When President Trump insisted last month that his supporters included a substantial silent majority that isn’t represented in the polls, the Democrats and the corporate media devoted a surprisingly large amount of energy to “debunking” the claim. Indeed, their reaction was so shrill and ubiquitous that they seemed, to paraphrase Hamlet’s hapless mother, to be protesting too much. A new poll released Wednesday by the Cato Institute suggests a reason for this frantic reaction to Trump’s assertion. The survey of 2,000 Americans 18 years of age and older unambiguously indicates that the reluctance of moderates and conservatives to share their political views has increased significantly since 2017.
Many Democrats mistakenly believe this illusory dominance of the public debate means they have won the hearts and minds of the electorate.
According to the poll, conducted on Cato’s behalf by YouGov, “The share of moderates who self‐censor increased 7 points from 57% to 64%, and the share of conservatives rose from 70% to 77%, also a 7‐point increase.” Perhaps more significantly, strong liberals constituted the only ideological cohort that indicated more freedom to express their political opinions. Only 42 percent indicate that they self-censor. A majority of committed liberals (58 percent) feel free to say what they think. This is why those with left-leaning political views seem to dominate the political discourse. They are doing most of the talking while moderates and conservatives keep their own counsel and wait patiently for Election Day.
Many Democrats mistakenly believe this illusory dominance of the public debate means they have won the hearts and minds of the electorate. As we saw in 2016, however, the reluctance of right-of-center voters to argue with puffed-up progressives simply meant they wanted to avoid shaming and social ostracism. They kept their peace until it really mattered — when they reached the voting booth. That’s the beauty of the secret ballot — people who decline to be bullied by “strong liberals” can make their voices heard loud and clear in November. According to the Cato survey, the number of people choosing this path is far larger than it was in 2016. Moreover, they span the entire demographic spectrum:
Nearly two‐thirds of Latino Americans (65%) and White Americans (64%) and nearly half of African Americans (49%) have political views they are afraid to share. Majorities of men (65%) and women (59%), people with incomes over $100,000 (60%) and people with incomes less than $20,000 (58%), people under 35 (55%) and over 65 (66%), religious (71%) and non‐religious (56%) all agree that the political climate prevents them from expressing their true beliefs.
You will note that word, “afraid,” in the first sentence in the above passage. This points to one of the primary reasons Trump won last time and why many of his supporters remain silent. The Cato survey tells us a lot about the political climate in which Trump supporters are forced to live. Just this week, as the Washington Free Beacon reports, “A Michigan school district fired a popular high school teacher and coach after he pointed out that ‘Trump is our president’ on social media.” Surely, it has to be more complicated than that, right? Nope. Here’s the tweet that got this school teacher fired: “I’m done being silent. @realDonaldTrump is our president. Don’t @ me.” The Free Beacon describes what happened next:
Varsity baseball coach and social studies teacher Justin Kucera said Walled Lake school district officials hauled him into a closed-door meeting after he indicated his support for President Trump’s speech to reopen schools. He told the Washington Free Beacon the Walled Lake Western principal and district superintendent gave him an ultimatum: be fired or resign.… Kucera was a popular figure at the high school before the episode, according to parents.
This is the fate of many Trump supporters who have decided that they will no longer be silent. As it happens, the Cato survey digs into this issue with the following question: “Would you support or oppose firing a business executive from their job if it became known that they privately donated money to [Trump]?” No fewer than 50 percent of “strong liberals” supported firing Trump donors. Cato’s write-up of the poll claims that about a third of “strong conservatives” would support firing Biden donors, but this finding stretches credulity. Has anyone reading this ever heard of a similar outrage perpetrated on any worker for simply acknowledging the legitimacy of Trump’s predecessor?
It is not, however, difficult to find additional examples of Trump supporters terminated for such heinous crimes as wearing the dreaded MAGA hat. Michael J. Dale, a longtime employee of the Indianapolis Department of Public Works, was fired for that offense. James Bunner, a journalist for an NBC affiliate in Austin, was terminated for wearing a MAGA hat while covering a Trump rally. Frank Skinner lost his job as a mall Santa in Waycross, Georgia, for having a photo taken while wearing a Trump hat. Lizzy Mathews was fired from Denver Health Medical Center, where she had worked as a nurse for 27 years, for saying she supported Trump in answer to a question about who she expected to win in 2016.
Countless additional examples can found on any internet search engine. Consequently it isn’t difficult to fathom why moderates and conservatives are more reluctant to share their political views than they were in 2017. Trump’s silent majority is real, and it is much larger than it was four years ago. What should scare the pants off any sentient Democrat is the number of Latinos (65 percent) and black Americans (49 percent) who self-censor. For them, there is no risk of social ostracism for supporting Biden or any other Democrat. The only plausible reason for their reticence is support for Trump. The president is about to make history with the magnitude of his victory and, more importantly, who will vote for him.