The Interests of the “Basket of Deplorables”
In 2016 Hillary Clinton, while running for President, insulted approximately one-quarter of the United States’ citizens.
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”
By this statement Mrs. Clinton gave voice to the quasi-caste hatred that animates far more of the Progressive program than many would like to admit.
I am not here to claim that any segment of our population is morally superior. Those citizens who chose to vote Mr. Trump into the Presidency are all fallen, frail flesh and blood, just exactly as are those who voted for someone else or didn’t vote at all. I am here to point out that this quarter of the nation’s population has legitimate interests that both the Democratic and Republican parties had ignored for decades.
We must first identify to whom Mrs. Clinton was referring. We can begin by agreeing that this “deplorable” quasi-caste can be found within that segment of the population who are willing to vote for Republican candidates. That is, if you are a reliable Democratic voter then in spite of any personal faults or bad behaviors, you are certainly not a “deplorable.”
However, not all people who are or vote Republican are “deplorables.” If you are in this group but submit in silence to, or better yet, actively support core Progressive policies (e.g., open borders immigration) then you can avoid (as long as you don’t stand between Progressives and the acquisition of political power) falling into this category. Make no mistake though, you are both stupid and likely evil, but not to the point of being an actual “deplorable.”
The above discussion helps, but doesn’t sufficiently describe the boundaries of the “deplorable” quasi-caste. To accomplish that we must revisit some of the other statements made by the leaders of the tip-top Progressive quasi-caste. The most useful of these was made by candidate Barack Obama in 2008.
You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Mr. Obama was right about the economic frustrations experienced by a large segment of our population. However, note also the condescension and contempt with which he responds to these very real issues. For, in his mind, these sorry communities are so full of incompetent people that neither Democratic or Republican administrations are able to pull them out of failure. The reason is that they are bitter, small minded folk who stupidly “cling” to dangerous or irrelevant totems of the past. Sounds a lot like “irredeemable” to me.
Another boundary setting statement fell from the lips of no other than Nancy Pelosi, Democratic leader of the House of Representatives in 2017. Joe Scarborough set up the discussion by asking:
But how do Democrats who have the right policies economically, in their minds, how do they reconnect with a middle America who feels like sometimes they are looked down upon because of their faith or their values?
Her answer to this soft-ball question shows the depths of contempt that lives in the Progressive mind towards those who don’t share in their ideology (emphasis added).
“And I say, this will be a little not in keeping with the spirit of the day of unity, but I say they pray in church on Sunday and prey on people the rest of the week, and while we’re doing the Lord’s work by ministering to the needs of God’s creation they are ignoring those needs which is to dishonor the God who made them.”
With this material I believe we can identify the boundary between the lowest “deplorable” quasi-cast and all that sit above. They tend to:
- live in small towns, suburbs or rural areas;
- be (but are not all) middle to upper-middle class;
- have suffered significant, sustained economic frustration and/or decline over the past 30 years;
- be Bible-believing Christians;
- own guns or support gun ownership;
- oppose Obamacare;
- oppose open-borders immagration;
- have become suspicious of “world-trade” agreements;
- not embrace gay-marriage or the other aspects of “queer ideology“;
- not embrace radical environmentalism in general, or “climate change” in particular;
- believe that the United States in particular and Western Civilization in general have great value and should be preserved;
- love their country, believe that it has mortal enemies and honor those who defend it.
As far as I can tell, these are the people who made the difference in electing Mr. Trump to the Presidency. This is a group who found themselves actively hated by the Democrats or treated like an embarrassment by the Republicans for decades. The idea that these citizens would forever ignore the fact that neither major political party cared about, let alone addressed, their interests was ludicrous.
Such a situation couldn’t last in a functioning democratic republic, and it hasn’t. The question that now faces us is will the United States continue to be a democratic republic or is it on the way to becoming something else?