Originally posted on medium.com
The whole #BasketOfDeplorables thing is a bad idea.
If Donald Trump ever wanted a mobilizing statement to ensure his voters show up, he just got it. Hillary Clinton has just said that about half of his support “belongs in a basket of deplorables.” While it’s indeed true Donald Trump is legitimately a monster and has cultivated a certain following, saying this was bupkis thinking.
It’s doubtful that the employment of such rhetoric is going to sway any likely Clinton voters over to Trump; the morality Trump is galvanizing is deplorable and although I have many problems with Hillary Clinton, it’s difficult to imagine voting any other way at this point. That doesn’t change my sinking feeling that this kind of rhetoric from Clinton changes Trump’s supporter-to-actual-voter ratio in favor of the latter. At the time of this writing, Trump is only 2.7% behind Hillary Clinton in the national polling average. I don’t want more galvanized Trump voters.
On top of that, it gives a false sense of inevitability to likely Clinton voters. Her supporter-to-actual-voter ratio may get worse.
It is also probable that a higher percentage of people who support Trump in polls will actually vote than polls suggest. They view themselves as anti-establishment — despite their candidate being essentially the de-facto symbol of capitalist establishment. This self-image will likely turn them out in better-than-expected numbers.
I wouldn’t suggest that Hillary Clinton wants to actually appear to be a Bear In The Woods, but that is what this kind of rhetoric succeeds in doing. It fulfills criteria that people with power — Donald Trump-supporting people with power — have set for the opposing side to be considered a force for evil.
No one likes evil, right?
This isn’t going to stop Trump
As should go without saying, I am speaking about general election tactics from the perspective that I very much wish to stop Donald Trump and his supporters. It’s astounding to me anyone could take warning that “basket of deplorables is a galvanizing statement” as “clutching of pearls,” but I’ve already gotten that reaction on Twitter. I praised Hillary Clinton for her speech on the Alt Right and for finally calling it what it is, but just using derogatory terminology to unspecifically define people as “bad” is definitely not an extension of this.
Specifically because this is the internet, let me put this clearly: I want Trump to lose. I don’t just want him to lose, I want it to be an embarrassing loss — one that he can’t recover from and run again four years from now. I hope to see Trump’s influence wane and for downticket candidates to fail due to a lack of support for anything associated with Trump. I want the mere thought of a Trump association not only to be sickening (even for “conservatives”) but to reek of failure.
I also want people to recognize that we should be calling neoliberalism “conservatism,” not neoreaction. If neoliberals were looked at as “rational conservatives,” I would look at them with far less issue. I would still think they’re wrong, but they aren’t driven by reactionary politics. They’re driven by a different worldview that they actually believe is productive for everyone. Reactionaries are not; they actually think 100 years ago was better than today. Let me, again internet, put this clearly: it wasn’t.
We aren’t going to achieve that movement of the Overton Window without a national embarrassment of Trump — and we (this usage referring to everyone who is not a reactionary) aren’t going to win by at least 6 points if the reactionaries are galvanized.
Calling Trump’s support a “basket of deplorables” is counterproductive. Trump’s support is, generally speaking, uninformed and unaware of whom their anger should be directed at. More than enough of his support is racist, sexist and horrible. But does that put them in the same category as Trump? Would they be the same if they had been exposed to different information and perspectives throughout their lives?
No. They wouldn’t. Flat-out.
Everything is subjective.
When I talk Trump’s support, I attempt to without being insulting or condescending. This is not to suggest Trump people aren’t often very shitty, very sexist, very racist, and very bigoted. But the big thing to consider is that they do not have a well-informed viewpoint.
Where you are born, who your parents are, and other factors influences where you get information from. If your environment tells you this crap is reality, well, then it is indeed reality.
Because reality is subjective. Everything. Is. Subjective.
Perspective is a product of environment. Every one of our environments is controlled in some fashion. Including “the left.” Most don’t resist this environmental control because most are not aware of it. I think this is what has produced the phenomenon of “sheeple.” I personally hate the word because it shows such a lack of understanding of environmental control and its effects on people and society.
People and their lack of savvy are not the problem. The problem is that people with power dictate their input. They brand opposition as “scary,” “dishonest,” and “condescending.” And what is “basket of deplorables” if not condescension? From their perspective, it’s also dishonest, as they don’t believe themselves deplorable. This also makes it scary, because deep down, even Trump supporters are at least somewhat afraid of being branded on a national stage. So if/when, on some level, their high profile propagandists are right… well, the propaganda works much better.
People don’t “fall for” propaganda. They find truth in it.
Remember, truth is subjective. Because everything is subjective. Perspective is the product of that.
Watch Peter Coffin in his latest: “Very Important Documentaries: How Donald Trump Won” and support on Patreon.