Basket of Deplorables
Image Getty Images

Basket of Deplorables

America is in a bad place, at home and abroad. In fact, there is considerable consensus within the country, among Republicans and Democrats alike, that the country is in trouble. Each side is pointing fingers at the other, but the reality is eerily the same, regardless of whether viewed from the right or left – people are hurting, many are voiceless, and the government is hapless and frozen.

Much attention is correctly focused on Donald Trump and his Republican colleagues. But, importantly, we need to focus as much on Hillary Clinton and her Democratic colleagues. We need to remember that the Democrats in the last election were far from representing the needs of all Americans. Who in her right mind, for example, would call Trump followers (very large numbers of Americans) a basket of deplorables? What an amazingly insensitive and ignorant thing to say about fellow Americans. And yet, how telling it was about the core problems of her candidacy and, indeed, of the democratic platform. And that most unfortunate comment was as bad as Clinton’s earlier remarks at the moment she announced her candidacy when she noted, with similar insensitivity, that she and Bill were dead broke when they left the White House. She lost, not because of Trump, but because she did not understand, it seems at all, what Americans needed and wanted following eight years of Obama.

Trump was exactly the opposite. He got what the majority wanted to hear, but his words were hollow. The new tax act, indeed, demonstrated exactly how little he cared for or was interested in carrying through with his promises to the working class.

Clinton and Trump were both very weak candidates. But so were their respective colleagues in Congress. Representatives and Senators alike have been hunkered down in their own narrow worlds and words; there is no way we will see consensus until we wake up and attend to the needs of the majority of Americans. It is pathetic, in fact, that the only voices of reason we hear these days are from those resigning from their positions.

No one in or out of Congress is surfacing as a new and compelling leader, and that is very sad for America. It now looks, given the leadership wilderness we are in, as though Trump might very well remain in power, at least for the remainder of his first term.

But, while many find extraordinarily real and dangerous faults with Trump, it is essential that we realize that we would have been in a very bad a place had Hillary won the 2016 election. Both people running in the last election were seriously flawed. The country was coming apart before the election and it continues to do so now. The real question is whether any one person or any group with enough power, insight, and charisma can bring the country back together before it is too late. The great American experiment is in grave peril.

Daniel Socolow
Daniel Socolow: President, Socolow Group. Former Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program, President of the American University of Paris, Vice President of Spelman College. BA, MA, Ph.D.

Add your Comment

or use your BestCashCow account