When Hillary Clinton attempted to counter Trump and his supporters’ populist attacks by explicitly branding them a ‘basket of deplorables, racist, sexist, xenophobic, Islamaphobic – you name it’ she was hoist on her own petard. The chant ‘Lock Her Up’ (‘Drain the Swamp’) drew its enormous potency from her alleged corruption and from her being a figurehead of the ruling Washington elites who have leached the American state’s democratic egalitarian idealism. Calling Trump and his followers racist and sexist was waving a red rag to a bull. She played on a negative view of populism, an immanent antidemocratic elitism, which elicited outrage, making a mockery of her own populist appeal. The occasionally rank dominant-class prejudice that accompanies anti-populist sentiments (inclusive of those that assume it is a working-class phenome non, when it is frequently cross class) was egregiously apparent in a CNN pundit’s observation that Trump ‘was throwing red meat to the base’ in his highly controversial travel bans.
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