The hashtag #basementdwellers started tending today on social media, after the right-wing spin machine tried to insinuate that Clinton used the term as a derogatory characterization of millennials.
She purportedly made it during a private fundraising address to campaign donors. The audio was hacked and posted on by a right-wing outlet.
The term can obviously be read with a negative connotation, as in low-life, neer-do-well, or lazy and uninformed.
Right-wing propaganda bloggers implied that’s what Clinton meant.
The characterization was supposed to be an expression of her out-of-touch “elitism” and disdain for millennial “Berniecrats.”
Right-wingers said it was in line with her characterization of racist, white supremacist Donald Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables.”
But Clinton never used the phrase “basement dweller,” the word “dweller, or even the word “dwell.”
An examination of her full remarks shows she was expressing empathy for the challenges facing young people.
Many, including college grads, are having trouble finding jobs in the wake of the 2008 Great Recession, which pushed the world to the brink of a financial collapse in the final weeks of the Bush administration.
Here are her exact words:
“Some are new to politics completely. They’re children of the Great Recession and they are living in their parents’ basement. They feel they got their education, and the jobs that are available to them are not at all what they envisioned for themselves, and they don’t see much of a future. I met with a group of young black millennials today, and, you know, one of the young women said, ‘You know, none of us feel like we have the job that we should have gotten out of college, and we don’t believe the job market is going to give us much of a chance.’
“So that is a mindset that is really affecting their politics, and so if you’re feeling like you’re consigned to, you know, being a barista or, you know, some other job that doesn’t pay a lot and doesn’t have some other ladder of opportunity attached to it, then the idea that maybe — just maybe — you could be part of a political revolution is pretty appealing. So I think we should all be really understanding of that and should try to do the best we can not to be, you know, a wet blanket on idealism — you want people to be idealistic; you want them to set big goals — but to take what we can achieve now and try to present them as bigger goals.”
Clinton was discussing what she considered Sanders’ unrealistic promises and said she wanted to be realistic about what could be achieved if elected.
The audio from a February meeting during the primary made its way onto the Internet through the right-wing news site Washington Free Beacon , according to Politico.
“The truth that Clinton understands their grievances but wants to be straight with them about what’s possible in our bitter and divided political reality just isn’t nearly as sexy,” wrote Newsweek journalist Nicholas Loffredo
The back-drop to the issue is Clinton’s and Trump’s respective position on the economy and jobs.
Trump has made blanket promises to create thousands of new jobs by removing government regulations on the environment, food and drugs and energy production.
But a less often mentioned element of Trump’s plan is his support for abolishing the federal minimum wage and leaving it up to states to set their own rate.
“I like the idea of ‘let the states decide,’” Trump told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And the states compete with each other, not only other countries, but they compete with each other.”
The move would drive down wages across the country hurting poor white and black families and, of course, millennials who are finding work in entry-level jobs.
In contrast, Clinton proposes creating 21st Century jobs in high-tech fields like clean energy and providing free tuition at community and state colleges so high-school graduates can be trained for those high-paying positions.
Check out the audio below posted by a right-wing blogger.
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