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.”
There is no doubt in my mind that when Hillary Clinton said “half of Trump’s supporters” could be put into the “basket of deplorables,” she was referencing the same group of people then-Sen. Barack Obama dismissed in April 2008, while speaking 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. This may sound a little harsh, but it is the natural conclusion to draw after analyzing the Democrats’ campaign message over the past few campaign cycles.
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 really 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. She’s counting on the gullibility of the electorate 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 the very proper district commissioner of the British administration in India, who accuses them of malfeasance and strikes the perfect tone as a stereotypical Clinton supporter, saying he will write a letter referring to them as “political undesirables, detriments to the dignity of the empire.”
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Carnehan immediately responds, saying, “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.
The Democrats should not think Clinton’s recent remarks and Obama’s “clingers” statement don’t have any 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 is a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He wrote this for The Washington Post. Twitter: @EdRogersDC