tighten the gap

Chris Hayes said this one on his MSNBC show on 9/1. discussing the Presidential race.  “It is possible for Donald Trump to tighten the gap…”  This is a congruent conflation of “narrow the gap” and “tighten the race”, both meaning to make closer.  A tip of the toque to Frank King for hearing this subtle one.

We’re really rounding the turn

Another trumpafor.  Trump uttered this one at a recent news conference, discussing the coronavirus.  Here is the text:

“We’re really rounding the turn. The vaccines are coming. The therapeutics have already come but they’re continuing to come,” Trump said of the coronavirus.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/515223-trump-maintains-us-rounding-the-turn-on-coronavirus

This is a congruent conflation of “rounding the corner”, “turning the corner”, and “rounding the bend”, all meaning to begin to find success after a troubling period.  A big thanks to Fred Martin and Sam Edelmann for both hearing this one.

Trump maintains US 'rounding the turn' on coronavirus | TheHill


Trump has his fingers in all those pots

This one was uttered by Joy Reid on her MSNBC show.  It is a conflation of “finger in every pie” (involvement in several different activities) and “chicken in every pot” ( a symbol of wealth and prosperity).   The latter phrase came from a newspaper advertisement by the Republican National Committee during Herbert Hoover’s 1928 presidential campaign. The ad pointed out that the preceding administrations of presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge had “put the proverbial ‘chicken in every pot.’ And a car in every backyard, to boot.” Although credited with the statement, Hoover never promised “a chicken in every pot.” In a similar vein, King Henry IV of France vowed on his coronation in 1589 that “if God grants me the usual length of life, I hope to make France so prosperous that every peasant will have a chicken in his pot on Sunday.” His assassination in 1610 at age fifty-seven stymied such a plan.

A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and sending it in!


Put a little elbow sweat into it

The speaker’s daughter was brushing the cat very lightly.  Wanting to get more fur off since the cat was shedding, the speaker uttered this nice malaphor.  It is a congruent conflation of “elbow grease” and “break a sweat”, both meaning to put forth a large effort or amount of energy to complete a task.  “Work up a sweat” might also be in the mix as it also means to exert a lot of energy to complete a task.  This one reminds me of one of my favorites: “Let’s roll up our elbows and get to work”. https://malaphors.com/2012/07/30/lets-roll-up-our-elbows-and-get-to-work/

A tip of the hat to John Kooser who realized he had uttered the malaphor, and then promptly sent it in.


You have to run the whole board

This mashup was uttered by Trump in a rally in Wisconsin a few weeks ago.  He was talking about the 2016 election, and the states he needed to win.  Here is the transcript (around 24 minutes into his speech):
It’s hard for Republicans. You have to run the whole board, because they started off that we’re going to play for New York. With all of the crime in New York, I got to play for New York, because we did well in New York. We did well in New York, but we’re going to play for New York.
https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/donald-trump-speech-transcript-wisconsin-august-17
This is a congruent conflation of “run the table” and “across-the-board” (winning every game or opportunity).  The former expression comes from the game of pool and the latter is found in horse race betting.  Apparently Trump has used the phrase “run the table” correctly in the past.  See https://www.wsj.com/articles/running-the-table-from-pool-to-politics-1457106718
A big shout out to Frank King for hearing this one on the David Pakman Show.

That hits home like a ton of bricks

Michael Steele, former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland and political pundit, said this one on Nicole Wallace’s show, Deadline: White House.  Mr. Steele was talking about the Jason Blake shooting and his experience as a father talking to his sons about what to do if stopped by police.  This is a congruent conflation of “hits home” and “hit (one) like a ton of bricks”, both expressions meaning to receive information that has a sudden or signifcant impact on one.  A big thank you to Mike Kovacs for hearing this subtle and neatly formed malaphor and sending it in.

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Equal playing field

Former Congresswoman Katie Hill, who resigned after sex scandal involving her ex-husband, uttered this nice subtle malaphor on the MSNBC show “All In” (Ali Velshi was subbing that night).  it is a congruent conflation of “level playing field” and “equal footing”, both meaning to describe a situation where everyone gets the same opportunity.  Interestingly, Equal Playing Field is the name of a non-profit organization for women athletes.  https://www.facebook.com/equalplayingfield/?ref=page_internal
A big thanks once again to Frank King for hearing this one.

They’re going to leave it all on the table; they’re going to put it all on the court.

This is a rare double malaphor spoken by Van Jones on the Anderson Cooper show 360 degrees.  Here is the excerpt from the CNN transcript:

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, I think they’re going to leave it all on the table. They’re going to put it all on the court. Look, I think if you are Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, to sit here — I mean, if you think we feel heartbroken, terrified and just, you know, miserable about what’s going on, imagine how they feel.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/2008/16/acd.02.html

The first malaphor, “leave it all on the table”, is a congruent conflation of “leave it all on the field” and “leave nothing on the table”, both meaning to give something 100% or everything you have. The second, “put it all on the court”, is a mashup of “leave it all on the court” (give something 100%) and put it all on the line” (risk everything for something).  Mixing sports idioms with politics is a risky business, and Mr. Jones realized he had uttered a malaphor, but his quick attempt made him step into malaphor doo doo once more.  This unicorn was spotted by Bruce Ryan, and for that he is now elevated into the Malaphor Hall of Fame.  @VanJones68

Did you enjoy this political malaphor?  If so, you will LOVE my new book, “Things Are Not Rosy-Dory:  Malaphors from Politicians and Pundits”, available NOW on Amazon.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08C7GGMG5?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860  Makes a great stocking stuffer!


I know where the skeletons are buried

This perfectly formed malaphor is found in the foreward to Michael Cohen’s soon to be released tell all book, “Disloyal”.  Here is the context:

“Trump has no true friends. He has lived his entire life avoiding and evading taking responsibility for his actions. He crushed or cheated all who stood in his way, but I know where the skeletons are buried because I was the one who buried them.”  https://www.foxnews.com/politics/michael-cohen-trump-disloyal-skeletons

This is a conflation of “know where (all) the bodies are buried” (to know secret or scandalous information about a person or group) and “have skeletons in (one’s) the closet” (to have damaging or incriminating secrets from one’s past).  Both idioms involve secrets and damaging information, and both involve dead bodies, hence the mixup.  This mashup is actually brilliant in that it incorporates damaging information and where to get the damaging information all in one terrific malaphor.

A big thanks to Mike Kovacs, Chief Malaphor Hunter, for spotting this one in plain sight.  Bravo.