There’s an ongoing battle among Trump’s opponents to define his supporters. Are they having a hard time economically, or are they just racists? Do they need to be listened to, or should they be condemned and written off? Clinton, addressing a fund-raising dinner on Wall Street in September, placed “half” of Trump’s supporters in what she called “the basket of deplorables”—bigots of various types. The other half, she said, are struggling and deserve empathy. Under criticism, she half-apologized, saying that she had counted too many supporters as “deplorables.” Accurate or not, her remarks rivalled Obama’s “guns and religion” and Romney’s “forty-seven per cent” for unwise campaign condescension. All three politicians thought that they were speaking among friends—that is, in front of wealthy donors, the only setting on the campaign trail where truth comes out.
George Packer, “The Unconnected”, The New Yorker (31 October 2016), 60.