NOLAN FINLEY

Finley: Clinton’s strategy of dividing voters

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

I don’t believe Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” depiction of Donald Trump voters was inadvertent, or even that she now regrets the remark, as she says.

Although placed in the gaffe category by some commentators, the comment came off as carefully rehearsed, fitting into a broader, intentional strategy of expanding her demonization of Trump to include his rank and file supporters.

In a speech to an LGBTQ group over the weekend, Clinton said this: “You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up ...”

She delivered it with something of a chortle, and appeared very pleased with the way the words rolled off her tongue. But it was not spontaneous. She’d practiced the phrasing. In an interview with an Israeli television station a few days earlier, she said the same thing, almost word for word, also in the manner of someone sharing a universal truth.

Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, at almost the same time, Bill Clinton was mocking the voters of West Virginia and Kentucky for their Trump support, saying, “The coal people don’t like any of us (Democrats) anymore.” The coal industry has lost 50,000 jobs in the last five years under Democratic rule. And Bill Clinton scoffs at “coal people” rejecting a candidate who bragged she’d put “coal miners out of business?”

Facts aside, the Clintons are pushing the narrative that the only reason anyone would vote against Hillary Clinton, or for Trump, is that there is something seriously wrong with them. Before the “basket of deplorables” commentary, she urged families of those considering a vote for Trump to “stage an intervention.” As if a decision not to back a confirmed liar campaigning under a cloud of corruption is evidence of self-destructive behavior.

It’s voter shaming. Make it socially unacceptable to cast a vote for Trump, or at least to admit it publicly.

Liberals are always convinced of their own enlightenment and of the ignorance of those who oppose them. They have little ability to understand why voters might reject failed policies and politicians.

So they avoid self-examination and probe instead the shortcomings of their opponents.

Candidates, both Republican and Democrat, have stumbled down this road before. Mitt Romney bemoaned the difficulty of Republicans winning the White House when 47 percent of the population is dependent in some way on the government. That was cluelessness.

Obama described the small town voters who opposed him as clinging to their guns and religion. That was elitist condescension.

What the Clintons are doing is calculated. And multi-layered. For weeks she has been pushing the idea of an “alt-right” movement, an organized, secret and sinister strain of the Republican Party populated by haters and racists — and a pure concoction of the Clinton campaign and its media acolytes designed to push fear.

Clinton campaigns under the banner “Stronger Together,” but she has no intention of uniting the country. Not when there are more votes to be had by dividing it.

Nolan Finley’s book “A Little Red Hen: A Collection of Columns from Detroit’s Conservative Voice” is available from Amazon, iBooks and Barnes & Noble Nook.

nfinley@detroitnews.com