Deplorable: This Election in a Word

This has been quite a week.

Over the weekend, Hillary Clinton stumbled—into telling the hard truth about Trump and his supporters. She said that half of the people in Trump’s camp belong in a basket of deplorables. Pundits pounced on her about this gaffe because, in this high-minded election, it’s simply out-of-bounds for a candidate to say insulting things. (Well, it is out-of-bounds for her to say insulting things.)

Meanwhile, Donald has “trumped” the media by making so many shockingly-insulting remarks and being involved with so many corrupt dealings that none can gain any traction. Take note, all of you madmen who want to run for president—if you just exhaust journalists, most will give up and accept you as normal. Even better, madman equals cable ratings gold, so don’t give up on your dreams.

Was the “basket of deplorables” comment impolitic? Perhaps. Was it wrong? No. With some polls showing that 60% of Trump supporters think Obama is a Muslim and 65% think he’s not American, she may have been lowballing.

Personally, I found her statement quite helpful. I have truly struggled over what to call the hateful racists and xenophobes that Trump has unleashed into the mainstream. How do you describe the white supremacists; the people who call the president the n-word at Trump rallies; who yell “Kill the B***h!” about Hillary Clinton; and the voters who know what he’s giving voice to, but don’t care and will vote for him anyway? Before Hillary’s statement, I would say, “These people are … they’re …” and would be unable to come up with the word that captures the horror. Instead, I would just let out some startling sound that was somewhere between a growl and a scream. But now, I have the word “deplorable.” Thank you, Hillary Clinton. I’m so relieved.

At first, I found the “basket” part of the phrase to be a little strange. Basket? Was she going to say, “basket cases of deplorables,” but stopped herself because that was going too far? Well, I’m happy to report that this basket image has grown on me. It makes for a wonderful visual for online memes. And it’s a handy categorization tool. Now, I’m putting people into all kinds of baskets. For instance, the Hillary-leaning third-party voters in swing states who refuse to believe they’ll hand the election to Trump: they’re in my Basket #3. (Sorry, third-party people, if you don’t believe me. I’m just the messenger. I didn’t invent math.)

Of course, it took having walking pneumonia to make the usually-careful Clinton just come out and tell this uncomfortable truth. Perhaps, the next day, she had this back and forth with an aide:

  • “Oh dear. What did I say last night?”
  • “You said half of Trump supporters belong in a basket of deplorables.”
  • “Not good. True. But not good. What is the fallout?”
  • “Well, how should I put this? Most people agree. Oh, and now Trump supporters really hate you—but no more than they did before.”

On Sunday, many Americans had quite a scare when she fell ill. She emerged from her daughter’s apartment after feeling faint at the 9/11 memorial service and there she was—alive. Some Trump people jumped on this and were convinced it was a body double. That is beyond absurd, but even if it were true—how awesome. Why did no one ever think of the president having a body double before? She could do twice the work and appearances.

Hillary tried to power through, carrying on a full schedule despite her pneumonia. Her work ethic, perseverance, and stamina are quite impressive. Me, I can barely manage to lie in bed and key out this blog.

It’s really not surprising Hillary Clinton became ill. That Matt Lauer forum made me sick, too. Deplorable. It also describes how much of mainstream media have behaved during this election. Many news outlets are trying to pretend there is equivalency in the candidates, when there is none. Let’s review. Here’s today in equivalency:

Trump has shady business dealings around the world that would undermine national security. Trump did business and pocketed money from the terrorist Gaddafi. Pence refuses to call David Duke deplorable. The Trump Foundation is a scam, which is used to buy off investigations into his fraudulent university and to buy extremely tacky paintings of himself. Trump, Jr., again, retweets a neo-Nazi. Trump praises Putin and insults a black pastor. Trump rips apart America on Russian TV. Trump won’t release his taxes—ever. And Hillary Clinton either drinks too much or not enough water.

Now that Hillary Clinton is on the mend, I just want to wish her well. I mean, really well. I mean, please stay well. Because you have to be well! In the name of everything good on earth! Dear Lord, please we’re begging you, don’t leave us! We can’t be left with the deplorables!!

Hilary Schwartz is a comedian and writer based in NYC with love (and hate) for politics. She is a regular contributor to Political Storm.