10 September 2016
The "double standards" crowd is condemning Hillary Clinton for saying at a recent fundraiser that half of Donald Trump's supporters belong in a "basket of deplorables" consisting mainly of bigots of different sorts. For Republicans, this is the Democratic equivalent of Mitt Romney's infamous 2012 remarks about 47% of Americans (not merely of Obama supporters) were basically freeloaders. As the Washington Post reports, at that time Trump said Romney had no reason to apologize, but what else would you expect of Trump? Of course, his people insist that Clinton must apologize to all Trump's supporters, apparently on the assumption that none of them can be certain that they weren't included in Clinton's calumny. If there's a lesson to all of this, it's that candidates should never attempt to quantify such things as dependence or deplorable bigotry. Trump probably would have whined had Clinton suggested that any percentage of his support was bigoted, but it should be self-evident to all observers, including Trump's erstwhile rivals for the Republican nomination, that some of his supporters are bigots in anyone's sense of the word. Anyone who claims that the real number is zero percent is simply lying. I've heard too much from an admittedly small sample -- and I'm not talking about what they think of Muslims -- to let any blanket claim of innocence stand. Yes, some if not many of Trump's supporters are motivated by a positive belief in his expertise and his promises to restore American greatness, and there is some tone-deafness in Democratic denunciations of what they insist is Trump's exaggerated negativity about current conditions. But even these sincerely disgruntled and possibly unprejudiced people are as naive in their faith in Trump's boastful promises as others are in their hope that Clinton will govern as a progressive in any meaningful sense. What I'm saying is that while I'm not so scared of Trump that I'll waste my vote to stop him, I still can't see any good reason for anyone to vote for him. From my perspective, merely to vote for someone who sounds tough because he fires people on TV, or because you think his celebrity proves him a successful businessman and leader, is just as deplorable as voting for Clinton out of mindless fear of Trump or Republicans in general. In 2016 a large majority of the entire electorate is deplorable, and no one should have to apologize for recognizing that fact.