“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the 'basket of deplorables'. Right?” Clinton said to applause and laughter from the crowd of supporters at an LGBT for Hillary fundraiser where Barbra Streisand performed. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it.”
“And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up,” she added.
As Ta-Nehisi Coates puts it:
...One way of reporting on Clinton’s statement is to weigh its political cost, ask what it means for her campaign, or attempt to predict how it might affect her performance among certain groups. This path is in line with the current imperatives of political reporting and, at least for the moment, seems to be the direction of coverage. But there is another line of reporting that could be pursued—Was Hillary Clinton being truthful or not?
Much like Trump’s alleged opposition to the Iraq War, this not an impossible claim to investigate. We know, for instance, some nearly 60 percent of Trump’s supporters hold “unfavorable views” of Islam, and 76 percent support a ban on Muslims entering the United States. We know that some 40 percent of Trump’s supporters believe blacks are more violent, more criminal, lazier, and ruder than whites. Two-thirds of Trump’s supporters believe the first black president in this country’s history is not American. These claim are not ancillary to Donald Trump’s candidacy, they are a driving force behind it.
When Hillary Clinton claims that half of Trump’s supporters qualify as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic,” data is on her side...
If I had to break it down, the Republican voting base - the biggest part of Trump's support - goes like this:
You have the traditional Republican voter, the ones who were raised since birth - or at least since their mid-life crisis - to vote habitually for the GOP regardless of who the candidate on the ticket is. These are the voters that Rude Pundit noted before would vote Republican even when it was their best interest to vote Democrat based on the issues. These are the ones who aren't really fully racist, they're merely prejudiced (there is a distinction, at least among themselves) and are genuinely nice to other ethnicities and would probably vote for reasonable social aid programs and keep public schools funded and stuff, they'd just rather everyone stay on their sides of the lines and not make a fuss about it. These are the ones who can't vote for Hillary Clinton even if Hillary guaranteed full-time jobs at $90,000 minimum across the board and non-fattening ice cream for life. I'd have to say these were the ones who didn't vote for Trump in the primaries but likely for the "Establishment" type candidates like Jeb, Kasich, or Rubio. That would be about 25 percent of the primary voter turnout (and a good number of business leaders who financially support the party).
You have the hardcore Far Right voter who obsess fully over the dogmatic positions for cutting taxes, slashing government regulations, shutting down Planned Parenthood, bringing back the standard neocon foreign policy stances but not exactly anything that would alienate our allies. These are the Republicans who have no problem with government shutdowns, or blocking anything to the Left of Barry Goldwater. They're relatively racist and sexist but are more subtle about how they sell themselves to the public knowing full well there are some lines you can't cross. At least not until they've got solid control of all three branches of government. These are the types who voted for the more radical candidates like Santorum, Huckabee, and the second place guy Cruz. I'd put them about 27 percent of the primary voter turnout (and with the other business leaders who are more wingnut, such as the Koch brothers).
And then you have the Real Trump supporters. The ones who... well...
The ones who display open rage at Latinos. Who can't wait for that Trump Wall to go up between the US and Mexico. Who can't wait for another Operation Wetback to drive out 11 million people. Who fully buy into Trump's accusations of Mexicans being rapists and thugs.
The ones who attack Muslims in public. Who buy into the fear-mongering that EVERY Muslim is a knife-wielding bomb-wearing killer driven by a hateful religion to kill "true" Christians.
The ones who express utter disdain - and violence - towards women. Who tend to be the ones on social media using it as an outlet for some pretty vulgar stuff. And who threaten to get worse.
These are the ones who went all in for Trump during the primaries around 45 percent.
Granted, these are just based on uneven - actually minor - primary turnout results, that do not cover the Independent voters who couldn't participate in any of the closed primaries. This is just a rough guess estimate, but it has the virtue of filling the polling numbers and support that the Far Right and Right-leaning voters are giving Trump right about now.
The scary thing is how the hater faction backing Trump is so large compared to the other Republican factions still struggling to stay afloat this election cycle.
Hillary may have apologized for saying "deplorable" stuff about Trump supporters but I'm with Coates on this. Hillary didn't lie.
And Hillary was more polite about it that I would have been. I've had called those half of Trump supporters - the neo-Nazis, the Klan, the Islamophobes, the Roger Aileses of their tribe - a bunch of assholes. And then I'd ask the saner members of the Republican Party forced to back Trump something along the lines of "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT YOUR OWN PARTY TURNING INTO A BUNCH OF MONSTERS?"
Update: PM Carpenter has less sympathy for the enablers of the "Deplorable", especially Ron Fouriner. To wit:
It is shocking, at long last it is still shocking, that Fournier (& Co.) could be so blind as to not see that only populist baskets of virtually undifferentiated deplorables could have elevated Mussolini and Hitler to the ultimate authority they sought. The latter deliberately distorted the origins of the national ills they addressed, while the latter of the latter pursued assorted scapegoats with unprecedented verve. And this — all of it — would have gone nowhere had it not been for the authoritarians' popular support; less than a majority, but popular enough. The lazy, the easily beguiled, the human detritus of pluralistic societies grabbed at the quick, brutal fixes of fascist appeals — and the indifferent or less enthusiastic supporters were really no better than the vigorously enthusiastic. They — all of them — were essentially one of a kind: deplorable...
...One may support an unbigoted, non-sexist, intellectually deep and quite curious if rather conventional pol, or one may support her point-by-point opposite with no blanket deplorability attached. Just how in God's name is that possible? Hillary's "gross" generalization was, is, incontestable: Roughly half (probably more) of Trumpeteers are "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it." At least those are principles, of sorts. They may be contemptible principles, but they're principles as "philosophically" rooted as was National Socialism's anti-Semitism. Far less principled are the other half who support a megalomaniacal thug merely because he plays into the extravagances of Hillary-hatred. And Trump "has lifted them up" — all of 'em.
We can only hope the result of this election cycle is a decisive Trump and Republican loss across the board. And then the entire GOP - the party elected, their media pundit allies, their deep-pocket funders, their voters - needs to sit down in a room and figure out just how WRONG they all got this cycle.