By now everyone has heard about Hillary Clinton’s comment about half of her opponent’s supporters falling into a “basket of deplorables” – sexist and racist mostly.
The pushback from her opponent and his surrogates has been hard and unrelenting. But unless we’ve missed it, none of these surrogates or Trump himself have refuted the claim. None of them have said, “no, most of my supporters are not racist at all.”
Because it wouldn’t be true.
Of course it’s political season, and lies are flying fast and furious. But the framing of the counter-attack on Clinton is telling. Trump has been courting racists and alt-right white nationalists since the beginning.
Dana Milbank in the Washington Post says what everyone in the U.S. should already know; that a good percentage – okay, we can quibble about the exact percentage – are bigoted or racist:
In June, the Pew Research Center found that 79 percent of Clinton voters believe the treatment of racial and ethnic minorities is an important issue, while only 42 percent of Trump supporters feel that way. As I wrote previously, earlier Pew research found that Trump supporters were significantly less likely than other Americans (and supporters of other Republican presidential candidates) to think that racial and ethnic diversity improves the United States.
Research by Washington Post pollsters and by University of California at Irvine political scientist Michael Tesler, among others, have found that Trump does best among Americans who express racial animus. Evidence indicates fear that white people are losing ground was the single greatest predictor of support for Trump — more, even, than economic anxiety.
So, okay, maybe deplorable is an loaded term. It might be more accurate to say, “Trump does best among Americans who express racial animus and white people who fear they are losing economic ground, therefore they blame people of color.” It’s a little wordy, though, right?
What we can say for sure is, it’s going to be a very long 53 days until this election is over.