The GOP likes to use certain words or phrases as a kind of short hand. The meaning? The words or their opposite are "bad". No more critical thinking is required.
Paradoxically the GOP appears to actively and wholeheartedly engage in whatever the "bad" version is. Except when they do it, it's not called that. It's described as some kind of heroic act. Its head spinning hypocrisy. Some of these terms do have some original meaning that was useful or insightful. That is not how the GOP uses them.
Some of these terms could be described as "dog whistles".
It appears for the GOP this is a form of projection, revealing more about themselves than anybody they accuse.
GOP meaning: "The enemy". It's anybody or organization that says/does something the GOP disagrees with.
Since the GOP doesn't have a platform and appears almost entirely reactionary, it also means that there is no consistency or logic to much of this. The "woke" are whoever they need to be today. To attack. To try and justify the position. It's also a good way to split issues and people into good and bad. Another benefit is it can and is used as an insult - where it's hard to respond to. It's name calling. If you respond in good faith you are almost certainly falling into a trap, because there is no reasoning. You just are "woke" and there is little you can do about it other than just agreeing to everything they say.
GOP meaning: Any activity that either does or can claim (often implausibly) restricts GOP/associates/donors positions, talking points, activities.
The GOP appears to love to cancel - such as what teachers teach, book banning, boycotts (like Kueregg), reproductive rights and stupid relabelling ("Freedom Fries"). But they apparently aren't engaging in cancel culture. I wonder why?
It's almost as if the GOP is fully on board with "cancel culture". It's one of their main tactics. They do it all the time. When the GOP does it, it's claimed to be some kind of empowerment. It's just bandied around when anybody tries to actively do something that the GOP doesn't like.
GOP meaning: A claim that does not require justification.
Of course it doesn't have to actually be believed, that's optional. If pushed against to explain a position, provides a back stop so no explanation is required because it's just "believed".
GOP meaning: Anybody who points out something offensive the GOP is doing.
As seems the case with pretty much all these, the GOP appears full of snowflakes. People offended when their children find out that the USA occassionally factually did things that were bad. Like if one of their children finds out about slavery at school. That makes them feel sad. The snowflake response - not be told about things that make you sad. Or perhaps more offensive come up with a different, factually inaccurate version.
The obvious next move - "cancel culture" it.
GOP meaning: For the GOP this means they can say whatever they want, whenever they want and to whoever they want. Additionally it's the worlds responsibility to spread what they say far and wide. It does not matter if what is said is true, false, offensive, misleading, bullshit, in bad faith - it's their right to have it spread and promoted.
Freedom of speech in the US is actually only applicable to the government. A company has no obligation to spread lies and propaganda.
GOP meaning: A bad thing, that's almost always wrong and to be avoided. Unless, and this is very rare, it supports a GOP position.
Obviously if your positions aren't supported by facts or logic, then you are going to have problems being fact checked. If your position is constantly changing and/or inconsistent, then fact checking is a problem because it exposes that.
Fact checking isn't perfect, but it doesn't have to be. If performed in good faith it provides a short hand on an issue. On reading the logic in the fact checking you can see if you agree or not. This is a good thing.
The GOP is against it because facts, logic and reality make them look bad.
GOP meaning: People who have money/power/audience that say/do things the GOP disagrees with or are useful targets.
People who the GOP agree with who have money/power/audience are not the elite. They can be donors and so perhaps it's unsurprising GOP positions line up with the "GOP elite" and not the people they represent. That is to say its the "GOP elite" who drive the GOP party and not the other way around.
GOP meaning: A word to throw around to provide an aura of legitimacy.
It doesn't have to have anything to do with science. Science could prove the opposite. Or 99% of papers on a subject claim 1 thing, but if you can find 1 paper that says the opposite then that one paper is proven science. Or the mere fact a (typically stupid/biased/in bad faith) paper exists shows somehow that all of science is in disarray and wrong.
GOP meaning: Any media source that says something contrary to GOP positions.
FOX "News" is the largest "News" network in the US. But apparently it isn't "mainstream". Far right wing radio shows are some of the most listened to - so you'd think they are mainstream. But they aren't - I think you can probably guess why.
There are lots of problems in the media. Often problems created or supported by the GOP. One of the biggest problems is bullshit "News" channels - FOX "News" being one of the worst.
GOP meaning: "Freedom" to do whatever GOP wants/supports whilst limiting anything they disagree with.
Some examples of GOP "freedom" in action : Women's reproductive rights. Contraception. Use of marijuana. Gay rights. Same sex marriage. "Freedom" to infect other people with Covid. "Freedom" to vote by supressing locations and methods.
GOP meaning: "The enemy".
Other words used similarly: socialists, communists, liberals.
There seems to be a change recently from using the term "liberal" to "leftist". If I were to hazard a guess I would say this seems like a deliberate move. The reasoning perhaps being that the word "liberal" has liberty and therefore freedom at its root. That awkward fact gets in the way of the GOPs use of freedom which often means the opposite. So use "leftist" and that issue disappears.
It seems that leftist is the more "intellectual" form of "woke". It has the same pejorative use, but it's less obvious or directly offensive.
In reality leftist and liberal do appear to mean different things. Not that any of that nuance matters to the GOP, as nuance is the enemy of the GOP.
GOP uses a variety of words and phrases to attack people. People who criticize them. People who they perceive or are useful to cast as "the enemy". The list is getting longer and more offensive as of late, some examples:
It's the narrative used to push back on criticism around the "Don't say gay" laws. It attempts to smear LGBTQ supporters and people. It's profoundly wrong and offensive. Like "woke" it's designed to be intentionally hard to respond to, without being dragged down to some base level.
The terms probably have some roots in QAnons laughably stupid satanic pedophile ring narrative.
It's hard to see how GOP has any standing around such issues when:
I'm not the only person observing this trend:
GOP Meaning: White Parent Power
Youngkin used this in his Virgina governor campaign, and it appeared to work, and so is now being adopted more widely by the GOP.
It has nothing to do with defending children or parents being involved in schools in some positive manner. It is an effective opening in the culture war. It fires up the fringe to get involved with banning books and preventing teachers teaching things that snowflakes don't like. It's clever in so far as it has the feel of something reasonable, when in practice it's all about the extreme.
The day after Glenn Youngkin won the Virginia governor’s race last November, a Wall Street Journal headline declared: “Youngkin Makes the GOP the Parents’ Party.” Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio exulted in this new party line on Twitter: “The Republican Party is the party of parents.”
Polling data showed this new branding to be as misleading as the GOP’s framing of critical race theory. In a September Fox News poll, white respondents opposed the teaching of critical race theory by 24 percentage points, while respondents of color were more than twice as likely to favor CRT than oppose it. William Saletan at Slate concluded, “When Republicans talk about a parental backlash against CRT, they’re not talking about all parents. They’re talking about white parents.” Michelle Ruiz summed up in Vogue what has since emerged as the near consensus: “The GOP doesn’t want to be the party of parents; it wants to cement itself as the party of white parents.”
The Republican Party is clearly not the party of parents. The Republican Party is certainly not the party of parents of color. But is the Republican Party even the party of white parents?
This Jim Jordan? "Powerful House Republican Implicated in College Sex-Abuse Scandal". I mean the shamelessness...
But this great myth is not as rudimentary as the great lie. It represents a Trump Tower of GOP propaganda, built over the past year on four hugely false conceptual building blocks:
- Republican politicians care about white children.
- Anti-racist education is harmful to white children.
- Republican politicians are protecting white children by banning anti-racist education.
- The Republican Party is the party of white parents because it is protecting white children.
Every great myth is built on a foundational assumption, a fallacy widely assumed to be true. The foundational assumption of this great myth is that Republican politicians care about white children. But if they did, then they would not be ignoring or downplaying or defending or bolstering the principal racial threat facing white youth today. And I am not talking about critical race theory, which Republican propagandists have quite intentionally redefined, as one admitted, remaking it into a threat, and obscuring the real threat.
Here are some other currently used "GOP code words". They have perhaps more clear 'regular' meanings than many of the previous words. As used by the GOP they of course do not mean their regular dictionary definitions.
See if you can figure out what the GOP meaning is:
Other terms that have special GOP meanings: