I updated my post on Crooked Timber's "Trump's America" photo, after the photographer, a political science prof at a major US university, offered some clever sophistry at my expense :( in support of sliming the opposition (a tactic that didn't work so well in the 2016 election). This is still a live issue, since the unapologetic Clinton appears likely to run again.
In the comment thread responding to the photo, several people rehashed her "deplorables" remark...
We are living in a volatile political environment [Clinton said]. You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.
...and debated how broad a segment of the American public she was denouncing. Was it half of Trump supporters? Half of Trump voters? Or did she just mean the Breitbart readers?
Commenter Heliopause says (comment 91):
This thread has gone a strange direction, hasn’t it? “Precisely how many people are in Clinton’s ‘Basket of Deplorables?’ Nate Silver will be joining us next…”
Look, people, smart politicians generally avoid statements of this kind because they have a rudimentary understanding of human nature. If you go to Cleveland to give a speech and say, “some of the people here are stupid,” a not insubstantial proportion of your audience hears, “he just said we’re stupid.” Next day the local paper headline is, “Speaker Calls Clevelanders ‘Stupid'”, and away we go.
When Trump made his infamous remark about rapists he of course did not say, “all Mexicans are rapists,” though that’s what most people heard. What he actually said was bizarre and racist enough; essentially that there was some sort of coordinated effort to send criminals, whatever their relative proportion of the population might be, to the U.S. But that’s not what got heard and reported around the world.
So I don’t see how it matters how many Deplorables Clinton really thinks exist, she was stupid to have said this within earshot of anyone who might have reported it out.
Update: The word "unapologetic" was substituted after publication for a harsher word.