Dog-whistle politics is political messaging employing coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has an additional, different or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup. The phrase is often used as a pejorative because of the inherently deceptive nature of the practice and because the dog-whistle messages are frequently distasteful to the general populace. The analogy is to a dog whistle, whose high-frequency whistle is heard by dogs but inaudible to humans.
The term can be distinguished from “code words” used in some specialist professions, in that dog-whistling is specific to the political realm. The messaging referred to as the dog-whistle has an understandable meaning for a general audience, rather than being incomprehensible.
Donnie Darko blew the dog whistle again yesterday!
At this point, as republicans are hopping off the campaign like rats off a sinking ship, it’s just piling on, but here’s my two cents. Words matter. Words can kill just as easily as bullets. We don’t have to go back very far in history for an example.
Our own history is rife with assassinations(Lincoln, Garfield, Mckinley, Kennedy) and assassination attempts(a very long list). That does not even include non-politicians like MLK or Malcom X.
Now, do I think that Donny boy really meant that he would like someone to take out Hillary? Probably not. But when he says things like that, his words are a dog whistle for the small minority of Republican voters who are on the “alt-right”. These people are white nationalists. They are racist and anti-Semitic and they very well may be hearing what Trump said differently. That is why his comments are dangerous. Here’s what Gabby Giffords had to say:
“Donald Trump might astound Americans on a routine basis, but we must draw a bright red line between political speech and suggestions of violence. Responsible, stable individuals won’t take Trump’s rhetoric to its literal end, but his words may provide a magnet for those seeking infamy. They may provide inspiration or permission for those bent on bloodshed.” “What political leaders say matters to their followers. When candidates descend into coarseness and insult, our politics follow suit. When they affirm violence, we should fear that violence will follow.” “It must be the responsibility of all Americans – from Donald Trump himself, to his supporters, to those who remain silent or oppose him – to unambiguously condemn these remarks and the violence they insinuate. The integrity of our democracy and the decency of our nation is at stake.”
So, if you watched yesterday’s news thinking, “there goes the liberal media again”, please give this some additional thought. And, while you’re thinking about it, maybe think about who the party can replace Trump with.
So come on, I’m the whistler.
I have a fife and a drum to play.
Get ready for the whistler.
I whistle along on the seventh day
Whistle along on the seventh day.