Quantifying Alliterative Metaphors: “War on Whites” v. “War on Women”


There is much point-’n’-sputter outrage this week over Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) contending on the Laura Ingraham show:

Brooks: This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else. It’s a part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things. Well that’s not true. Okay?

And if you look at the polling data, every demographic group in America agrees with the rule of law, enforcing and securing our borders. And every one of them understands that illegal immigration hurts every single demographic group. It doesn’t make a difference if you’re a white American, a black American, Hispanic American, an Asian American or if you’re a woman or a man. Every single demographic group is hurt by falling wages and lost jobs.

And so the Democrats, they have to demagogue on this and try and turn it into a racial issue, which is an emotional issue, rather than a thoughtful issue. If it becomes a thoughtful issue, then we win and we win big. And they lose and they lose big. And they understand that and as they get more desperate, they are going to argue race and things like that to a much heightened emotional state. . . .

It’s illuminating to compare how often the New York Times has used the phrase “war on whites” to how often it has used the Democrats’ scare-phrase “war on women.”

Since 1851, the NYT has used the phrase “war on whites” eight times, and not once in the last 12 months.

In contrast, the NYT has used the phrase “war on women” 366 times in its long history, and 167 times just since March 1, 2012 , the date on which the Obama campaign made the specter of a “war on women” central to its re-election campaign.

Much of the shock and dismay that Rep. Brooks’ statement has elicited boils down to: “How can there be a war on whites when whites are losing the war?” As General Patton liked to say, “Americans love a winner.” Thus, we tend to gang up against the side losing power and become extremely solicitous of the amour propre of those seen as in ascendance.