Hillary Clinton is now notorious for saying “you could put half of Trump’s supporters” in a “basket of deplorables”—those being racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and Islamophobia. It was not her deftest political moment. The “sorry” that swiftly followed was half-baked. Literally, in a way—Clinton apologized only for the “half” part, reiterating that Trump has “built his campaign largely on prejudice and paranoia.”
But in truth, Clinton probably wasn’t that far off. On the racism front, Trump supporters are much likelier than Clinton backers to say African Americans are less intelligent, lazier, and ruder than whites, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted in March and April, and noted by Political Wire (paywall). Nearly half of Trump fans said blacks were more “violent” or more “criminal” than whites. The gap in biases held even when accounting for the different mix of races between Clinton and Trump supporters, reported Reuters.
A little context is in order. For one, Trump supporters weren’t alone in these biases; an alarmingly large share of pro-Clinton respondents held these views too. And for those inclined to see these results as strictly partisan, a bigger share of Clinton supporters than backers of John Kasich—who was at the time still runnings for the Republican nomination—viewed blacks as more “criminal” than whites.
Also, a big share of those who supported Kasich and Ted Cruz in the GOP primaries are now backing Trump. That suggests that if the poll were taken again today, the gap in negative views on African Americans would likely have shrunk. (That said, the racial attitudes of Bernie Sanders fans—whose views weren’t included in the analysis—might also bring down the bias levels among Clinton supporters.)
As it happens, in all the quibbling over the share of “deplorables,” the media missed half of Clinton’s point. She also spoke of another basket in her remarks to a gaggle of gays at a New York fundraiser on Sep. 9.
“[T]hat other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change,” she said. “Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”