Defining Donald Trump’s basket full of American deplorables
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., September 13, 2016 — The veil was dropped when Hillary Clinton revealed the truth:
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people—now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now some of those folds—they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”
For her to go on record with her feelings about Americans who disagree with her is both deplorable and a relief. It’s a relief for every conservative who’s attempted to share their views with leftists only to be shut down, not by alternate facts and deductive reasoning, but by the ad hominem attacks like ones Clinton dragged from the closet.
Defining one’s opponent as a bad person removes the necessity to rebut his position with facts. Rational debate is over when one side is defined as hateful.
According to Hunter Thompson, Lyndon Johnson told one of his aides to spread the word that Johnson’s congressional opponent had carnal knowledge of his livestock. The aide responded “Christ, Lyndon, we can’t call the guy a pig-f****er. It isn’t true.”
To which, LBJ replied, “Of course it ain’t true, but I want to make the son-of-a-bitch deny it.”
That is the spirit of Clinton’s insults against her opponents. She knows her remarks are simplistic and wrong, but they force conservatives to defend the notion that they are not bad people. It puts them in a no-win situation, which is the point.
Clinton’s characterization of Republicans as morally bad is repeated by Democrats and is a staple of television shows, Hollywood films and news media.
In August 2009, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked by a San Francisco Chronicle reporter whether there was a “legitimate grass-roots opposition” to the Democrats’ healthcare plan. “I think they are Astroturf,” she responded.
Referring to hecklers at a town hall meeting, she added, “They’re carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on healthcare.”
Not to be outdone in smear tactics, President Obama said in April 2008, at a fund-raiser in San Francisco:
“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them … And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
In the romantic comedy, “You’ve Got Mail,” Kathleen Kelly is involved with Frank Navasky, a leftist postmodernist newspaper writer for The New York Observer who is always in search of an opportunity to root for the underdog.
At one point, Frank reluctantly admits to Kathleen he has a new love. She replies, “Oh, Frank. Is she a Republican?” He answers, “I just can’t help myself.”
The stereotype of Republicans as un-compassionate deplorables is stuck deep in the American psyche. It’s almost impossible to rebut: Who listens to the Devil?
Leon Felkins attempts to hone Democrats’ ad hominem techniques in an article, “How to Tell a Democrat from a Republican.” His comments are in stark contrast to Trump’s positions.
Felkins begins with Ambrose Bierce’s definition of conservatives:
“Conservative, n. – A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.”
On wealth, Felkins writes, “hard work and the economic ‘invisible hand’ will make sure that anyone who deserves it gets it or the reverse as the case may be. By definition, if you are broke and living off the street, you deserve it.”
According to Trump:
“The American work ethic is what led generations of Americans to create our once prosperous nation. That’s what I find so morally offensive about welfare dependency: it robs people of the chance to improve. Work gives every day a sense of purpose. A job well done provides a sense of pride and accomplishment. I love to work. In fact, I like working so much that I seldom take vacations. Because I work so hard, I’ve been privileged to create jobs for tens of thousands of people.”
On war, Felkins writes:
“Republicans … have no hesitation in bombing any recalcitrant country (those that refuse to accept aid in return for submission to U.S. control) “back to the stone age”, unless, of course, the Democrats are in power. In that case, they are opposed to such acts because Democrats rarely have a decent ‘exit strategy.’”
According to Trump:
“In a Trump Administration, our actions in the Middle East will be tempered by realism. The current strategy of toppling regimes, with no plan for what to do the day after, only produces power vacuums that are filled by terrorists. Gradual reform, not sudden and radical change, should be our guiding objective in that region … We should work with any country that shares our goal of destroying ISIS and defeating Radical Islamic terrorism, and form new friendships and partnerships based on this mission.”
On children, Felkins:
“Republicans love individual children but find supporting the class of children as not part of God’s plan (see Jeremiah 18:21: ‘So give their children over to famine; hand them over to the power of the sword.’)”
“We will rescue kids from failing schools by helping their parents send them to a safe school of their choice.”
As a note to the conversation, in a personal act of kindness, Trump infamously flew a seriously ill child on his personal jet to the Schneider Children’s Hospital of Long Island Jewish Medical Center, where he received the diagnosis and help he needed.
On drugs, Felkins writes:
“Recreational drugs are absolutely verboten … It is rumored that many folks actually have great fun with such drugs, therefore they are opposed, of course, as it is a basic principle of Conservatism that having too much fun is bad for the character.”
“In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state. Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should [be legal]. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states. And of course you have Colorado. There’s a question as to how it’s all working out there, you know? That’s not going exactly trouble-free.”
And on it goes. Felkins creates his caricature with regard to the war on drugs, crime, education and liberty. Trump responds with pragmatic positions far removed from Felkins’ straw man.
“Deplorables” wanting to know what the Clinton camp believes need only Google phrases like “Republicans are racist,” Republicans are homophobes,” “Republicans are xenophobes”—the insults go on and on.
You might find an article by Salon’s Chauncey DeVega, “The Disturbing Data on Republicans and Racism: Trump Backers are the Most Bigoted Within the GOP”:
“Donald Trump is not an outlier or aberration. In many ways, he perfectly embodies the racist attitudes and beliefs of the Republican Party in the post-civil rights era. Likewise, Donald Trump’s supporters have enthusiastically embraced the Republican Party’s racism towards people of color, in general, and against black Americans, in particular.”
And so it goes. Vladimir Lenin famously said, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” Factually rebutting such nonsense makes little difference. Besides, by answering schoolyard taunts, one only perpetuates the insanity by giving accusers the inescapable pleasure of saying, “We love to hear ‘em deny it.”