To Democrats



President Trump waves to the crowd at a rally.

At a campaign rally in 2016, President Donald Trump declared, “The silent majority is back, and we’re going to take our country back.” In response to the Black Lives Matter protests last June, he tweeted again “SILENT MAJORITY.” At the time, he was languishing nearly ten points behind Democratic challenger Joe Biden in national polls. Nevertheless, Trump was convinced that a significant portion of Americans had not responded to polls and remained as his adamant supporters. He was right. 

The 2016 polls showing Hilary Clinton’s four-point lead over Donald Trump was an error that surprised the world. This year’s president-elect, Joe Biden, also polled better with a five-point lead compared his results on election day. Mainstream media wildly underestimated Trump’s sway in swing states. We can no longer ignore that, so far, more than 71 million people have voted for Donald Trump in 2020. In this battle for the soul of the nation there is no obvious winner. 

How can 48% of America support someone so blatantly unfit to be President? From exacerbating racial tensions to his horrible handling of the pandemic, Trump has given four years of proof that he shouldn’t be President. As Van Jones, a political commentator for CNN, put it, there is a difference between political and moral victory. Joe Biden might have won a political victory, but the moral victory Democrats hoped for – a blue landslide that catapulted Democrats into power in the White House and Congress – was destroyed by Trump’s silent majority. 

I’m sure that Trump supporters also don’t understand why Americans can support a candidate so “anti-America” who will turn the U.S into a socialist country. Now, there is only one question: how can America move forward if each side views the other as “evil”? 

To reconcile a divided America, Biden voters should first consider if the silent majority is really that silent or if we are just deaf to their complaints. Nine million more people have voted for Trump in 2020 than in 2016. Trump-supporting Republicans managed to gain seats in the House and is likely, with Democrats vying for two seats in Georgia, a primarily Republican state, to be on its way to control the Senate. Even with Trump out of the White House, half of the country will continue to espouse his rhetoric, and the power of his base will ensure Trump and his ideology continues to be an extremely disruptive force in politics. 

Simply closing our social circles off to those we agree with will not help convince the other side to compromise. Even at Hotchkiss, staying in communication with those whose political views compromise our own moral convictions is difficult. Students might find it easier to simply cut off those who support a different candidate on social media and in real life, but it is crucial for America to heal from the past four years of extreme polarization. 

To convince Trump voters to compromise, Democrats need to be able to listen to them to understand why they support him. CNN reported that most Trump supporters get their news disproportionately from local television, regional websites, and Facebook. These voters are surrounded by false conspiracies that President Trump himself has baselessly defended, such as the falsehood that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reduced the COVID-19 death toll, and that QAnon, a child sex-trafficking ring consiparcy theory involving high-profile Democrats, is plotting to remove him from office. By paying attention to those voters who are closed off in a spiral of fake news, Democrats can help the other side gain some clarity. 

For the country to move forward as a whole, and for Biden to actually achieve more of the policies he promised to deliver, politicians need to be willing to cross party lines to limit Trump’s legacy. People must be willing to actively dismantle the wave of hate that Trump has set off. We must communicate and compromise with the other half of the country that voted for Trump. Without their support, the country will remain deadlocked and eventually a Trumpist will come back to claim the presidency.