Biden’s Silent Majority Is Still Trucking
Turns out I should’ve listened to me.
In March 2020, I observed that for all the talk of the Nixon/Trump “silent majority,” these days their voters had gotten pretty loud. The new “silent majority” was a different group, one that was powering the unlikely success of then candidate, Joseph Robinette Biden.
He doesn’t have a red-hatted mob chanting for the jailing of his political enemies. His campaign events don’t draw massive crowds. There aren’t doorknockers fanned out across the states. . . . They are working-class African-Americans and middle-class suburbanites who are too busy with jobs and families to spend time going to rallies or spamming Facebook. They don’t want a revolution—they just want to stop having to talk about this president’s behavior with their kids. . . . They are the Human Scum and independents and moderate Democrats in the Dallas and Houston suburbs who appeared to give Biden an improbable primary victory in Texas.
Seems like I was onto something?
Alas, in the weeks before the midterms I didn’t fully take in the wisdom of my younger self. From inflation to Afghanistan to the Kari Lake freak show I was subjected to in Arizona, it seemed that Biden’s majority may have cracked. That enough of his soft supporters were unsatisfied with their new normal. And that the Republican energy would carry the day.
Across the country—at least everywhere north of the DeSantis-Dixon line—the normies held serve. Voters split their ticket, backing the least-Trumpy GOP governors at huge margins over their ticket-mates who were more comfortable in Steve Bannon’s War Room. In New Hampshire, Chris Sununu ran 25 points ahead of The General; in Ohio, Mike DeWine ran 18 points ahead of Vance; and, as I reported would happen, in Georgia, Brian Kemp ran 8 points ahead of Herschel Walker.
Voters rejected the election deniers, the candidates who planned to institute a radically more repressive abortion regime, and the wild-eyed loons that the former president had foisted upon the electorate during the primary season. (As it turns out, the Arizona governor’s race that colored my perception might just be the exception that proves the rule; as of this writing, it remains too close to call.)
This “Biden silent majority” may not think the country is on the “right path” per se. They do not approve of everything President Biden has done. In fact, many of them don’t approve of Biden at all: According to exit polls, voters who “somewhat disapproved” of Biden went Democrat by 4 points.
When faced with the choice, for these voters the new normal was preferable to handing the keys back to a litterbox of freaks who are intent on burning the country to the ground.
Nowhere was this message more stark than in Colorado’s 3rd District, which covers the red, Western Slope of my home state. Growing up, it had been a swing district, represented by the now extinct “green” Republicans or the type of Democrat who wears a cowboy hat. But in recent years, the 3rd has drifted more and more to the right, culminating in sending a conspiracy-mongering gun nut to Congress and putting a QAnon loon in charge of elections. Going into the midterms, the GOP had a 9 point edge in the district.
Well last night, in what was supposed to be a “red wave” where Republicans pushed into Democratic turf, the opposite happened in Colorado’s 3rd. The Western Slope normies were sick of all the bullshit and ready to put a check on the cray cray. Adam Frisch tapped into their frustrations, running a strong race as an independent-minded pragmatist who will be a “workhorse” rather than a troll, and might just have provided a model for Democrats trying to regain some ground in red America where the GOP has overstepped. As things stand this morning he’s leading narrowly, poised to send Lauren Boebert back under the bridge whence she came.
There have now been four straight election seasons—the 2020 Democratic primaries, the 81 million Biden voters in November 2020, the Democratic primaries in 2022, and Tuesday’s midterm—where the new silent majority has shown up and showed out.
At a time where the craziness can feel overwhelming, that it surrounds us and envelops us, these voters in the big middle of our polity are doing everything in their power to rein it back in.
And until the Republican party demonstrates that it’s listening to their frustrations, this new silent majority is likely to keep showing up to the polls and making itself heard.