One of the reasons Republicans lose is because they allow the media — news media, social media, entertainment media — to define the reaction to events. So if we take the average person who is a potential voter and the media tells that person that a Presidential candidate said something outrageous, then that average person will be inclined to agree before and after reading/seeing/hearing what the candidate actually said. That’s because the media has already framed the reaction for the average person. So now something that is dispassionate and evidence-based is suddenly viewed as beyond the pale because the media has presented it as such.
That’s why I didn’t pay any attention to the non-troversy of Mitt Romney’s “47%” gaffe when it was splashed around during the last election cycle. I figured the response would break down across party lines. The Left would play it up as the “true face” of Romney looking down upon the little people behind closed doors with wealthy donors. The Right would simply nod their heads and say, “Yeah, he’s saying exactly what I feel.” But when people on the Right started to come up to me and tell me how tin-eared Romney was to say what he said, I suddenly realized just how powerful the media was — it could actually shape the opinion of people who knew better. Here’s Mitt Romney’s infamous “47%” gaffe:
Watching it again now, I’m outraged that this discussion of strategy played any negative role in Mitt Romney’s Presidential aspirations. I can’t be sure if the percentage he referenced is accurate, but his overall message is correct: Promising low taxes is a non-motivator to a group that either has no income to be taxed or does have income but receives a 100% tax return. None of that is controversial. Interestingly, reading the comments on the YouTube page reveals a lot of viewers who are not bothered by anything Romney says here. Moreover, some of them claim they were outraged four years ago by this, but today no longer. Why is that? Because the picture by itself is innocuous. It’s the frame that makes it ugly. And since the media is no longer working to frame this “gaffe” as such, the average person can now consider Romney’s words clearly.
Now we have another Presidential candidate painting the electorate with a broad brush at a fundraiser. Hillary Clinton called half of Donald Trump supporters as belonging in the “Basket of the Deplorables”. According to Clinton, that basket contains the following groups: “Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.” Here’s the clip below:
Two things immediately jump out at me. First, Clinton’s name-calling is not part of any GOTV strategy that she’s sharing with donors. She just wants to marginalize and dismiss Trump voters to give anyone on the fence a taste of how the Left will treat them if they think about supporting Trump. It also allows Clinton’s donors to feel superior. Hey, if they’re donating, then they might as well get their money’s worth, right? Second, notice how after Clinton insults Trump supporters her supporters start cheering and laughing! That should be the big outrage from what Clinton said. At the end of the day, Clinton is going to say what her supporters want her to say, because her words will reflect their thoughts. And apparently they think that their fellow Americans are deplorable.
Honestly, however, like the Romney “gaffe”, I do not find what Clinton said to be controversial, but for different reasons. Romney’s statement was not controversial because it objectively was not controversial. Clinton’s statement is not controversial because the Right has been living with this disdain from the Left for so long now that nothing they say is surprising anymore. And it’s not a controversy for the Left because this is how they think; Clinton simply gave voice to their thoughts. Their laughter and cheers are proof of that.
What I find interesting, however, is that this discovery of Clinton’s words is still offensive to the Left for a very unique reason. One thing the Left can’t stand is being outed as hypocrites. This is why they always conflate extra criteria into word definitions so that they can’t be defined in the same way someone on the Right could be despite performing the same actions. That’s why a Black guy can hurl racial slurs at White people and not be “racist” because the Left has defined racism as racism + power, and they take for granted that Black people have less power than Whites. Yeah, that’s where we are now as a planet.
So, bringing this back to Hillary, the problem here is that the Leftist media overplayed their hand four years ago. They made Romney’s “47%” stick, but it stuck too well, and now it’s trapped in the electorate’s mind. How can they possibly spin Clinton’s words as being less damaging to her than Romney’s were to him when her words are so much worse? The answer: They can’t. As a result, Clinton had to apologize — or get to as close to an apology as her heartless shell is capable of. From CNN:
Hillary Clinton expressed “regret” Saturday for comments in which she said “half” of Donald Trump’s supporters are “deplorables,” meaning people who are racist, sexist, homophobic or xenophobic.
“Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic,’ and that’s never a good idea. I regret saying ‘half’ — that was wrong,” Clinton said in a statement in which she also vowed to call out “bigotry” in Trump’s campaign.
Notice the subtle framing of the reaction that CNN does here. All Clinton has said here is that she regrets her calculation. She regrets “saying ‘half'”. Clinton probably thinks “all” Trump supporters belong in the Basket of Deplorables, and she regrets saying “half” when she should have said “all”! There’s no apology here. So what CNN does is frame what Clinton said as expressing regret for what she said. So now the average person will think that Hillary walked back her statement even though she did no such thing.
So when Donald Trump fights the “dishonest media” he’s not kidding around. What impresses me most about all of this is that this video of Clinton even saw the light of day.