I failed to take up Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" bungle in yesterday's post about her recent rough stretch. The omission was inadvertent as I wrote in haste late in the day. Sometimes it's like I have an eggbeater for a brain.
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, Islamaphobic—you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.
Clinton's choice of words was poor, ill-advised, sophomoric. Quantification compounded the error. To the surprise of no one, the Trump camp and the media pounced on this bone like a pack of slavering beasts.
The Trumpists ignored and the press predictably gave less play to her elaboration:
[Trump] has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now how [sic] 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.
Likewise with Clinton's comments about the remainder of Trump's supporters:
that other basket of people...who feel that government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures. They are just desperate for change. Doesn't really even matter where it comes from.
There is no dispute that among Trump's core supporters are a significant number of dubious characters and groups that embrace rhetoric and ideas about race and other matters that most that most of us find indefensible. Trump does not disavow them. To the contrary, he courts them.
Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo argues forcefully that Clinton should not backtrack on this one. I agree.
Memo from the Editorial Desk
The paragraph now beginning "There is no dispute" was revised shortly after this piece was posted as your oft humbled scribe reconsidered his own remarks.
Josh Marshall, This Is Critical: Hillary Can't Back Down
Eli Stokols and Hadas Gold, Why Donald Trump gets a pass
David Weigel, Four lessons from the alt-right's D.C. coming-out party