The ‘basket of deplorables’ have now had their day – and the tone was set four years ago

Editorial: Hillary Clinton’s 2016 speech did her little good at the time, but as a map of the basic contours of the past four years, it was prophetic

Thursday 07 January 2021 20:37
<p>Protesters storm the US Capitol on Wednesday</p>

Protesters storm the US Capitol on Wednesday

In the final days of the Trump presidency, it is worth recalling the famous words of Hillary Clinton back in 2016. Some of Donald Trump’s supporters certainly fit the description of a “basket of deplorables”.

Clinton’s speech of September 2016 did her little good at the time, but as a map of the basic contours of the last four years, it was prophetic: “They’re racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – 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 they have 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.”

The only thing she got wrong was to underestimate Mr Trump’s own capacity for offensive, hateful mean-spirited action, and the weakness of those around him to restrain him from doing his worst. Even his most scathing enemies – a crowded field – never thought he would incite an insurrection in order to overturn the result of an election. Those who suspected that behind the slogan of “America First” lurked some fascistic tendencies have been proved terrifyingly correct.  

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