Sunday, September 11, 2016

Week 38: "Basket of Deplorables" (September 11, 2016)

Dear Readers,

The great chaos that is the 2016 election season keeps hurtling at us, and I’ll help you make sense of it all. Remember, all newsletters (and more) are available at
Days until General Election: 65

The Main Story: Hillary’s Health

The tradition of questioning a candidate’s health dates back to 2008, when people freaked out about John McCain. Now, there was plenty to be worried about. Notably, if McCain were unable to assume the presidency, Sarah Palin would become president. Since then, it’s been use many times, from McCain’s current re-election contest to, in this election, various Trumpsters spreading what we thought were lies about Hillary’s health. It turns out, Hillary was diagnosed with pneumonia last Friday. Today, she fainted of dehydration at the 9/11 Memorial. Now, it has one less element of terror, in that Tim Kaine is less scary, and indeed more popular, than Sarah Palin was.
Now, this is worrying stuff to hear about a 68-year-old. However, Trump, who is 70, hasn’t released his medical records and subsists on a diet of KFC. So the argument about health isn’t one Trump can win, but Hillary’s campaign can certainly not ignore it. This will likely keep her off the campaign trail for a couple of weeks, which is damaging no matter the cause. As well, Trump will grill her on this with a legitimate line of attack (for once). Now, this will bring out sympathy among voters, and finally prove that she is human, but the timing on this is awful.

Basket of Deplorables
“Just be grossly generalistic, 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. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.” -Hillary Clinton on Saturday

What a strong statement! This statement is being heralded as a gaffe, even though many of the worse things Trump has said haven’t been given that designation. In addition, this is objectively true. Many Trump supporters believe Obama is a Muslim who was born in Kenya. Trump has built his candidacy on racism and hate, and it’s no surprise many of his supporters are thus racist and hateful. Now, Hillary’s campaign rightfully walked back from saying “half.” But the point, that many of his supporters are in this basket, is necessary to make. And while some compare it to Romney’s “47%” gaffe, I believe that this statement was an example of using Trump-style rhetoric against him. Only time will tell how well it worked.

The NBC Commander in Chief Forum

The first debate-like activity was held this week, when Clinton and Trump gathered in the Intrepid in New York to be interviewed by Matt Lauer. Lauer came under a lot of fire for his unfair handling of the candidates, but even with that, Trump clearly showed how unfit he was. When asked about his plan to defeat ISIS, he replied that he had no plan because he didn’t want other nations to find out and also because he hadn’t thought about it one bit and wants to steal other people’s ideas. Later, he said if we’d taken Iraq’s oil, ISIS wouldn’t exist. Meanwhile, half of Clinton’s time was spent discussing emails and other over-discussed subjects, and she wasn’t given time to talk about her constructive plans. But still, I think way too much whining has been done about this.

I’ll Take Middle Eastern Cities for 500

Alex Trebek: “This is the largest city in Syria. It has been continuously inhabited for thousands of years.”

Gary Johnson: “What is Aleppo?”

No, not like that. Gary Johnson was legitimately confused about what Aleppo, Syria was in an interview this was. What a surprise! This, too, was handled as a gaffe, while Trump’s boasting that "[My building] was the 2nd-tallest in Manhattan... And now it’s the tallest." on September 11, 2001 is being largely ignored. What a world we live in! Third-partiers who just want freedom and happiness for all, good or bad as that may be, are criticized for not knowing the names of cities. While, yes, a contender for president should know what Aleppo is, if Trump had said this, the media would’ve put a positive spin on it. To be fair to him as well, Johnson says he confused Aleppo for an acronym (ALEPO, I presume), which is still kind of dumb, but at least makes a little sense.

Senate Preview #8

Ohio was initially supposed to be very close. Rob Portman, the incumbent, faces former Governor Ted Strickland in a tossup state.  However, polling has drifted far apart, and Portman is leading by up to 10 points now. Portman should survive this election no matter what.

Rating: Lean R


James Lankford entered the Senate in a 2014 special election, and is the overwhelming favorite to beat Mike Workman, who was both the only Democrat who ran and the only Democrat at all in Oklahoma. The Libertarians had a competitive primary, and only Workman ran on the Democratic side.

Rating: Safe R


Ron Wyden faced a minor primary challenge and now faces perennial candidate Mike Callahan in the general. There has been no polling, but it’s very likely Wyden will win election to a fourth term.

Rating: Safe D

This Week In World Elections

Hong Kong: The big winner of the Hong Kong elections was... nobody. The seat totals stayed very similar, and the pro-establishment wing retained a considerable majority over the anti-establishment wing. No party won more than 16% of the vote, and many parties won seats.

Seychelles: The liberal National Party defeated the socialist People’s Party 19 seats to 14, although the popular vote was very close.

Croatia: Zoran Milanovic and Andrej Plenkovic, as well as other smaller candidates and all their respective parties, will compete in the Croatian parliamentary election. Milanovic’s SDP currently hold 54 seats, while Plenkovic’s HDZ hold 51. 76 seats are needed for a majority. According to exit polls, the election is basically a tie.

Belarus: The Belarusian parliamentary elections, which are less corrupt this time, will be held today. Many pro-government candidates are running against an anti-government union. We shall see what happens.

Thanks for reading! As usual, comments are welcome!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. I do love how many hateful things you have to say. And you wonder why I deleted your comments

  2. You should definitely submit this as a big part of your college application if you're not already planning to; it would be PERFECT if you're planning to get into political science or public policy

  3. like really though, great job this is wonderful