Late last week, Hillary Clinton delivered perhaps the best turn-of-phrase in the 2016 election so far -- and while suffering from pneumonia no less.
As you've likely heard by now, she referred to half of Donald Trump's supporters as a "basket of deplorables," which is not only clever, unique, and, dare I say, David Milch-esque, but it possesses the added benefit of being true, even though I'd suggest that nearly all of Trump's supporters belong in that basket.
Nevertheless, Trump is obviously butthurt by the remark, lashing out during a rally on Monday in Baltimore. (Why is Trump campaigning in Maryland -- a state he has no chance of winning? Incompetence, to name one reason.) In fact, the Republican nominee called for Hillary to either apologize or drop out of the race.
“You cannot run for president if you have such contempt in your heart for the American voter, and she does,” Trump said. “You can't lead this nation if you have such a low opinion for its citizens.”
"If Hillary Clinton will not retract her comments in full, I don't see how she can credibly campaign any further," he also said.
Trump's whining continued:
“We have the support of cops, soldiers, carpenters, welders, the young and the old and millions of working class families who just want a better future and a good job,” the GOP nominee said. “These were the people Hillary Clinton so viciously demonized. These were among the countless Americans Hillary Clinton called deplorable, irredeemable and un-American.
“She called these patriotic men and women every vile name in the book. She called racist, sexist, xenophobic, islamophobic,” he continued.
Trump said Clinton “divides people into baskets as though they were objects, not human beings.”
Jeez, maybe Hillary should've prefaced with a trigger warning.
The big tough-talking orange clown, with his threats of violence and bellicosity, was deeply hurt by Hillary's "vile" name-calling. Yes, the candidate who introduced the personal use of name-calling by a presidential candidate into this year's election cycle is upset because Hillary correctly observed that too much of his base is made up of howling yokels like this raisin-balled bag of meat.
"It really does bother me when I see them, and I see Jeb, and maybe that's what you want and maybe that's the kind of people that are going to get elected, to be honest. Maybe they don't want a straight-talker. Maybe they don't," Trump said, as voices in the audience signaled disapproval.
"But I am so tired of this politically correct crap," he declared, eliciting the biggest cheers of his speech.
"I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t, frankly, have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time, either."
It's fair to observe that Trump's entire campaign is predicated on saying things that other candidates and observers are afraid to say, including personal attacks, insults and derogatory name-calling. And yet Trump and his people are so offended by "basket of deplorables" that they're calling for Hillary to apologize for hurting their fee-fees.
Maybe Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon should set up a safe space on Trump's airplane, complete with puppies, bubbles and coloring books. And taco bowls. Better yet, I'd suggest safe spaces for Trump supporters at his rallies, so in case Hillary said something mean about them or referred to them by words they can't spell, they can recover from their crushed self-esteem by mashing up wads of Play-Doh while listening to non-threatening jazz-fusion music.
Seriously, "basket of deplorables" is precisely the kind of speech that Trump should be endorsing in his crusade against political correctness. Unfortunately, Trump's new rules and abandonment of decorum only apply to him and his people. Naturally, the goal is to provide legitimization and cover to those who think it's okay relegate minorities to the status of second class citizens, while simultaneously consenting to the use of racial epithets. The goal is to make it okay to unironically and spontaneously blurt horrendous things with impunity. It's all part of the Trump plan to win by way of appealing to the basest human instincts of half the voting population.
Despite spending 15 months hammering away at political correctness, Trump is suddenly embracing it as a bulwark against being subjected to offensive or challenging language. And, not shockingly, his people are cheering him on, completely unaware that they themselves demanded the personal liberty to blurt, consequence-free, whatever awfulness pops into their walnut brains.
Yet as the Trump people are illustrating today, there are always consequences to language, and if being politically incorrect is a constitutional right, protected by the free speech clause of the First Amendment, then it applies to everyone and not just Trump voters.