It's been ten days since Hillary Clinton made her "basket of deplorables" remark, claiming that "half" of Donald Trump's supporters, i.e., essentially one-fourth of all Americans, is one or more of the following: "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic," and a catch-all in case she missed anything, "You name it."
Since then, the most revealing aspect of the fallout from those remarks, other than the fact the Mrs. Clinton couldn't bring herself to simply say, "I was wrong, and I am sorry," instead issuing an all too typical non-apology apology — is how many leftist commentators have come out and insisted that she was right in the first place, and that she therefore need not and should not apologize. Some pundits believe that she should have hit all Trump supporters with the "deplorables" tag. One of the more visible members of the "it really is half" club is columnist and Fox News contributor Juan Williams.
Williams's Monday column at The Hill is an opportunity for readers who aren't aware to learn the kinds of statements one might make to "earn" the "racist" tag in the media and on the left (but I repeat myself), and how misguided the name-calling really is.
Let's note that Williams has had ten days to consider what Mrs. Clinton said, and if anything, his attitudes against at least one-fourth of America have hardened. Here are excerpts from his column:
Juan Williams: Clinton spoke the truth on 'deplorables'
She called out the haters, the bigots and the racists as a “basket of deplorables.”
And then some Democrats told Hillary Clinton to walk it back.
... The New York Times’ liberal editorial page similarly concluded “real damage had been done” because Clinton had written off a group of voters by saying they were “irredeemable.”
Sally Kohn, the left-leaning CNN commentator, wrote in The Washington Post that “what is, in fact, deplorable is not only that Clinton said this but that she apparently believes it.” (When a leftist candidate has lost Sally Kohn ... wow. — Ed.)
... Can we determine if close to half of Trump supporters hold deplorable beliefs? Let’s go to the polls.
An April poll taken by Reuters found that a large percentage of self-described Trump supporters describe black people as more “lazy” than whites (40 percent), “less intelligent” than whites (32 percent), more “rude” than whites (44 percent), more “violent” than whites (48 percent) and more “criminal” than whites (46 percent).
Another Reuters poll taken in July found that 58 percent of Trump supporters have either a “very unfavorable” or “somewhat unfavorable” view of the entire religion of Islam.
These are racist views. If they do not count as “deplorable,” then the word “deplorable” no longer has any meaning.
Let's make one thing clear: All six of the views identified (five relating to blacks, and one relating to Islam) are NOT presumptively racist views. (Islam is a religion and not a race, so I'll set that matter aside after observing that the over 29,000 Islamic jihadist attacks around the world since 9/11 certainly influence the high percentage of Americans who view Islam unfavorably.) I would argue that the vast majority of people holding those views don't have a racist bone in their body. I'll demonstrate the accuracy of that argument later in this post.
Williams conveniently left out other results from that same Reuters poll, identified by Slate.com senior writer Josh Voorhees in late June. He also didn't tell readers that the poll looked at supporters of Trump and Clinton, but also those who at the time were backing Ted Cruz and John Kasich, who at that point were still competing for the GOP nomination, and he failed to reveal any of the results for those other three candidates.
It's clear that Voorhees was looking at the same results, because the numbers, where exactly provided, match up:
- Roughly one-third of Trump supporters described blacks as less “intelligent” than whites (Williams specifically cited 32%), compared with about one-fifth of Clinton supporters who did the same. Among all respondents, 22.5 percent suggested whites were smarter than blacks. (Cruz came in at 23 percent, and Kasich at 22 percent.)
- 40 percent of Trump supporters described blacks as more “lazy” than whites (this matches Williams's column), compared with one-quarter of Clinton supporters who did the same. Among all respondents, 26.8 percent suggested whites were harder working than blacks. (Cruz, 30 percent; Kasich 26 percent.)
- 44 percent of Trump supporters described blacks as more “rude” than whites (this matches Williams's column), compared with 30 percent of Clinton supporters who did the same. Among all respondents, 31.3 percent said whites were more well mannered than blacks. (Cruz, 34 percent; Kasich 31 percent.)
- Nearly half of all Trump supporters described blacks as more “violent” than whites (Williams specifically cited 48%), compared with nearly one-third of Clinton supporters who did the same. Among all respondents, 32.8 percent said whites were less violent than blacks. (Cruz, 34 percent; Kasich 31 percent.)
- Nearly half of all Trump supporters described blacks as more “criminal” than whites (Williams specifically cited 46%), compared with nearly one-third of Clinton supporters who did the same. Among all respondents, 33.2 percent said whites were more lawful than blacks. (Cruz, 37 percent; Kasich 30 percent.)
Voorhees's late-June reaction: "Hillary Supporters Are Pretty Racist Too." Obviously, based on the poll's presumptive definitions of "racism," he could have said the same thing about Cruz and Kasich supporters. Since most of the supporters of those two candidates have gravitated to Trump, their numbers would presumably bring the GOP nominee's respective percentages down if the Reuters poll were to be conducted today.
But let's look at the reason Voorhees hung the "racist" tag on people who agreed with Reuters poll's statements:
Racism—that is, the belief that one race is superior to another ... is exactly the view being expressed in these numbers.
Williams also characterized possession of any of those five views as "racist."
Sorry, Josh, Juan, and the rest of the establishment press, most of academia and far-left race-baiters. Holding any of those views is not an automatic indicator of racism — and this fallacy, which should be obvious to anyone, has seriously polluted political discourse in the U.S. for far too long.
You identify a genuine racist by asking the "born that way" question. That is, are blacks as a race inherently inferior because they are born less intelligent, lazier, more rude, more violent, and more criminal than members of other races? Only people who would say "yes" would likely qualify as racists. I would argue that fewer than 5 percent of all non-black Americans agree with even one of the five statements; my guess is that it's more like 2 percent (to be clear, this was not always so; it's a credit to the people of this nation that these attitudes have changed as much as they have in the space of no more than four generations).
Prove me wrong, pollsters, if you dare, and ask the questions properly. Sadly, most of won't even think about asking properly formulated questions, because doing so would delegitimize their own or their clients' agendas.
As to Williams, his deliberate omissions of the stats for Hillary Clinton and other two GOP candidates who were still in the race when the Reuters/Ipsos poll was done demonstrates either extremely poor research or a willingness to imply that non-Trump supporters are pure as the driven snow. Which is it, Juan?
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.