Dem 51
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GOP 49
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When Is a Basket of Deplorables Like a Barrel of Listless Vessels?

We'll never know if Hillary Clinton would have won in 2016 if she hadn't said that half of Trump's supporters were a basket of deplorables. She said they were racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and Islamophobic. Maybe it's true, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that Trump began using the phrase over and over afterwards to gin up enthusiasm among his followers and paint her as the enemy of ordinary Americans. It was a dreadful unforced error, even if it is completely true.

Fast forward to 2023. On Saturday, Ron DeSantis was interviewed by conservative radio host Erick Erickson. During the interview, he took a potshot at Donald Trump by saying: "A movement can't be about the personality of one individual. If all we are is listless vessels that's just supposed to follow, you know, whatever happens to come down the pike on Truth Social every morning, that's not going to be a durable movement." To us, it sounds like he is calling the basket of deplorables a barrel of listless vessels. Attacking Trump is fine, even necessary. Attacking Trump's supporters is Hillary Clinton-level stupid. He could have said: "Trump is a genius con man and even really smart people have been fooled by him. I even fell for his lies at first until I wised up." That makes the same point without insulting potential DeSantis supporters.

The faux pas didn't pass unnoticed. Trump's adviser Jason Miller almost immediately responded with: "Looks like Ron DeSanctimonious just had his 'Basket of Deplorables' moment." DeSantis' press secretary tried to recover by saying the governor meant Trump's supporters in Congress. Nice try, but it won't work. Trump is going to attack DeSantis at rallies all the time now by saying: "Ron DeSanctimonious thinks you are all a bunch of listless vessels. Raise your hand if you are a listless vessel." When no hands go up, he will then say: "Now raise your hand if you are a patriot." Then he'll announce that he's selling "listless vessel" T-shirts on his website for the low-low price of $47.

And Trump won't let up. In fact, he has already demanded an apology from Mr. Never-back-down. Good luck with that. And the former president may not be the only one. At the debate, some of the candidates could ask DeSantis about it or just make snide remarks like: "The governor has no problem with indoctrinating school children in his state as though they were listless vessels. They aren't. They are our children." (V)

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