Monday, August 15, 2016

The 2016 Playbook: A Lot of Moving Parts

The 2016 presidential election cycle in the USA has been going strong since mid-2015! 

Here's a quick guide to the language of this grueling campaign. Most of the terminology is a sort of coded shorthand slang. 

Keep eyes and ears open next time the election comes up anywhere in the public sphere. How many of these can you find in print, on a screen or in open conversation? 

Every one of these is from personal observation -- paying attention not to "political content" but to wordplay.

The parlance of the 2016 election

Baked-in = this is the given situation or trend you have to work with.

Optics = how things look. Theatre -- most of politics.

Wheelhouse = area of expertise or leadership. 

Full-throated = enthusiastic, "all in" vs. half-assed or reluctant.

Strategic = "big picture," long-term goals kept in mind, "eyes on the prize."

Battleground states = states "up for grabs," "purple states" not completely dominated by Democrats, Republicans, or some other faction. 

Doubling down = total commitment, increasing pressure.

Unpack = fully analyze or consider repercussions.

Transparency = what seems to be, really is more or less factual.

Takeaway = that which one has "unpacked" or learned from an incident or text.

Rigged = everything is a set up from behind a veil. Fixed. Unfair insider advantage. 

Pay to play (or pay-to-play) = enter a field or project only by paying a fee of some kind. 

Donor class = super rich people who back candidates as in a horse race.

Outsider = not presently a part of the status quo, usually meaning Washington, DC or a state or local equivalent. 

False flag = conspiracy theory jargon. Things are not what they seem. A shooting is actually a hoax put on by those who would make you do something else according to their diabolical hidden agenda.

Dog whistle = coded language meant to exploit fear or hatred of one or more groups. 

Playbook = plan of action, strategy, tactics, aiming at winning an election or turning out votes.

Unforced error = get into trouble of one's own accord, usually by saying or doing something foolish in the public sphere. 

Spin = twisting facts or events to protect one's own candidate or belief system.

Game changer = some kind of major shift in the arc of events.

Punching up and down = aggressively attacking.

Reset = let's try this again with a different emphasis.

Reboot = let's try this again with a different emphasis and a staff shake-up.

Pivot = Same as reset and reboot, with lightning agility.

On message = stick to the plan, the script, don't wander off into "unforced errors."

At the end of the day = when all is said and done.

No there there = making a mountain out of a molehill. Response to those trying to create a scandal out of opponents' errors.

Going forward = from here on out. Really. We mean it. 

Political correctness = usually, cultural sensitivity. A favorite "punching bag" for those who prefer to use blunt force or nastier language.

A lot of moving parts = it's complicated, consider the repercussions, everything must work together if we are to succeed.

Branding = logo, gimmick, slogan, phrase. Goes back to burning ownership marks into livestock, enslaved people, prisoners or fraternity members with hot pokers. Pretty ugly concept when you think about it.  

Backlash = see branding. Goes back to whipping people on their backs until they bleed out and die, or carry scars for the rest of their lives. Usually a "backlash" is a "response" to some action, event or "unforced error."

Firestorm = great controversy. Compare with firebombing of Tokyo or atomic attack on Nagasaki -- political controversies never (or rarely) come close to the gravitas and tragedy of such actual wartime atrocities.

Meltdown = see firestorm. Compare with Chernobyl or Fukishima. I don't think so. 
Thanks to examination of the media-driven and media-exploiting style of Donald J. Trump, more sophisticated 2016 analysis includes such terms as:

Paralipsis (aka Apophasis)= drawing attention to something without stating it directly.

Down-ballot = for Republicans fearful of a Trumpian disaster, trying to save their lower slates of candidates.

Hostage video = when Trump is forced to read things that are distasteful to him from a teleprompter, such as his begrudging support for down-ballot candidates.     

Trumpenproletariat = a play on the Marxian term, Lumpenproletariat. "Here demagogues and fascists of various stripes find some area of the mass base in time of struggle and social breakdown, when the ranks of the Lumpenproletariat are enormously swelled by ruined and declassed elements from all layers of a society in decay." (Source: here). That is to say, the frustrated and angry masses from which Trump draws his support. By contrast, Bernie Sanders supporters are "vanguards of the political revolution."

Today's Rune: Harvest.  


the walking man said...

Lumpenproletariet--OK now that is a good phrase; one that could be equally applied to the rabid herd in every political party. Though this election cycle is over a year ongoing I still refuse to take any of the bullshit (another term in politics) seriously. There is still enough time in the next 90 days or so for a full blown implosion by any candidate that will of course be media whipped into a stampede by the herd.

Cloudia said...

Thanks for the election primer. The press is supposed to report on melt downs and everything else!

t said...

after this, there's going to be a lot of pressure for elections to have a major buffoon in the running...Trump can have a great career as a joke-of-a-candidate ?

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I love politics and I love following the election every day :)

Charles Gramlich said...

the old curse, may you live in interesting times, seems to have come home to roost