Remember when Donald Trump tried to make the argument that Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” comment was as bad as Mitt Romney’s infamous “47%” remark? As if he need more statements that could be rated with Pinocchios.
In 2012, Romney was running closely behind President Obama despite being viciously attacked and successfully cast as a callous, white collar corporate raider with little regard for the average worker. So, when audio surfaced of him talking to high dollar donors about how he shouldn’t even bother talking to people too poor to pay taxes, it looked really bad. Like really bad.
In the end, Romney’s poll numbers never quite recovered from the ensuing onslaught as it not only solidified the “47%” as a voting bloc for Obama, but also drew away some independents who felt alienated by a candidate who didn’t appear to have “empathy” as a character trait.
Campaigns are defined by moments, and that was Romney’s. Last month, Republican’s thought Hillary Clinton had hers when she was caught on a private video saying that “half of Donald Trump’s supporters fit into a basket of deplorables.”
Republican’s pounced, saying that Clinton had written off half the electorate and was insulting half of America. And at the second Republican debate, Trump mentioned this again.
Well, she wasn’t doing any of that. And after the video of Trump making sexually aggressive remarks to an Access Hollywood host emerged this week, it turns out she was right.
The point Clinton was making was that Trump has inspired a portion of this country to become politically active in a way that they weren’t before. Sure, these people may have voted before and probably voted for Republicans. But before they were voting for Republicans due to their traditionally conservative principles. This time around, those principles have been drowned out by the cacophony of dog whistles emanating from Donald Trump’s twitter account.
Clinton was acknowledging a truth about Trump supporters that I have yet to have been able to wrap my head around. The “half” she was referring to are people that hold values that have been (rightly) left behind as the country has progressed. These people maintain feelings of white supremacy, nationalism, and sexism, and they have never had a candidate to vote for for those reasons… until now.
This is what should bother the other “half.” Even if they are supporting Trump because they are Republicans and want a Republican in the White House, they are aligning themselves with someone who plays to the worst demons in this country.
You are the company you keep and it should – yet somehow doesn’t – bother the regular Republicans who are voting for someone who the KKK describes as a dream candidate.
The tape from Access Hollywood where Trump declares that he can force himself on whomever he wants to, ought to be a bright red line in the sand for any Trump supporter who considers themselves a decent person. There are some out there who will see this comment and agree that it was merely “locker room talk” and still back Trump. Those people are deplorable, and if you find the comments troubling but still support him, then you’re right there in that basket with them.
By the transitive property (for those of you who are rusty since 8th grade that is if A=B, and B=C, then A=C) if you support Trump, who is supported unanimously by white supremacists and sexists, then aren’t you worried that makes you one of them?
Trump has rallied the worst demons throughout America and has built his toothpick tower of support on their backs. The good people who support Trump are unwittingly lending their names to those believe in deplorable values. When David Duke says that his guy gets 40% of the vote, he’s including the “good” people in that number, too. If that were me, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.
Clinton’s remark was acknowledging an uncomfortable truth about the sad state of this election, that while awkward and uncomfortable, is true and the public knows it. The 47% will be a reliable and solid voting block for years to come, but hopefully the deplorables go the way of the dodo.