Several days ago, the WSJ reported that in a change of strategy, Hillary would tone down her personal attacks on Trump to distance herself from an increasingly uglier mudslinging campaign on both sides. It didn't last long: perhaps after she saw the latest polls which continue to slip away from her favor, and confirm the two candidates are again neck and neck, on Friday night during an LGBT fundraiser for her campaign in New York hosted by Barbara Streisand, Hillary unleashed an unprecedented ad hominem attack on what amounts a quarter of America, calling half of Trump's supporters a "basket of deplorables."
Cited by BuzzFeed, Hillary made a statement which 4 years ago effectively lost Mitt Romney the election: "you know, just to be grossly generalist, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables."
“Right?” she said as the crowd laughed and applauded. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic -- you name it,” Clinton continued. “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.”
Clinton said the other half are people struggling who have found hope in Trump's message.
"That other basket of people are people who feel that 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 a change," she said. "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."
In other words, Hillary believes that half of America either see its future in a dead end, or is a gruesome caricature of a "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic" redneck, something she has recently equated to the "alt right." In a recent speech Clinton tried to tie her GOP rival in with the so-called alt-right movement, a loose fringe group that exists largely online and often appeals to anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic and white nationalist individuals.
While we enjoy Hillary's attempts at broad-stroke stereotyping, what is rather ironic about Hillary's instant alienation of about a quarter of Americans, is that five months ago the liberal FiveThirtyEight.com website found that Trump voters' median household income was higher than the median in every state, sometimes by a wide margin; and that 44% of Trump voters have college undergraduate degrees, compared to 29% of US adults. In fact, the median household of a Trump voters is far higher than that of a Hillary supporter.
Meanwhile, Hillary only dominates among the very lowest of income earners in America - which is no surprise since "work is punished" at that level of income, and that is specifically the target demographic desired by most liberals who promise more government handouts and, in general, just more government.
On Friday Clinton reportedly told the crowd: "If you know anybody who’s even thinking of voting for Trump, stage an intervention." In other words, wealthier, more educated people, at least if one goes by the facts.
Finally, recall that it was almost exactly four years ago when Mitt Romney's infamous "47%" recording leaked in which he said that "there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it -- that that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. ... These are people who pay no income tax. ... [M]y job is not to worry about those people."
After the media pounced and decimated Romney for that statement, his campaign was over. We wonder just how expansive the silence will be from the mainstream media this time around, when its preferred candidate has effectively just done the same.
Meanwhile, Politico reported that promptly after news of Hillary's speech leaked, Trump’s campaign demanded an apology for her comments, jabbing Clinton on Twitter for "placing people in 'baskets'" and insulting "millions of Americans."
“Treating people as subhuman - irredeemable/deplorable - is no way to run for POTUS,” tweeted Tim Miller, a former Jeb Bush spokesman and fervent Trump opponent. “Dems shld skip the excuses & move straight to mea culpa.”
But Merrill, Clinton’s traveling press secretary, defended the remarks as the political furor began to rage online. “She gave an entire speech about how the alt right movement is using his campaign to advance its hate movement,” he tweeted. “Obviously not everyone supporting Trump is part of the alt right, but alt right leaders are with Trump. And their supporters appear to make up half his crowd when you observe the tone of his events."
In other words, no excuse is coming. In a statement later released by the Trump campaign, senior communications adviser Jason Miller said Clinton's comments "revealed her true contempt for everyday Americans."
"What’s truly deplorable isn’t just that Hillary Clinton made an inexcusable mistake in front of wealthy donors and reporters happened to be around to catch it," he wrote. "It’s that Clinton revealed just how little she thinks of the hard-working men and women of America.”
We thought that had been made clear when she spent the month of August delivering speeches to various billionaires' mansions in the Hamptons, while ignoring both the general public and the press.
But perhaps the biggest irony is that none other than then Sen. Barack Obama made a strikingly similar 2008 comment - again, captured at a donor event - that small-town voters "cling to guns or religion,” which Republicans said showed contempt for ordinary Americans. “The parallel is disdain for the unwashed,” tweeted Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney, embracing the comparison.
“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them,” Obama said then. “And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
Obama was pilloried for those comments, including by none other than his Democratic primary opponent at the time, Hillary Clinton. She ripped him as "elitist" and cast him as someone who couldn't possibly fathom the concerns of "working, hard-working Americans, white Americans."
Fast forward 8 years later, and well, irony strikes again.