(November 5, 2020 / JNS) “You could put half of Donald Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it … unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”
These words, which became so notorious that a hashtag was created by proud Trump supporters, were uttered in September 2016 by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, a few weeks before the election that ushered in Trump as the 45th president of the United States.
Four years later, what is apparent—despite Trump’s near-certain defeat at the hands of Democratic challenger Joe Biden—is that the “deplorables” continue to constitute about half the American public.
Against enthusiastic pollsters’ and media predictions of a “blue wave,” it can be said at this juncture that Trump is far from being the historic loser cut down by his “deplorable” base. In fact, he received the approval of at least half of the electorate, in an election with the highest-ever U.S. voter turnout: 154 million Americans, or 65 percent.
Those who followed Trump’s election rallies heard the vibrations of Gascony notes in his overcrowded gatherings of supporters, fearless in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a vitality difficult to discern among the more subdued Biden supporters, all in protective masks. The same journalists who didn’t hide their desire for Trump to be defeated have pointed to precautionary measures being taken by shop-owners, boarding up their storefronts in preparation for potential violence in the wake of the election.
Though the anxiety is justified, it should not be aroused by the behavior of the “deplorables.” Thus far, it has been the Biden voters, not those supporting Trump, who have smashed store windows and stolen merchandise. Moreover, Trump has repeatedly disavowed violence and supremacist movements, while Biden has never distanced himself from the Antifa or Black Lives Matter (BLM) movements, many of whose followers have been rioting and looting for months.
The hateful ploy—inherited by the student protestors in 1968 and the 1980s—of calling those who disagree with you a fascist and a racist has been used obsessively as a weapon against Trump. This is ironic, since he has never shown any actual signs of fascism or racism. On the contrary, Antifa and BLM, in the name of “anti-fascism” and “anti-racism” have committed arson, looting, beating and openly hurl anti-Semitic epithets.
America is a socially and culturally divided nation. The electoral maps being shown on every newscast reflect this divide, with the big cities and surrounding suburbs being for Biden and the rural and industrial areas for Trump. This split has been noted for several years and documented meticulously by the Gallup analytics and an in-depth study by Washington University in St Louis.
The rural and industrial populations are less affluent and more attached to traditional values than those in urban centers. As a rule, the former puts faith in work and God. It champions a proud and strong America as a force for universal good.
This population is neither racist nor fascist, as it is frequently painted. It is far geographically and ideologically from the urbanite left-wing elite. It does not believe in the “intersectionality” of victimhood—and accompanying guilt over the persecution of blacks, women, gays and others—or in the religion of climate change espoused by anti-Trump radicals on the left.
These radicals are responsible for the “cancel culture” that has led to the demolition of historical American monuments as a function of contempt for Western civilization—guilty of all crimes, from slavery to the mistreatment of Native Americans to the oppression of women and members of the LGBTQ community. They seem to forget that Barack Obama, an African-American, was elected and served eight years as president of the United States.
The strange hypothesis of these radicals, which can never be verified, is that they and their contemporaries are superior to previous generations. In their eyes, the past must be erased on behalf of a perfect modernity that denies history and sin.
It is interesting that while denouncing racism and other such evils, these virtue-signalers have no problem whatsoever demonizing Jews—who have been genuine victims throughout history and continue to be the target of baseless hatred to this day. The reason that the radicals carrying the so-called torch of justice allow for anti-Semitism is that Jews are identified with Israel, which—in their imaginary universe—is a repressive, imperialist state.
This imaginary universe is inhabited by such Democratic members of Congress as Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Minn.), a vocal anti-Semite and, of course, a hater of Trump.
If anything, Tlaib and her ilk have enhanced support for Trump among the rural voters. Yet, the snobbish presumption of journalists, in the U.S. and abroad, was that he was going to be defeated by a landslide Biden victory. It’s time for them to stop and reflect on the actual election results.
Indeed, as renowned conservative intellectual Victor Davis Hanson, author of The Case for Trump, has said, the chasm between the American elites and Trump marks a definitive “clash of civilizations.”
It is a gap that elections reveal but can’t bridge.
Journalist Fiamma Nirenstein was a member of the Italian Parliament (2008-13), where she served as vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Chamber of Deputies. She served in the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, and established and chaired the Committee for the Inquiry Into Anti-Semitism. A founding member of the international Friends of Israel Initiative, she has written 13 books, including “Israel Is Us” (2009). Currently, she is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
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