There is a long way from Richard Nixon’s presidency to Donald Trump’s. The country is not the same. Although the United States is not as it was then, Trump has dusted off the electoral manual of his admired Nixon to face elections in times of social upheaval.
“Tonight I ask you, the vast silent majority of compatriots, for your support,” Nixon said in a televised speech on November 3, 1969.
His call was directed at Americans who were not demonstrating against the Vietnam War, participating in the counterculture or in public speeches. He appealed to the suburban middle class, allegedly overshadowed in the media by a vociferous minority.
“The silent majority is stronger than ever”
Faced with the noise and agitation of the demonstrations that have been going on from coast to coast since the death of the African American George Floyd in police custody, on May 25, Trump has reiterated this Nixonian idea in numerous tweets and appearances. “The silent majority will reign,” he said on July 14. In another message, after six days, he reiterated: “The silent majority is stronger than ever.”
They are just two examples of a slogan that has accompanied a message in defense of the legacy of Confederate statues and deployment of federal agents in several Democratic-dominated cities. This is another Nixonian outline of presenting oneself as the defender of law and order against the street riots starring “anarchists”, an anathema expression.
The message has a recipient, the suburbs – especially housewives – where the protests are seen with fear and anger.
Just this week, the president scorned polls that put him as a loser to Democrat Joe Biden, even in conservative states. He called them false and manipulated.
He did not refrain from remembering what had happened four years ago, when he was defeated before getting off the bus. “We have data that we are doing better than in 2016,” he stressed.
The shadow of doubt
Analysts don’t know if Republican voter is hiding from polls
His words should always be taken with caution because of his ability to fable or hyperbole. But specialists in the field do not rule out hiding a magma under the surface.
“With all the polls showing Joe Biden leading, a question arises, are Trump voters missing from these polls?” Asks Nate Cohn, an expert in The New York Times on forecasting.
“Self-identified Democrats outnumber Republicans in many polls, sometimes by a wide margin. This may be simply because there are more Democrats than Republicans. For critics, the partisan composition of most polls is self-evidence that they are out of step in a highly divided country,” he adds. Prospects will be biased if liberals are shown to answer the phone more than conservatives, and the polls will endorse those critics.
Can Donald Trump take a rabbit out of his top hat and win reelection? No, according to most analysts, reflecting general disapproval of government management. But don’t rule it out yet,” says Dan Senor in the Financial Times. This former adviser to the candidate Mitt Romney who worked in the Bush administration stresses that the impact of the pandemic, from the health and economic aspects, and the period of tension in the streets makes it difficult for him to be re-elected.
It qualifies, however, that the opinions on Joe Biden remain weak. “There has been very little exposure to voters. Until the end of June, he has not had a public appearance in three months, he has rarely left home or used the networks,” he adds.
The Trump campaign has been dedicated to spreading that, while the president was exposing himself, his opponent “was hiding in a basement avoiding questions from the Americans.” They went on to say that, after a long political career and eight years as vice president, citizens still do not know who Joe Biden is.
The Democratic candidate held a press conference on Tuesday in which he contradicted the senile image that Trump gives him and, without committing any of his blunders, gave an impression of tranquillity, in the opposite pole to the president.
“Many Americans, those who don’t like me and those who do, see me as the antithesis of Trump. And I think I am. People know me. They know about my imperfections, all about me,” he replied.
According to Senor, Trump’s opportunities will increase “if he is seen talking about the steps to bring Covid-19 under control while reviving the economy.”
A rabbit in the top hat
President plays trick that Joe Biden has been “hidden in the basement”
This premise is based on the fact that the president seemed to have rectified and recognized the severity of the virus by recommending the mask and cancelling the cost of the Republican convention in Jacksonville as prevention. But the conversion was short-lived. Trump has once again tweeted conspiracies in favour of hydroxychloroquine – officially despised and endorsed by unconventional doctors, including a doctor who alerts against sexual relations with the devil – and against the face mask and the epidemiologist Anthony Fauci, the scientific face of the White House.
Trump recalled the high approval that Fauci enjoys among Americans. He envied him with a “nobody loves me” in view of his numbers. And he added: “It can only be my personality.”