During the 2016 Presidential race, Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton said Trump’s supporters belong in a "basket of deplorables."
Donald Trump went to to defeat Hillary in a sweeping victory, claiming 306 electoral votes.
Speaking at the LGBT for Hillary Gala in New York City on Sept. 9, 2016, Clinton said that Trump’s supporters were "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic."
Trump, never one to miss an opportunity to hit an opponent back, said the remarks showed "her true contempt for everyday Americans."
Wow, Hillary Clinton was SO INSULTING to my supporters, millions of amazing, hard working people. I think it will cost her at the Polls!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2016
The comment by Hillary Clinton quickly went viral, as Trump supporters began openly admitting to being "deplorable" online.
"Basket of deplorables" reminds me of "binders full of women." Equally tone deaf statements divorced from reality. https://t.co/Nc1nPPAcUK
— Lis Smith (@Lis_Smith) September 10, 2016
On a special assignment from the Clinton campaign, Diane Hessan studied the effects of the "deplorable" comment.
She wrote an op-ed in the Boston Globe sharing reflections from her study, which showed the reaction to the "deplorables" was stronger than when FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress saying they were probing to see if additional emails on the laptop of one her top aides could have an impact on a closed investigation to Clinton's use of a primary email server.
I believe Hillary was speaking off the cuff about Trump supporters, but nevertheless, this was probably the biggest mistake she made during her Presidential run.
Trash Your Opponent, Not Their Supporters
No matter how concrete your opponent's base of support may seem, you can easily convert a portion of that base to your side by attacking their candidate.
In my years of political consulting, nothing gets voters to change sides faster than a properly developed, and delivered smear piece.
In local elections these are delivered through email, Social Media and direct mail. On the national stage, you also have television and billboards.
Either way, when you trash supporters, it doesn't fire up your base nearly as much as it alienates you from potential voters. This would be like going on trial, and slamming half of the jury, even though only a few are against you. What's the point?
It's a shame there is so much name calling and mud slinging in politics.
When you want to overcome a competitor in business, you create better solutions to your customers' problems, not slam your competitors' customers!
Perhaps one day we'll live in a world where the deliberate words of politicians are only overshadowed by the unity they create. Let's hope!
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