After this, I plan to shift back to less partisan/political posts I swear. But here we are, just a few days after Hillary Clinton’s speech and Mike Pence declined to refer to David Duke as deplorable. At first blanch, that looks really bad, and harkens back to Donald Trump’s refusal to disavow Duke.

The problem is that Pence did disavow Duke. Right before he declined to call him deplorable. So the narrative that there’s no extremist too extreme for Team Trump doesn’t especially hold. We can talk about how Of Course they’re willing to ditch Duke because even in Louisiana he’s polling really badly and how this doesn’t absolve Trump of anything. And that’s all true. The frustrating thing for me, though, is that it leaves me defending Trump again because that’s not how the media is covering it. They’re suggesting that he’s down with Duke.

The question is, though, why didn’t Pence simply say that yes of course Duke is deplorable? Especially given his actual willingness to disavow? I mean, this is easy spit and unlike Trump, Pence is a professional?

I think the answer is this:

And this:

Which is to say, Team Trump has decided to own the sneer. They’re not worried about offending Duke, they’re worried about tarnishing their rally cry. Which makes sense. Is it a good move? I’m really not sure. It seems more of a batting down the hatches move for a campaign that needs to get to 51%. (It’s also dishonest, since it is reasonably clear that Clinton was talking about half but not all of Trump supporters, but nobody cares cares about that.) But there aren’t a lot of good paths for him, and this is one. It capitalizes on what even the Clinton campaign seems to concede is a mistake.

I can’t imagine such a move would garner my support for a campaign that otherwise wouldn’t have it, but if it were my candidate I could dig The Deplorables as a rallying cry. It could work.

(Of course, me being me, I’d want to work in a Les Deplorables in the spirit of Les Miserables. Classing up the meme and all that. But that might be the style of a candidate I might support. It obviously wouldn’t work for Trump.)


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16 Responses to Mike Pence & The Deplorables

  1. Mike Drew says:

    He did disavow David Duke – not Trump, right? First sentence second paragraph, not that it’s unclear what you mean. I think.

  2. Jaybird says:

    There are three groups of people in any given election.

    1) Your people
    2) The other person’s people
    3) People on the fence

    You want your people to have “high energy” and show up and show up en masse and show up and bring a friend.

    You want the other person’s people to be depressed and find a reason to forget to vote that day.

    You want people on the fence to either show up and vote for you or forget to show up and vote for the other guy.

    The worst thing you can do is say something that puts your people on defensive, energizes the other person’s people, without appreciably changing the opinions of the fence people.

    So the question is whether “deplorables” got enough fence people to say “you know what? You’re pretty frigging right. Those people are people with whom I have no desire to be associated. Hasta la vista, fence!”

    My immediate intuition is to say “the people who would have said that have said that long, long, long ago and are now currently sitting in group #1.”

    But I may be missing something.

    • trumwill says:

      I am of the mind that Trump can’t win through mere energizing, though. He needs to win people over. The potential problem with waving the Deplorables flag is that it doesn’t really do that. It might help you get your people out, but HRC has teams to do that.

      What’s been happening the last couple of days is that Deplorables has been brought up by Team Trump to “own it” and by opponents as a catch-all word for each and every despicable person supporting Trump and that each such thing he says. The media seems to be picking up on the cues. Which can have an energizing effect on #1.

      So a couple days ago I thought this hurt her, but now I’m less sure.

      The pneumonia thing certainly doesn’t help, though. And that hasn’t even hit the polls yet. (But maybe that won’t matter.)

      • Jaybird says:

        While I agree that pneumonia doesn’t help, I’d also agree that it doesn’t hurt.

        But it essentially means that *NOTHING* can happen for the next two months. No fainting. No nosebleeds. No coughing fits.

        A particularly vigorous throat-clearing before giving a speech is a bad idea.

        Because Pneumonia 2.0 not only takes Hillary down, it takes down all of the “plenty of people have fainted in public” people.

        • trumwill says:

          I’m not sure people are that scared of Tim Kaine, to be honest.

          (Kidding. I know what you mean.)

        • Jaybird says:

          It feels like previous elections had VPs that mattered more.

          Ryan, Palin, Biden, Edwards, Lieberman, Cheney…

          These VPs feel invisible.

        • trumwill says:

          That’s actually indicative of a good pick for both sides.

        • RTod says:

          Or, perhaps, incredibly bad picks at the top of the tickets.

        • trumwill says:

          That goes without saying. Kangaroo tickets all around (except maybe the Green Party). What I mean, though, is that vice presidential picks don’t matter unless they are bad picks. A good pick will rarely get you vote, but a bad pick can lose you some (see Palin, Sarah).

          A good pick stays in the background with people shrugging and/or saying “He or she is okay.”

          A bad pick is a distraction at best, and repellent at worst.

          So to go back to the last really bad pick, you had Sarah Palin. She was not invisible! An invisible somebody like Tim Pawlenty would have been much better.

  3. Aaron David says:

    If Pence had labeled anyone, ANYONE, as deplorable, then the Trump campaign would own it, giving the win to HRC. This doesn’t give The Wolfe what he wanted in that interview, which was Team Trump calling someone deplorable. Then the left would say “is so-and-do deplorable, if not, why not?”

    Team Trump is in it to win at this point, HRC is flailing. Running last years campaign. Hence her numbers are dropping steadily.

    Watching Team Blue make excuses for the “pneumonia” is a sure sign of it. And as Jaybird said, it should have been food poisoning.

    • trumwill says:

      The Deplorables thing has gone back and forth. First it looked pretty bad for Hillary. The last couple days I think it’s actually rebounded somewhat. The question to Pence sort of stepped on the Own It, and despite the fact that Pence did denounce Duke it doesn’t seem to have penetrated for Fox because the focus remains on the word he didn’t use. And bringing Duke into it, which was one of Trump’s biggest missteps during the primary campaign.

      Things are definitely looking better for Trump than they did a couple days ago, but my belief in the outcome remains in tact. I am taking beer bets.

      • Aaron David says:

        Beer bet? I didn’t think you drank beer…

        But I will take that bet. I think he has it. But maybe I read Scott Adams blog too much.

        I think the debates will cement it though. If there is even a hint that she needs help,physically or from the moderator, he owns it. If she goes all Tracy Flick, he owns it. Its hers to loose, as the expectations are too high that she has this, but I think it is her weak spot. She didn’t debate in the D primary, she was anointed. And that will hurt her as she didn’t have to fight to get here. She needs to absolutely dominate Trump, as he isn’t expected to be special. He is expected to be weak and if he only does moderately good its a tie and the numbers keep sliding.

        • trumwill says:

          I’ll drink beer if someone else is buying. 🙂

          I still think when all is said and done we’re going to feel silly for thinking he even had a chance.

          But, failing that, I still think she’s going to win. So little indication that Trump can get to 51%.

          My under/over of +6 still hasn’t changed, even though a couple weeks ago I was going to take the Over and now I would take the Under.

        • Aaron David says:

          Well, round about election time, I will be joining Tod in Colombia, though a bit south of him. So, we should plan something, ish.

  4. SFG says:

    You’ve seen the Deplorables movie poster with Trump and the frog, right?

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