Democrat Party

A politician’s image is as finely crafted as a pink flamingo made of hand-blown glass, so when something is repeated by a politician or a political party, there can be no question that it’s being done for a reason. There are no oversights; how the politician or political party is perceived is too important.

That’s why it’s no accident that President Bush and his Republican counterparts occasionally refer to the Democratic party as the “Democrat party.” They have made the conscious decision to drop the -ic when referring to their political counterparts, so that leaves us to determine the reason.

I doubt that the answer will come from Karl Rove’s new blockbuster tell-all account of the current administration since indications are that the history is considered as malleable as play dough, so let me take a guess–from the perspective of language, of course. Our system is a democratic one, and as such, the word democratic has a very positive connotation in the eyes of Americans. The goal of changing the reference to his political opponents from Democratic Party to Democrat Party is to attempt separate their opponents from something positive.

It’s subtle, and this isn’t the most heinous abuse of language I’ve ever seen, especially since it makes it seem as if the speaker just made a verbal mistake since we all know that it’s the Democratic Party. It is, however, a good reminder that we need to listen closely to the subtlety of language. 


Paul’s book–Literally, the Best Language Book Ever

Sherry’s Grammar List

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2 Responses to Democrat Party

  1. john guy says:

    The term “democratic” was coined by Martin Van Buren in the 1828 Presidential Election. The reason being to trick people into believing Jackson’s party was the true represenative party, that the party platform was all inclusive and the people really decided not back room politicians. Nothing which could be further from the truth. It is most definitely subliminal. You don’t call the socialist party the socialistic party, nor the the communist party the communistic party do you. Brush up on your history and you will see why democrat party is correct.

    Reply from Paul: Boy, I seem to have struck quite a nerve. This isn’t about history; it’s about language, and the common correct usage is democratic party, not democrat party.

  2. Arthur Snyder says:

    I’ve recently heard (and not just once) “democrat party” being
    used by the BBC. This seems amazing! The BBC should know better.

    I don’t understand why but somehow
    dropping the adjective form seems to
    be some kind of insult.

    Your other poster seems way off; there’s no
    communistic party because communist
    does not have separate adjective form. There’s no such word as “communistic”
    or “Republicanic” for that matter. Perhaps we should coin a new one — “Republicanhick.”

    I wonder what William Safire thinks of all this?

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