“Globalist” is also often used to describe George Soros, a figure despised by both white supremacists and the alt-right. He is Jewish.

Like all dog-whistling, the term is intentionally vague. However, the word’s history is intertwined with conspiracy theories that have accused Jews of plotting to take over the world since the early 1900s. (Whether Trump is familiar with that history or not, he and other current and former members of his cabinet have called Jewish members of the team, such as former National Economic Council director Gary Cohn and senior advisor Jared Kushner, globalists.)

Alt-right commentators such as Alex Jones—who calls himself “Globalist Enemy Number One”—have expanded the globalist definition to rail against LGTBI rights, Hollywood, China, and pretty much anyone they don’t agree with.


The standard definition of nationalism is loyalty and devotion to a nation.” It sounds like patriotism, which is “love for or devotion to one’s country,” per Merriam Webster.

But the definition of nationalism also includes “exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.” This exclusionary aspect is not shared by patriotism.

Nationalism takes a more discriminatory tone when Trump positions nationalism as the opposite of the anti-Semitic “globalist.” Add “white” to “nationalism,” and you get the name of a movement that openly promotes the idea that one race is superior to others.

After taking a deep dive into what the term means politically—including by reading George Orwell’s Notes on Nationalism—the Cato Institute’s Alex Nowrasteth explained the difference between the two:

Patriotism is love of country while nationalism is love of country combined with dislike of other countries, their peoples, or their cultures.  Nationalism also extends to dislike of fellow citizens who are different, which is why nationalists frequently support nation-building campaigns of government schooling to assimilate citizens to a state-determined norm, national languages, and other means of creating ethnic, religious, or other forms of uniformity.

Nowrasteth’s also found that nationalism can lead well beyond discrimination—to imperialism, for example, and mass killings. After communist regimes, nationalist governments like Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government in China and the Young Turk’s movement in Turkey have killed the most people, according to his research.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.