The GOP is Donald Trump’s Party Now

GOP primary voters continue to reward staunch supporters of the President and punish those who get on his bad side.

 

Results in yesterday’s primaries confirm that, two years in, Donald Trump represents the base of the Republican Party.

In my own state of Virginia, an election that I barely knew was going on picked a strong Trumper to lose against Tim Kaine in November.

AP (“Republican who backed Confederate memorials wins Senate nom“):

A conservative provocateur and supporter of President Donald Trump won Virginia’s Republican primary Tuesday in the U.S. Senate race, and he has promised to run a “vicious” campaign against incumbent Tim Kaine.

Republican Corey Stewart beat state lawmaker Nick Freitas and Chesapeake minister E.W. Jackson. Stewart – who favors keeping Confederate monuments – had long been on the fringe of the state’s GOP; now the win makes him the standard-bearer of a deeply divided party that hasn’t won a statewide race in nearly a decade.

Stewart said he plans to campaign in a Trump-like way that appeals to blue collar voters across the political spectrum. He’s also pledged to run a “ruthless” and “vicious” campaign against Kaine.

“We’re going to have a lot of fun between now and November, folks,” Stewart told a raucous crowd at his victory party Tuesday evening.

The crowd chanted “Lock her up” and “Build the wall,” a throwback to popular chants at Trump’s campaign rallies.

A one-time state chairman of President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Stewart nearly won the 2017 Republican nomination for governor, despite being heavily outspent.

Stewart campaigned heavily on preserving Virginia’s Confederate monuments and is an immigrant hard-liner who boasts of the number of immigrants in the country illegally who have been deported from his county.

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors chairman and attorney has courted controversy throughout his political career.

He was fired from the Trump campaign after staging an unsanctioned protest at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee, which Stewart said wasn’t sufficiently loyal to Trump during the presidential campaign.

Virginia was a solid red state when I moved here in 2002. Indeed, it voted Republican in every presidential election from 1952 through 2004, with the exception of the 1964 debacle. It has voted Democrat in the three elections since. It’s virtually inconceivable that Kaine, who drew no primary opposition, won’t be re-elected.

In South Carolina, former governor Mark Sanford, who rehabilitated his image after a bizarre scandal some years to get elected to Congress, was a surprise loser in his primary after President Trump came out against him.

CNN (“Trump critic Mark Sanford falls in South Carolina GOP primary“):

Rep. Mark Sanford, a South Carolina Republican who’s a critic of President Donald Trump, will lose his GOP primary to his conservative challenger, state Rep. Katie Arrington, CNN projects.

The outcome — one that national Republicans working on House races said as recently as Tuesday morning they did not anticipate — is another sign that GOP primary voters are rejecting lawmakers who break with Trump.

Trump endorsed Arrington hours before the polls closed Tuesday in a tweet attacking Sanford for being “very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA.”

Last week in Alabama, GOP Rep. Martha Roby — who had called on Trump to exit the 2016 race after the “Access Hollywood” tape became public — was held under 50% in her primary and forced into a runoff.

On Tuesday night, Sanford told supporters gathered in Mount Pleasant, “I’ve always been a realist, and at this point, based on the numbers I see, I think that I’ll end up losing this election.”

In his tweet, Trump referenced a 2009 scandal in which Sanford, then the governor, disappeared for several days. He first claimed he’d been “hiking the Appalachian Trail” but later admitted to an extramarital affair in Argentina.

Trump tweeted: “Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina. I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!”

While Trump has been a national embarrassment and garnered historically-low approval ratings for an early-term President, he’s still beloved by the GOP base. It very much looks like the party of Ronald Reagan is gone forever.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2018, Donald Trump
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. James Pearce says:

    While Trump has been a national embarrassment and garnered historically-low approval ratings for an early-term President, he’s still beloved by the GOP base. It very much looks like the party of Ronald Reagan is gone forever.

    And they looked so formidable before they completely folded…

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

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  3. MBunge says:

    While Trump has been a national embarrassment and garnered historically-low approval ratings for an early-term President, he’s still beloved by the GOP base. It very much looks like the party of Ronald Reagan is gone forever.

    And over two years into the Age of Trump, most of the folks around here not only give no sign of understanding how and why it happened, they regularly demonstrate they don’t want to understand.

    Mike

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  4. Kafantaris says:

    “Corey Stewart, the bombastic conservative who built his public image on championing the Confederate flag and monuments like Charlottesville’s Robert E. Lee statue and has appeared with white nationalists … Stewart’s presence on the ballot could lead Republican voters to stay at home, hurting the party in several competitive House races.”

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  5. CSK says:

    Stewart’s also good buddies with Paul Nehlen.

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  6. grumpy realist says:

    @MBunge: Well, it’s very obvious that a certain chunk of the US populace is enamoured of a carny barker who thinks nothing of molesting women, cutting deals with the Russian mafia, refusing to provide transparency in the way of his finances or taxes, and is perfectly happy at lying his head off. What does that say about their own morals?

    It’s very much like Brexit. People so interested in cocking a snook at “the elites” that they don’t give a crap about anything else.

    And I’m sure that when it all goes four feet in the air, you’ll turn around and blame all the people who tried to warn you about the impending disaster, rather than admit where the real responsibility lies: yourself.

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  7. Moosebreath says:

    @grumpy realist:

    “And I’m sure that when it all goes four feet in the air, you’ll turn around and blame all the people who tried to warn you about the impending disaster, rather than admit where the real responsibility lies: yourself.”

    Yep, it will be a replay of how the Tea Party claimed that Bush was no true conservative and they never really supported him. And the so-called liberal media will lap it up.

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  8. Mister Bluster says:

    …no sign of understanding how and why it happened,..

    Decent Citizens understand what happened.
    Racist REPUBLICAN Donald Trump pandered to the KKK, the american Nazi Party and other white power bigots for votes.

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  9. MarkedMan says:

    It very much looks like the party of Ronald Reagan is gone forever.

    It’s fairer to say that the party of Reagan metastisized. The cancer was present in Reagan’s time, it was just deeper under the skin. I’m not much of a fan of Reagan, but I doubt he was personally a racist (accounting for generational differences) and I’m sure he was not an extremist. But he certainly encapsulated the “all government is evil” and “all problems are simple if we can just get the idiots and losers out of the way. And by the way, “idiots and losers” encompasses anyone who thinks all problems can’t be solved by the free market, cutting regulations and lowering taxes.” The Republican base, even the decent ones, wanted to hear this. The metastasizing occurred when those intelligent and decent Republicans, when faced with the realities of climate change, repeated deficit explosions under Republican policies, de-regulation led banking collapses (twice!), decided to tuck their heads in the sand and mutter “whaddabout” rather than punish their own representatives for destructive policies.

    And then of course there is the racism. The Republican leadership made a conscious decision to pursue racist Southerners disaffected with the Democratic Party. If the non-racist, moral Republicans had raised a stink the party could have changed course. But the perfect encapsulation of the failure of average politically aware Republicans was their reaction to Reagan kicking off his campaign in Philadelphia, MS with a speech about states rights and the evils of the federal government interference. It was absolutely clear the message it sent was “Racists, we are your party.” But to this day decent Republicans still make all kinds of nonsense explanations, basically holding to their credo: If a Republican does or says something heinous we must moot every mitigating explanation, no matter how ridiculous, before we accept the obvious truth.

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  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Excellent comment.

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  11. James Pearce says:

    @MBunge:

    And over two years into the Age of Trump, most of the folks around here not only give no sign of understanding how and why it happened, they regularly demonstrate they don’t want to understand.

    C’mon, Mike, that’s not fair. It’s some combination of racism and misogyny, maybe with a little xenophobia thrown in, and most importantly, nothing else.

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  12. Modulo Myself says:

    It’s almost been two years since Trump was elected, and his supporters are still going on about how nobody understands or listens to what the real economic reasons were. This argument made some sense directly after the election. But you know what? After two years of GOP control and Trump it doesn’t matter. To quote Quentin Crisp: ‘It’s no good spending thirty years being a bad pig farmer while wanting to be a ballet dancer. By then, pigs will be your style.’ Well, guess what: the time for economic anxiety to manifest itself into something coherent and empathic was in the past several years. That it’s been instead Fox-led hero worship and idiotic delusion is the the proof: Trump is your style.

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  13. James Pearce says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    his supporters are still going on about how nobody understands or listens to what the real economic reasons were.

    I’m not a Trump supporter, but the thing about “economic anxiety” is that it’s not a belief that Republicans will ease their anxiety, but an absolute certainty that Democrats won’t.

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  14. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:

    no sign of understanding how and why it happened

    It happened because 46.1% of the nation is as dumb as you and allowed themselves to be conned by a grifter in cahoots with foreign agents…and the director of the FBI injected himself into the race just weeks before the election.
    I can only hope that someone dear to you has a pre-existing condition, and their life becomes a living hell after they lose their insurance. Maybe then you will wake the fvck up.

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  15. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I would add that Reagan brought the evangelicals into the party. That has wrought all kinds of moral damage as well.

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  16. teve tory says:

    @MarkedMan: Co-signing what MarkedMan said.

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  17. KM says:

    @MBunge :

    Pimp Dennis Hof, the owner of half a dozen legal brothels in Nevada and star of the HBO adult reality series “Cathouse,” won a Republican primary for the state Legislature on Tuesday, ousting a three-term lawmaker.

    “It’s all because Donald Trump was the Christopher Columbus for me,” Hof told the Associated Press in a phone call. “He found the way and I jumped on it.”

    Oh it’s pretty goddamn clear that the “Age of Trump”, we totally understand why he and people like Hof keep getting chosen by you and yours. So far your choices have been Nazis/ neo-Nazis, wannbe Confederates, pimps, nutcases, openly operating grifters, and straight up evil people doing it for the lulz.

    Economic anxiety my ass. The Age of Trump is the time when y’all finally feel free to let your freak flag fly. You’re out and proud about being horrible people because Donald made it OK – he’s your Columbus! Trump’s lied and changed his mind and just flat out forgot about the crap you supposed voted him in for and you STILL love him. It’s incredibly clear why no matter what lies you tell yourself.

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  18. Mikey says:

    @MBunge: Oh, we know.

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  19. teve tory says:

    OT: rumor has it Michael Cohen’s lawyers are splitsville and he’s going to cooperate.

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  20. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Yep. You know, it’s an oft spoken complaint against the Democratic Party that their tent is too big, that they have too many conflicting interests. But the Republicans have really become the party of the tent so big that they are completely unable to do anything positive, lest they offend one group or another. They spend all their time on re-litigating the Civil war and the civil rights era, or trying to repeal abortion or railing against the government or brown people. They have nothing positive or forward looking to offer. Any time someone breaks the mold and tries to bring up an actual problem, every other Republican goes running for the hills shouting incoherent nonsense about kneeling athletes over their shoulder as they dash away.

    And their reaction to Trump, well, I call them Vichy Republicans, after the traitorous French government the Nazis created in the city of Vichy. These French officials were quislings, willing to trade all their responsibilities and authority in return for being allowed to keep their titles and salaries.

    [Trivia: In “Casablanca” Captain Renault pours out a bottle of Vichy Water and dumps it in the trash. Vichy Water used to be a high end bottle water that came from the town of the same name. He does this to symbolically snow he is down with collusion.]

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  21. george says:

    Based on talking to Trump supporters in real life (as opposed to what people post on the Internet), it seems to be mainly about what conservatives call the “culture war”. Which seems to vary depending upon which conservative you talk to – the only consistent thing I notice is that they feel they’re getting picked on by the coastal elites, and while most feel Trump is a viscous idiot, they also think he’s the only one standing up to the bullies. I should add I think this is nonsense, but that doesn’t change the fact that that’s what’s driving them.

    Why do they think they’re getting picked on? As far as I can tell, Trump and his backers have done an excellent job of finding the most extreme left wing activists (colleges are a great source of this) and presenting them as representing the view of most Democrats (silly, but of course that’s been a staple of politics for centuries – there’s always nut cases in every party, and so of course parties learned to use them against their own party many, many generations ago).

    I note as well that the Republicans who still dislike Trump (seems to be about 40% of the GOP) tend to be well off themselves, and so think the whole culture war idea is silly. However, because they’re well off they’re obviously elite themselves, and so are Rhinos (which is a weird concept when you think of it) and so are considered to be just useful idiots for the communist Democrats.

    This resentment is really strong, and though most of it is from whites (about 60% of white conservatives support Trump over other GOP candidates), you see it among blacks (10% like Trump, indigenous people (again about 10%), Asians and other groups. Resentment is a pretty powerful force if you can harness it, it makes people happy to cut off their nose to spite their face.

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  22. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @teve tory:
    ABC is reporting this.
    A yyyuuuge development.
    If this doesn’t make Dennison fire Mueller, nothing will.

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  23. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: I suspect Vichy water is still around in Europe. Standard stuff you order in a French restaurant when you want water, unless they’re now serving tap water. (Which one used to be much more leery about because….typhoid.)

    (And if you are traveling to St. Petersburg (in Russia) DEFINITELY don’t drink the tap water….)

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  24. Kylopod says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    It happened because 46.1% of the nation

    Hate to nitpick, but 46.1% of the voters isn’t “46.1% of the nation.” Strictly speaking, only about 19% of the total US populace voted for Donald Trump.

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  25. teve tory says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Glad ABC is reporting it. The only thing I use twitter for is I follow about two dozen political journalists who’re plugged into washington and frequently traffic in news hours before it goes official. It’s not always right, but it’s frequently right, and early.

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  26. teve tory says:

    Palmer Report

    Verified account

    @PalmerReport
    Follow Follow @PalmerReport

    If Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un were both drowning and you only had time to save one of them, where would you and Justin Trudeau go for lunch instead?

    6:10 PM – 12 Jun 2018

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  27. Kathy says:

    @teve tory:

    OT: rumor has it Michael Cohen’s lawyers are splitsville and he’s going to cooperate.

    Christmas in June?

    I can imagine at his trial he’ll sit on the witness stand and answer every question with “Says who?”

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  28. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Kylopod:
    You are correct, of course.
    It is comforting to know that only ~19% of the nation is as dumb as Bunge.

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  29. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Kylopod:
    You are correct, of course.
    It is comforting to know that only ~19% of the nation is as dumb as Bunge.

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  30. Modulo Myself says:


    Why do they think they’re getting picked on? As far as I can tell, Trump and his backers have done an excellent job of finding the most extreme left wing activists (colleges are a great source of this) and presenting them as representing the view of most Democrats (silly, but of course that’s been a staple of politics for centuries – there’s always nut cases in every party, and so of course parties learned to use them against their own party many, many generations ago).

    Yes, Trump and his backers enjoy picking on nuts and weirdos, but hysterically it’s backfired so that millions of angry 50-something white guys are now being traumatized by three feminists at Oberlin. That’s the culture war–liberals winning or fighting back. How dare they?

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  31. James Pearce says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    It happened because 46.1% of the nation is as dumb as you

    Racist, sexist, xenophobic, and dumb? Call em what you want, I guess, but don’t call them out of power.

    Two years into Trump’s presidency and you still believe in the merits of calling other people “deplorable?”

    @george: Hats off to you for trying to understand something you don’t wholly agree with. Such a rare, but essential, skill.

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  32. Hal_10000 says:

    There is no political home for conservatives anymore. Trump has made the GOP into a jingoistic pseudo-populist nightmare that opposes free trade, embraces massive debt, fights accountability, coddles dictators and spits in the face of our allies. The GOP once aspired to represent what was great about America; under Trump it represents all that is bad about it.

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  33. James Pearce says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    That’s the culture war–liberals winning or fighting back. How dare they?

    Look, is it really “fighting back” if you’re so annoying and insufferable that people elect Donald Trump to poke you in the eye?

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  34. EddieInCA says:

    @James Pearce: ‘

    Two years into Trump’s presidency and you still believe in the merits of calling other people “deplorable?”

    Yes. Some people are deplorable. Al Sharpton is deplorable. Ivanka Trump is deplorable. David Duke is deplorable. Ralph Nadar is deplorable. Jill Stein is deplorable. And MANY Trump supporters are deplorable.

    So. Yes. The answer is yes.

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  35. Charon says:

    It very much looks like the party of Ronald Reagan is gone forever.

    That’s not my interpretation. The way I see it, when the GOP consummated the “Southern Strategy” by embracing RR with his racist dog-whistles (Philadelphia, Mississippi, “welfare queens.” steaks bought with food stamps, etc.) it embarked on a slippery slope that would culminate inevitably on Trumpism or something much like Trumpism – perhaps from a racist demagogue like Trump but smarter.

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  36. Charon says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Consider the considerable Venn Diagram overlap of racists and Evangelical Christians. The Southern Strategy brought in the Evangelicals along with the racists, people disposed to accept on faith whatever authority figures are indoctrinating them with. Hence, the success of the Conservative Infotainment Media.

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  37. Charon says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I’m not much of a fan of Reagan, but I doubt he was personally a racist (accounting for generational differences) and I’m sure he was not an extremist. But he certainly encapsulated the “all government is evil” and “all problems are simple if we can just get the idiots and losers out of the way. And by the way, “idiots and losers” encompasses anyone who thinks all problems can’t be solved by the free market, cutting regulations and lowering taxes.”

    I think Reagan was pretty inattentive/ tuned out all along. “His” policies were largely (with notable exceptions) the policies of his handlers and his wife.

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  38. JohnMcC says:

    “NOW”?! The GOP is Donald Trump’s party NOW? My friend, the GOP was waiting for it’s messiah for decades. They have found him now. Their universe is being set right and those who deserve are getting.

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  39. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Pearce:

    …and you still believe in the merits of calling other people “deplorable?

    I believe in calling a spade, a spade. Honesty…try it.
    These people will believe anything. They are afraid to use the brain that evolution gave them.
    They will defend Dennison while he tears about the Western Alliance that made this world what it is today, and cow-tows to ruthless dictators. They will stand by while he defends white supremacists. They will stand by while he tears children away from asylum seekers, and makes plans for internment camps. After years of screaming about the debt, they will stand by while Dennison explodes it. And they will stand by while Russia attacks us, and Dennison looks the other way.
    They are deplorable. It’s best for everyone if we stop pretending they are not.

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  40. Modulo Myself says:

    @James Pearce:

    Sorry, dude–liberal culture is the only game left. Conservatives are on the outside looking in, unf—able losers with dead eyes for whom Oberlin undergrads exist in the same realm as Barack Obama, normal people who read real books, and pedophile rings masterminded by Hillary Clinton and George Soros.

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  41. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: Very good short summary of what happened.

    I regard Reagan as the most disastrous president in living memory. By putting a pleasant avuncular face on an ugly philosophy he enabled what’s followed.

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  42. gVOR08 says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    It’s almost been two years since Trump was elected, and his supporters are still going on about how nobody understands or listens to what the real economic reasons were.

    I’m getting really tired of hearing appeals for me to understand them. They’re my neighbors, I’ve worked with a bunch of them, I’m related to some of them. I understand them. I’m even sympathetic to their real problems.

    Why do I never hear appeals for them to lift their heads out of the Right Wing bubble and make some small effort to understand us?

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  43. Yank says:

    @MarkedMan: This. The only major difference between the Party of Reagan and the Party of Trump is that the gullible marks now run the party, instead of being controlled by the party elites.

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  44. george says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I believe in calling a spade, a spade. Honesty…try it.

    Well, if you insist upon honesty, every human adult on the planet is deplorable. As Hamlet said, “God’s bodykins, man, much better. Use every man after his desert, and who should ’scape whipping?”

    Even exceptional people like Ghandi, Mother Theresa, and Martin Luther King Jr. had deplorable flaws (as they readily admitted themselves). The question becomes, when is it useful to call people out on it? Generally, my take on it is that its useful to call out individuals for deplorable acts, less often useful to call individuals deplorable in themselves as opposed to their acts, and generally counter productive to call whole groups deplorable.

    All calling a group deplorable (or any other negative) does is unite them against you. Every group has internal disputes and divisions; attack them and those are forgotten. A great example is how Trump has (probably only temporarily) united the political spectrum in Canada against him by attacking Trudeau over trade.

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  45. gVOR08 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    It happened because 46.1% of the nation is as dumb as you

    That’s not entirely true. I’d say maybe 27%. The rest did it because they’ve always voted R without thinking about it. They believed Trump was playing a role and the real Trump would emerge, that the adults would restrain him, that he’d pivot. Heck, the supposedly liberal MSM still believe it. I ran into all sorts of lifelong Republicans who couldn’t take W and switched. Now that they can see that the Trump of the rallies is the only Trump there is, there should be another bunch coming.

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  46. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @george:

    All calling a group deplorable (or any other negative) does is unite them against you.

    Where the fvck have you been? These people voted for Dennison because he promised to burn the house down.
    They are already united against the United States of America.
    If we don’t acknowledge this…and fight back…we WILL lose this country.
    Wake the fvck up, people.

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  47. Kylopod says:

    @george: One of the big myths about 2016 is that Hillary Clinton described all Trump supporters as “deplorables.” She didn’t. Here is the remark in its full context, which came during a speech before an LGBT fundraiser:

    You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. (Laughter/applause) Right? (Laughter/applause) They’re racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic — Islamophobic — you name it. And unfortunately, there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully, they are not America.

    But the “other” basket — the other basket — and I know because I look at this crowd I see friends from all over America here: I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas and — as well as, you know, New York and California — but that “other” basket of people are people who feel the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures; and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but — he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.

    Here, she stated that roughly half–not all, half–of Trump supporters are part of what she called a “basket of deplorables,” which she described basically as people with strongly bigoted views against other groups such as women, minorities, gays, immigrants, and Muslims. But she was emphatic in adding that the other half didn’t fall into the “deplorables” category, that they were voters with legitimate grievances.

    But her second paragraph was all but forgotten, and thereafter the myth emerged that she had called all Trump supporters “deplorable.” Hillary herself didn’t do much to push back against this misperception; she simply apologized, probably figuring that slicing and dicing her original remark wasn’t a smart strategy at that point. Our friend James Pearce here repeated the myth that she’d called all Trump supporters “deplorable,” and he refused to apologize even after I called him out on it twice. It has rapidly turned into Hillary’s version of “invented the Internet,” except that in the years since the 2000 election Dems (and fact-checking sites like Snopes) have done a lot to push back against the urban legend about what Gore said. In the case of Hillary’s “deplorables” remark, however, a lot of Dems unwittingly perpetuate it by using “deplorables” as a generalized slur against all Trump supporters–essentially doing what she was falsely accused of doing.

    Of course even in its original form her remark was stupid from a political perspective. Along with her speech on the “alt right,” she was probably trying to invigorate minority voters to rise up in anger against Trump. But one thing a politician should never do is insult voters directly. She should have known this as well as anyone, as she’s the one who in 2008 made hay over Obama’s “bitter-cling” remark, which by comparison was far milder than “basket of deplorables.”

    But even though her statement was a political blunder, it was nonetheless pretty accurate. Of course she couldn’t have known the exact proportion of Trump voters who fit her description, and she was asking for trouble with her “to just be grossly generalistic” qualifier. But she didn’t need a poll to realize that Trump’s campaign was centered around bigotry, and there was plenty of evidence that that motivation constituted a significant element of his support.

    Unfortunately, just like serious discussions about Al Gore’s real contributions to the development of the Internet, the word “deplorable” seems to have been permanently tainted by the false interpretation of what Hillary said. Any liberal who uses the word today is thought to be saying “all Trump supporters are irredeemable bigots,” something which Hillary herself never said.

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  48. george says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I’ve been in a group which has been called deplorable and much worse since Europeans came to our continent half a millennium ago. One thing we’ve learned from this is that blanket statements about whole groups is not only mind numbingly inaccurate, but a sign of a very limited understanding of just how diverse individuals are. That’s the magic of people; no two are the same. When a million people do the same thing, the chances are they do it for a million different reasons. This is the hard won wisdom of centuries.

    Being simplistic about opponents might give a nice righteous high, but intellectually its garbage, and practically its counter productive. Thinking 60 million people (Trump voters) are all the same is simply silly.

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  49. teve tory says:

    Hillary’s deplorables comment was a Kinsley Gaffe: “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth—some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.”

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  50. teve tory says:

    When a million people do the same thing, the chances are they do it for a million different reasons.

    I doubt it.

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  51. James Pearce says:

    @Kylopod:

    Here, she stated that roughly half–not all, half–of Trump supporters are part of what she called a “basket of deplorables,” which she described basically as people with strongly bigoted views against other groups such as women, minorities, gays, immigrants, and Muslims.

    Thanks for the explanation. I don’t think it’s a good idea, though, to claim you’re fighting one set of strongly bigoted views by promulgating a different set of strongly bigoted views. You’ve abandoned the idea that bigotry is a moral and intellectual failure and instead have embraced the idea that it’s just a matter of picking teams.

    There’s more to this whole thing than just the teams.

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  52. An Interested Party says:

    @Mikey: From your link…

    White people continue to decrease as a percentage of the U.S. population; at some point, it’s going to be impossible to win a national, democratic American election with a platform that alienates people of color.

    That day can’t come soon enough…

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