I’ve done a lot of ramping up over the last several months, in order to follow the dizzying onslaught of news and commentary swirling around our controversial 45th president.
So I’ve assembled a list of the more commonly used (and perhaps less commonly known) terms and topics I’ve run across — in addition to the personalities filling our TV screens and social media streams—to ensure we’re all able to confidently read and converse about Trump and his madcap, zany adventures.
Alt-Right: (or alternative right) is a loose group of people with far-right ideologies who reject mainstream conservatism in the United States. White nationalist Richard Spencer coined the term in 2010 to define a movement centered on white nationalism (see below), and has been accused of doing so to whitewash overt racism, white supremacism (see below), and neo-Nazism. Source.
Authoritarian: Favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom. Of or relating to a governmental or political system, principle, or practice in which individual freedom is held as completely subordinate to the power or authority of the state, centered either in one person or a small group that is not constitutionally accountable to the people. Source.
Autocrat: An absolute ruler, especially a monarch who holds and exercises the powers of government as by inherent right, not subject to restrictions. Source.
Bannon, Steve: An American political activist and businessman who is currently serving as the Assistant to the President and Chief Strategist in the Donald Trump administration. Prior to assuming the White House position, Bannon was the chief executive officer of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Before his political career, Bannon served as executive chair of Breitbart News Network (see below), which Bannon described in 2016 as “the platform for the alt-right” (see above). Bannon took leave of absence from Breitbart in order to work for the campaign. After the election, he announced that he would resign from Breitbart. Source.
Breitbart: (also known as Breitbart News Network) is a far-right American news, opinion and commentary website founded in 2007 by conservative commentator and entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart. Source.
Conway, Kellyanne: An American political activist currently serving as Counselor to President Donald Trump. She is a Republican Party campaign manager, strategist, and pollster who was formerly president and CEO of The Polling Company Inc./Woman Trend. In 2016, Conway endorsed Ted Cruz in the Republican presidential primaries and chaired a pro-Cruz political action committee, Keep the Promise I, which ran advertisements critical of then Republican candidate Donald Trump. On July 1, 2016, after Cruz withdrew from the race, Donald Trump appointed her as a senior advisor to his campaign. Conway was promoted to the position of campaign manager on August 19, 2016, after the resignation of Paul Manafort. She served as Trump’s campaign manager for two and a half months, through the November 8, 2016, election, and was the first woman to successfully run a presidential campaign. On December 22, 2016, Trump, then president-elect, announced that Conway would join his administration as Counselor to the President. Source.
Dictator: In government, a ruler who has total control over a country, with no checks or balances to prevent abuse of power. Source.
Dystopian: Relating to or denoting an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian (see below) or environmentally degraded one. The opposite of utopian.
Evola, Julius: Baron Giulio Andrea Evolas (better known as Julius Evola) has been described as “one of the most influential fascist racists in Italian history.” He was admired by Benito Mussolini, and continues to influence contemporary fascist and neofascist movements, and Russian political scientist and sometime Vladimir Putin advisor Aleksander Dugin cites Evola’s influence. President Donald Trump’s chief adviser Steve Bannon, in a speech at the Vatican, noted Evola’s influence on the Traditionalist movement and Eurasianism favored by the Alt Right (see above). Source.
Fascism: A governmental system led by a dictator (see above) having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing aggressive nationalism (see below) and often racism. Source.
Golden Shower: The act of urinating on another person, usually for sexual gratification, or as a way of humiliation. Source.
Isolationism: The foreign policy position that a nations’ interests are best served by keeping the affairs of other countries at a distance. Source.
Miller, Stephen: Born in 1985, Miller is a Senior Advisor to President Donald Trump. He was formerly the communications director for then Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (see below), who is serving as Trump’s Attorney General. Miller grew up in a liberal-leaning Jewish family and became a conservative after reading Guns, Crime, and Freedom, a book by National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre. While attending Santa Monica High School, Miller began appearing on conservative talk radio. Miller invited conservative activist David Horowitz to speak, first at the high school and later at Duke University, and afterwards denounced the fact that neither of the centers would authorize the event. As a student, Miller served as president of the Duke University chapter of Horowitz’s Students for Academic Freedom and wrote conservative columns for the school newspaper. He gained national attention for his defense of the students who were wrongly accused of rape in the Duke lacrosse case. While at Duke, Miller and the Duke Conservative Union helped co-member Richard B. Spencer, a Duke graduate student at the time, with fundraising and promotion for an immigration policy debate. Spencer would later become an important figure in the alt-right movement (see above) and president of the anti-Semitic and white supremacist (see below) National Policy Institute. Source.
Misogynist: A person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women. Source.
Nationalism: The strong belief that the interests of a particular nation-state are of primary importance. Also, the belief that a people who share a common language, history, and culture should constitute an independent nation, free of foreign domination. Source.
Nazi: A member of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, which controlled Germany from 1933 to 1945 under Adolf Hitler and advocated totalitarian government (see below), territorial expansion, anti-Semitism, and Aryan supremacy (see White Supremacy below), all these leading directly to World War II and the Holocaust. Source.
Priebus, Reince (Reinhold): The current White House Chief of Staff for U.S. President Donald Trump, serving since January 20, 2017. Priebus is a lawyer and politician; he previously served as the Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman, RNC general counsel, and chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. Source.
Sessions, Jeff (Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III): An American politician who is the 84th Attorney General of the United States. Sessions served as the junior United States Senator from Alabama from 1997 until 2017, and is a member of the Republican Party. From 1981 to 1993, he served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. Sessions was nominated to be a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, but his nomination failed due to criticism of his record on civil rights, as well as allegations that he had made racially insensitive remarks. Sessions was elected Attorney General of Alabama in 1994, and to the U.S. Senate in 1996, being re-elected in 2002, 2008, and 2014. Sessions was considered one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Senate. As a senator, he was noted for his opposition to illegal immigration and advocacy of reducing legal immigration. He supported the major legislative efforts of the George W. Bush administration, including the 2001 and 2003 tax cut packages, the Iraq War, and a proposed national amendment to ban same-sex marriage. He opposed the establishment of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the 2009 stimulus bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act. As the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he opposed all three of President Obama’s nominees for the Supreme Court. An early supporter of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Sessions was considered as a possible Vice Presidential nominee. In November 2016, President-elect Donald Trump nominated Sessions for US Attorney General. He was confirmed on February 8, 2017 with a 52–47 vote in the Senate, and was sworn in on February 9. Source.
Totalitarian: Of or relating to a centralized government that does not tolerate parties of differing opinion and that exercises dictatorial control over many aspects of life. Exercising control over the freedom, will, or thought of others; authoritarian (see above); autocratic (see above). Source.
White Supremacy: A racist ideology centered upon the belief, and the promotion of the belief, that white people are superior in certain characteristics, traits, and attributes to people of other racial backgrounds and that therefore white people should politically, economically and socially rule non-white people. Source.
Xenophobia: Fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers. Fear or dislike of the customs, dress, etc., of people who are culturally different from oneself. Source.