You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — 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 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.
Hillary Clinton, at a New York fundraiser September 9, 2016.
That quote was the election. Let if be memorialized as, “The Quote.”
Hillary Clinton wasn’t talking about a fringe of Trump supporters; she smeared half of them. Liberals have tossed their pejoratives at political rivals for so long, she thought she could lump all the old favorites into a refrain and toss with impunity. It appealed to her base and the fawning media, what could go wrong? Unfortunately for a woman who’s made deception a political art form, she couldn’t hide her own words, spoken publicly to a large group. Even if her media friends had had the sense to realize they were political dynamite and suppressed them for her benefit, there was no way to stop the Internet from lighting up.
The Quote marked a pinnacle of arrogance and an abyss of ineptitude. Hillary, the candidate of the status quo, gave voice to sentiments obviously accepted and shared by the members of her arrogant class. Never underestimate the power of a question. The question millions of Americans asked: What the hell does the arrogant class have to be so arrogant about? It has given us a sputtering economy, a steadily widening economic gap between itself and everyone else, factories and jobs fleeing the country, an unchecked immigrant flow entering the country, and a string of failed wars, which has created a maelstrom of blowback and greatly diminished the world’s respect for the United States.
FIRST IT WAS BREXIT
THEN IT WAS TRUMP
NEXT TO AFFLICT TPTB:
KICK ‘EM WHEN THEY’RE DOWN!
Last night, the arrogant class got their answer: “You’re fired!” Destined to be enshrined as the epitome of political stupidity, The Quote shows how a few words can destroy a political campaign, just as Mitt Romney’s 47 percent remark did in 2012. It was the locker room clipping that fired Trump’s team to victory.
The Quote galvanized and expanded his base. No way were they going to vote for the woman who labeled them “deplorable” and “irredeemable.” They stuck with him through every “outrageous” emission and tweet, and the attendant media horror, through the Access Hollywood video, through the unproven accusations, through the uneven debate performances, and through the Comey flip-flops. Towards the end of the campaign, their loyalty was rewarded in a way unnoticed and unacknowledged by his enemies. He started to sound and act like the next president of the United States (see “Trump in New Mexico”), no longer denigrating and insulting, but reaching out, appealing for the support of all Americans. It changed minds and may have been the margin of victory.
Commentators are busy highlighting the election’s winners and losers. One clear winner was mentioned in The Quote: “He has given voice to websites that used to have 11,000 people—now 11 million.” Her numbers are wrong—11 million is less than half a day’s traffic on the biggest Trump-supporting site, The Drudge Report. However, she did implicitly recognize the ascendance of the Internet. The bell tolls for the mainstream media. It will never recover from the mendacity, hypocrisy, and partisanship it demonstrated during this campaign.
All of which presents a danger. The Internet and social media have become powerful forces; Trump couldn’t have won without them. Hubris, and the same desire to cozy up to power for which the mainstream media has been justifiably excoriated, are inevitable. Once upon a time the best of the traditional press saw its role as opposition to power—afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted. The alternative media must judge Trump by his fealty to his promises and his performance. He has to be held to the same standards both Clintons, both Bushes, and Obama have been held. Criticisms have to be voiced, mistakes acknowledged, hypocrisies ridiculed, scandals exposed and investigated, and injustices condemned. Bloggers and sites that fail to afflict Trump because he’s “their guy” will deservedly suffer the same fate as their mainstream counterparts.
A NOVEL SET WHEN AMERICA WAS AT ITS GREATEST