You can’t really blame Sarah Palin. All right scratch that, you can blame her for some things, but not when she fumbled when trying to coin a term for Trump’s supporters during her official endorsement of Trump just before the Iowa caucuses:
Well, and then, funny, ha ha, not funny, but now, what they’re doing is wailing, ‘well, Trump and his, uh, uh, uh, Trumpeters, they’re not conservative enough.’ Oh my goodness gracious.
Oh my goodness gracious indeed! Even as America appears Trumpfounded dumbfounded by the legions of Trump supporters who seem to be rewriting the rules of American politics, surely one contributor to America’s confusion is the fact that we don’t even know what to call these people. That’s where this piece comes in…because whatever happens in November, one senses that these followers will be changing American politics for quite a while. Join us, won’t you, as we take only a little less time than the Republican primary electorate took to review our options and select a winner:
1. Trumpenproletariat. Closest association: lumpenproletariat
Coined by National Review’s (very anti-Trump) Jonah Goldberg in full awareness of Karl Marx’s lumpenproletariat: that section of the lower classes that was too uneducated ever to embrace the great socialist message, who, for their own good, would have to be brought to heel by the better-educated leaders.
There’s a certain ironic postmodern spin unresolved here: if Trump supporters accepted this coinage, would they be sheep or knowing wolves in sheep’s clothing? Anyway, Goldberg made this up in August, and it doesn’t really seem to have caught on outside the media, perhaps because of its unwieldy length or unfriendly source.
2. Trumpkins. Closest association: Trumpkin, bumpkin, pumpkin, blumpkin
Did you know there’s a real Trumpkin from C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books? And that none other than PETER DINKLAGE played him in the movie, looking like this?
And did you know some Christians are huge C.S. Lewis fans, because he and the books are considered devout? It’s also true that last Halloween, people who’ve never heard of Narnia cut jack-o-lanterns up to look like Donald Trump and posted the photos with the hashtag #trumpkin.
Add all that semantic value to “bumpkin,” which is a term for a rube that rubes can presumably reclaim (as gays once did “queer”), and you’ve got an excellent candidate. The major negative I see is that it sounds a little like blumpkin, a term that I am too delicate to describe here. As Jared Leto awkwardly told hundreds of millions of people during the Oscars, if you don’t know the word merkin, google it.
3. Trumpalumpas, Trumpaloompas. Closest association: Oompa-loompas
This is certainly half-brilliant, because of the easy association of Trump’s supporters with the working-class minion-like characters from the famous Chocolate Factory.
Roald Dahl’s original book, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” describes them as “white-skinned and golden-haired,” which is even more clever as an association: just as the movie turned white figures orange, Trump seems to have done the same to himself. One slight problem: Trumpa and Oompa don’t quite rhyme. Another one is that it’s hard to see this one catching on amongst Trump’s actual diehards.
4. Trumpsters. Closest association: dumpster
Admit that you came here for this one, because you think the entire Trump phenomenon is a dumpster fire, right?
Not going to argue, but his supporters probably don’t see it that way. Also, they’re not really known as the kind of Silicon Valley early adopters who once flocked to napster, friendster, hipster, prankster, and other such “–ster”ring the pot.
5. Trumpicans, Trumpericans. Closest associations: Americans, Republicans, ’Murricans
These make absolutely no sense, but that might be their charm in a campaign defined by suspending the usual definitions.
6. Trumpalos. Closest association: juggalos
Yes, this is a thing, and googling “Trumpalo” proves it. There has to be some demented genius at work in associating Trump advocates with the most passionate fans of Insane Clown Posse: unless Wikipedia has failed me, they drink and spray Faygo, listen to horrorcore and other types of underground rap music, choose to look like this
do their hair in the spider legs style, know certain gang signs, and make and respond to “whoop, whoop” calls. Making this name stick sounds a little too good to be true, and it probably is.
7. Trumpteenths. Closest association: umpteenths, thirteenths, fourteenths
There’s kind of a poetry to this one: a potent movement increases to 18ths, 19ths, umpteenths, Trumpteenths! But…despite the old saying, this campaign hasn’t been conducted in poetry or prose.
8. Trumpians, Trumpions. Closest association: Olympians, ruffians, champions, minions
Wasn’t this what those suckers were paying Trump University to be called?
And you have to love the consonance with “minions,” a billion-dollar-earning franchise about followers of a megalomaniacal tyrant. But…something tells me the Trump supporters don’t want to be seen as those cute little yellow guys.
9. Trump Towers. Closest association: Trump Towers
10. Trumpitups. Closest association: pump it up
11. Trumper cars. Closest association: bumper cars.
You’re kidding, right?
12. Trumper crops. Closest association: bumper crops.
Farm vote’s not worth this.
13. Trumperors. Closest association: emperors
Reading it you almost say “Trump errors,” and we hardly need more reminding of those.
14. Trumpagogs. Closest association: demagogues
Steering into the skid, this embraces that demagogue label, and as a bonus, aren’t Trump’s followers a little, you know, agog? Perhaps too agog to go for this one.
15. Trumpistles, Trumpostles. Closest association: apostles, epistles, pistols
Wow, can we actually combine apostles, and/or the epistles they wrote to Christians, with support for gun rights? I mean, sure, we can, but this is a bit of a mouthful, isn’t it? I bristle when my mouth feels it has thistles.
16. Trumpese. Closest association: Chinese, Japanese
Too easily confused with the language Trump speaks, whatever that is. This term would be sweet semiotic revenge on a person who like to complain about what the Chinese have done to America while he sells clothes made in China. But let’s face it, it’s not happening.
17. Trumpish. Closest association: British
See above. Not even gonna happen.
18. Drumpf, drumpfites. Closest association: dummkopf, drunk
John Oliver is a wonderful person, this we can all agree on. What we cannot agree on is that Trump supporters are ever going to use the term Oliver brought back, namely Trump’s actual ancestral name, and anoint themselves “Drumpfs” or “Drumpfists” or anything close. As Oliver said, it sounds like the noise a 2-liter root beer bottle makes when it hits the mini-mart floor and breaks. Not exactly what his supporters are looking to be called.
19. #DrumpfUcks. Closest association: I think you know.
This is purely for our entertainment value here. Not seeing a lot of Trump supporters leaping on board this one.
20. Trumples. Closest association: crumples, troubles
Looking for a portmanteau with “disciples” takes us here or to “Trumpiples,” which is patently ridiculous, you know, like Jim Gilmore’s campaign. This term might make a decent show on Nickelodeon or Sprout, but as a name for a political movement, it’s crumpled and troubled.
21. Trumpeters. Closest association: trumpeters
Besides the musical, almost Gabriel-like imagery, it’s nice to try to retcon something Sarah Palin said and make it true in retrospect, though doing that with everything she ever said could take us most of a month. Though one could imagine this catching on, couldn’t one?
22. Trumpy, Trumpies. Closest associations: grumpy, jumpy, bumpy, frumpy
This is the lowest-hanging fruit on the association tree, and potentially perfect for a constituency that’s often accused of making rash decisions. Nonetheless it might be a little too easy: would a Clinton fan call him/herself a Clintony? An Orrin Hatch fan a Hatchy? And, kinda like with Trumpkin, based on Trump’s record of insulting the disabled, we probably don’t want that much consonance with the famously spiteful vertically challenged persons.
23. Trumpers. Closest association: thumper, bumper, jumper, trumpery
It’s possible I’ve seen too many Depression-era Disney movies, but I think of Bambi’s rabbit friend. Is anyone instead thinking “chest-thumper”? That might work. But it gets a little too close to “trumpery” which is a non-starter as it means something worthless. Also, as with “Trumpy,” the word may be a little not-enough. You wouldn’t say “Clintoner” or “Busher” or “Obamer,” just to take the three most recent Presidents. Bummer. Bummery.
24. Trumpeteers. Closest association: musketeer, Mouseketeer
You know what? Screw it, let’s just go full Disney by way of Alexandre Dumas. Bonus, Walt Disney’s original Mouseketeers are now the exact age of the heart of Trump’s constituency. Though it’s hard to imagine they’re going to line up to be called this.
25. Trumpettes. Closest association: Marvelettes, Ronettes, et al
Speaking of the 50s, this was the natural suffix for the girl-group-ish supporters of your average 50s-60s patriarch. I know Trump’s supporters want to go back to everyone saying “Merry Christmas,” but I’m not sure they want to go back to being backup singers.
26. Trumpists. Closest association: capitalists, humanists, etc.
If the Beltway-establishment-class has settled on a term, it’s this one, or at least they throw around the term “Trumpism” as though we all long ago decided what the heck that was. Problem: if the so-called powers-that-be like it, then that’s exactly what most Trump supporters won’t like about it.
27. Trumpistas. Closest association: Peronista, Sandinista
This is merely “Trumpist” with a Latin American spin, which is kinda darkly amusing if you’ve been wondering how Trump is going to get Mexico to pay for that wall between us and them. Goes well with mashup pictures of Trump and Fidel Castro, but probably not going to be a huge hit with his actual voters.
28. Trumponauts. Closest association: Astronauts, juggernauts, argonauts
Naut bad. I think we can assume “Trumpobot” is a non-starter; this is somehow more empowering. But it also sounds like “Trump? Oh, not!”
29. Trumpite. Closest association: Reaganite, Thatcherite
People, we may have a winner here. Certainly, if it was good enough for Reagan’s supporters, I suspect it will be good enough for most of Trump’s. If the goal is to find the actual term that his supporters prefer, I think we may have completed our mission. However, if the job is to find the term that’s actually the most fun to call them, well:
30. Trumped-up Charges. Closest association: trumped-up charges
Need I say more?