Why Clinton's Basket Full of Deplorables Matters

Don't be so quick to shrug off HRC's potshot saying half -- or now some-- of Trumps supporters are a basket full of deplorables.

First off, a any competent, focused candidate should never, ever, attack or smear the voters of the other side.  Call the candidate whatever you like. And the same goes for his or her top staff and surrogates.

But the voters? Never. It matters not if the candidate is right or wrong. An attack on the voters, especially one as vitriolic as Hillary's, demonstrates nothing but arrogant contempt for ordinary American voters.

I will now bore you with my own experience in this.  Remember Obama's Spring 2008 remark about disillusioned rural folks who cling to their guns and God? Well, it was Mayhill Fowler of The Huffington Post who broke that story. And, guess what? I was one of three editors who made the decision to publish that story.  And I was the editor who rewrote its final, published version.

For those with short memories, at the time I was an Obama supporter, as was Mayhill, as were the two other editors.  But the truth is the truth and I am a journalist before I am a propagandist or even a partisan.

When I was told about the possible story by my then professional partner and one of the other editors, Amanda Michel, I just shrugged. So what, I thought.  Obama's right and he's just calling it as it is.

Amanda, however, comes from rural Vermont (was very much a Democrat) but she saw the whole thing differently.  She pointed out that Obama was making this charge to a wealthy San Francisco private audience who certainly felt much more morally superior after he made those remarks.  She pointed out that, right, wrong on in between, Obama's words were an affront to those he referred to who just might have more complex lives and responses than he was suggesting.

We ran the piece and it went viral.

There is absolutely no difference between what Obama said and what Hillary said with the difference being what she said was much nastier (I don't think Obama's remarks were ill-spirited... just tone deaf).

Now, Clinton hurried to add in the next paragraph of her speech that there a another "half" of Trump voters who had some legit gripes and concerns and that were not then in the basket of homophobes, Islamaphobes, sexists, racists, and mother-rapers that she referred to a moment earlier.

I have little doubt that there are all kinds of screwballs and deplorables and God-Knows-Whats supporting Trump. I know that for a fact as there are those kind of folks everywhere, in every campaign. And in most coffee shops, bowling alleys and universities as well. I will even easily concede that there very well might be an outsized percentage of them supporting Trump.

No matter. Ever talk to the delegates on the floor of a Democratic Convention as I have so many times? I mean the folks with sequined donkey hats?  Here is the basic underlying fact: gigantic percentages of American voters of both parties know jack shit about politics...an ignorance re-enforced hourly by the idiocy of most American political reporting.  People vote for this candidate or another for all kinds of reasons. Indeed, the best predictor is what party their Mommy and Daddy voted for.

Most Americans cannot explain to you the difference between Right and Left.  They are not sure if Hitler was a Communist or a National Socialist or a Social Democrat.  I would guess that 95% of people who oppose NAFTA and the TPP (as I do) have never read either and could not remotely tell you HOW it will cost American jobs.  A majority of Republicans still think Obama was born in Kenya and that is reason enough to vote for Trump.  Others, who do not read The Nation or National Review, hate all politics (for pretty good reasons) and will vote for Trump merely because he also appears to hate all politicians.

Some Democrats, too many Democrats, want to vote for Clinton primarily because she is a woman. A very poor political argument.  Other yo-yo's, I kid you not, say they support her idea of implementing Sharia Law (watch this hilarious video).  In short, American politics are media and image driven circus with little serious substance and all kinds of people vote for all kinds of rational and highly irrational reasons.

On a more substantial basis, the deep crisis the Democratic Party finds itself in -- even with the White House much more probable than not-- is that it is a feckless party that long ago abandoned whatever roots it had.  It is a party that speaks primarily to an upwardly mobile professional and technical class and that pays lip service to the middle class, completely ignores the poor, and implements a foreign policy completely in accord with some of the worst traditions of American Exceptionalism.

Hillary Clinton's off the cuff slash at Trump voters was not a gaffe or a mistake.  It was a clear dog whistle to BMW and Volvo drivers that they will feel much better about themselves if the vote for her along with all other legit voters and thereby disassociate themselves from Walmart shoppers, pick up drives and other lower forms of life.

P.S. Just as an historical aside.  I think most would agree that the Golden Age of the Democrats was under FDR and the New Deal and they would be right.  It was a great time for the nation.  But FDR would have never been elected if it were not for the block of yellow dog Dixiecrats who were down-to-the-bone segregationists, racists and bigots.  That's politics.

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