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Tue Jan 24, 2023, 12:17 PM

Republicans Have Been Using "Democrat Party" As a Slur for Longer Than You Think

Great piece by
@LarryGlickman
:

slate.com
Republicans Have Been Using “Democrat Party” As a Slur for Longer Than You Think
We can’t blame Joe McCarthy for this one. (Though he was a fan.)



HISTORY

The Real Origins of the “Democrat Party” Troll

We can’t blame Joe McCarthy for this one. (Though he was a fan.)

BY LAWRENCE B. GLICKMAN
JAN 21, 2023 • 5:40 AM

“Who has taken the ‘ic’ out of the party of our fathers?” asked John Temple Graves II, a Southern newspaper columnist, in July 1952. Graves had observed speaker after speaker at the recent Republican National Convention call their political foes the “Democrat” party. “This must be their way of reminding us that the Democratic party isn’t what it used to be,” he averred. ... Graves was referring to the Republican practice of purposely misnaming the opposition by chopping the last two letters off its name, a habit that, more than 70 years later, not only continues, but according to the Associated Press last year, is “on the rise.”

The conservative columnist George Sokolsky may have been on point in 1956 when he wrote, “When a political party is led to believe that it can downgrade its opponent by removing an adjectival suffix from its name, it reduces itself to childishness.” But instances of the use of the childish ploy have not abated. Witness recent books by conservative writers with titles like Freedom Trumps Socialism: How the Democrat Party is Using Hitler’s Playbook to Make America Socialist, The True And Detailed Racist History Of The Democrat Party: 1830-2020, and Blackout: How Black America Can Make Its Second Escape from the Democrat Plantation. ... Democrats like Harry S. Truman occasionally responded to the “Democrat” label by calling their opponents the “Publican” party, and others offered the “Republicrat” party. But Democrats never systematically pushed these misnomers, and they’ve remained largely out of the public conversation.

Commentators have long sought to explain the infantile, but persistent and aggressive, Republican habit of labeling the Democratic Party as the “Democrat” party, among them William Safire, Hendrik Hertzberg, and Ruth Marcus. The New York Times’ Russell Baker did so twice, first as a reporter in 1956 and then as a columnist 20 years later. These analyses have been illuminating, but for the most part, they have not tracked the origins of this strange “verbal tic,” as the “ic” is “hard to pin down with any precision,” as Hertzberg wrote. Some have (incorrectly) fingered Joseph McCarthy, the Wisconsin senator and anti-communist zealot from the 1950s, as the coiner of the phrase, or have associated it with “the right-wing extremists of the John Birch Society.” In 1984, Safire interviewed Harold Stassen, a Republican politician from Minnesota, who claimed to have coined it in 1940, but Stassen provided no evidence of this to Safire at the time, and I’ve found none in the record.

So, what is the history of this strange locution? Tracking the origins of the missing “ic” provides an instructive window into the evolution of modern conservatism. For although “Democrat party” has been employed for at least seven decades, it has been a shifting signifier. Tracing the history of the phrase helps us understand how the Republican Party has defined itself by what it was not. The phrase has always been about “othering” the Democratic Party, but the meaning of the slur has shifted significantly in politically telling ways. ... This “ic”-y history begins in 1946, when its key popularizer, the improbably named Brazilla Carroll Reece, a veteran Tennessee congressman, was selected as chair of the Republican National Committee. Reece did not coin the term; “Democrat party” had been used by headline writers and politicians of both parties since the 19th century. Before 1946, however, the phrase did not have a straightforward connotation; it was sometimes used neutrally, sometimes positively, and sometimes negatively. ... Reece blazed the trail for the “Democrat party” or, equally frequently, the “so-called Democrat party” to become an insult. Journalists noted his characteristic use of the phrase. It was the “‘Democrat party,’ as he calls it,” wrote Ted Lewis in 1947.

{snip}

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Reply Republicans Have Been Using "Democrat Party" As a Slur for Longer Than You Think (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Jan 24 OP
hlthe2b Jan 24 #1
Mme. Defarge Jan 24 #2
IbogaProject Jan 24 #4
Martin68 Jan 24 #3
BWdem4life Jan 24 #5

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2023, 12:22 PM

1. Periodically we have to educate younger DUers why it is that we are so adamant

that "Democrat Party" is such a slur--so unacceptable. So, I've started bookmarking some of these articles to post because I have a short fuse on this. The role in Newt Gingrich bringing it to the forefront in such a nasty way should not be discounted, even if its history predates him.

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Response to Mme. Defarge (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 24, 2023, 03:14 PM

4. I never knew of the distinction

Until I've seen it pointed out on here.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2023, 02:16 PM

3. I am beginning to see even Democrats occasionally use the term "Democrat Party."

The right are often successful in their nomenclature framing sabotage.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2023, 10:39 PM

5. How bout Repubican party?

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