Sunday, September 11, 2016

About time Hillary and Dems called out GOP racism

I'm not a Hillary Clinton fan at all, and even though I will vote for her on November 8, I frankly think she's a selfish politician who would sell out Dems in a second for a few votes and/or campaign contributions. But I saw these comments from her this weekend, and you know what? I cheered and said ABOUT DAMN TIME.
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables’. Right?” Clinton said to applause and laughter from the crowd of supporters at an LGBT for Hillary fundraiser where Barbra Streisand performed. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.”

“And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up,” she added.
There is nothing wrong with telling the truth, especially when you're differentiating yourself from racists, homophobes, and other haters. This makes the Trump people and their allies try to deny they are racist (and there is an encyclopedia of social media posts that prove otherwise), and it forces any non-racist Republican voters to ask themselves "Do I really want to be associated with these people?" Many won't, and that's why, in addition to Hillary's comment being a good statement of what Dem values should be (inclusion over hatred), it is good politics. Why can't Dems play divide and conquer too, especially when dealing with basic American values like this?

And the Washington Post's Greg Sargent jumped in with a great follow-up article yesterday, calling out the Trump campaign and other right-wingers for the crocodile tears they are shedding after having the spotlight shined on what they really believe.
Oh, please. Two things can be true at the same time: First, Clinton overgeneralized about what’s in the hearts and minds of Trump supporters. Second, her underlying characterization of the general nature of many of Trump’s campaign appeals — and her related observation that they really are successfully playing on the baser instincts of an untold number of Trump’s supporters — are 100 percent accurate.

Every single reporter and commentator closely following this race knows full well that Trump’s campaign is fueled, at least to some degree, by tacit or even overt appeals to bigotry or efforts to encourage a sense among many Trump backers that white identity and white America are under siege. We’ve all seen the polling data and the reporting. Many Republican voters agree with the highest-profile Trump statements and items on the Trump agenda, the ones that are most prominently intertwined with those appeals and messages:

1) Poll after poll after poll has shown that majorities or pluralities of Republican voters support Trump’s proposed temporary ban on Muslims from entering the United States. When CNN and NBC News interviewed Trump supporters at a rally in South Carolina, they found a lot of support for the ban.

Is this “Islamophobia,” as Clinton suggests? Well, many leading Republicans and conservatives evidently think so. Paul Ryan denounced Trump’s Muslim ban as a “religious test” that is an affront to conservatism, and in so doing, he went out of his way to characterize Muslim-Americans as patriots and defenders of American freedom, which conservatives hailed as an act of great moral courage. Never-Trump conservative twitter widely denounced Trump’s attacks on the Khan family as naked bigotry.

2) Poll after poll has shown that majorities of Republican voters support mass deportations. Some polling has shown substantial overlap between Trump backers and support for mass deportations. One poll found that a large majority of GOP voters thought Trump was “basically right” in describing Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug haulers, while perhaps not agreeing with his exact language. And yes, in all of these cases, Democrats who believe these things are equally “deplorable.”
Precisely Greg. THIS IS WHO THEY ARE. And to support Trump is to condone these policies of division, hate, and second-class citizenship for many Americans. This is not a deniable point.

It's no secret that racism and separating groups of voters has been a calling card of the Wisconsin GOP. Let's go back to the quintessential article on this topic from Alec MacGillis in 2014, "The Unelectable Whiteness of Scott Walker," and note what Walker's own staff and allies admit to.
Walker has dismissed the complaints about his policies [being race-based], telling the Journal Sentinel this year, “Increasingly, you’ve had Milwaukee leaders wanting to have help from surrounding suburban areas, like light rail, street cars. I think those types of things in particular get people in Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Washington counties worked up, because they don’t feel like they directly benefit, but they feel like they’re being asked.”

Walker made these comments in his characteristically bland way, but inside his team, the conversation sometimes took on an uglier edge. In February, a court ordered the release of thousands of e-mails collected in a wide-ranging investigation by state prosecutors that has led to the convictions of six former Walker aides and allies. The team had used a secret router system in the county office to communicate with each other, and the e-mails revealed an obsession with burnishing Walker’s image in the most small-bore ways. Walker himself urged employees to write favorably of him in the Journal Sentinel’s online comments. The e-mails also included several in which Walker, his aides, and Sykes discussed political and p.r. strategy. When I asked Sykes about these messages, he joked that he was surprised that the release hadn’t included even more communications between him and Walker, given how often Walker wrote him, especially now that Walker has gotten into text-messaging, which, Sykes said, “has changed [Walker’s] life.” “He keeps in very close touch with us,” Sykes said. “I don’t make any secret we’re close to Scott. ... People say, ‘Oh my God, he communicates with talk radio.’ Well, anyone who knows Scott Walker knows he does that all the time.”

But what was most striking was the casual racism of many of the conversations. One anonymous e-mail, forwarded by Walker’s then–chief of staff, went like this: “THE NIGHTMARE ... ‘I can handle being a black, disabled, one armed, drug-addicted Jewish homosexual ... but please, oh dear God, don’t make me a Democrat.’ ” Another compares welfare recipients to dogs: They are “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who the r [sic] Daddys [sic] are.” This message was forwarded around by Walker’s then–deputy chief of staff, who remarked that it was “hilarious” and “so true.” Last year, Walker also fired two aides after reporters exposed offensive comments they had made on social media. His campaign’s deputy finance director, for instance, sent out tweets that included references to “half-breeds” and one in which she vowed to “choke that illegal mex cleaning in the library.”

I arrived in Milwaukee on the weekend of the Wisconsin Republican Party’s convention. The crowd assembling at the Hilton was mostly male and nearly all white. The only visible diversity was in the age of the participants, with a large contingent of blue-blazered College Republicans milling alongside older men with canes. During a break in the proceedings, Jeff Johns, the genial chairman of the Ozaukee County Republican Party, warned me about Fond du Lac Avenue, which bisects the black swath of northwest Milwaukee. “You don’t want to travel that at night,” he says. “You’re basically traveling the colored section.” He also voiced suspicions about Democratic turnout operations in Milwaukee, with campaigns “picking people up for their votes” and rewarding them with “free meals and benefits.”...

Over [AM radio host Charlie] Sykes’s second glass of wine, we got onto “The Wire,” which Sykes loves, a fact that, along with his cerebral manner, was making it hard for me to reconcile him with his abrasive on-air persona. Later, I asked whether his rhetoric was contributing to Milwaukee’s polarization. “I don’t think radio shows change people’s perceptions, because people’s perceptions are based on people’s own experience,” he said. “We hear that, that we’re driving the divisions, but the divisions are very real and are reflected in the discussions we have.”
Of course, GOP/Bradley Foundation spokesman Charlie Sykes never tries to raise the level of the conversation or steer his listeners away from those racist perceptions, but instead openly encourages them through biased information and race-baiting filters. It's the only way WisGOP can win statewide elections in a state that disapproves of their regressive views on health care, education, and social legislation.

It's well past time for more Dems to be explicit in calling this out, and giving people an unvarnished look at the ugliness of what exists in today's GOP. Sure, some may say this is "bad politics" to openly disavow yourself from any group of voters, but I completely disagree. Those racist piles of shit won't vote Dem anyway- they have been trained not to, they will not have the guts to re-evaluate their positions and change their minds. But a whole lot of casual observers (people with little or no ideology that binds them to a party) don't want to be associated with hateful racists and other stupid white guys, and they'll be more likely to vote Dem to reject Trumpsim and to go with the country they want to believe in- an inclusive one that moves forward.

Hillary may have "backtracked" with a non-pology yesterday expressing regret at the numbers she estimated. But I like how she reiterated her main point.
“Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic,’ and that’s never a good idea. I regret saying ‘half’ – that was wrong,” Clinton said in a statement, the day after comments at a fundraiser in New York.

But “Trump has built his campaign largely on prejudice and paranoia,” she said, adding: “I won’t stop calling out bigotry and racist rhetoric in this campaign.”
And you shouldn't stop calling it out, Hills.

More of this, Dems. It's good politics, good values, and good differentiation from the regressive GOP. And don't just do this for the next 58 days, but for the years following.


  1. The headlines would make you think this is the same as Romney's 49% commentary, but there are some numbers to back up HC on this one:

    1. Yep- Unlike Romney, Hillary was telling the truth (although I think she was LOW on the estimate for Trump supporters being hateful), and racists choose to be that way. Most poor people don't choose that lifestyle, regardless of what RW A-holes think.

      In addition, saying "Fuck racism" tends to be a majority position that gets casual voters on your side. Saying "fuck the poor"? Not so much