If you are a white, Christian, employed gun owner, it is fair for you to ask your Democratic representative or senator — or any Democratic candidate – if they consider you to be in the “basket of deplorables.”
I have no doubt that when Hillary Clinton said “half of Trump’s supporters” could be put into the “basket of deplorables,” she was referencing the same group then-Sen. Barack Obama dismissed in April 2008 at a San Francisco-area fundraiser, as “cling[ing] to guns or religion.” The Democratic contempt for what used to be salt of the earth, bedrock, middle-class citizens is a matter-of-fact part of today’s political equation.
According to the latest Post/ABC News poll, core Donald Trump supporters tend to be white Americans who have not graduated from college. And as the editorial board wrote in a piece in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, Clinton’s comments reflect what “today’s elite progressives believe about America’s great unwashed.” After her comments caught fire, Clinton tried to walk part of what she said back, counting on the electorate’s gullability to believe she didn’t mean what she said — a Clinton trademark.
Anyway, I’m reminded of a scene from the classic movie, “The Man Who Would be King,” starring Michael Caine and Sean Connery as Peachy Carnehan and Daniel Dravot respectively; two British soldiers who decide to venture into unexplored territory and make themselves kings. In this particular scene, Carnehan and Dravot appear before theDistrict Commissioner of the British administration in India, who accuses them of malfeasance,saying he will write a letter calling them “political undesirables, detriments to the dignity of the Empire.”
Carnehan responds, “Detriments you call us? Detriments? Well, I want to remind you it was ‘detriments’ like us that built this bloody Empire.” Substitute “deplorables” for “detriments” and “the United States of America” for “this bloody Empire” and his indignant response is befitting of today’s political circumstances.
I wonder if Clinton would be willing to label any of the illegal immigrants harbored by sanctuary cities as “deplorables”? I wonder what she thinks of the political enablers in Chicago who have created an environment where more than 3,000 homicides have taken place since 2009. Are any of them deplorables? I doubt she will say so.
Democrats should not think Clinton’s remarks and Obama’s “clingers” statement don’t have consequences. The president’s remark is still vividly remembered by those he was referring to, and likely has widened the divide between middle-class voters and Democrats everywhere. Clinton’s comments will serve as a reminder to those voters that they should be skeptical of Democrats who still claim to identify with the core of working class America.
Ed Rogers, a contributor to the Washington Post’s PostPartisan blog, is a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns.