Pundits on the left and right have been clutching their pearls over Hillary Clinton’s remark that roughly half of Trump’s supporters belong in a “basket of deplorables.”

Supporters worry about the political fallout ( given the media’s tendency to hold Clinton to a far higher standard than Trump, from whom they expect outrageous insults), while Clinton opponents claim to be “shocked, shocked” at the political incorrectness of it all. (Ignore those pictures of Trump supporters wearing tee-shirts saying things like “Trump the bitch” and  the videos from his rallies where supporters liberally used the “n word.” Ignore, too, the calls to “jail her” at the Republican convention. Unlike those appealing political messages, calling any voters “deplorable” is simply unforgivable.)

“Politically correct” or not, the statement was objectively inarguable. (Perhaps the percentage was off; I personally would have placed it above 50%.) A few “factoids”

Much like Trump’s alleged opposition to the Iraq War, this not an impossible claim to investigate. We know, for instance, some nearly 60 percent of Trump’s supporters hold “unfavorable views” of Islam, and 76 percent support a ban on Muslims entering the United States. We know that some 40 percent of Trump’s supporters believe blacks are more violent, more criminal, lazier, and ruder than whites. Two-thirds of Trump’s supporters believe the first black president in this country’s history is not American. These claim are not ancillary to Donald Trump’s candidacy, they are a driving force behind it.

Then there was the survey that found twenty percent of Trump supporters agreeing with the statement that Lincoln was wrong to have freed the slaves.

And there was this screenshot of Trump voters in the South Carolina primary…


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And then there are his fans in the Klan and assorted hate groups, and the White Supremacists who claim he is channeling their message….

Even if a given Trump voter isn’t actively or overtly invested in these attitudes, Charles Blow’s observation in the New York Times is on point:

Donald Trump is a deplorable candidate — to put it charitably — and anyone who helps him advance his racial, religious and ethnic bigotry is part of that bigotry. Period. Anyone who elevates a sexist is part of that sexism. The same goes for xenophobia. You can’t conveniently separate yourself from the detestable part of him because you sense in him the promise of cultural or economic advantage. That hair cannot be split.

As I have previously blogged, I’m hard-pressed to identify any Trump supporters who don’t belong in the “deplorables” basket…

62 thoughts on “Deplorable

  1. YES. Thank you Prof. All Sec Clinton did was make the observation that they are what they say they are. She did nothing wrong here. They are what they are.

  2. My friend, neighbor, handyman. Dewayne, who has kept my house from being slated for demolition and is currently remodeling my kitchen, is one with a “Trump” yard sign. We don’t talk politics but have talked about many problems without mentioning politics or politicians. He is the man who mows the city right-of-way lot next door for which I am half responsible for maintenance and snow blows my driveway and city sidewalk, I have mentioned him before. He was working on my kitchen Sunday; I took my daily walk and as I passed his house I noticed he now has TWO Trump yard signs. When I got home, he and the across-the-street neighbor (who also has a Trump yard sign and he and his family are mixed race, both are Catholic) were on my driveway talking. I laughingly asked Dewayne if he had hit a sale on Trump yard signs; the neighbor grinned and gave a thumbs-up to my Dewayne.

    They are members of the seemingly intelligent people who are unexplained Trump supporters; they are the ones I fear most. They ARE voters in all elections; the “Deplorable” basket of – or basket cases – are the lunatic fringe who may or may not vote. They are taking advantage of “one of their own” giving them permission to cut loose with all their hatred and venomous bigotry in public – it might get them on TV.

    I did see one of them on MSNBC this morning carrying a handmade sign that gave me my morning laugh; “Deplorable lives matter”. Ya gotta give credit where credit is due; that is hilarious quick thinking.

  3. Name-calling, even if it has an element of truth, fans the fire of hate, deepens the already present rift, achieves nothing worthwhile. Stating the obvious with regret and a call to elevate the discussion may well be fruitless, but doesn’t make our national debate better. Condemnation and condescion gain one nothing. Asking for thoughtful consideration is too often seen as weakness.

  4. Thanks, JoAnne. I have handyman friends with whom I don’t discuss politics, except the best one who is also a liberal Democrat. These things aren’t all cut and dried. I have to either bite my tongue a lot or else tell them what I believe.
    I love the “clutch their pearls” line.

  5. What Hillary Clinton COULD have said is that it is DEPLORABLE that Donald Trump and his SUPPORTERS are willing to destroy the FUTURE of this country, instead of using an offensive metaphor like “basket of deplorables.”

    The CLINTONS have never faced up to the Religous Right/Far Right movement and the BIGOTRY they represent. Over the years, their only complaint about the movement is that they have been TARGETED. They’ve gone along with it all these years and now she isn’t able to say it like it is. She’s seriously compromised on the major issue of this presidential election and the Republican Party knows it.

  6. Wayne,

    “Name-calling, even if it has an element of truth, fans the fire of hate, deepens the already present rift, achieves nothing worthwhile.”

    You’re absolutely right. SENSELESS name-calling is all she can do now which only makes matters worse. She’s COMPROMISED. She’s DEFENSELESS.

  7. These people have been subjected to the same level of propaganda that the German people from 1930-1933 were. Just think how much more effective Uncle Adolf would have been if he had had social media, the Web and bloggers working for him. The parallels are striking and I’m not one to make errand Nazi comparisons. These people are being stoked up to a near frenzy by all this hate filled rhetoric delivered every day into their electronic mailboxes that preys upon their fears almost in the same way that the loud speaker trucks did 80 plus years ago in Germany.

  8. Sheila:

    “Supporters worry about the political fallout ( given the media’s tendency to hold Clinton to a far higher standard than Trump, from whom they expect outrageous insults), while Clinton opponents claim to be “shocked, shocked” at the political incorrectness of it all.”

    I just turned off my TV. Trump is now arguing that Hillary Clinton is not qualified to be President after her “deplorable” remark. Not a bad argument. She can’t escape that mistake. Consequently, the only response left is that he is less qualified. And it can’t come from her.

  9. On the rare occasion that I choose to engage with far right extremists that are friends or (aghh) relatives, it gets ugly very quickly. When I confront them by asking for facts to back up their hateful rhetoric they immediately attack me. How dare I have a different opinion or challenge their hatred. It seems that these white supremacists just assume that everyone else that lives here or is white has the same beliefs.

    Well, as soon as they choose to attack me in the same way that they attack or condemn the people they hate (muslims, blacks, etc, etc) I turn it around on them and I use my White Privilege card, because I can. Yes, that is right – I can say things to them that would never be tolerated from other races or the people that they despise.

    I call them out for their racism, bigotry, xenophobia, white supremacy and any other thing they are guilty of. Their responses are lame and they realize it when I challenge them again. I completely understand that they walk away most likely hating me for pointing out that they are something that they never thought of themselves as. Or, they may choose to spread vicious rumors about me to others in an effort to heal their own wounds. Either way, it really doesn’t matter to me anymore.

    Some days I just have to speak up and call them out to their face. It is at those times I realize just how privileged I am to be able to say the things I say, simply because I am white.

  10. Nancy,

    “Some days I just have to speak up and call them out to their face. It is at those times I realize just how privileged I am to be able to say the things I say, simply because I am white.”

    Growing up in the 40’s and 50’s in the Deep South, I often heard the message: “If you’re WHITE you’re right, if you’re BLACK stay back.”

  11. Marv,

    White males still are the most privileged, but I recognized decades ago that I am also privileged because of the color of my skin.

    Most people on this blog have realized that I ahve no fear of speaking up when I believe something is wrong or someone is being a bully.

  12. Nancy,

    You’re not only SPEAKING out, you’re also STANDING up. We need both to effectively communicate our message. That’s the only way you can be taken seriously. And it’s the only way the bigots will ever think twice BEFORE CONTINUING their move to destroy the concept of social democracy in America.

  13. Marv,

    I should also point out that the people who are the most hateful of others claim to be strong Christians. When the opportunity arrises I ask them if they believe that Jesus would approve of their thoughts and behavior. I also ask them why they pick and choose certain passages out of the Bible that align with their hatred and bigotry and ignore the teachings of Jesus.

  14. Nancy,

    “I should also point out that the people who are the most hateful of others claim to be strong Christians.”

    Many years ago, Walter Cronkite, who was a longtime spokesperson for the Inter-faith Alliance said it best in describing the Religious Right/Far Right movement …….”It is white supremacy masked in Christianity.” As you know, it is very difficult to PIERCE THE VEIL. But we have to try. It is our only recourse left.

  15. According to the media’s “daily freak out” on the Presidential race, we should be discouraged about Clinton’s remark like Romney’s 47%. I don’t know because I can’t watch the big 3 news channels and don’t bother with their web sites, but has any of these channels ever discussed the policy issues of the candidates, ever? I saw an interview of Joseph Stiglitz on CNBC this weekend which was only 30 min and quite good. The issues he discussed were much more important to me than daily media freak out circus they broadcast. Love the ‘pearl clutching.’ lol.
    Here’s a link:

  16. Tom, I am an agreement with you which is why I am very worried. I don’t think Hillary has this election in the bag, maybe from an electoral map.

    I think it was Joann that mentioned that the “lunatic fringe ” may or may not vote buy I think that fringe will come out and vote in massive numbers. This group believes they have more to lose and it is that feat that will get them to a polling get center. We need to somehow flame the urgency fire with the moderates…it is true that both candidates are not popular and I am not sure if there is that same fear to get to the polls in other groups

  17. Sorry for the typos using, my phone exchange which auto fills and too often replaces my words. Unlike my computer I can’t always scroll back to see if words got changed

  18. although I am obviously not a Trump supporter, HRC comment about deplorable people is clearly a peek under her sheet and offensive to many people who again see the real Hillary. Now, my big thing is why, when there is some chance of any of THREE candidates being president, no one is asking about Gary Johnson’s health. The other two candidates are very marginal health wise, so perhaps the fact that Gary is a triathlon type is especially relevant, even if he can’t spell Aleppo. When you have volunteer staff, they can’t prep you as well for interviews as paid professionals can.

  19. I was thinking about all this yesterday, and I decided that I really just don’t care anymore. I don’t care to analyze the behavior of the cretins and wastes of flesh who form half the US population. I don’t care who hears what I have to think and say about anything — I will tell my friends and family exactly what I think of their ugliness. And ultimately if America chooses Trump, then I don’t care about America. I certainly don’t plan to trap my daughter in a country that puts more Alitos on the bench, so a Trump win means I begin to plan the exit for my family. America, deplorable America, may turn out to be nothing but a codependent, addicted, vampire spouse who just needs to be dumped and divorced, once and for all.

  20. Over it: I love America but lately, I just don’t like it anymore. People that want to vote and have Trump as President just don’t see what I see and therefore I’m happy to stay in Europe as long as possible. My spouse has mentioned moving back to the states as a fall back measure but I won’t have any of that right now. I’ll stay here and suffer through this winter once more and try to continue our quest to get out of expensive Switzerland.

    BSH: didn’t see anything in the Times report that made me want to mention it back to you. When the media stops making this a horse race and actually focus on the issues, then maybe I’ll pay attention. I’m going to fill out my absentee ballot now and get it in the mail tomorrow.

  21. Things are never simple.

    While Trump is clearly a deplorable person, he’s not a huge outlier. There are many.

    Some of his supporters recognize that in him and themselves and bond.

    Perhaps of more concern than that though are the sort of normal folks who are manipulated into supporting him by expert propaganda, read lies, by the GOP through make more money regardless of the impact on others media.

    As Tom mentioned who should be blamed for WWII? The people or the leaders? Or I suppose some might argue, the circumstances?

    The circumstances here are a falling and failed political party who fell for a dysfunctional political meme, conservatism. It has rendered them incapable of governance and left them irrelevant as what they are, a political party.

    They are in desperation survival mode. Any port in a storm.

    We only have Democracy to turn this from the end of the great experiment in Democracy to a footnote in history.

    Is that sufficient?

  22. It may be too late, but HRC should be focused on policies and programs and how she is going to move the country forward, instead of pig wrestling w Trump. Someone needs to raise the level of discourse in this pageant.

  23. What’s interesting is that HRC hardly ever gets off the script that her high functioning team carefully vets for political impact.

    Some press assumes it was in error.

    I’m going to withhold judgement until it resonates for a while.

  24. A socio/political reality has been created in the U.S. that is not sustainable. Unless it is checked, only a catastrophe can follow. Over it and AgingLGrl can feel the Tsunami coming.

  25. OMG; she didn’t lie and she didn’t threaten anyone, Trump cannot make those claims – well he can but would be lying again. Let’s all get a grip and move on…not referring to the responders here for the most part.

    daleb; you are right, she needs to rise above the Trump gutter level and return to the issues plaguing this country AND this election – which seems to have been going on for years.

    Marv; I didn’t turn my TV off, just switched channels to a rerun of a rerun of a rerun oldie movie to clear my mind.

  26. The “socio-political tsunami” can only be stopped when the creators of the giant wave[like the Koch Brothers and others of the same ilk] realize that it is going to BLOWBACK against them just like what has happened to us from our foray into the Middle East.

    ilk (ilk) n. [<OE ilca, same] kind; sort; class: only in of that (or his, her, etc.) ilk.

  27. While Hillary’s commercials have been pretty much Trump-centric, her campaign has been about policy. She has a policy position on nearly everything posted to her web-site. Nobody seems to care about any of that, though.

    That said, I have a hard time with this issue. Normally, I don’t believe in name calling, but the guy on the other side has made a whole campaign of namecalling and he never gets called out. Trump’s entire campaign is a “basket of deplorables.”

  28. Deplorable compared to what? A standard set by us comfortable white folks? Who elected us? I think the term “horrid” should have been used and limited to the conduct of Trump. As for his supporters, they (other than the off the cliff supporters who hate women and minorities) are just seeking change under the mistaken impression that election of Trump will relieve the world of hurt in which they live, real or perceived. It won’t. Who could in his or her right mind conclude that a billionaire narcissist who calls women “pigs” and Mexicans rapists and murderers and who promises to repeal Dodd-Frank and other regulatory measures designed to keep Wall Street banks from bringing on an international depression (as they almost did recently) and who said that minimum wages and wages generally are too high would ever be concerned over the plight of ordinary Americans? Such a pretense is more than deplorable; it is horrid, wrong, immoral, you name it, a colossal con job foisted off on the electorate.

  29. Hillary Clinton,the candidate who considers Henry Kissinger as a member of her little basket of adorables.

    It’s also quite funny when the members of a forum such as this one–which resonates deeply of white-privilege- has the audacity to call anyone else racist,misogynist,et al.

    Listen Liberal!!

  30. Marv,

    Not until I read in one of your websites this evening that you’d attended and graduated from Tulane did I feel an inclination to share with you that my brother-in-law, Rob, continues to remain at Tulane where he holds an endowed chair, the Francis Martin Chair in Business, and is a research professor in Finance.

    True to Rob’s moderate temperament, he refuses to share his political leanings with me, but he does hint that he’s been watching Elizabeth Warren’s career for some time.

  31. Marv,

    If there’s any angst about Ms Clinton’s poor showing in this election cycle, I’d suggest that those wishing to cast blame on anyone or anything, to cast their blame against the DNC. The DNC threw Ms Clinton under the bus in 2008 when most folks of a Democratic persuasion saw Ms Clinton as the heir apparent. Now, I’m figuring the DNC is reaping the reward of its 2008 decision. I do not feel any sympathy for the Democrat party at this time.

  32. Marv,

    I view this election 2016 FUBAR as a result of the DNC’s decision made back in 2008. Decisions do have consequences.

  33. BSH,

    I see what you mean. In June of 2008, I had warned in The Nation Magazine that there was going to be big problems if Barack Obama was elected President. Consequently, we needed to take pre-emptive action to prevent it.

    Frank Rich of The New York Times in an editorial accused me of being anti-White for attempting to do so.

  34. BSH,

    Donald Trump needs to be discredited. With the Democratic Party FUBAR, there still is another way to defeat him. It’s through legitimate FEAR. And I’m not talking about an acronym.

  35. Prof. Seuss Kennedy
    You are what you accuse others to be. A bigot. A bigot is defined as one who is intolerant of those who hold different opinions. You, ma’am, are a bigot.

    There is no place for bigots. You are a bigot. ‘I’m hard-pressed to identify any Trump supporters who don’t belong in the “deplorables” basket…’

    I’m not for Trump, not for Hillary. Don’t feel ‘hard pressed’ that either are deplorable.

    You are a bigot for saying so.

    You can’t understand that someone may be tired of the status quo.

    You can’t understand that people would rather speak for the rights of an unborn child rather than the right of a woman to chose to kill her unborn child.

    Someone who says ‘anyone but Hillary’ must be deplorable.

    Anyone who believes that we must control our borders and keep those who enter ILLEGALLY must be against ALL immigrants.

    You are a bigot who cannot understand why someone would back a candidate with views opposing yours is anything other than deplorable. You are a bigot.

  36. whoa William, what have you been drinking? I hope your head doesn’t hurt too much this morning. That’s quite a rant you have there. My question to you, besides the drinking one, is why are you posting here? Have you come to stir the pot? Have you come to voice your angry disapproval on a bunch of liberals that don’t see what you see? What’s your point? I can go to sites that offer a different opinion than mine but I don’t have to announce it to the world. I don’t have to diss the author and call her names because I disagree with her. I just silently go on about my business and try to leave the place better than I found it by keeping my mouth in check. Do you kiss your wife, mother, daughter with that mouth?

  37. BSH,

    You’re absolutely right about 2008. But it was the DLC [Democratic Leadership Council] who was the “deep” culprit back then. The Democratic Party hasn’t been a legitimate OPPOSITION PARTY since the day Bill Clinton first stepped into the Office of the Presidency, in the early 90’s, and became under the influence of the DLC and adopted their STRATEGY OF TRIANGULATION which should have been labeled STRANGULATION.

    Despite all of the above, I have no other option than to support Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump is much, much more of a threat to the Constituion than she is. My conscience couldn’t do otherwise.

    stran-gu-late (stran’gye lat’) vt. -lat’ed, lat’ing l. STRANGLE 2. Med. to block ( a tube, etc.) by constricting —stran’gu-la-tion n.


    “You [Professor Kennedy] are a bigot.”

    You must be joking.

  38. In 2012, Mitt Romney said that 47% of Americans don’t pay income taxes. The Tax Policy Center said it’s actually 46.4%, but close enough. Though he was factually accurate, he was saying something contemptuous and disturbing about his opponent’s supporters. The Democrats were smart politically to pounce on that remark and hang it around his neck for the remainder of the campaign. Mrs. Clinton would have been wise to keep that in mind before making her “deplorables” comment. What goes around comes around.

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