Basket of Deplorables as Elite Rhetoric

hillarypink   At a fundraiser, Hillary Clinton called one-quarter of the U.S. electorate “basket of deplorables.”  The quip reportedly got a chuckle from the wealthy donors in the room but did her no favor with other groups, causing sufficient damage that she apologized.

Her apology did not sound heartfelt. After all, she had merely mouthed a cliché of her class. She seems annoyed that some possibly non-deplorable Americans objected to the term, helping erode her supposedly solid lead over Donald Trump.

My thesaurus gives the following synonyms for the word deplorable: terrible, awful, appalling, unacceptable, dreadful, shocking, unpardonable, unforgivable, shameful, lamentable, execrable, woeful, appalling, dire, shameful and pathetic. No doubt Clinton and her fellow elitists believe that a big mass of voters fits one or more of these descriptions. But why say it at a time when you’re trying to get votes?

“Basket” intensifies the insult – deplorables come in a crude container that makes one think of nutcases, whereas Clinton donors and members of the political class of course come in private jets or limousines. But why rub it in less than two months before the election?

This is a fascinating glimpse into the mindset of the ruling oligarchy. Clinton and her handlers may not think insults matter because they expect to win the election anyway. The chuckles – and large checks – from the donors are clearly more important to them.

There may be more to the cliché, which is typically expressed in less insulting style.  Big banks, multinational corporations, military suppliers and war hawks are notable Clinton backers. Can this coalition appeal to a majority? Not to people whose incomes have stagnated, whose business or job no longer survives in this country, whose grown-up children can’t find work. Not to those sent to fight awful wars with no good end in sight. Think of the trillions of dollars spent and tens of thousands of Americans killed or maimed in those wars. Think of their families and friends. The obvious culprits are all with Hillary.

To pull a majority of votes, this coalition needs to draw attention to something other than jobs, wages or wars. So race and sex discrimination is turned into account as a useful diversion. The underlying message is: We are very sensitive to race and sex issues. Like you, we’re upset about those deplorable no-goods who lack fine politically correct manners. It’s us against them. Teach them a lesson by voting for our candidate.

It’s been an effective ploy and would be even more so if the realities of a sharp class divide didn’t keep cropping up.

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