The deplorables have come to Washington, but they’re not exactly united
When Hillary Clinton said she believes “half of Trump’s supporters” can be put into “the basket of deplorables,” no one could have predicted the way they would embrace the term.
Clinton prefaced the phrase by saying she was being “grossly generalistic,” but Trump fans had all they needed.
“Deplorables” appeared on mugs and T-shirts. It became a marker to point to the elitism of Clinton and a rallying cry for those who would vote for her opponent. They called themselves deplorables, and they were proud of label. And now, with an inaugural ball called the “Deploraball“on Thursday and an event by a similar name set for Friday the day of Trump’s inauguration the deplorables have made their presence known in the nation’s capital.
The Deploraball on Thursday (also known by its longer name, “The MAGA3X Inauguration Eve DeploraBall Kickoff party“) is being held at The National Press Club. The site listed eight main stars of the show, including co-host and frontman Mike Cernovich, the Trump superfan and date rape apologist who publicized conspiracy theories about Clinton’s supposed ill-health during her campaign. A few hours before the 8 p.m. kickoff, Cernovich went ahead and published his opening remarks, albeit with a few typos.
“What better way to celebrate Trumps win than to throw the biggest, hottest, most in-demand party during Inauguration Week?,” he wrote. “What better way to laugh in the faces of the bigoted Clinton campaign than to reclaim their label, the deplorables.”
Other featured guests included Jim Hoft, who operates Gateway Pundit, a site dedicated to Obama-bashing and Trump-lionizing; Roger Stone, one-time aide to former President Richard Nixon who authored a book wherein he publicized a conspiracy theory about Chelsea Clinton; Lauren Southern, author of a 90-page self-published book called Barbarians: How Baby Boomers, Immigrants, and Islam Screwed My Generation, and several others, including a musician and an “investigative journalist.”
In his opening remarks, Cernovich described Deploraball as a “coming out party” for many Trump supporters, and maybe it will be. But it will also be an IRL coming out for internet born-and-bred Trump supporters trying to distance themselves from neo-Nazi elements of the alt-right, which has become known as a collection of racists, trolls, and general Trump supporters that somewhat coalesced into the president-elect’s online army.
Cernovich, who has previously referred to himself as a member of the alt-right, has tried to distance himself from them for months now, and again disavowed them to Mashable on Thursday.
I’m friendly with alt-right, but am not part of it, as there’s stuff I don’t agree with. But I’d rather fight SJWs than snip at alt-right.
Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) February 17, 2016
Other organizers of the Deploraball also took pains to cloud any relationship the event might have to the alt-right.
“If you’ve spent any time online you quickly realize the first fatal error is to define something that does not belong to you,” a Deploraball organizer named Ronan wrote in an email to Mashable. Though he said the ball would be filled with “internet trolls, and a lot of regular people who LOVE the word Deplorable and feel this event will define an embrace of the negative,” he wasn’t into labels.
“We don’t define ourselves as part of any group, and have seen little evidence that the high profile Social Media Influencers at the Event are part of any group either,” he wrote.
He repeatedly mentioned Friday’s “Gay Deploraball,” which, on its website, insists that “we Trump supporters are a broad and diverse group.” Cernovich has taken pains to make sure he’s not associated with neo-Nazis such as Richard Spencer, an alt-right leader whose fans recently threw up Nazi salutes at a conference in Washington, D.C. Cernovich also banished a former Deploraball co-host, who goes by the name Baked Alaska on Twitter, after he tweeted anti-Semitic remarks.
The split between Cernovich’s brand of alt-right and Spencer’s brand, as much as it can be divided into two simple brackets, has devolved into name-calling and denunciations, and now some observers believe the end of any unified “alt-right” movement is already apparent.