photo by Darron Birgenheier
I will soon cast my ballot for Donald Trump, and I’m not the least bit angry at his opponent for placing me in the “basket of deplorables” who support him.
I am, however, somewhat peeved at Trump for not sending me a hat, or at least a button, to announce my deplorable status. Talk about not having a ground game! When Trump accused Hillary Clinton of “playing the woman’s card” a few months ago, Clinton supporters were on the street lickety-split with honest-to-goodness woman’s cards, in the form of a deck of playing cards featuring Clinton and other famous American women. Granted, supporters had to pay for the cards, but with the Clintons you have to pay for everything. The cards were a big hit.
And here I was, a man with neither label nor button, trying to describe myself as a “socially liberal Republican” when the world has concluded that no such thing exists. It’s unnerving for someone like me, who makes a living dispensing good advice and bad jokes, to have to question whether the thing he thinks he is is really a thing. (I know that sentence is contorted, but since the Clintons are part of this story, I am entitled to use “is” as many consecutive times as I want.)
Many people close to me are Democrats. Some of them fervently believe that Republicans are despicable. But I know what despicable looks like, thanks to the Hollywood version portrayed in the Minions films. I am not nearly cute enough to be a despicable minion. Leave it to Hollywood, which is notoriously ruled by Democrats, to cut Republicans out of our own stereotype.
My relatives and friends do not seem to find me despicable. Some of them even refuse to accept that I am a Republican. I enjoy watching how uncomfortable it makes them when I insist that I am what I am, and they hear themselves saying “Well, you’re one of the good ones.”
That’s deplorable, I know. I just did not know what to call it until Clinton declared at a recent fundraiser that “you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic – you name it.” Clinton later said she was wrong to assert that such a large share of Trump’s supporters are deplorables like me, but her backtracking did not change my status.
Why do I put myself in Clinton’s basket of deplorables? I arrive there by process of elimination. Clinton allowed that the rest of Trump’s supporters are non-deplorable 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 in their lives and in their futures, and they’re just desperate for change.” I sympathize with those people, but that is not a description of my life at all. In every area Clinton mentioned, I am about as fortunate as I could be. Which clearly makes my rejection of Clinton and support of Trump nothing short of deplorable.
But I am not taking Clinton’s word for this. I wouldn’t take Clinton’s word for anything, including the weather conditions that her staff initially blamed for her abrupt departure from Sunday’s 9/11 memorial ceremony in New York City. (Many hours later, the campaign released a statement from her doctor citing dehydration and the medication she was taking for previously undisclosed pneumonia.)
The Dallas Morning News, which is as solidly Republican a newspaper as almost any in the country, deplores Trump supporters too. Trump is not Republican enough to suit the newspaper’s editorial page tastes. They have some valid reasons, citing his stances on trade and immigration among other things. Trump, the newspaper’s opinion writers said, “does not deserve your vote.”
Well, what should I do on Election Day – stay home and catch up on those Minions movies? Who else should I vote for if I believe the Affordable Care Act is irretrievably bad legislation that should be scrapped? If I believe Citizens United was correctly decided on First Amendment grounds? If I think raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour or more is going to prevent people from deprived backgrounds from gaining a foothold in the workforce? If I think we need a corporate tax reform that will allow American companies to produce domestically goods for export and stop trapping trillions of dollars overseas, where it is a target for foreign cash grabs?
Since the Dallas Morning News failed to offer any alternatives, and Clinton is certainly not a viable alternative for my policy preferences, I will vote for Trump and wear my deplorable button with pride. If the Trump campaign gets its act together to send me one, that is.