Basket of deplorables is the phrase of the week, my friends. In a campaign where every move Hillary Clinton makes is viewed through a lens ten times stronger than any move of Donald Trump, she did not need to shoot herself in the foot. But she kind of did — at the very least she fired off a shot in the area of her foot.
Late last week at a campaign event, Clinton was talking about Trump’s coalition of supporters, half of whom, she said, represent the “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it”. And then she called that particular cohort a “basket of deplorables”.
Oh, the outrage! How dare she attack Americans like that, the Trump camp bellowed? Keep in mind this is the same camp who cheered from the sidelines as Trump called those of Mexican ancestry drug dealers and rapists; who roared with approval when he questioned the ability of a judge to do his job because he was of Mexican heritage, who swooned when he threw shade at a Muslim couple who lost their son — an American soldier — in combat; who literally salivate at suggestions that Clinton be thrown in jail (or shot by a firing squad) for crimes she has not been tried for, nor convicted of; who laughed when Trump mocked a disabled reporter.
But they are outraged! In the world according to these special snowflakes, you can you can mock, denigrate and call names all you want as long as it’s being done by a Trump supporter, but if you suggest that some of Trump’s supporters are racist (which they are), sexist (which they so are, more on that in a minute), homophobic (yes, they are), xenophobic (ding! they are!) and Islamophobic (um… yes) you have grossly insulted ‘real’ Americans.
It’s a mess Clinton does not need as polls are — inexplicably to me — tightening as the election draws nigh.
Apparently the fact that Trump has not said anything exceptionally hateful or crazy in the past two weeks makes him quite presidential in the eyes of U.S. media, and some voters.
There is no doubt Clinton is being judged more harshly by the media, and some of them have even admitted it, as if it’s okay.
Here’s what CNN anchor Dana Bash said, “I think the stakes are much higher in this debate and all the debates for Hillary Clinton because the expectations are higher for her because she’s a seasoned politician. She’s a seasoned debater. You know, yes we saw Donald Trump in the primaries debate for the first time, but he is a first-time politician. So um, for lots of reasons. Maybe it’s not fair, but that’s the way it is. The onus is on her.”
C’mon! By that way of thinking, in the next local mayoral debates incumbents Lee Pratt and Don McCormick will be grilled on the minutiae of the city budgets and the challengers — likely to be political rookies — will get asked what colour they might repaint their office at City Hall should they be elected.
Sounds totally fair, doesn’t it?
Now let’s get to the second reason Clinton is having a bad week — leaving the 9/11 ceremony early, appearing to almost faint, and then being diagnosed with walking pneumonia.
The media has been relentless in recounting this sign of weakness; which the Trump campaign has been laying the groundwork for all summer with conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health.
And you know what? It’s because she’s a woman. Because she is a woman, that insidious sexism, that most would deny, demands that she prove herself stronger than any man ever. Did George HW Bush not toss his cookies all over the Prime Minister of Japan, then faint? But somehow, though he was mocked by comedians, his strength as a leader was never called into question. John F. Kennedy had Addison’s disease, was he called weak? No. FDR had poliomyelitis, which left him paralysed. Not weak though.
But Clinton, who picked up pneumonia, no doubt through a gruelling campaign schedule, is now being considered by some as not fit for the presidency. And because she soldiered on through her illness, like every woman ever, she is being called secretive. She must be hiding something!
Maybe she should get a ‘man cold’. Retire to bed and call Mommy, then a whaaaambulance. Would that make her look stronger? More like a real (male) candidate?
Carolyn Grant is the Editor of the Kimberley Bulletin