Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog-whistles, canards, euphemisms, fake outrages and obsessions in the Wall Street Journal and other GOP language factories, July 21-25, 2016

America’s best days are behind us: according to Hillary Clinton, adhering to the Obama status quo of no growth or slow growth. This is a straw-man argument if there ever was one: no politician would ever argue that America is a has-been country.

the art of the deal: a zero-sum game.

campaign contribution financial disclosure: harassment and intimidation.

desert: what the real Americans have coming to them again: respect and opportunity. (See “respect,” below.). Migrants, liberals, the “pc” crowd, the media elite, etc. all have gotten respect they don’t deserve. This assertion of entitlement is however based on a fabled country that, paradoxically, at once has passed and never existed in the first place. Trump’s cruel conjuring trick is to summon the djinn of  hope to people who need anything but magical thinking and a false messiah.

elitist:  the default attitudinal starting point  of any Dem argument against Tea Party/GOP ideas. By definition, Tea Party opponents are not only wrong but “othered” as effete, condescending fools. “Elite” here doesn’t refer to quality, but to attitude: they only think they’re better than everyone else, but there is nothing distinguishing about them except their smug ignorance of how the world really works.

grating: Hillary ‘s voice any time she opens her pie-hole. Aka, “shouting,” “hectoring” and “scolding”.

gutting: what Dems want to do to the First and Second Amendments–see “muzzling, ” below.

justice: law and order. On the surface, Trump’s invocation of the need for law and order seems self-evident.  But, rather than being reassuring and inclusive, in Trump’s hands, “law and order” becomes threatening, ominous and divisive. The “order” Trump refers to is the old order of white privilege, and his “law” is Old Testament law, based on outrage, retribution and revenge. Old Testament law and desert are unaccommodated things without the restorative cure of New Testament love and healing.

mocking: the Dem elites’ attitude toward average Americans. Every Dem criticism of Tea Party dogma is  a case of “mocking, “moralizing” or talking down.”

muzzling. Any Dem attempt at campaign finance reform. The pc crowd wants to muzzle free speech.

progress: part of Donald Trump’s vision of order:

Our goal is justice for every American. If we are to have respect for law in America, we must have laws that deserve respect. Just as we cannot have progress without order, we cannot have order without progress, and so, as we commit to order tonight, let us commit to progress.

respect: Donald Trump’s promise to those who feel marginalized or dispossessed that they will get their country back. As David Frum argues,

Trump’s country is divided in a different way: between those who have lost a status they deserved—and those who have gained a status they do not deserve.

restless: what the blue-collar voters are this year, which is why Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan are in play.

 servant: what Donald Trump will be to “the people,” of whom he is the “voice.” More likely is that he is the puppet-master and his followers the puppets, being jerked around by a phony populist (a so-called “blue collar billionaire”) and someone pretending to not be political.

speaking from the heart: Trump’s straight-ahead, ‘tell it like it is” style that differentiates him from”the politicians” and their “political correctness.” Actually a euphemism for Trump’s unfiltered vendettas and racist, sexist or xenophobic insults. As Virginia Heffernan puts it in the NY Times,  “Casting Mr. Trump’s incitements to xenophobia and violence as heartfelt evidently makes them slightly less terrifying,” going on to add:

It’s become impossible for Mr. Trump’s supporters to lend reason or logic to his vendettas, daft misogyny, thoroughgoing racism and bloodlust. Instead, they advertise it as lovable.

theory: Dems’ “facts.” In John Oliver’s already-classic characterization, in which Trump supporters claim that candidates can create feelings,  feelings are as valid as facts,and thus candidates can create facts.

unelected judges: those appointed by Dems. Any Tea Party/GOP (unelected) appointees are called just that, never “unelected.” This rhetorical sleight-of-hand implies that Dem picks are always elitist and not the will of the people. This flirts with the argument that such judges are illegitimate because they are “unaccountable.”

unleashing innovation: the free market unleashed, the animal spirits of capitalism, unabated creative destructionism. But when has innovation ever been leashed? More likely is that fraud, greed, and

the very survival of the American Dream: imperiled by Hillary. Part of the apocalyptic , hyperbolic, baleful rhetoric of the 2016 GOP Convention.

 

 

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