Monday, September 12, 2016

Basket Case

It seems that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has made the first big gaffe of the general election cycle. While speaking at a fundraiser Friday night, Clinton called Trump’s supporters deplorables, labelling them as racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic. Naturally, Donald Trump, My Pants--I mean, Mike Pence (dammit!), Paul Ryan, Reince Preibus and other Republicans took Clinton to task for describing Trump's supporters as deplorables. 

Well, except she didn't.  

At the fundraiser, Hillary Clinton spoke to a metaphor she has used several times before. For example, just last week in an interview with Israeli television, Clinton said this: “Take Trump supporters and put them in two big baskets. There are what I call the deplorables -- the racists and the haters and the people who are drawn because they think somehow he’s going to restore an America that no longer exists.” In the other basket, Clinton went on to add, were honest, hard working Americans who feel frustrated and let down by their government. This description of Trump's supporters being in two baskets is not a new thing and one that has not riled up the Trump base before now.

So what changed? What made Friday night's remarks different and worthy of condemnation? 

One word. Let's go back to the Friday night speech and see if you can spot it. 

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables, right?” 

Yes, one word: "half" which as Annie Karni wrote for Politico, "turned Clinton’s regular discussion of the racist and bigoted elements of Trump’s campaign into an insult hurled at millions of Americans." 

Of course, the GOP's offense machine went into overdrive and accused Clinton of insulting all of Trump's supporters as being "deplorable". The Republican nominee himself called Clinton's remarks "the worst mistake of the political season" proving once more that Donald Trump has zero concept about how irony works.

Meanwhile, Donald's son Eric took it to the next level posting a picture from a Trump rally with the comment, "look at that #BasketOfDeplorables in Pensacola Florida last night."  

There was one small problem with Eric's photo of the Pensacola rally. It wasn't from the rally in Pensacola. It was from a rally in Dallas, Texas. 



By the way, Mark Cuban is the billionaire owner of that particular Dallas arena so I expect he would know what he was looking at.  Sportscaster Keith Olbermann has probably called a game or two from there. 

This type of response also typifies the Trump campaign's refusal to acknowledge or accept facts. One, Hillary Clinton did not call ALL of his supporters deplorable. Two, Trump has a lot of hard right (referred to often as "alt right") supporters who are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and Islamaphobic, urged on by Trump's own remarks. No less a blatant racist than David Duke of the Ku Klux Klan supports and endorses Trump. There are very real elements of (let's be blunt about this) deplorable people with ignorant, out of touch views who compose a significant part of Trump's base support.

But is it half? I saw some comments online that expressed the opinion that Hillary Clinton was lowballing that number. 

But in all seriousness, it doesn't take a lot of poison to poison a well. And even if Clinton's described "basket of deplorables" represents only a fraction of Trump's support, it's a fraction with a strong influence on the Trump campaign. But to quantify the number of deplorables is a dangerous thing. It's an error that Clinton herself acknowledged. 


“Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic,’ and that's never a good idea. I regret saying ‘half’ — that was wrong," Clinton said in a statement released Saturday afternoon. But she also added, "What's really ‘deplorable’ is that Donald Trump hired a major advocate for the so-called ‘alt-right’ movement to run his campaign and that David Duke and other white supremacists see him as a champion of their values. It's deplorable that Trump has built his campaign largely on prejudice and paranoia and given a national platform to hateful views and voices." 

While Clinton said that she "won't stop calling out bigotry and racist rhetoric in this campaign", she addressed those Trump supporters Clinton had not counted towards the deplorables. "I also meant what I said last night about empathy, and the very real challenges we face as a country where so many people have been left out and left behind. As I said, many of Trump's supporters are hard-working Americans who just don’t feel like the economy or our political system are working for them. I'm determined to bring our country together and make our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top."

Hillary Clinton has stumbled into a minefield and it only took one word to do it. But as Hillary herself has acknowledged and would do well to remember from here on out, it's a mistake to underestimate Donald Trump's supporters. Yes, a portion of those supporters do not represent the best of America. But whether that portion is a little or a lot, there's still a solid number of Trump support from people who are frustrated, who feel let down and forgotten in one way or another. They may not be in the basket of deplorables but they feel like they're in the proverbial handbasket; you know, the one that's going to hell. The key for Clinton is to convince them that Trump is more likely to push that basket towards hell than away from it. 

To read more, click here for the article on Politico.com.  

But before we wrap things up...



A basket of ADORABLES!!! (So cuuuuuuuuuute!)   

That's that for today. Thanks for dropping by. Another post is on the way for tomorrow. Sadly, we chat about politics some more. Sorry 'bout that but appears Hillary might be DEATHLY ILL!!!! Or not. We'll look at that tomorrow. 

Until next time, remember to be good to one another.  

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