The Trump campaign has released a TV ad that directly addresses what is commonly referred to as cancel culture, the silencing of people who fear retribution from liberals, like trying to get you fired.

Polling backs up the effect. Polling shows that a majority of Americans, but particularly conservatives, fear expressing their views. The only people who are comfortable speaking out are people who are strongly liberal.

Self-censoring, particularly by people who are centrist or right-of-center, is a political phenomenon that could have implications for the November 2020 election. Is there a “hidden Trump vote” as so many believe?

I think there’s no doubt there is a hidden Trump vote, the question is how large it is. Anecdotally, I’ve encountered what I’ll call the “dancing around” interaction. Someone who doesn’t know whether you support Trump makes a mild statement or comment designed to smoke out whether you are with them. Only when the proverbial secret handshake is returned do they open up. Such anecdotes are real, but aren’t proof of a large hidden Trump vote.

The Trump campaign obviously believes there is such a hidden vote, bullied into silence by cancel culture, because it just rolled out an ad running in states where voting starts early that addressess the issue:

President Trump’s campaign launched an ad blitz Monday to define Democrat Joseph R. Biden as a tool of the radical left, part of new campaign manager Bill Stepien’s urgent shift in strategy to refocus on states with expanded early voting.

The anti-Biden ads in Arizona, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina aired as Mr. Stepien also called on Mr. Biden to take part in more debates, noting that 16 states will begin voting before the first scheduled presidential debate on Sept. 29….

One of the Trump campaign’s new ads says Mr. Biden “has embraced the policies of the radical left” and highlights his support for increasing taxes and redirecting police funding.

The other ad, alluding to Mr. Trump’s banking on a “silent majority” to propel him to victory, features a Trump supporter silently displaying cue cards to register her displeasure with Mr. Biden.

“I’m afraid to say this out loud,” one card reads. “I won’t risk my children’s future with Biden.”

The phenomenon is real. We’ll find out in November how large that reality is.


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