The party whose candidate has dished out some cutting insults against almost every group of Americans, except for perhaps white males, is offended by Hillary Clinton labeling half of their presidential nominee’s supporters a “basket of deplorables.”
After Clinton’s remarks at a fundraiser this Friday, the aggrieved Trump team soon mobilized into full attack mode. Predictively, their fake indignation did not even come close to representing what Clinton actually said.
Vice presidential candidate, Mike Pence, said, “Hillary Clinton said last night at a big fundraiser in New York City that the American people, the millions of Americans who are supporting my running mate…[they] were described in the most deplorable of terms.”
Pence went on to say, “She referred to those people as irredeemable… [Someone who has] such a low opinion of people who support this campaign should be denounced in the strongest possible terms.”
Of course Clinton did not accuse “the American people” of being deplorable nor did she refer to them as “irredeemable.” But facts have never stood in the way of some good talking points for Republicans.
What Clinton said was that “you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”
About the only thing in her statement you could quibble about is the percentage that occupies that basket of deplorables. Is it less or more? One thing that can’t be argued is that a significant number of Trump supporters gleefully revel in their hatred of fellow Americans not like them.
In this basket of deplorables you will find those supporters Trump boasted would still love him even if he shot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue. They are what some might call a solid base or others, a lost cause.
But Clinton also talked about the other half of Trump supporters who actually might be redeemable.
“But the other basket … of people,” said Clinton, “ are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different … Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”
While Clinton was right to recognize this group of desperate Trump supporters, it is unlikely many will abandon their revered savior. Trump, like all good snake oil salesmen, is offering up his secret elixir called “Hope” and that shiny bottle has them all mesmerized.
Photo | latimes.com