Monday, September 12, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: All His Deplorables in One Basket?

We have about another week of the silly season part one in this campaign, until the media fixates on debate handicapping and evaluation for the next month or so.  So to get it started off right we've got Hillary pilloried for telling the truth about Trump supporters, plus giving the media vapors when she comes down with   pneumonia.

Granted that the Clinton campaign handled Sunday's situation badly.  As someone said, is there anything that the Clinton campaign can't screw up?  But while some in the media felt it "shook up" the race, others argued pretty convincingly that it won't matter much, assuming she returns to health this week.  Also that it's not nearly a big deal on its own.

It was however inspiration for some biting satirical comment, by Alexandra Petri at WPost, who spoofs the alt.right diagnosis, and reliably by Andy Borowitz at the New Yorker, who suggests that an unconscious Clinton is still more qualified than Trump.

Meanwhile the Donald, perhaps heeding his female campaign manager, has refrained from dancing on Hillary's prone body in glee at her illness.  But the days are over when JFK refrained from campaigning while opponent Nixon recovered from a bad bang on his knee.  Hillary cancelled her events but Trump was on the stump, it was a Trump stump.  He chose to highlight Clinton's Friday fundraiser comment that half of his supporters were in a basket of deplorables, of racists etc.  He disagreed, and called for Clinton to retract the statement or quit the race.  Apparently he didn't catch Hillary a few days before apologizing for saying "half."  Cause really, who knows how many?

 Meanwhile, out in his crowd, one of his non-deplorables was beating up a protester.  One of his non-deplorable supporters, the governor of Kentucky, was heard from the Family Research Council podium calling for killing if Hillary wins.

Then on CNN Trump's vp Pence refused to call KKK candidate David Duke "deplorable."  Others did a quick fact check and said, well yes she's right.  Dana Milbank in his column Yes, half of Trump supporters are racist, wrote: Hillary Clinton may have been unwise to say half of Donald Trump’s supporters are racists and other “deplorables.” But she wasn’t wrong. If anything, when it comes to Trump’s racist support, she might have low-balled the number." 

Greg Sargent notes that according to the latest WPost/ABC poll, a majority of Americans pretty much agree with Hillary's assessment.  And they do in other polls as well.  Jonathan Chiat sums up in his column, Yes, Most Donald Trump Supporters Are Deplorable and Irredeemable:

Following the classic definition of a gaffe as a politician telling the truth, Hillary Clinton’s comment about Donald Trump’s supporters (“just to 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”) was the purest and most classic example. The national media has spent a year and a quarter documenting in exquisite, redundant detail the rabid, anti-intellectual nationalistic bigotry of Trump’s hard-core fanbase. But it has taken Hillary Clinton’s affirmation to transform this by-now-banal observation into a scandal.

Back in February, Wall Street Journal editorial columnist Bret Stephens mourned that it had once been a slander that “Republicans were all closet bigots,” but “Not anymore. The candidacy of Donald Trump is the open sewer of American conservatism.” Stephens proceeded to argue that Trump’s carefully hedged disavowal of David Duke failed to dent his support — “If anything it has enhanced it.” Now that Clinton has made the similar point in milder terms, absolving a larger proportion of Trump’s supporters than Stephens did, and choosing the gentler metaphor of a basket rather than a sewer, The Wall Street Journal editorial page is scandalized that Clinton was caught “attributing hateful motives to tens of millions of Americans.” Americans! Hateful! In large numbers! How dare she!"

It seems hyping Clinton's "deplorable" comment is proving to be a tactical error.  As Josh Marshall remarked, "Mike Pence refusing to label David Duke as "deplorable" is a good example of why "Deplorable" was always far more of a double-edged sword than the Trump crew seemed to realize."

Whatever Trump does Tuesday, he'll no longer have the campaign to himself.  Hillary's ace surrogate is getting into it a little early--President Obama will speak on her behalf in Philadelphia.  With an approval rating now hitting 58% he is going to be her best advantage going down the stretch.

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