Many members of the Democratic Party object to the term. New Yorker commentator Hendrik Hertzberg wrote: "There’s no great mystery about the motives behind this deliberate misnaming. 'Democrat Party' is a slur, or intended to be – a handy way to express contempt. Aesthetic judgments are subjective, of course, but 'Democrat Party' is jarring verging on ugly. It fairly screams 'rat.'"
The noun-as-adjective has been used by Republican leaders since the 1940s and appears in some GOP national platforms since 1948. In 1947, Republican leader Senator Robert A. Taft said, "Nor can we expect any other policy from any Democrat Party or any Democrat President under present day conditions. They cannot possibly win an election solely through the support of the solid South, and yet their political strategists believe the Southern Democrat Party will not break away no matter how radical the allies imposed upon it. President Dwight D. Eisenhower used the term in his acceptance speech in 1952 and in partisan speeches to Republican groups. Ruth Walker notes how Joseph McCarthy repeatedly used the phrase "the Democrat Party," and critics argue that if McCarthy used the term in the 1950s, then no one else should do so. The Dan Smoot Report throughout the 50s and 60s used the phrase, almost without exception.
In 1996, the wording "Democratic Party" was removed throughout the Republican party platform. Party leaders said that they wanted to make the point that the Democratic Party had become elitist, no longer small-d democratic. In August 2008, the Republican platform committee voted down a proposal to use the phrase "Democrat Party" in the 2008 platform, deciding to use the proper "Democratic Party". "We probably should use what the actual name is," said Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, the panel's chairman. "At least in writing.
Aside from partisan usage, the term can also be found in less partisan media. Media Matters for America, a progressive organization that monitors the media, found "Democrat Party" used (in isolated instances) by CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, and the Associated Press.
The use of "Democrat Party" could be part of a linguistic trend. As one linguist explained, "We're losing our inflections – the special endings we use to distinguish between adjectives and nouns, for instance. There's a tendency to modify a noun with another noun rather than an adjective. Some may speak of "the Ukraine election" rather than 'the Ukrainian election' or 'the election in Ukraine,' for instance. It's 'the Iraq war' rather than 'the Iraqi war,' to give another example."
Democrats complained about the use of "Democrat" as an adjective in the 2007 State of the Union address by President Bush. "Like nails on a chalkboard," complained Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta. Political analyst Charlie Cook attributed its use to force of habit rather than a deliberate epithet by Republicans: "[They] have been doing it so long that they probably don't even realize they're doing it." On February 4, 2007, Bush joked in a speech to House Democrats, stating "Now look, my diction isn't all that good. I have been accused of occasionally mangling the English language. And so I appreciate you inviting the head of the Republic Party. Additionally, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) repeatedly invoked the phrase "The Republic Party" on the floor of the United States House of Representatives in February 2007 while lambasting Congressional Republicans.
On the other hand, the hypercorrection of using Democratic as a noun has been employed, especially in asserting bipartisanship. Charlie Crist, Republican Governor of Florida, claiming essential agreement with both of his state's Senators, said that "he'd already had communications with Senator Bill Nelson, who happens to be a Democratic.
Another corresponding noun-as-adjective response has also begun to circulate on the Internet: "The Republicans Party. Members of the Democratic Underground have proposed that "Republicon Party" be used as a counter to the Republican adoption of "Democrat Party" as a putdown. Sherman Yellen suggested "The Republicants" as suitably comparable in terms of negative connotation in an April 29, 2007 Huffington Post commentary
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