Don’t End Up a Basket Case Like Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump

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By Neil Gluckin

Almost two weeks have passed since Hillary Clinton told an audience at a fundraiser in New York that “you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.”

People are still writing, tweeting and talking about it. For context, the Democratic Presidential candidate said the group includes people who are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.”

The other half of Trump’s supporters, she said, less disparagingly, “are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change . . .  Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”

Writing in the current edition of TIME, Joe Klein harshly criticizes the candidate’s “wobbly” political strategy, or lack of one. The Economist’s Lexington column actually has more to say about Trump than about Clinton, but it does observe in passing that Candidate Clinton’s statement was “horribly sweeping.”

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For a blog such as this one, which is interested in branding and communication, among other things, there’s a more fundamental — and non-political — issue that no one has mentioned. As James Carville, who’s been known to give the Clintons advice, might say: “It’s the brand, stupid.” Standing behind a podium with the slogan “Stronger Together” prominently displayed, Hillary missed a chance to show that her campaign is about inclusion rather than petty divisiveness. The prejudices and phobias she called out in her “deplorables” broadside are anything but petty. But it’s a better branding strategy by far to hang the sins on her opponent than on his followers.

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