As the presidential election winds down (Hillary Clinton debate team, contact me for good observations to use on Wednesday), I feel it's appropriate to revisit Hillary's remark to her supporters that half of Donald Trump's supporters can be lumped into "the basket of deplorables" along with other unpleasant descriptions.
For this, Mrs. Clinton was denounced in mostly right-wing quarters and criticized by more conventional types to the extent that she walked back her comments and regretted using the term. While I understand the political thought process that went into that decision, let's reexamine the issue in consideration of recent events.
First of all, she never said that half of the electorate was deplorable, as some of her detractors asserted, she said half of Trump's supporters, a clear distinction. And when you think of it, when you look at the maniacal sorts who populate his huge rallies, greeting him with messianic approbation, while they hurl inappropriate slurs about Hillary, beat up anti-Trump attendees and are encouraged to do so with offers of free legal defense by the presidential candidate, the word deplorable might be a too gentle portrait of these jerks.
Oddly, Trump ads feature her quote and her follow-up that they are racist, xenophobic, etc., even as many interviews demonstrate these people clearly are. However, it's immaterial whether all Trump supporters are deplorable in that regard. It's obvious half of the millions who voted for him have not shown up and misbehaved at his rallies, but with all the tumult and the lame excuses given for his statements and sexual misdeeds, recently revealed by The New York Times and NBC's Access Hollywood and discussed ad nausea by Anderson Cooper on CNN and Chris Matthews on MSNBC why can't their continuing support of Donald Trump be deemed deplorable?
He currently stands in the high 30's or at the most 40% of the expected vote count and leads in many states. How is it possible, with everything coming out about Trump in recent days and his comportment on the campaign trail, with insults even to his own GOP opponents, that so many Republican voters can still stomach Trump? Yes, many of them say they are wary of him and/or don't much care for his manner, but their hatred of Hillary is mind boggling.
Whatever one might think of Hillary, whether a personal disdain for her ambition or flip flopping on some issues, such as the TPP trade deal, by comparison to Trump it's not based upon very much, and is owed to a major distortion of her record and statements.
Benghazi: Where several congressional committees headed by Republican congressional majorities found no culpability on her part and recent information has come out that they voted against expenditures to beef up security at diplomatic outposts.
The email scandal: Where, other than an admission by Hillary that she shouldn't have had a private server, there has been no criminal guilt charged by the FBI director and no proof the server was hacked and/or that any emails had detrimental international consequences.
Contrast her professional career with Trump. First, as a lawyer, a first lady delegated by her husband to provide health care to all Americans, two elections to the U.S. Senate and a reputation for working well with the opposition party and a generally well regarded stint as secretary of state. Whereas Trump had a head start by his millionaire father, admittedly built his real estate empire into something larger, albeit with four bankruptcies and many charges of cheating those with whom he had a fiduciary relationship.
Even more so, compare the way she ran her campaign against Bernie Sanders, sometimes heated but never disrespectful in the way Trump eviscerated his opponents with insults on the debate stage. Then, when they dropped out, they went from "Lyin' Ted Cruz" to wonderful praise. Same with Marco Rubio. Paul Ryan was castigated for not supporting him, then lauded when he did and now when the Speaker said he won't campaign with him the jeers fly forth again.
Trump is a man who cannot take criticism, who has no inkling of the diplomatic chops it takes to be president, yet almost 40% of the electorate is willing to vote for him. Even men like Paul Ryan who shun him still support him. To me, this is deplorable. There have been many folks in the past who have broken with their party to support the other nominee, whether or not they were in ardor of the candidacy. 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman wouldn't support Obama in 2008 and even endorsed John McCain at the GOP convention. Republican Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon switched parties from Republican to Democrat after he endorsed Adlai Stevenson over Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.
Which brings to me to a large section of the deplorables, people who are probably not racists or xenophobes, etc., but are simply in it for themselves, whether for better tax rates or because they want the spoils which result when their party wins the White House. Jobs, regulations, that sort of thing. In some respect they are worse than the true deplorables, because the true deplorables are morons who don't know any better. These folks do, and still they're willing to risk our future to a man who has demonstrated instability and an incapacity for telling the truth.
A man who shouts hysterical crap about those who oppose him, intimating Ted Cruz wasn't eligible to be president or that his father helped with the JFK assassination. A man who became the loudest mouthpiece of the "birther" issue, stating there wasn't proof Obama was born in the United States, and then, when it was proven, continued to do so, and when he finally admitted he was wrong had the cheek to take credit for ending the conspiracy, which he laid at the doorstep of Hillary Clinton.
People who support Donald Trump are deplorable, which is why so many cabinet officials in Republican administrations have endorsed Hillary Clinton, why the two living GOP presidents and two recent presidential nominees and many congressmen will not support their standard bearer. In addition, Trump received only a few newspaper endorsements, only one major tabloid, the Fox News Channel's ally the New York Post. Amazingly, several journals broke with their long GOP tradition to support Clinton, including the Arizona Republic, Cincinnati Enquirer and the Dallas Morning News.
Let's hope more Republicans will shed their deplorable status and, at least for this election, rebuff their nominee for the good of our nation, for the good of the world and, frankly, for the good of their party.
Michael Russnow's website is www.ramproductionsinternational.com