Populism and the Silent Majority – NYTimes.com

3 Nov

The legacies of Nixon’s pursuit of the silent majority can be found across the political spectrum. In 1972, the community organizer Saul Alinsky portrayed the silent majority as “up for grabs” and promised to “show the middle class their real enemies: the corporate power elite that runs and ruins the country.” In 1980, the Religious Right televangelist Jerry Falwell proclaimed that “God is calling millions of Americans in the so-often silent majority to join in the moral-majority crusade to turn America around.” In his 1981 inaugural, Ronald Reagan updated Nixon’s formula by informing the “heroes” of America — an allegedly classless majority made up of factory workers and entrepreneurs — that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” . . .

Mr. Obama’s challenge in 2012 is not the ideological fervor of Tea Party conservatives, but rather the recognition by many working-class and middle-class voters that both parties favor Wall Street over Main Street. While activist groups on the right and left compete to portray big government or big business as the enemy, the silent majority is still out there in the volatile political center, up for grabs.

via Populism and the Silent Majority – NYTimes.com.

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