(AP/Charlie Neibergall)

The GOP crack-up continues: The raging civil war over the disgusting “cuckservative” slur

Combining racism and misogyny, the insult lets Donald Trump backers claim other Republicans aren’t real men


Joan Walsh
August 3, 2015 6:20PM (UTC)

I had a hard time taking this seriously, but the disgusting term “cuckservative” really is taking hold on the right. I’ll be honest: I learned about it a couple of weeks ago from the mild-mannered, clean-cut conservative writer Matt Lewis, but I thought he was making too much of it. It seemed like trying to shame one’s critics based on the behavior of the worst asshole in a comments thread. I didn’t bite.

Then “cuckservative” started showing up in my Twitter mentions last week, after I suggested Donald Trump supporters might not be the brightest bulbs. As I clicked around, I came to a shocking conclusion: I’ve been uncharacteristically downplaying the amount of racism and misogyny powering the right today. The spread of the epithet “cuckservative” is a sign that the crudest psycho-sexual insecurity animates the far right.

Advertisement:

“Cuckservative,” you see, is short for a cuckolded conservative. It’s not about a Republican whose wife is cheating on him, but one whose country is being taken away from him, and who’s too cowardly to do anything about it.

OK, that’s gross and sexist enough already, but there’s more. It apparently comes from a kind of pornography known as “cuck,” in which a white husband, either in shame or lust, watches his wife be taken by a black man. Lewis explains it this way: “A cuckservative is, therefore, a race traitor.”

This is not merely a new way to shout “RINO.” It’s a call to make the GOP an explicitly racist party, devoted to the defense of whites. It’s no accident it’s taken off in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign launch/performance art, where he attacked illegal Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “criminals.”

White nationalist Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute explained Trump’s appeal to Dave Weigel: “a) he is a tougher, superior man than 'conservatives' (which isn’t saying much), and b) he seems to grasp the demographic displacement of European-Americans on a visceral level. We see some hope there."

Rush Limbaugh helped spread the term to the mainstream when he praised Trump like this: “If Trump were your average, ordinary, cuckolded Republican, he would have apologized by now, and he would have begged for forgiveness, and he would have gone away.”

The folks behind the term are also wildly anti-Semitic. Huckabee became a popular target after he claimed President Obama’s Iran deal was "marching Israelis to the ovens." The guys who bray “cuckservative” hate Obama, of course, but they may hate Israel more.

Advertisement:

In the New Republic Jeer Heet shared this porny snippet from Gregory Hood’s anti-cuckservative manifesto in the white nationalist site American Renaissance:

They are like a man who tries to appeal to a woman through acts of submission; they inspire not desire but disgust. Each new conservative surrender inspires only further contempt in the hearts of leftists, which of course encourages conservatives to capitulate even more eagerly the next time.

There’s also the variety of cuckold who gets a thrill from watching another man mount his wife. Such a creature possesses the illusion of control. He can tell himself that he is directing this obscenity and thus remain, in some way, the dominant figure.

American conservatism is perhaps best summarized as maintaining a posture of command even as the reality of control is lost. Thus conservatives cheering on the demographic transformation of the country tell themselves they remain leaders in the new America. The cuck in the corner begging to be degraded is still technically the ‘man of the house,’ for all the good it does him.

Disgraced former Breitbot Chuck C. Johnson embraced the term last week in Takimag:

[Cuckservative is] about the fake, phony conservatives who enjoy watching the real fighters on the right get sodomized while they gleefully gawk. They crave respectability over power and the limelight over influence. Seldom paid for their performances on Fox News or MSNBC, they repeat conventional wisdom after getting gussied up—but you can’t polish a soul.

That’s some prose right there.

Jared Taylor, the white nationalist behind American Renaissance, is thrilled at all the attention.

They are squirming because a single word–cuckservative–lays bare the rot at the heart of your movement: American conservatism can conserve nothing if it cannot conserve the nation’s founding stock. I’ll put it bluntly: Nothing you love will survive without white people.

By last week, alarm about the use of the blatantly racist slur was beginning to spread on the right. The blogger Ace of Spades is a little concerned about what all of it means for the conservative movement, writing:

Advertisement:

I am right now thinking that there are more white supremacists than I previously acknowledged, and am currently up in the air as to whether to dismiss this solely as a fringe-of-the-fringe phenomenon.

Other righties are refusing to dismiss it as “a fringe of the fringe.” At “Trial of the Century” blog Monday morning, Daniel Payne told the boys who bray “cuck” to “Go Cuck Yourself:”

Conservativism certainly needs a lot of work if it’s going to survive as a viable political philosophy in the twenty-first century and if it’s going to effect the kind of change conservatives themselves wish to see. But if we want these things to come about, we don’t need to be listening to the Chuck Johnsons or the cuckservative slingers or the people who actually use the term “real fighters” to describe themselves. They will not help. They’ll only make us look ridiculous and unintelligent, as they’ve already done quite handily for themselves.

Blogger and provocateur RBPundit had a Sunday night Tweet-tantrum denouncing the cohort of Trump backers popularizing the term, which he correctly called “racist.” When the cuck-brayers insisted only “leftists” claim the slur is racist, he shot back: “It’s not a leftist tactic to call an actual racist a racist. Anyone who uses that term is an actual racist.”

Poor RBPundit is taking refuge in the claim that Trump is actually a Democrat and thus anyone who supports him is helping elect Hillary Clinton. But the argument isn’t getting him anything besides grief on Twitter.

Advertisement:

What’s to stop the spread of the slur “cuckservative,” you might ask. Only the possibility that the sexually insecure racists who use it begin to turn on one another. And it may be happening. Chuck Johnson tried to downplay the racism behind it. “’Cuckservative’ isn’t about race but about how much power you allow the word “racist” to have over you,” he wrote.

But early-adopter Richard Spencer was having none of it:

The #cuckservative meme doesn’t make any sense without race. It’s all about race…What’s powerful about #cuckservative is that it is call for a racially conscious politics—and not the kind of shot-gun spray muckraking that Johnson specializes in.

I’ll take Spencer at his word.

Advertisement:

There’s something sick about the spread of this term, and I have to be glad some conservatives are speaking up about it (only to be called “cuckservative” themselves.) But it seems like a natural if revolting development in a party that can’t wean itself from its reliance on overt and coded racial appeals to turn out its 90-percent-white voter base. The swaggering “common-sense” racism of Donald Trump is touching something deep in the conservative psyche.

Jeb Bush apparently thinks he can use Trump to beat Scott Walker and the 15 other uninspiring Republican contenders and win the GOP nomination. But the Trump faction is determined to tear apart the party to make its racism explicit rather than coded. All the money in the world isn’t going to let Bush chase this conflict away.


Joan Walsh

Joan Walsh is the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America."

MORE FROM Joan WalshFOLLOW joanwalshLIKE Joan Walsh

BROWSE SALON.COM
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR

Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address

•••


Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •