The election: Are Trump’s supporters ‘deplorables’?
Hillary Clinton just “said out loud what our progressive friends have long been thinking,” said Jack Cashill in AmericanThinker.com, and it may well “cost her the election.” At a star-studded LGBT fundraiser last week in Manhattan, Clinton trashed the tens of millions of Americans who back her Republican rival Donald Trump, saying, “You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.” These awful Trump people, Clinton continued as her audience laughed, are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.” So now we know what this supposed paragon of progressive values thinks about Americans who don’t share her views on immigration, terrorism, and traditional values. She later issued a partial apology, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial, saying she’d been “grossly generalistic” in her use of the term “half.” But “basket of deplorables” feels like the kind of gaffe that sticks and does real damage, like Mitt Romney complaining in 2012 about the “47 percent” of the electorate who will never “take personal responsibility” for their lives.
How is this a scandal? asked Jonathan Chait in NYMag.com. For the past year, we’ve seen detailed proof of “the rabid, antiintellectual, nationalistic bigotry of Trump’s hard-core fan base”— people who punch and kick black and women protesters at rallies and shout racial and misogynist epithets. Polls show that huge majorities of Trump fans endorsed his vile plan to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. and saw nothing racist in his claim that a distinguished Mexican-American federal judge could not fairly preside over his fraud trial. Many also harbor strongly negative views about blacks and Mexicans, and 60 percent still buy the disproven conspiracy theory that President Obama was born overseas, while 66 percent consider him a secret Muslim. Is it fair to say that “half” of Trump’s supporters are “racists and other ‘deplorables’”? asked Dana Milbank in The Washington Post. Sadly, yes. Clinton may even “have lowballed the number.”
That’s not the point, said Jonathan Tobin in Commentary Magazine.com. Clinton is running to be president of the whole nation, not just of those who support her. By saying that half of Trump’s supporters are, as she said in the same speech, “irredeemable” in their backward thinking, Clin ton showed that if elected she’ll govern as a partisan, and “do more to promote division and hatred than to bring us together.” Clin ton can and should attack Trump for his own “deplorable” views, said Dan Balz in WashingtonPost.com, as well as calling out the hateful “alt-right” leaders who support him. But “branding an entire class of voters” as bigots does nothing but unify Republicans against her, while making “the job of governing all the more difficult” should she win.
“Clinton isn’t sweating ‘deplorables,’” said Annie Karni in Politico.com. Yes, it could have been more artfully phrased, but her advisers think they can “make a virtue” of this incident. If the nation now spends a week debating the precise extent to which Trump’s campaign is or isn’t overrun with racists and bigots, it will only serve to fire up Clinton’s own supporters while giving further pause to any moderates who may be mulling a vote for Trump. Besides, said Matthew Yglesias in Vox.com, Trump will soon say something more outrageous than “basket of deplorables” that seizes the nation’s attention. In a regular election, Clinton’s comment might have hurt her badly, but let’s remember: She’s running against a man who is “redefining the concept of a gaffe out of existence.”
Only in America
■ A B aptist pastor who serves as a high school football announcer in Alabama resigned after reportedly telling fans who didn’t stand for the national anthem to “line up over there by the fence and let our military personnel take a few shots at you.” Pastor Allen Joyner claims he was misquoted, but said he “overstepped my authority as announcer to express my patriotic views.”
■ A 10-year-old South Caro lina student was disciplined for wearing a tank top to school on a sweltering day and forced to put on a jacket. The girl’s mother, Alicia Rogers, said the principal particularly objected to the shirt’s crisscross straps in the back. Rogers wants an apology for “the humiliation” her daughter felt when other students asked her “why she was wearing a jacket while sweating.”
Good week for:
The living language, after “YOLO,” an acronym for “you only live once,” was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Other new entries include “splendiferous,” “gender-fluid,” and “moobs,” used to describe unusually large male breasts.
Faking it, after Microsoft unveiled the LoveBot, a new smartphone app that will automatically send messages to significant others telling them how much you love them. “It looks 100 percent like it’s coming from your account,” developers promised.
The power of incumbency, after a New York state lawmaker who was facing fraud charges won the Republican Party primary despite having committed suicide four days prior to the election. The late Assemblyman Bill Nojay won 60 percent of the vote.
Bad week for:
Not returning books, after Alabama officials implemented a new policy that will punish borrowers who fail to return library materials with up to 30 days in jail. A library official noted that $200,000 worth of books and DVDs haven’t come back.
Crossing the boss, after a study of 261 senior executives in U.S. companies revealed that roughly 1 in 5 fits the psychological profile of a psych opath—the same ratio found among prison inmates. “Typical psychopaths create a lot of chaos and tend to play people off each other,” said study author Nathan Brooks.
Customer service, after Amtrak responded to a passenger who was stuck in one of its elevators seven months ago. “We’re sorry to hear that,” the company tweeted in answer to the February SOS tweet sent by Amanda Carpenter. “Are you still in the elevator?”
Boring but important
Calif. farmers win overtime battle
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed historic legislation this week that will extend overtime pay to hundreds of thousands of farmworkers, ending an 80-year fight for equal wage protections. Under the bill, the current 10-hour-day threshold for overtime pay for farmworkers, enacted in 1975, will be lowered by half an hour each year beginning in 2019 until it reaches the eight-hour threshold for other workers by 2022. Overtime will also be paid to those who work more than 40_hours in a single week, replacing the previous threshold of 60 hou rs. About 80 percent of farmworkers in the state are immigrants. The agricultural community argued the law would be prohibitively expensive for farm owners already struggling with an ongoing water crisis.