"a basket of deplorables".
Huh. This just seems to me like a furtherance of her comments regarding the symbiosis between the Trump campaign and the alt-right. Nothing much new here. She later pulled back on the statement, but only to the effect that labeling half the Trump supporters as deplorable is probably a bit too high. (Or is it?) But I think the outcry regarding what she said is pretty overwrought. She did not say "half of all Americans"--she was referring to about half of Trump supporters, which is a pool of likely voters according to most polls smaller than her group of supporters. And to be perfectly straight--yeah. There are some scoundrels repping Trump. Like, I mean, his actual campaign representatives. Are in actual fact, not really tremendously great ethical folks.
This should be viewed as a way more questionable situation than whether she actually called him out on it. Trump is repped by people who could be characterized as really openly espousing racist, misogynist, and homophobic values. He himself was just at the Value Voters summit and spoke at Phyllis Schlafley's funeral, in both places showing that the culture war on LGBT rights and women's rights are quite alive and well within his campaign. He has the serial sexual harasser Roger Ailes working with him on how he debates a woman opponent. He himself has a history of being on the side of white supremacy--a long one.
But does that point to his actual supporters being themselves "deplorable"? The actual fuck. How is that debatable? This blog has noted that his rhetoric has encouraged deeply stupid people to act out in violence against people who weren't like themselves. And this hasn't changed. There is ample reason to think that Trump supporters include some terribly racist assholes whom he has given permission to let their asshole flag fly.
This comment Clinton has made is not only about less than half of all Americans, she isn't even tarring all Republicans with the same brush. She has acknowledged that conservatives like Ted Cruz have not only been slandered by Trump, but have reason to deplore the way he mischaracterizes what conservatism can be, and holds it up in some ways as the caricature my liberal friends and I at our meanest might depict it as. He made the worst impulses and bitterest Breitbart and Drudge-peddled shit validated. And many intellectual and principled conservatives have looked at his circus and derided it--as they should! I have never followed so many conservatives on Twitter for their real and aggrieved criticisms of what the Trump campaign is about, and look at people like Ana Navarro, and Rick Wilson, and Jonah Goldberg, and Erick Erickson and S. E. Cupp, with some real empathy--they are watching an asshole try to burn the party that sort of houses their values and system of thought down because of his ego and embrace of conspiracy theories and bigotry. I have discovered, now that the lines between what Trump is about and what many conservatives actually want, that there are people there with whom conversation is very possible.
But some of these Trump folks don't want conversation. They chant about locking Hillary Clinton up--not really for crimes, but because of who she is. They go after reporters who say things they don't like, even in antisemetic ways. They are angry and fearful and they will accept every conspiracy theory about Clinton or Obama forever because they already know who they hate and fear, and it includes all kinds of Americans--even ones that have fought for this country. They hate.
I, and many others who have looked at this campaign in shock regarding the atmosphere of sexism, homophobia, racism, and religious bigotry, deplore. Not because we hate these fellow Americans. But because of what their values mean for us, our present, our future. Clinton wants people to know she is the choice that isn't retweeting White Supremacists and anti-Semites, that doesn't think gay people should face religious segregation, and Muslims shouldn't be banned. That she understands that Hispanic culture is part of American culture. And those who don't--well, she doesn't want their votes.
But she knows good and well Trump can't survive without them. And that is pretty damn deplorable.