Proud to be a deplorable

W.J. Astore

Today, my wife got stuck behind a pickup truck sporting a bumper sticker of considerable meaning: “Proud to be a deplorable.” No, this wasn’t red state Mississippi; it was blue state Massachusetts.

It’s worth a chuckle or two, until you realize its larger meaning. Many people are proud to vote for Trump because establishment Democrats like Hillary Clinton don’t speak to them, except when they’re dismissing them as deplorables that are “irredeemable,” as Hillary put it in 2016.

Take that, Hillary and all you “libtards”!

It’s never smart to dismiss potential voters as dumbasses without hope, but Hillary thought she had the election in the bag. She lost because she ran a poor campaign and because her elitism and sense of privilege were so obvious. But she also had no compelling messages for the “deplorables.” And Trump did. Trump talked about bad trade deals, the offshoring of jobs, the betrayal of ordinary Americans by the financial set, the big money people, the ones who paid Hillary so handsomely for a few empty speeches.

Of course, Trump didn’t and doesn’t care about ordinary Americans. From all appearances, Trump cares only about himself (and perhaps his immediate family). Nevertheless, he was smart enough to offer the people something, even if all they were left with in the end was a rebel identity as a deplorable.

Establishment Democrats, demonstrating their ability to learn nothing, are once again offering “deplorables” nothing specific. No universal health care (indeed, Joe Biden said he’d veto such a bill if it reached his desk as president). No firm and trustworthy commitment to a $15 minimum wage. No firm and trustworthy commitment to ending those endless foreign wars. Biden promises nothing more than he’s not Trump, end of story.

His choice of Vice President backs this up. Kamala Harris is a conservative Democrat; she’s establishment through and through. But she’s a woman who’s multiracial, so this is considered proof of her diversity and her commitment to helping the less fortunate. Come again?

As Tulsi Gabbard pointed out during a debate, Harris smugly joked about smoking marijuana even as she put “deplorable” users into prison, among other positions that showcased her privileged hypocrisy, but no matter. Even though Harris dropped out early (after boasting of being a top-tier candidate), even though she couldn’t win a single delegate in the primaries, she was handpicked by Joe Biden to lend some excitement to the ticket. Mission unaccomplished.

So I fear, like Michael Moore, that Trump could win again, probably losing the popular vote but winning enough swing states to put him over the top in the electoral college. Trump could win because the “deplorables” in their trucks across blue- and red state America know how to stand by their man. Even though he’s a no-good cheatin’ fool, Trump offers them something, something unquantifiable but powerful, an identity, perhaps, and the ability, in casting their votes, to give a big FU to all the elites that keep telling them they don’t measure up — and never will.

47 thoughts on “Proud to be a deplorable

  1. I agree that Hillary was terminally myopic with her “deplorables” comment, along with her failure to campaign in many states and her failure to offer anything to the working class. And as you’ve said, Biden is making the same mistakes. Bernie just came out with a commentary saying, essentially, that he would have made other choices than Biden has, and would have offered more to average Americans, but Uncle Joe is doing a few things, anyway, so Progressives should rally behind him. Not particularly inspiring.

    But here’s the thing: war-mongering, corporate bought-and-paid-for Hillary, the fracking flack, was accurate with her characterization of deplorables (i.e., Orange fans). They ARE extremists; largely uninformed or misinformed, courtesy of Faux News and similar outlets; short-sighted, because they vote against their own interests; racist; xenophobic; climate-change deniers; radical evangelicals who believe the Bible is literal; gun worshippers; generally not pleasant people, except to those of their own kind; or some combination of the preceding traits. Continuing to support an abomination like the Resident proves beyond doubt that they are deplorable. It’s just that, in that one instance, Hillary spoke the truth, and it was the wrong truth to voice, under the circumstances.

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    1. “Deplorable” is the wrong word to describe people. Call their views deplorable, but not them.

      Many of them are ignorant, misinformed, and prejudiced, but they are rightly pissed off by a system that screws them. Biden promises no real change; Trump gives them a chance to vent but also no meaningful change that will help them. So the advantage here is to Trump, even though I can’t stand the man because he’s so obviously an egotist and a phony. But so too was Hillary!

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      1. Okay, listen, the Language Police still don’t recognize that there even is a word spelled “deplorables.” (Its implying that it’s plural is the issue, of course.) Sure, hardcore Trumpites are deplorable because their belief system is deplorable. They ARE flaming racists, and more open and proud about it with each passing week. And when they act out on this belief system, in an increasingly violent manner–the spectrum runs from angry verbal tirades aimed at retail store employees requesting they take anti-Covid precautions to murder on the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin–then their actions are deplorable. They live in a very different Moral Universe than mine. If I could, I would literally isolate myself from their very presence. Yes, the political divide in this country has come to that. And there are much stronger reasons for finding Trump revolting than his personality traits of egotism and being a phony! Every day he’s been in office has seen the USA (here I go feeling a twinge of patriotism again, for crying out loud!) sink a bit lower in the eyes of the Civilized World. How I wish this country would rejoin that world!

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          1. Reminds me of the movie “The Village” (2004) but a much better movie is “Witness” (1985). The latter paints a compelling portrait of the Amish and their rejection of violence. One of my favorite movies of all time.

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          2. Oh, quite the contrary. We are a LONG way from “mob rule”. We are a short step from fascist dictatorship which is far, far worse.

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          3. I should have been clearer. I meant rule by mobs of armed militias which, of course, would be urged on by the current Occupant. If the police ignore or even encourage individuals such as the shooter in Kenosha, it’s not a stretch to imagine an eventual melding of forces. I wish it WERE tin-hat-worthy to come up with such an outlandish concept.

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          4. Yes, I was going to say that I’m sure you (Denise) had Brownshirts in mind for the “mob.” And we should not mince words here, or debate whether Trump’s reign yet meets a dictionary definition of “classic Fascism.” (Or, we could discuss how many angels can dance on the head of a pin to pass the time, right?) Make no mistake: there are Brownshirts on the streets of Amerika right now, and Trump is in Kenosha to ENCOURAGE them. Forty years ago, these “militias” were already in formation, and now the sons of those “founders” are out in the open with their AR-15s. When I get a chance, I will be writing an article for my own website about the roots of these “militias” and will post a link here.

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          5. I’m glad you said that about not mincing words. The insertion of federal forces into Portland, along with military deployment in D.C., all against the express wishes of local authorities, was a calculated opening salvo, I believe. Quickly followed by the sending of federal agents to Cleveland, Oakland, and other cities with Democratic leaders. As you’ve been predicting, the Orange One’s trip to Kenosha may serve as a trigger to escalation. I devoutly hope a conflagration is averted, but the recent past is not a good omen.

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      2. Agree, for the most part. However, as to their not being deplorable, there, I have to differ. There have been times when I’ve seen smart people do dumb things, and I think their actions are idiotic, but they aren’t idiots. Orange fans are in a different class. They fervently support a man who is demonstrably evil (or psychopathic, to remove the moral context). They cheer his lies, his misogyny, racism, callousness, cruelty, arrogance, and criminal acts. Yes, they’re pissed off at the raw deal they’ve gotten. But what they’re doing, in effect, is standing behind a murderer (e.g., unnecessary COVID deaths, casualties in ICE detainment) because they want what they THINK he will do for them. To me, that means they’ve forfeited any benefit of the doubt.

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    2. Yes, Denise, as I’ve been saying all along. Not to “defend” Mrs. Clinton’s bad timing, but the underlying truth of her characterization of Trump’s most rabid supporters. I can see how a few gullible folks could have voted for Trump last time, as kind of a joke of a protest vote against the Status Quo. (Some may even have seen thru Trump but were so turned off by his opponent they were really voting against her, while assuming Clinton would triumph anyway. Ah, but enter the Electoral College!) But after nearly four years of his foul racist spewing of hatred from the bully pulpit of the presidency, it’s rather obvious that any American who still clings to Trump as their hero IS a deplorable excuse for a citizen. And should anyone want to exonerate Trump of at least partial responsibility for some of his supporters being in the streets bearing firearms…well, I’ll have to nominate those folks for some kind of Most Naive American of the Year Award.

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      1. Couldn’t agree more. Do something stupid once, well, you were misguided or misinformed or irrationally hopeful of a positive outcome. Do it twice, in the face of overwhelming evidence of error, and you’re beyond the pale. It means you’ve espoused all the negatives of your first choice, turning you into part of the problem.

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    3. Again, I think it’s a mistake to dismiss Trump’s voters as “deplorable.” I know a few of them. I disagree with their views, but they are not deplorable people. They see a Democratic Party with seemingly little to offer them except identity politics, more neo-liberalism at home, and a neo-conservative foreign policy, along with lectures about how they need to embrace diversity and the BLM movement.

      Now — don’t get me wrong. I support BLM and contribute to it. But to tell someone they’re a deplorable because they don’t is the wrong strategy.

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      1. The former CEO of the CrossFit national organization had to resign after tweeting that, personally, he didn’t give a damn that Mr. George Floyd was wrongfully terminated by a white cop in Minneapolis. Those on the right doubtless howled that this businessman was a victim of “Political Correctness.” So, supporting the right of someone lacking white skin to CONTINUE BREATHING, to continue living, is the ultimate example of the EVIL P.C. POLICE? I guess that makes me a member of the P.C. Conspiracy, though I have posted here several times that I despise the very concept of P.C., which was concocted by the far right many years ago. I don’t know how “close” you may be, personally, to your Trumpite acquaintances, Bill, but perhaps you should look beneath the surface. WHY do they oppose the idea that Black Lives Matter?? I make no attempt to hide that I am a PARTISAN for Human Rights. I am not going to try to be a Missionary of Good Will among the ranks of the Haters. Hate cannot be legislated out of peoples’ hearts, but there should be stiffer penalties for violent acts stemming from it. It is a national disgrace to have Hate fomented and encouraged from the highest office in the land.

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      2. I don’t advocate calling people deplorable as a strategy. Obviously, it will backfire. But if you actively support evil, you are evil, even if you think the other guys don’t have much to offer. I’m acquainted with a couple of Orange supporters, too, and I no longer have anything to do with them, after seeing their nasty posts on my Facebook feed.

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        1. Yeah, I hear there’s a lot of “that” going around. People discovering that they have Facebook or other social media acquaintances now surfacing as Trumpites. Could Trump have made it any clearer that he is the Hater-in-Chief?!? Anyone who cheers for that would not qualify for MY friendship.

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          1. One thing that I noticed in the posts I mentioned—and this aligns with your Hater-in-Chief epithet, Greg—is that they’re mostly ad hominem attacks. There was one about The Squad, calling them all names, for instance. No mention of anything they did, just personal attacks as a tactic. Not, “They did this; therefore, they’re corrupt or stupid,” or whatever. Just nasty names, for no reason. Kinda like the way the Orange One operates.

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          2. Almost surely because a.) the members of ‘The Squad’ ain’t white, and are women; and b.) Trump hates on them, so his mindless followers jump on that bandwagon. Clearly it’s excruciatingly painful for many of our fellow citizens to try to think for themselves these days.

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  2. I see a glaring error in this article, Bill. The people Kamala Harris is accused in some quarters of prosecuting with excessive zeal in California were decidedly NOT in the camp of Trump’s Deplorables!! Though I admit I haven’t studied Harris’s track record as prosecutor in depth, I have to believe we’re talking about relatively minor offenses, largely drugs-related, many probably non-violent, the alleged perps being people of color….On a “lighter” note, there’s the bumper sticker I spotted in my Trump-loving little town a couple of years ago, which I think tops the one you reported on here. It pretty well read like this: “How to drive a Liberal crazy–Argue using logic and facts.” Yeah, because as we know, no one employs logic and facts as brilliantly as rightwing idiots!! I had to burst out laughing when I saw that one.

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  3. I’m of the opinion the Democrats are actively attempting to lose CA for the first time in decades by choosing the one candidate with enough name recognition, estrogen and melanin to appeal to virtually no one other than the shallow & ignorant, who’s numbers seem to be in decline. 2020: TheOrangeMenace w/ a side of theocracy vs BobbleheadJoe and the duplicitous smile

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  4. Biden should be calling Trump “the anti-president.” Because Trump has no idea how to lead and he has no scruples. His biggest skill is deceiving people and dividing them.

    Hit at Trump — focus on him. Focus on the emptiness in that man — the soullessness — the total lack of warmth and humor. And offer people real change — policies that help them. That’s how you win, Joe Biden.

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    1. Today, Biden was taking swipes at Trump for his divisiveness. But this is merely “preaching to the choir.” (No surprise at all that he also criticized those in the streets he accused of going beyond protest into property destruction, etc.) The Dem. Establishment once again managed to choose a candidate who, despite his supposed working class roots in Scranton, PA lacks the ability to inspire, to get voters’ blood flowing vigorously. This we’re all agreed on. So, watch the Electoral College. And if Trump doesn’t clearly triumph there, hello SCOTUS! My head hurts already, and I get headaches very rarely.

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      1. “This Just In”: Heard a soundbite of Biden in PA today (a “battleground state”). He actually felt compelled to ask rhetorically: “Do I look like a radical Socialist?!” Now my own head REALLY hurts!! No, ‘Uncle Joe,’ you certainly don’t!!

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  5. From The Road to Wigan Pier, by George Orwell (1937):

    As prosperity declines, social anomalies grow commoner. You don’t get more [“H”-less] millionaires, but you do get more and more public-school men touting vacuum cleaners and more and more small shopkeepers driven into the workhouse. Large sections of the middle class are being gradually proletarianized; but the important point is that they do not, at any rate in the first generation, adopt the proletarian outlook. Here am I, for instance, with a bourgeois upbringing and a working-class income. Which class do I belong to? Economically, I belong to the working class, but it is almost impossible for me to think of myself as anything but a member of the bourgeoisie. And supposing I had to take sides, whom should I side with: the upper class which is trying to squeeze me out of existence, or the working class whose manners are not my manners? It is probable that I personally would side with the working class. But what about the tens or hundreds of thousands of others who are in approximately the same position? And what about that far larger class, running into millions this time – the office-workers and the black-coated employees of all kinds – whose traditions are less definitely middle class but who certainly would not thank you if you called them proletarians? All of these people have the same interests and the same enemies as the working class. All are being robbed and bullied by the same system. Yet how many of them realize it? When the pinch came nearly all of them would side with their oppressors and against those who ought to be their allies. It is quite easy to imagine a middle class crushed down to the worst depths of poverty and still remaining bitterly anti-working class in sentiment; this being, of course, a ready made Fascist Party. [emphasis added]

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    1. Orwell was so perceptive and wrote with such clarity. No jargon. No obscure words or needless complication. Just clarity and insight and precision.

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  6. Four years ago, I was living in Massachusetts, in the comparatively conservative city of Lowell & most of the people I talked to were going totally for trump. I saw LOTS of trump signs on lawns, trump bumperstickers & trump MAGA hats. I saw very few Clinton signs. I did see a LOT of Bernie Sanders signs.

    I am now living in Buffalo, NY (my hometown) & it’s quite the same … lots of trumpsters. People think NY & MA are liberal states but there’s a LOT of conservatives living here, as there are in MA. The main difference this time around is that I’m seeing many more Biden signs & bumperstickers than I ever saw Clinton signs & bumperstickers. I am hoping that Biden beats out trump but anything could happen.

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    1. Yes, this business of “Red State”/”Blue State” pretty well has no meaning. Malcolm X once observed that “the ‘Mason-Dixon Line’ starts at the border with Canada.”

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  7. Yes, Silver Apple… I concur when I moved from my Working Class Roots City to the Town of Plymouth, “Plimoth” Ma. in 92 I didn’t know at first I was also leaving a traditional Democrat City to a “lot more” Conservative Town of Plymouth. Where also a lot of John Birch Society & Tea Party members also resided. Gird your Loins its going to be a rough next couple of month’s…!

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  8. Also in regards to my Brother Firefighter’s I’d estimate a split decision slightly favoring as to Trump versus Biden! Scary times indeed…

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  9. On the cusp of this years Election, and a new month may our lives take a new turn for the better!

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  10. Biden is the candidate of established power. Keep rowing the boat. I hope enough people will vote for him.

    Trump is the candidate of people, not all Americans by any means, but most definitely his power comes from individual Americans.

    Here is an very perceptive paragraph from an Israeli critic of Trump, Chemi Shalev, who had an essay on Trump in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz today (pay wall or I would link it).

    “Trump has no need for polls and no reason to hear the advice of others. He may have inherited wealth, made a name for himself in real estate and proved his uncanny animal-like political instincts in conquering the White House, but in his essence, Trump and his base are one and the same. All he has to do to ascertain his supporters’ sentiments, and how far and zany they’d be willing to follow in his footsteps, is to stand in front of the mirror and ask himself.”

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    1. In addition to reassuring the world Monday that he is NOT a “radical Socialist,” Biden reportedly also said he wouldn’t consider a ban on fracking. He was speaking in Pennsylvania, where a lot of fracking ops were set up early on. No ban on fracking, no chance for “Medicare for All.” Gee, thanks, Joe! I imagine 95% of the general population which lives far from areas where fracking has damaged local environments never gives a thought to fracking. But no, Dems, this is NOT the way to woo Progressives/environmentalists. To assume that they have plenty of votes already “in their pockets” will lead the Dems to a rerun of 2016.

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      1. Exactly, Greg. I think you’re right about the 95%, but those people never consider that if it’s fracking in one area, it’ll be blowing off the tops of mountains in another, or uranium mining next to the Grand Canyon. It’s indescribably depressing to see the Dems throwing away votes with both hands. But…,as we discussed over the weekend, as long as Wall Street, Big Oil, Big Pharma, and their cohorts continue to shovel money at the Dems, votes aren’t crucial.

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  11. “A Liberal can understand anyone – except someone who doesn’t agree with them.” – Lenny Bruce

    I’ve been away for a bit but upon returning to “Bracing Views” I am struck by how much “Hillaryness” – for lack of a better term – is to be found in the comments these days, from the assorted monikers attached to Trump to the descriptions of his supporters with their lack of intelligence, unrefined sensibilities and lack of “wokeness,” whatever that’s supposed to mean (sort of a verbal “secret handshake” – attaching a catch-all label/code word is far easier than summoning the eloquence to state and defend a position).
    How much difference is there between Ms. Clinton’s remarks about “deplorables” (a one word catch-all if ever there was) and the pillorying of those deemed non-progressive or faux-progressive or not progressive enough? Not much.
    Demanding compliance with the long list of issues one must deeply care about to gain entrance to the “progressive” camp is to demand a candidate become (to borrow a phrase from “Inherit the Wind”) a sort of “national tear duct.” But here’s an observation from a Tiresome Old-Timer: you can’t fall in love with every waitress who fills your “bottomless cup of coffee.” If you care about everything, you’ll never be able care enough about anything. It also makes it difficult to draw popular support because there’s nothing to focus on, like picking a favorite splotch on a Jackson Pollock canvas or fallen leaf in a Cook County (IL) forest in late October. There’s been no prolonged, organized attempt at education, just a lot of “we’re right, so trust us” which, in the 11th hour, isn’t much more than “we’re not Trump,” and that’s Joe Biden’s side of the street. As a result, with more and more people believing “perception is reality,” how can anyone be blamed for thinking those who label themselves “progressive” are, in the end, any different from the other thieves, liars, scallywags and jivers who want their money and their vote?

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    1. Good points. That’s why I liked Bernie. He wasn’t about wokeness or diversity or whatever. He was about universal health care, a living wage, and a green New Deal to combat global warming. Easy to understand.

      I have no idea what Biden’s for, except he’s not Trump. And I know what Trump’s for: hate. Himself. The end. Perhaps the end times.

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      1. Like it or not, Biden is what we have and I am inclined to think that “Anti-trump” is good enough. If the only option to Biden and “same old, same old” is the rise of American fascist Imperialism and a Trump Oligarch destroying the American democratic experience, I’ll opt for the same old same old and hope that the American democracy gets a chance to take a breath and get recover from the malise it is in now under this past four year taste of Trumpism.

        Sometimes you have to be satisfied with half a loaf.

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      2. Defensible. But the “half a loaf” is more like a couple of slices of moldy bread — with perhaps a few crumbs for progressives. Still, I admit it’s better than nothing …

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      3. Oops, I neglected to mention earlier that I don’t take political guidance from the late Lenny Bruce. He served his purpose in trying to instill some cracks in the wall of Uptight McCarthyite Amerika, but even as a comedian I find him overrated. (Just expressing my personal opinions here…shocking, I know!) I think Phil Ochs did a much better job addressing the hypocrisy of the white liberal in his song, “Love Me, I’m a Liberal.”

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    2. butsudanbill–Methinks a wee bit too much cynicism hath crept into your worldview! How bad is Trump, really? Bad enuf that I now feel compelled to vote for Biden–yes, I’ll be holding my nose–because being NOT TRUMP is so crucially important now. Unless Biden says some really hideous stuff in next couple months, I’ll have to cancel my original plan to vote Green. Trump emits THE STENCH OF FASCISM. I don’t use this language casually. I know a Fascist when I smell one. Mocking (not “accusing” you of this) anti-Trump sentiment by the summary phrase “Orange Man Bad” is a bit flippant in the current situation, as far as I’m concerned.

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