This political season, maybe more so than any other in modern history, was a nasty one.
Comments from both Donald Trump (Mexican immigrants as rapists), and Hillary Clinton (“baskets of deplorables”) were emotionally charged. Comments about the candidates by those who opposed them, in many cases via social media or media outlets, were often less than restrained.
Slate.com wondered aloud if Trump is a fascist. One of his top aides, Steve Bannon, was labeled a “white nationalist” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Both Trump and Clinton were called oligarchs by different publications. (Liberty Maniacs said Clinton tried to get a T-shirt that read “I’m ready for the oligarchy. The choice is clear. This is none” banned when it looked like the two candidates for president would be Clinton and Jeb Bush.)
A Washington Post opinion piece claimed that Trump will be nothing short of a despot when he takes the reins of government in January.
The words are charged. But what do they mean?
Here’s a quick look at some of the terms that have been, and still are being, bandied about on the political scene.
Authoritarian – An authoritarian government is one that favors a concentration of power in a leader or in someone who is not constitutionally responsible to the citizens, yet wields political power.
Despot – A ruler who has absolute power over every aspect of the lives of his or her subjects.
Fascism – Fascism calls for the needs of the nation be placed above the needs of the individual. A fascist government is centralized and headed by a dictator. Economic and social interactions are regimented and opposition is met with strong reaction from the government’s forces.
Nationalism – Nationalism refers to loyalty to the nation. Nationalism is often reflected in an emphasis on the nation’s culture or other social factors. Some during this election have used the term “white nationalists” to ascribe racist motives to others.
Oligarchy – An oligarchy refers to the rule of a nation by a small group, especially for corrupt and selfish purposes, according to Webster’s Dictionary.