Election creates lingo
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 19:04
Presidential candidates have created words like “Obamaloney,” “Romnesia,” “Obamacare” and “Romney Hood” during this year’s election to get the audience excited, according to political science and international relations professor James Magee.
He said the candidates create this lingo in order to reach out to current supporters and to gain new ones.
“They are designed to keep your base together, but also to send subtle hints to voters who are undecided,” Magee said.
The term “Obamacare,” one of the more widely used words throughout the 2012 presidential election, refers to President Barack Obama’s national health care reform plan. The portmanteau, a combination of two or more words to create a new one, was originally created by the Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign as a derogatory term, but Obama told Romney during the first presidential debate that he approved.
Obama created the term “Romney Hood” in reference to Romney’s tax proposal plans. The president said Romney is the opposite of Robin Hood because he plans to take from the poor and give to the rich.
Romney coined the term “Obamaloney” in response to Obama’s “Romney Hood.” In an interview for Fox News, Romney combined the president’s last name with the word baloney.
“He is serving up a dish that is in contradiction to the truth,” Romney said.
Most recently, the president coined the term “Romnesia,” saying that this disease causes Romney to forget his position on issues and support different ideas.
Magee said the words are “infotainment,” meaning they are used and promoted by the media for entertainment, but voters can also learn a little bit about the issues.
Freshman Matt Wade said these “buzz words” are useful to easily refer to issues of the elections.
“They oversimplify things,” Wade said. “With the words, you don’t have to go into the nitty-gritty of the politics.”
The lingo used in the campaign is also being shared on social networks. According to an article published on Oct. 26 by HootSuite Media, “Romnesia” ranked at number three on the list of the top 10 highest trending topics on Twitter this past week.
Senior Nick Parenty said he finds the use of these words in the media annoying and irrelevant to the election.
“It’s amazing what people get caught up in,” Parenty said. “It takes away from the issues.”
Satoshi Tomioka, a linguistics and cognitive science professor, stated in an email message that these particular terms are not the most problematic compared to the other issues being discussed, but can easily become a problem if abused.
“They can be harmful if the media uses them when they are careless about possible negative connotations that they carry,” Tomioka said. “If someone is expressing his [or] her view, it is acceptable, as long as the speaker knows the connotation, but if a neutral report is in order, they must avoid them.”
Magee said the Americans who will be affected by the jargon are those who do not know what is going on, as well as “the middle group that is unattached or unaffiliated” to either the Democratic or Republican side. It’s these people who will be convinced that the meanings and messages of these terms are true, he said.
Sophomore Kimberly Inocco said the lingo will not affect her vote. She said she thinks the words could be a factor in other voters’ decision, though.
“I definitely think they would have an effect on people who aren’t as educated because when they find out about these words that’s the only thing that they hear and know,” Inocco said.
Senior Devon Bond said he is unaffected by the terms and does not think her vote will waiver at all because of them.
“I think they’re ridiculous,” Bond said.
Tomioka said when the election is over, the words will most likely not be meaningful anymore.
“I think that with the exception of Obamacare, these terms will probably not become prominent in English lexicon after the election,” Tomioka said. “Most of them seem to be just clever word plays and do not have much substance.”
Magee said he sees these words as types of slogans. He said slogans are used in every election and plays an important role in the campaign. He is confident that this type of lingo will continue in the future, whether they are effective or not.