The NYT condemning the delorables comments? What’s ‘Deplorable’ About Presidential Campaigns
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
SEPT. 13, 2016
It’s hard to believe now, but there was a time in American politics, not so long ago, when a presidential candidate might hold only a few fund-raisers, when a serving president — Ronald Reagan, for example — might refuse to appear at any fund-raisers at all for his own re-election campaign. That was back before wily political operatives, and then the Supreme Court, opened the floodgates to cash, and candidates began holding fund-raisers by the score.
And as candidates spent more and more time cocooned with their wealthiest supporters, who were often also among their most ideological supporters, they made themselves vulnerable to a particular kind of influence. Not just the kind journalists are ever on the watch for — the classic quid pro quo — but a more subtle form, a cultural form that tends to be heard and not seen.
We heard it in 1995, when, running for re-election, President Bill Clinton delighted donors in Houston by saying: “Probably there are people in this room still mad at me at that budget because you think I raised your taxes too much. It might surprise you to know that I think I raised them too much, too.” Congressional Democrats who put their careers on the line to pass that tax increase were furious.
We heard it again in 2008, when Barack Obama told donors in San Francisco that people struggling in Pennsylvania towns “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.”
We heard it when Mitt Romney told donors in Florida that “there are 47 percent of the people” who “are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims … my job is not to worry about those people.”
And we heard it again last week, when Hillary Clinton, speaking at a fund-raiser on Wall Street, deposited “half of Trump’s supporters” into what she rather bizarrely called “the basket of deplorables.” The donors — the adorables? — had a good chuckle.
Mrs. Clinton went on to point out that there are other Trump supporters “we have to understand and empathize with,” people who are “just desperate for change.” And she later expressed regret for her remarks. But real damage had been done. In wooing one group of voters — in reading some members of her elite audience, and reflecting their feelings back to them, and perhaps revealing her own — she had written off another one as “irredeemable.” This is what happens when candidates spend so much time in what F. Scott Fitzgerald called “the consoling proximity of millionaires.”
Mr. Trump, a self-declared billionaire, has also been holding fund-raisers, despite saying in the primaries he would fund his own campaign. He is not letting the press listen in. Although one might wonder what Mr. Trump is telling people who have paid up to $250,000 to hear him, it is almost too painful to think about, given how offensive he is in public.
Our campaigns have become so dependent on the wealthy that we are at risk of forgetting that there is any other way to do politics — and our candidates are at risk of forgetting whom they are running to represent.http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/14/opinion/whats-deplorable-about-presidential-campaigns.html?_r=0