Hillary Clinton and the Deplorables

Used to be that a politician made a gaffe when they accidentally spoke the truth about something sacred, like voters. The Hillary Clinton deplorable comment is a classic case. She carefully divided up the potential Trump voters into baskets, only one of which got the deplorable label. But that was the only thing anyone heard, the one that stuck.

The words mobilized a lot of not-quite-Trump voters into the offended outrage that keeps Fox viewers alive. Maybe it cost her the election, but that could be said of a lot of little mistakes as well as some very strange events that had nothing to do with her.

At the time, many of her supporters, even, thought she was wrong. Or at least exaggerating. Sure, some of Trumps followers were obviously racist, many were misogynist. But half? That seemed extreme because, well, we like to assume that most people are basically good.

Time has proven her numbers were about right, though. Her instinct, her ear for how to describe voters was wrong. But we have seen the gradual falling away of every kind of Trump voter other than the deplorables. Trump has exposed himself as incompetent, racist, even more misogynist, a fraud, a kleptocrat, and a traitor. Yet there is that stubborn 34% that sticks with him. If he looks at the eclipse without glasses, they will all do the same and tell each other it isn’t damaging their eyes one bit, dammit. Maybe that number will get smaller, even, but it is always going to be way bigger than it should, and the people in that 34% fully meet the definition Hillary laid out. They are deplorable.