is going for broke, either because of his moral standing on such issue, or because he is powerful enough, usually through wealth, where personal risk is minimal or nonexistent. Enter billionaire Donald Trump. He may appear as a clown to the more sedate segment of the US population, but he’s nobody’s fool and can also break the straightjacket of an imposed political correctness simply because his wealth and power permit it.

For all the polls taken on how Americans feel about almost any issue under the sun, a number of topics or issues seem out-of-bounds for pollsters; and how Americans in their diversity feel about immigration is one of them, remaining closeted so as not to create additional problems for an already fragmented society. Trump, just like many others, senses that the majority of rank-and-file Republicans resent the do-nothing approach to resolve the ever-increasing number of illegal, or undocumented, residents, possibly exceeding 7 percent of the nation’s population. And that the non-Latino rank-and-file Democrats probably hold a similar majority.

Piling on by the dozen-and-a-half declared Republican candidates against outspoken Trump who’s now leading the pack might not be the best strategy for keeping the GOP whole. And a rebuke by the Bobbsey Twins, war hawk senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain, will only fuel the existing party dissension.

Much of Europe is facing the socio-economic-political reality of a Sub-Saharan economic invasion, just like the US is facing in its border with Mexico. Politicians, whether in the EU or the US, must confront and resolve the problems created by such reality; and must do so at their career-peril . . . or a Trump-brand politician will replace them.

© 2015 Ben Tanosborn

Ben Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at

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