Since Donald Trump launched his campaign for the presidency, conservative and liberal pundits have both struggled to compare him to candidates and leaders of previous generations.
CNN reported in November that some Republicans described him as a fascist, but others have more kindly compared him to former governor of Alabama, George Wallace, a segregationist who ran for the White House in the 1960s, according to Politico.
Democratic strategist and author Douglas E. Schoen made the case that Trump is a close successor to former President Richard Nixon in his biography, “The Nixon Effect.”
Schoen argues that Trump could follow the same roadmap that brought Nixon the White House in 1972, saying that Trump “is the living expression of the silent majority.”
“He's a political force. He has upended our politics. If you don't believe me, ask [former Florida Gov.] Jeb Bush,” Schoen wrote, reports the Washington Examiner. Schoen explained that Nixon helped create the red-state-versus-blue-state divide to help secure the vote, campaigning on the notion that his ideas were like those who felt unrepresented by their government, despite being moderate and even liberal on some issues such as civil liberties.
“Few presidents have run more provocative, polarizing campaigns, yet few presidents have achieved more centrist, mainstream policy goals. It is a paradox worthy of Nixon himself," Schoen wrote.
Schoen isn’t first writer to postulate Nixon is Trump’s predecessor, Salon reported. In his 1998 book, “Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady: Richard Nixon vs. Helen Gahagan Douglas, 1950,” Greg Mitchell wrote that Nixon also leveraged his taking-on-the-establishment status while running for Congress -- a tactic that Trump heavily relies on.
Although Schoen said former President Bill Clinton used similar tactics, he said that the so-called “silent majority … is different, they're angrier now.”
Trump has personally used the term on Twitter, writing in August that “The silent majority is taking our country back,” followed by his campaign slogan, “make America great again.”
The term “silent majority” has been linked to Trump’s campaign for months, largely due to his adamant rejection of “political correctness” and his scapegoating of “outsider” groups -- immigrants, Muslims, the media or whoever else appeals to Conservative mistrust.
“I do not feel safe,” 42-year-old Trump rally attendee Loree Ballenberger told The Atlantic in November. “People are coming in across the border, and we have no idea where they are coming from.”
Kathy Parker, a former elementary school teacher at the same rally, agreed. “I’m against the anchor babies, and I’m against the Muslims,” she said. “We can’t have churches in their countries -- why should they have mosques in ours? He is the only one with the guts to speak out and say it.”
Though calling upon the “silent majority,” which The Washington Post reports is actually about 30 percent shy of a statistical majority, is a tactic pulled straight from Nixon’s playbook, the policy ideas espoused by “Tricky Dick” Nixon remain a far cry from those touted by Trump.