Politics, by its very nature, is a noisy business. It is the clash of competing voices, all clamoring to be heard, and each one convinced that louder is better. It is a carnival midway full of flashy barkers trying to get your attention.
But this annoying cacophony is really just a small smidgen of the political population, a vocal minority. Its merely the audible surface, the white noise of what’s really going on. I’ll wager that, in Wyoming, there aren’t many more than a thousand or so people making all this racket.
This small but loquacious chorus includes the politicians themselves (incumbent and challenger) party apparatchiks from the state to the precinct level, and commentators like me who pen letters to the editor, social media posts and political commentary.
We band of brothers & sisters, acting big and talking smart as we read the chicken entrails and prophecy. We noisy few.
And we jawbone and argue and rant that we know how the cow eats the political cabbage here in The Big Empty. And its really pretty funny!
And, more often than we like, we get drowned out by the Silent Majority on election day. Its only on those occasions that our punditry is confirmed or laid waste by the real world. And it is to that quiet wisdom that we all should defer.
It was Richard Nixon who first coined the term in a speech written by Pat Buchanan (the finest political poet who ever lived) when he said, “And so tonight – to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans – I ask for your support.”
And it worked! Nixon won his next election in an historic landslide. And twenty years earlier the Silent Majority, although not yet named, weighed in and confounded the loudmouth pundits who wrote premature headlines that Dewey had defeated Truman.
They may not make much noise, but when these folks choose to weigh in, then the needle moves.
Who are they, this Silent Majority in Wyoming? They are the quiet folks who gather in coffeeshops and work in welding shops and cubicles from Wilson to Pine Bluff, from Evanston to Sundance. They keep their own counsel and play their cards close to the vest. They never tip their hand.
Every political faction in the state claims that they represent this powerful voting bloc, and that the Silent Majority agrees with their dogma. But this is just idle lip-flapping.
Wyoming’s Silent Majority cares little for political posturing. They’re more concerned with putting groceries on the table, finishing up branding and getting kids to baseball practice than they are with rhetoric.
Nobody knows how these folks will vote until the votes are counted. And this fact drives pundits and politicians to fits of apoplexy.
And this is their year!
Perhaps at no other time in Wyoming’s history has their voice been more important. With GOP inertia pulling us further toward an authoritarian, theocratic and fully-armed future, the choice in the Cowboy State is stark.
If Wyoming’s Silent Majority comes down on the side of Oral Eathorne’s MAGA carnival, then we can expect a future in which Romeo Bouchard is appointed Superintendent of the State School for Wayward Girls, and the Wyoming Supreme Court is replaced by the Park County Men’s Full Gospel Gun & Glee Club.
Can you say, “Governor Bray” without gagging???
So, here’s a call to action…first to the 170.000 eligible voters in Wyoming who aren’t yet registered. Get registered and vote! All the cool kids are doing it, and its really important this year.
And to Wyoming’s Silent Majority…give serious thought to what kind of state you want your kids to call home, because how you vote will make that determination. Speak up on election day!
We’re all listening.