Earlier by John Derbyshire (2012): Shall We Be Zeks?
It’s a cliché, yes, but it’s true: we’re more bitterly divided than ever—well, since 1861.
I don’t see how you can dispute the fact that it has been the Democratic Party hammering the biggest wedges into that division. We are fourteen years on from when Barack Obama told a campaign fundraiser in 2008, referring to small-town Americans whose jobs had gone abroad, that, quote:
They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Those words of Obama’s, sympathetically intended but indisputably condescending, lit such a candle in America that day, as it seems, shall never be put out. Just eight years later Hillary Clinton famously told an audience that, quote:
You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call ”the basket of deplorables.” (Laughter, applause.) Right? (Laughter, applause.) They’re racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that, and he has lifted them up.
Now here we are six years further on and we’ve advanced further from ”bitter clingers” by way of ”basket of deplorables” to ”semi-fascists.” That was the term Biden used, referring to Trump supporters, in an off-camera but well-reported address to donors in Rockville, MD. Quote:
It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the—I’m going to say something—it’s like semi-fascism.
That’s been the trajectory: ”bitter clingers,” then ”basket of deplorables,” now ”semi-fascists,” all in just fourteen years. How many more years will it take to get us to ”enemies of the people”? No more than five, would be my guess.