"Cuckservative" is a pejorative formed as a portmanteau of "cuck", an abbreviation of the word "cuckold", and the political designation "conservative". It has become a derogatory label used by white nationalists and the alt-right in the United States to denigrate other conservatives.
The word "cuckservative" reached a high level of mainstream political conversation around mid-July 2015, where it gained media attention just a few weeks before the start of the first Republican primary debate for the 2016 United States presidential election.
The term, as well as the shortened form "cuck" for cuckold, originated on websites such as 4chan (specifically the /pol/ imageboard) and 8chan, the right-wing message board My Posting Career, the blog The Right Stuff, and other sites associated with the alt-right.
Definition and origin
One definition of "cuckservative" is someone who is associated with the right-wing politics in contemporary America but also opposes white supremacy. According to Richard B. Spencer, a white supremacist, the term is a shorthand used to express "a certain kind of contempt for conservatives".
Initially, the phrase was also used by social conservatives in a manner similar to "Republican In Name Only" (RINO) against conservatives who were seen as not conservative enough. Social conservatives use the term to condemn Republicans they accuse of running on socially conservative values to appeal to their base during an election cycle only to use vote trading to compromise on those values while in office and, thus, capitulate to liberal politicians and public sentiment. Some observers, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, say that the term's usage was rising among white supremacists in the United States as of August 2015.
The term "cuckold" has a long history as an insult implying that a specific man is weak and emasculated, and may even feel pleasure at his own humiliation. The shortened form "cuck" arose in this manner as an Internet insult, and it also refers to a genre of pornography in which a married woman spurns her weak husband for sex with a strong man. The husband is thus cuckolded or "cucked".
Some American political writers have suggested that the terms "cuck" and "cuckservative" are fetish charged due to their pornographic roots, instead of simply being a sexual insult like the original "cuckold". Thus, "cuck" is said by various writers to project the insulter's anxieties and insults by insinuating that the target is weak or enjoys his humiliation. The term "cuckservative" is said to imply that certain Republicans are humiliated through their actions while feeling thrilled from their own degradation of others because of the “abandonment of their own moral standards.”
White supremacists have used the term to condemn white politicians who they say unknowingly promote "the interests of Jews and non-whites." The Anti-Defamation League says that the term is used by white supremacists as a synonym of the pre-existing phrase "race traitors". Those in the self-described conservative media targeted by the "cuckservative" slur, as well as journalists and commentators from other media outlets, have decried the term as an anti-Christian, racist slur and a rallying cry for white supremacists and neoreactionaries.
A conservative news site in Spain translated "cuckservative" to "cornuservador", stating that: "Republicans are nothing but the 'controlled opposition' completely in the hands of the political left, whose only aspiration is for those rare occasions when those hands pat them on the head, and the media rewards them with the coveted adjective 'moderate': these are the cornuservadores."
Jeet Heer of The New Republic wrote that the word is a "fine example of how the sound of a word can reinforce its meaning: abrasive on the ears, cuckservative appropriately enough has an ugly origin and meaning". The word was most popularly adopted in mid-2015 after some alt-right web users were disapproving of the attempts by John McCain, Jeb Bush, and other Republicans to establish more politically conservative positions, dubbing those who did "cuckservatives". Over a matter of weeks, the term then proceeded to attain usage additionally on social media and the wider internet.
Writing for Hot Air, Taylor Millard criticized the word and its history of usage by white supremacists on the political right. He called it short-sighted, giving his opinion that Rand Paul's popularity at leading majority-black universities could make African Americans more conservative in the future. Matt Lewis, in The Daily Beast, gave his opinion that the word could become as popular with Republicans as "RINO" (Republican In Name Only), even if they were oblivious to its often fetish connotations. Writing in The Washington Post, David Weigel described the term as arising from disaffected elements of the right wing.
- Beta male (slang)
- Criticism of neoconservatism
- Dog-whistle politics
- Regressive left
- Rockefeller Republican
- Social justice warrior
- Weigel, David (July 29, 2015). "'Cuckservative' — the conservative insult of the month, explained". Washington Post. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Rozsa, Matthew (August 13, 2015). "Conservatives' crippling masculinity crisis: Cuckservatives, men's rights activism and the privilege the right refuses to acknowledge". Salon. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Walsh, Joan. "The GOP crack-up continues". Salon. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
- Petersen, Austin (August 4, 2015). "Is "Cuckservative" the New, Hip Racial Slur For White Nationalists?". The Libertarian Republic. Archived from the original on September 10, 2015. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Greenblatt, Jonathan (August 11, 2015). "White Supremacists Relish "Cuckservative" Controversy". ADL. Archived from the original on August 13, 2015. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Roy, Jessica (November 16, 2016). "'Cuck,' 'snowflake,' 'masculinist': A guide to the language of the 'alt-right'". Los Angeles Times.
- Bernstein, Joseph (July 28, 2015). "Behind The Racist Hashtag That Is Blowing Up Twitter". BuzzFeed. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- "Getting Cucky: A Brief Primer On The Radical Right's Newest 'Cuckservative' Meme". Southern Poverty Law Center. August 7, 2015. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- "Alt Right: A Primer about the New White Supremacy". Anti-Defamation League. February 10, 2016.
- Gray, Rosie (December 27, 2015). "How 2015 Fueled The Rise Of The Freewheeling, White Nationalist Alt Right Movement". Buzzfeed News. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
- Welton, Benjamin (February 1, 2016). "What, Exactly, is the 'Alternative Right?'". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- Millard, Taylor (July 26, 2015). "Don't believe the #cuckservative lie". Hot Air. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Peoples, Steve (July 24, 2016). "Energized white supremacists cheer Trump convention message". Cleveland, OH. Associated Press.
- Wines, Michael; Saul, Stephanie (July 5, 2015). "White Supremacists Extend Their Reach Through Websites". The New York Times.
- Gelin, Martin (November 13, 2014). "White Flight: America's white supremacists are ignored at home. So they are looking to start over with a little help from Europe's far right". Slate. Budapest, Hungary.
- Chris Welch and Sara Ganim, White Supremacist Richard Spencer: 'We reached tens of millions of people' with video, CNN, December 6, 2016. "Now Spencer, a 38-year-old white supremacist and founder of the so-called alt-right movement, is taking his rhetoric on the road..."
- Gretel Kauffman, "Donald Trump again disavows so-called alt-right supporters", Christian Science Monitor, November 23, 2016. "Richard Spencer, coiner of the term "alt-right" and head of the white supremacist National Policy Institute..."
- Gretel Kauffman, "White supremacists convene in celebration of Trump victory", Christian Science Monitor, November 20, 2016. The annual conference of the National Policy Institute, a white supremacist think tank, experienced a rise in attendance this year... 'It's been an awakening,' Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, said at the conference."
- Rappeport, Alan (August 13, 2015). "From the Right, a New Slur for G.O.P. Candidates". New York Times. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Yuhas, Alan (August 13, 2015). "'Cuckservative': the internet's latest Republican insult hits where it hurts". The Guardian. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Heer, Jeet (July 26, 2015). "Conservatives Are Holding a Conversation About Race". New Republic. Archived from the original on July 29, 2015. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Bernstein, Joseph. "Behind The Racist Hashtag That Is Blowing Up Twitter". BuzzFeed. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
- Futrelle, David (March 31, 2017). "Inside the Dangerous Convergence of Mens-Rights Activists and the Alt-Right". The Cut. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
- Ta-Nehisi Coates (October 2017). "The First White President". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on May 18, 2018.
- Christopher, Tommy (July 29, 2015). "Trump Fans Target 'Mike Cuckabee' for Being a 'Cuckservative'". Mediaite. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Lewis, Matt (July 28, 2015). "Twitter's Right-Wing Civil War". The Daily Beast. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Esteban, Carlos (August 8, 2015). "'Cornuservador': el término que saca de quicio al Partido Republicano" ['Cuckservative': the term that annoys the Republican Party]. Gaceta (in Spanish). Archived from the original on August 10, 2015. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Media related to Cuckservative at Wikimedia Commons