Acronym creation tactics

bob_franken_cFor those who thought “acronym” was a city in Ohio, it is not. According to my handy dandy online dictionary, an acronym is “a word formed from the initial letters or groups of letters of words in a set phrase or series of words and pronounced as a separate word,” as in WAC from Women’s Army Corps or OPEC from Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Or MAGA, as in Make America Great Again, the Donald Trump campaign slogan splattered across red baseball hats worn by millions of Americans, mostly white, mostly intolerant, who have bought into the Trumpster’s garbage that America should return to the glory days where their rigid biases oppressed everyone else. Actually, the Trump cabal is already hard at work on his re-election effort, and that means a new slogan for 2020, something that captures the regressive spirit of his first term and, more importantly, fits on a red baseball hat.

In case you were wondering, the caps are red because that’s what Vladimir Putin wants. That’s totally false, of course, entirely made-up, fake news. Putin couldn’t care less about such paraphernalia or such minute details. He’s more of a big-picture guy when it comes to controlling the 2020 election, just like he was in 2016.

Those details will be left to the American wordsmiths, who are already toying with Keep America Great. There are a few legal problems with that one (when are there not a few legal problems?), and there is some uneasiness over whether it’s such a great idea to have a slogan that will shorten to KAG. Of course, it certainly would be better than Grow America Greater, or Heighten America’s Greatness. Imagine how much fun we’d all have with GAG or HAG.

All the Trump wrecking crew has accomplished thus far is antagonizing just about every nation that has been woven over generations into the tapestry of commerce agreements that govern the way we buy and sell each other’s products. Without a doubt, the United States frequently has been taken advantage of as these tangled rules and regulations have evolved, and without a doubt, Americans sometimes take a bath. But you know what they say about babies and bathwater. Thus far, when it comes to trade, our current chief executive seems Hellbent to Annihilate the Very Orderliness of Civilization (HAVOC). In the process he’s Antagonizing Real Simply Everyone.

Except for his base; those in this country who have been left behind by changes over the decades are particularly receptive to the oppressive nostalgia of Make America Great Again. The trick for Republicans will be to sustain their resentments so that they’ll continue to turn out at the polls in numbers exceeding those on the other side who are infuriated at the entire Trump experience.

Given our attention spans, it will be a battle of the slogans. Continue America’s Trends against those who are Disgusted Over Grossness. It could be a CAT and DOG battle — but it could end with a whimper. It would not be the first time the Trump resisters stayed home on Election Day, intimidated to Wallow Uninspired Scared and Submissive, in other words, a WUSS.

(Bob Franken is an Emmy Award-winning reporter who covered Washington for more than 20 years with CNN.)

© 2018 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.