Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog whistles, canards, euphemisms, innuendoes, insinuations, fake outrages, and obsessions in The Wall Street Journal and other GOP language factories and fever swamps, March 24-April 2, 2018

race-based gerrymandering

rhetorical claim: the Supreme Court’s tolerance for race-based gerrymandering has caused political mischief and division, and led to paint-by-numbers  racial-voting litigation. Race-based representation must be eliminated.

rhetorical effect: justifies the very outcome that it excoriates. The hideously prejudiced gerrymandered GOP districts that allocate House seats regardless of popular votes have created a huge imbalance in Congress, all done in the guise of racial blindness. The more the GOP calls for the end of race-based gerrymandering, the more race-based Congressional districts become.


shadowy radical groups

rhetorical claim: According to Bill O’Reilly, the sponsor boycott of the Laura Ingraham Show “is not some spontaneous uprising by companies. It is being directed by powerful, shadowy radical groups who want Laura Ingraham off the air.”

rhetorical effect: discredits the Parkland High students, making them out to be pawns of the Deep State. No one who opposes Trump can escape being branded as  a Deep Stater, and all political opposition is said to come from this forever “shadowy” conspiracy.


artificially low poll numbers

rhetorical claim: Trump’s approval rating remains artificially low because of the constant fake media anti-Trump mania. The economy is doing too well to merit these poll numbers, so the numbers are fake. The media, with its relentless and intentional efforts to undermine the Trump administration, is actually reducing confidence in America itself and its political institutions. The negativity has reached such a crescendo that the stability of our democracy is under threat.

President Trump has his faults, yes, but the irresponsibility and lack of professionalism in our media knows no bounds. It is time to turn off the mainstream media and start over. Alternatively, it is time to reconsider our libel laws in order to hold the worst journalists accountable for their fabrications.

rhetorical effect: blaming the messenger for the message; creating a misleading rationale to cover up a political reality; deceptively citing economic recovery numbers that’s don’t yet exist, thus creating a new false fact and using a false analogy to make an illogical argument; making economic growth the sole yardstick of successful governing; creating a fake “deep media” conspiracy; By this logic,  lower poll numbers simply mean that Trump is being so successful that the media has to up their attacks on him.


the permanent American revolution

rhetorical claim: Philosophically, Bolton fully shares President Trump’s foundational security policy principles that an administration’s first priorities are to defend America and secure her strategic national interests. This is not “America alone,” as some critics claim. Rather, it is the starting point of harmonizing the mutual strategic interests of America and her allies. These principles  also guard against diminishing American sovereignty and preserve and promote America’s strategic interests  by pursuing “peace through strength.” Clearly, President Trump and Bolton believe America is an exceptional nation; a force for moral good in the world; and, consequently, must be ever vigilant and prepared to defend herself.

rhetorical effect: rationale for American “white man’s burden” exceptionalism; automatically making critics of US foreign policy traitorous or at least un-American; leads to concept of Fortress America; seems to guarantee that the only “permanence” is American bullying, racism, militarism, and economic nationalism.




rhetorical claim: America has been subverted by globalists and multilateralists, and Trump’s MAGA is designed to stop these movements in their tracks and restore the concept of America First.

rhetorical effect: considered benign before the advent of Trumpism,  these terms have become pariah words, toxic labels used to undercut political opponents. Being a “globalist” now seems as un-American as being a socialist, and US foreign policy is quite literally one-sided.


chain migration

rhetorical claim: the use of law-breaking, “anchor babies” and green card marriages to create a new army of illegal immigrants being courted and protected by the Dems for their electoral votes. Part of MAGA is building a wall to stop these job-stealers, drug addicts, and rapists from infecting our populace.

rhetorical effect: another term that has flipped in the Trump era from a positive to a pejorative. from a humane policy to a dehumanizing slur.. As explained by Stephen Kearse,

“chain migration” hasn’t always been a source of political rancor. For decades, it was a neutral description of a routine migration pattern, one in which migrants traced the previous paths of family members, friends or members of their communities. Social scientists used it to talk about black Americans moving from the South to the North in the Great Migration of the 20th century, Southern Italians venturing to New York in the late 1800s and rural Indians gathering into cities like Delhi and Calcutta. The story it told was a simple, uncontroversial one: Humans follow the humans they know.

Today, though, the use of the phrase “chain migration” encodes your stance on immigration. Nativists use it to signal support for American interests and a skepticism about whether would-be immigrants serve them; immigrant advocates avoid and criticize the term. The White House website dedicates three web pages to chain migration, all demanding that it end immediately. When the president reaffirmed this opposition during the State of the Union, Democrats booed….Chain migration was now being described not just as a process but also as a ploy, a loophole threatening our control of a looming tide.


Deep State Fake News

rhetorical claim: the Fake News mainstream media  has finally been exposed as an arm of the Deep State, and the Mueller “investigation”–itself a Deep State operation– has lost all credibility with the American people. Lower taxes and massive deregulation have liberated the business community from Obama’s “progressive” socialism, itself a Deep State imperative.

rhetorical effect: Doubts about facts allow politics to take place in a fictional, infotainment-driven world. . Once we treat issues like  the desirability of racial equality as matters for debate rather than as first principles, we are lost.


America is Great Again

rhetorical claim: From the American Thinker website:

A new Rasmussen tracking poll shows that President Trump’s approval has risen to 50%, with 49% stating some degree of disapproval, meaning that more Americans approve of President Trump than disapprove.  This is a first, and it knocks another leg out from under the argument that President Trump is disastrous.

So all the Beltway chatter about “chaos” in the Trump White House is a non-starter.  All the “Russia, Russia Russia” yak is a loser for the Democrats promoting it.  All the impeachment talk is rubbish.  All the media coverage about gun control, terrorist attacks, America’s supposed lost influence in the world, and homelessness is utterly irrelevant.

Trump, as a matter of fact, is popular.

And it’s not hard to see why.

Tax cuts have exploded through the economy, with multiple chain reactions of benefits raining down on workers.  This includes not just less to pay to the taxman, and that’s no small thing, but worker bonuses that thousands of industries have given, more jobs to choose from, and rising wages as more of the economy is taken back into action.  What’s more, the worst of Obamacare is now on the run.  No one is now required to buy health insurance plans that mandatorily subsidize some favored special interest groups (such as drug addicts and other people’s children’s dental needs), and people now have the freedom to purchase health care policies that fit their own needs, not other people’s.  America, in short, is baaack.

 rhetorical effect: This myth of rising wages and “money you can keep” justifies the US as a kleptocracy, no longer under the rule of law. Economic crime becomes systemic as the state itself becomes a criminal enterprise.  The rule of law is incoherent, inequality is entrenched and reform unthinkable–all in the name of the freedom of unrestrained capitalism.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s