Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog whistles, canards, euphemisms, innuendoes, insinuations, fake outrages, and obsessions in GOP language factories and fever swamps, Oct. 29-Nov. 6, 2018


rhetorical claim: now exclusively used as a weapon of mass political destruction; has lost all credibility when used by so-called “victims”.

rhetorical effect: turns victims into perps; assumes women are liars; turns a historical moment into a vast left-wing conspiracy.


incendiary rhetoric

rhetorical claim: media figures and Democratic leaders are to blame for political violence. Recent attempts by liberal protesters to challenge GOP officials in public are more responsible for the national unrest than the president’s combative politics or the rise of conspiracy theories on the right. Mr. Trump’s team rejected any linkage between his language and the acts of isolated extremists. “Everyone has their own style, and frankly, people on both sides of the aisle use strong language about our political differences,” Vice President Mike Pence told NBC News. “But I just don’t think you can connect it to acts or threats of violence.” Trump himself tweeted: “The Fake News is doing everything in their power to blame Republicans, Conservatives and me for the division and hatred that has been going on for so long in our Country,” he wrote. “Actually, it is their Fake & Dishonest reporting which is causing problems far greater than they understand!”

rhetorical effect: Justifies Trump’s defense of white nationalists, his dehumanizing language about undocumented immigrants and his nativist appeals. Even though those theories appear to have driven the suspects behind the bombs sent to Democratic officials and the mass shooting Saturday at a Pittsburgh synagogue, charging that the media and Democratic protesters have been largely responsible for inciting hate, Trump and his allies have seemingly equated the influence of activists and journalists with the singular power and reach of the American presidency.

“The idea that Trump and conservatives share no blame for scaremongering on immigrants and the refugees is really ridiculous,” said William Kristol, a veteran conservative commentator and Trump critic who is Jewish — and was called a “loser” by Trump at a Saturday rally in Illinois. “A little dignity and cessation of ‘what-about-ism’ or ‘you-too-ism’ would be welcome.”


them or us

rhetorical claim: Democrats are “evil,” “un-American” and “treasonous” subversives who are in league with criminals. It’s either them or us in this election, which has turned into an all-out battle for the existence of the real America.

rhetorical effect: Eliminates the political middle. Gives the unhinged right an excuse to display their blatant racism, As Max Boot put it:

Most of all, I’m sick and tired of Republicans who feel that Trump’s blatant bigotry gives them license to do the same — with Rep. Pete Olson (R-Tex.) denouncing his opponent as an “Indo-American carpetbagger,” Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis warning voters not to “monkey this up” by electing his African American opponent, Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.) labeling his “Palestinian Mexican” opponent a “security risk” who is “working to infiltrate Congress,” and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) accusing his opponent, who is of Indian Tibetan heritage, of “selling out Americans” because he once worked at a law firm that settled terrorism-related cases against Libya.

This hate speech also ought to put an end to Trump apologists, as argued by Ruth Marcus:

To all the Republicans who think that words don’t matter, who rationalize support for the president because of judges or tax cuts, who insist that domestic terrorism is unrelated to normalization of virulent racist rhetoric and who remain silent believing they have no moral responsibility for this brand of politics, I would say this is reason enough to vote, as my colleague Max Boot has suggested, against each and every Republican on the ballot. We have not seen individual Republican candidates, let alone House and Senate leaders, denounce the ad or insist that Trump take it down. Silence is assent. And therefore each one deserves the ire of decent voters.

To all the White House staffers who think they are “saving” the United States from harm, who bristle at the notion they should be shunned from polite society (not harassed, shunned) and who insist that they be treated like staffers of previous administrations (e.g. thanked for their service), I would say that you will share the blame for a dark chapter in American history.

To Rupert Murdoch, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Lou Dobbs, Fox shareholders, Fox producers and Fox executives and other on-air Fox personalities, I would say that this is in large part your doing. You’ve spent years drumming up fear of immigrants, misrepresenting the danger they pose, blurring the line between criminals and noncriminals (including “dreamers”) and sending dog whistles — no, make that trumpet blasts — to the white nationalists. I would say to you that Fox is not a news organization but a source of material and affirmation for the worst elements in our society, a small sliver of whom become violent. It’s not a place where reputable news people should want to work, nor a network that advertisers should support or viewers should indulge.


it’s costing us billions

this crazy lunatic policy

rhetorical claim: as the President put it

The Democrats want to continue giving automatic birthright citizenship to every child born to an illegal alien. Even if they’ve been on our soil for a mere matter of seconds. Hundreds of thousands of children born to illegal immigrants are made automatic citizens of the United States every year, because of this crazy lunatic policy that we can end.

And they’re all made instantly eligible for every privilege and benefit of American citizenship. All of you, you get nothing more than they do. They’re full citizens. And it’s costing us many, many billions of dollars a year.

rhetorical effect: Two more of Trump’s many hate narratives. Us vs. themism,  even if “they” are legal US citizens, with full protection under the law. The “crazy lunatic policy” is not a policy at all of course, but a cornerstone of American democracy, enshrined in the 14th Amendment. Pits US citizens competing against each other, with some apparently “more equal than others.” They cost us, and so they should not be granted the privileges of American citizenship that you are granted, because this deprives you of what is yours. This meme proves once again that Trump knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.


full Trumpism

rhetorical claim: Trump told thousands of red-capped supporters, “If Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and the legendary Maxine Waters, if they take power, they will try to erase our gains and eradicate our progress.

“The Democrats want to raise your taxes. They want to restore job-killing regulations. They want to shut down your steel mills. And that will happen.”

“They want to take away your real health care and use socialism to turn America into Venezuela,” Trump continued. “Lovely place, lovely place. And Democrats want to totally open borders.”

rhetorical effect: As Phillip Rucker explains,

President Trump is painting an astonishingly apocalyptic vision of America under Democratic control in the campaign’s final days, unleashing a torrent of falsehoods and portraying his political opponents as desiring crime, squalor and poverty.

As voters prepare to render their first verdict on his presidency in Tuesday’s midterm elections, Trump is claiming that Democrats want to erase the nation’s borders and provide sanctuary to drug dealers, human traffickers and MS-13 killers. He is warning that they would destroy the economy, obliterate Medicare and unleash a wave of violent crime that endangers families everywhere. And he is alleging that they would transform the United States into Venezuela with socialism run amok.

Trump has never been hemmed in by fact, fairness or even logic. The 45th president proudly refuses to apologize and routinely violates the norms of decorum that guided his predecessors. But at one mega-rally after another in the run-up to Tuesday’s midterm elections, Trump has taken his no-boundaries political ethos to a new level — demagoguing the Democrats in a whirl of distortion and using the power of the federal government to amplify his fantastical arguments.


protecting the integrity of the vote

rhetorical claim: acts of so-called voter suppression are just legal ways to guarantee the integrity of the vote.

rhetorical effect: Voter suppression is a slow-moving coup, and completely undermines the integrity of the vote–the very thing they say they are protecting.  What is voter suppression anyway but an attempt to thwart the will of the people? And what is democracy itself if not a government formed by the will of the people and designed to protect their rights — the rights of all of them, whether they are in the majority or the minority? In its baldest terms, any attempt to prevent people from voting, or to dilute the governing force of those who do manage to vote, is really nothing less than an act of treason.


psychological warfare

rhetorical claim: after two years’ worth of psychological warfare directed at Trumpism by the Deep State, the liberal, mainstream media, academia, the Dems and the Establishment, public education, popular culture, films, television, music, etc., the day of reckoning is here at last.

The nation is in turmoil largely because of the MSM. Many of the issues that have emerged and been flogged to death are nothing more than emotional triggers. Their purpose is to obscure larger more important concerns – like the existential threats posed by Jihad, Red China, and massive illegal immigration, the loss of our constitutionally protected rights including to free speech, and so many more.

The latest looming illegal alien caravan invasion for example – a major lead story in recent weeks – should never have happened. If it did, it could have been dealt with swiftly and definitively without the MSM dragging it out and making it a big polarizing issue to help the Democrats. But of course it is another in a series of PsyOps – made to guilt trip the white middle class population, especially “educated white independent voters in the suburbs” –  the swing voters who will hold the balance of power this year, as we have been told.

The further descent of the MSM – especially but not limited to CNN and MSNBC – into a sea of total lies and left wing propaganda is mind boggling. Nothing like it has ever been seen before. The complete debasement of almost all of the nation’s media and journalism – these purveyors of Fake News – truly has become, as President Trump has insisted, an “Enemy of the People.” This the end point of the century-long march toward Marxism.

rhetorical effect: more conspiracy theory run amok. Criminalizing free speech as an act of psychological terrorism.Sowing the seeds of distrust of all institutions, in order to justify attacks on freedoms of speech and assembly, immigration, diversity and racial and gender equality, etc. Trotting out the long-since dated chestnut of “Marxism.”


open season on whites

rhetorical claim: The increasing threat of violence against Trump supporters continues to expand. Violence is a classic tactic employed throughout history by hardcore leftists, Communists, Bolsheviks, Maoists, Castroites, and Chavistas in Venezuela.

The fact is, it is already unsafe in many areas of the country to be visible in public as a conservative, Trump-supporting, Christian white person. It is open season on what is now this new minority. Where will that lead, since it’s growing worse? And the Democrats have openly advocated their unhinged followers to get in the face of Republicans and make their lives miserable.

Whites are now the new N-word in this country. Last week, innocuous handmade signs that were posted in a Texas neighborhood reading “It’s OK to be White” were treated like a hate crime. Police said they were searching for those responsible so they can be charged and prosecuted. No more I’M OK, YOU’RE OK. Similar signs popped up at Tufts University near Boston. Again, officials there decried them as hate speech and said they will not be tolerated.  The nation’s anti-white trajectory continues.

Your daughter’s daffy feminism, the lionization of increasingly bizarre sexual anomalies, undying dream of economic collectivism and Christophobia are all skirmishes that need managing but America is becoming dangerously anti-white at a time when with the world’s only white-majority societies are becoming white minority.

The main reason Trump is popular is not because he “hates brown people” like the Left hopes or even because he’s some free market bulwark like Reagan. Trump sees what awaits our posterity if society does not change course.

rhetorical effect: tries to turn whites, the nation’s most dominant and powerful majority, into the new pariahs and victims. Likens diversity to anti-whiteness. Hopelessly divides America in a way that will take decades to heal.


affluent progressivism

rhetorical claim: As Victor David Hanson puts it:

The old working-class Democrat ethos was insidiously superseded by a novel
affluent progressivism.

Conservationism morphed into radical green activism. Warnings about global warming transmogrified into a fundamentalist religious doctrine. Once contested social issues such as gay marriage, abortion, gun control, and identity politics were now all-or-nothing litmus tests of not just ideological but moral purity.

A strange new progressive profile supplanted the old caricature of a limousine liberal, in that many of the new affluent social-justice warriors rarely seemed to be subject to the ramifications of their own ideological zealotry. New share-the-wealth gentry were as comfortable as right-wing capitalists with private prep schools, expansive and largely apartheid gated neighborhoods, designer cars, apprentices, and vacations.

For the other half of America, cause and effect were soon forgotten, and a new gospel about “losers” (deplorables, irredeemables, crazies, clingers, wacko birds) explained why the red-state interior seemed to stagnate both culturally and economically — as if youth first turned to opioids and thereby drove industry away rather than vice versa.

Half the country, the self-described beautiful and smart people, imagined a future of high-tech octopuses, financial investments, health-care services, and ever more government employment. The other half still believed that America could make things, farm, mine, produce gas and oil — if international trade was fair and the government was a partner rather than indifferent or hostile.

rhetorical effect: us vs. themism; defensive stance against inexorable global forces; siege-and-fortress mentality; sneering inferiority complex; hatred of change.