Now, with Trump's transition to power underway, we're learning something new each day about the inner workings of politics, finance and culture. Here's our running glossary of terms to help keep you up to speed.
President-elect Donald Trump's selection of Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist brought a fringe term into the mainstream: white nationalism
It's an umbrella term for a movement that espouses white domination but stops short of calling for the unrealistic goal of a 100% white society. Adherents say it promotes the interests of whites by focusing on white racial consciousness and white identity.
Activists say white nationalism is little more than a euphemism for white supremacy that attempts to distance itself from traditional hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.
Bannon has called Breitbart News "the platform for the alt-right
," an ideological grouping associated with extreme conservative viewpoints and a rejection of mainstream politics. It has been linked to racism, misogyny and anti-Semitism.
Mainline Republicans are too centrist for the alt-right
, which rejects the conservative establishment and American multiculturalism. They oppose any level of immigration that would threaten white demographic dominance and despise "political correctness." The alt-right is known for using online media to spread its message
Fake news is basically what it sounds like: untrue or misleading stories on websites that appear legitimate. They are designed to be shared on Facebook and social media platforms whose algorithms prioritize stories with high engagement -- the amount of people clicking, reading and sharing -- with little regard for what they actually say. Also, there's perhaps no better way to ensure clicks than with incendiary or extreme headlines that confirm a reader's beliefs. In fact, a BuzzFeed News analysis
found that top fake election news stories generated more total engagement on Facebook than top election stories from 19 major news outlets combined.
As CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter notes, there's a spectrum: total hoaxes, hyper-partisan and hybrids. The last of the three may be the most troubling, because they mix fact with fiction.
It's the 2016 Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year
so it's definitely a thing. Most often used in the context of politics, post-truth is an adjective that describes a political culture in which "objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief."
Believed to have been popularized in the 2004 novel, "The Post-truth Era," Oxford Dictionaries noted a spike in frequency this year in the context of the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom followed by the US presidential election.
There's been a lot of talk about how President-elect Trump has flouted convention by abandoning the press pool
, the small group of journalists from different news organizations assigned to cover his movements.
The reason for the press pool is simple: Americans have a right to know about the president's whereabouts, particularly in a turbulent world. The reason we know what President George W. Bush was doing on the day of the September 11 attacks is because of the press pool.
"Questioning the necessity of press pool means questioning the public's right to know president/president elect's whereabouts, meetings, etc," Julie Pace of The Associated Press said on Twitter after Trump gave them the slip
for the second time in one week.
Trump's pledge to deport millions of undocumented immigrants has led to protests on college campuses
across the country with a specific aim: Pressure officials to make their school a sanctuary campus
that limits cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
Similar to sanctuary cities, there's no established legal definition for what makes a city, county, state or school a sanctuary. Generally, though, jurisdictions that use the term have policies or laws that limit the extent to which law enforcement and other government employees will assist the federal government on immigration matters.
Some ask universities to declare their support for undocumented students publicly. Others ask for more specific measures, such as guarantees the school won't release information on students' immigration status and that university police forces won't team up with the federal government in deportation raids.
POTUS, step aside. There's a new presidential acronym in town.
PEOTUS stands for President-elect of the United States. As far as we can tell, it was not commonly used before this year. But with so much news on the presidential transition breaking first on social media, the acronym's useful for according President-elect Trump the respect of the office.
Trump has a stake in more than 500 privately held businesses around the world, leading to concerns of potential conflicts of interest as president.
Trump has said he will sever those connections and have his children run the business, leading to questions of how he plans to do that.
Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen said the assets would be placed into a blind trust. But lawyers and ethics experts say such an arrangement is impossible given the circumstances.
For one, a blind trust requires selling off assets and having an independent trustee oversee them so the president doesn't know where the money is invested. But Trump already knows where the money is and his children are far from independent trustees.
"Having your children run your trust does not discharge the conflicts of interest because the interests of your children, particularly in this case, are coexistensive with his self interests," said Kenneth Gross of international law firm Skadden Arps.