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A Short Guide to Republican Doublespeak

Dog whistles without the cuteness of the 🐶

Alternative Facts

What they mean: “We really don’t like what’s happening now, so we’re going to pretend our eyes don’t see, our ears don’t listen, our noses don’t smell, and focus on what we believe inside our little hearts.”

Important note: was not invented by Trump but by Reagan who said:

A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions tell me that’s true, but the facts and evidence tell me it is not.

America First

What they mean: “The world is a complicated place I don’t fully understand, so I’ll pretend nothing but the US exists and matters.”

By Dr. Seuss, 1941—Public Domain

Captains of Industry

What they mean: “Now that weve given billionaires permission to spend as much as they want on campaign financing, we might as well flatter them with some fancy, military-sounding titles to fumble their egos and make them feel powerful.”

See: Corporate Personhood.

China Virus

Definition: Trump virus.

Compassionate Conservatives

Definition: Their existence is, one must use the proper words once in a while, an alternative fact.

See: Alternative Fact

Corporate Personhood

Definition: The brilliant idea that corporations’ speech is protected under the First Amendment and that corporations can exercise their right through spending copious amounts of money on campaign financing.

Synonym: “No more taxes!”

Family Values

What they mean: “We really take offence to the fact that two people of the same sex could love each other and affectionately raise children, but we can’t say it outright. So instead we’re really going to focus our narrative on the family as we divorce our spouses who are battling cancer or, more simple, as we cheat on them repeatedly.”

Fiscal Responsibility

What they mean: “By cutting all welfare programmes and all taxes on the rich, we reduce the spending and reward our friends, the Captains of Industry, who benefitted tremendously from Corporate Personhood. We sure are responsible for an improvement of their fiscal positions. Fiscally responsible!”

Also: A way to tell racists that the party endorses racism without saying it out loud, as explained in 1981 by GOP strategist Lee Atwater

Y’all don’t quote me on this. You start out in 1954 by saying, “N****r, n****r, n****r”. By 1968 you can’t say “n****r” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this”, is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N****r, n****r”. So, any way you look at it, race is coming on the back-burner.

Law & Order

What they mean: “How can we convince racists that we are racists too without saying it outright to win the non-racist vote still? Let’s tell them it’s all about security and order!”

Also: quoting Nixon’s Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman:

Nixon’s advisers recognized that they could not appeal directly to voters on issues of white supremacy or racism. White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman noted that Nixon “emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognized this while not appearing to”. With the aid of Harry Dent and South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, who had switched to the Republican Party in 1964, Nixon ran his 1968 campaign on states’ rights and “law and order”. Liberal Northern Democrats accused Nixon of pandering to Southern whites, especially with regard to his “states’ rights” and “law and order” positions, which were widely understood by black leaders to symbolize Southern resistance to civil rights. Wikipedia

Moral Majority

What they mean: “Let brand ourselves as true moral Christians to pander to the Evangelicals, and let’s phrase it in such a way as to make it look like we represent the true will of the people.”

Also: A way to tell racists that the party endorses racism without saying it out loud, as explained in 1990 by conservative activist Paul Weyrich:

Weyrich tried to make a point to his Religious Right brethren (no women attended the conference, as I recall). “Let’s remember,” he said animatedly, “that the Religious Right did not come together in response to the Roe decision. No, Weyrich insisted, what got us going as a political movement was the attempt on the part of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to rescind the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University because of its racially discriminatory policies.”

Pro-Life

Definition: A great marketing coup that appropriated life and, to a certain extent, the American way of life (“Live free or die”) in opposition to Roe and women rights in general. Hard-to-argue-with argument (who’s against life) whose proponents also opposed, successfully, the Equal Rights Amendment.

Rigged Election

What they mean: “Minority turnout was much higher than expected and we’re screwed.”

Russian Hoax

Definition: Actual voter fraud that was investigated and demonstrated, but the GOP would rather you not pay to much attention.

States’ Rights

What they mean: “The best way we’ve found yet to talk about white supremacy and segregation. It’s worked since 1861!”

See: Law & Order

Trickle Down

Definition: Corollary to Fiscal Responsibility and, by extension, States’ rights.

What they mean: How can we convince the poor of this country that they shouldn’t unionise, shouldn’t ask for decent minimum wages, and overall let us deal with our Captains of Industry friends? I know, let’s have them believe than when the rich get richer, the poor somehow get richer by association! Brilliant!”

Will of the People

See: Corporate Personhood.

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