January 11, 2019

Is Google programmed to teach us not to write "Democrat Party"?!

In a post earlier this morning, I noticed the congressional Democrats have something called "New Democrat Coalition" and wondered why they accepted using "Democrat" like that when they adamantly oppose "Democrat Party." It's a coalition of Democrats, so Democrat Coalition is fine grammatically. You can use a noun as an adjective when it makes sense. It's the Optimist Club, not the Optimistic Club. Why rankle at "Democrat Party"? And why think you're insulting them by calling it the "Democrat Party" — other than that you know they're annoyed?

In the comments, mesquito said:
One of the funniest things I’ve ever read is Hendrick Hertzberg’s New Yorker denunciation of the use of “Democrat Party.” That’s what I call it now.
I wanted to read that, so I cut and pasted "Hendrick Hertzberg’s New Yorker denunciation of the use of 'Democrat Party'" into the Google search window. Look what I got:



Does Google busybody itself into all the searches that say "Democrat Party"? And what's up with prodding me about the part of Hendrik Hertzberg's name that mesquito didn't misspell?!

Anyway, let me find the Hertzberg article. Here: "THE 'IC' FACTOR" (2006). I'll read it. I want a chance at being as amused as mesquito. Excerpt:
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.” At a slightly higher level of sophistication, it’s an attempt to deny the enemy the positive connotations of its chosen appellation. During the Cold War, many people bridled at obvious misnomers like “German Democratic Republic,” and perhaps there are some members of the Republican Party (which, come to think of it, has been drifting toward monarchism of late) who genuinely regard the Democratic Party as undemocratic. Perhaps there are some who hope to induce it to go out of existence by refusing to call it by its name, à la terming Israel “the Zionist entity.” And no doubt there are plenty of others who say “Democrat Party” just to needle the other side while signalling solidarity with their own—the partisan equivalent of flashing a gang sign.
It fairly screams 'rat.'

Version 4
"You rang?"

92 comments:

Bob Boyd said...

When you talk about the Democrat Party, don't forget to say "ick".

Ann Althouse said...

It's Boy Scouts, not Boyish Scouts.

It's the dog park, not the doglike park.

It's the corn field, not the corny field.

Those who think they are making a grammar point in opposing "Democrat Party" are so easily toppled. You could think of a hundred easy examples of adjunct nouns that would absolutely require them to back off their grammar point!

Ann Althouse said...

There are a million food names that use adjunct nouns: beef soup, potato pancake, egg salad, chocolate milk...

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

DemocRAT.

Demonrat.

That's pretty mild compared to what I generally call those motherfuckers.

tcrosse said...

Not to be pedant....

gspencer said...

Perhaps we should call them by what they want to be called. After all, the leftist media has been so respectful of the pro-life movement, willingly giving that movement and its supporters its preferred and accurate titles of "pro-life" and "pro-lifers."

The leftist media has been so respectful of those upholding long-standing values of life, e.g., Deut 30:19, that it pushes to the side anyone using the term "anti-choice."

/s

EDH said...

Republicans comprise the Republican Party.

Democrats, not Democratics, comprise the Democrat Party.

Simple as that.

gilbar said...

Perhaps there are some who hope to induce it to go out of existence by refusing to call it by its name, à la terming ISIS as ISIL /

there, fixed it for him, with something more topical


actually, i just tried to, but wikipedia said:
For the extremist militant group commonly abbreviated as ISIS, see Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

tcrosse said...

Fantast!

mesquito said...

This is a great way to start the day. Thanks, Professor.

cf said...

Either way one says it, the "Rat" is never missing.

rhhardin said...

It's a single word if the accent is on the first word; modification if the accent is on the second.

Security guard
Lemon pie

Henry said...

Democratlike party is a no-go.

As is Republicancandanceers.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

the 'rat' inference is well-earned, whereas 'democratic' confers something politically noble, which often is not

rhhardin said...

Limbaugh started the Democrat Party meme, long ago now.

CWJ said...

"It fairly screams 'rat.'"

The dog heard the dog whistle.

Browndog said...

This has been a pet peeve of mine for a while. It's seems since Obama got elected dems started using the term "democratic" instead of democrat. Even Rush touched on it a year or so ago.

'We are the Democratics, and everything we do is democratic'. The Democrat Party changed their name to sound ALL-American without anyone noticing. Even the republicanics now use the adjective as a proper noun.

Bob Boyd said...

"beef soup, potato pancake, egg salad, chocolate milk..."

Douche bag.

Sorry. But this Hertzberg just seems so precious. How many Americans even know whether it's Democrat or Democratic Party? Or care?

Amadeus 48 said...

Instapundit has an item up where an NBC affiliate called an armed home invader an “unwanted house visitor.” I think we should refer to the Democrat Party as the Donkey Rat Stalinists, but that is just a personal preference.

Horace Greeley said, “Not all Democrats are horse thieves, but all horse thieves are Democrats.”

Thank you for your attention.

Limited blogger said...

Wow, the interwebs are pretty organized and thorough about the correct usage. I am chastened.

Darrell said...

I's time for The Peoples Democratic Party.
Truth in advertising.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Democrats should start calling Republicans the Pubes.

StoughtonSconnie said...

Hmmm. Quick Test:
Democrat Party = "Did you mean Democratic Party?"
Democrap Party = "Showing results for Democratic Party"
Rethuglican Party = no correction

That's fine, you're a private company, it's your right. But don't give me any more of your "Don't be evil" corporate mantra BS. You've shown us your stripes.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

How about Democratic Socialists?
Or Democratic Statists?

or Democratic Fascists?

or Democratic Progressives on the road to socialism and tax rape?

Seeing Red said...

unwanted house visitor.”

Illegal entry

Darrell said...

Democrats should start calling Republicans the Pubes.

Titus does. For a long time now.

Chuck said...

Althouse, don't the people who are most determined to use the term "Democrat Party" agree with every work of Hendrick Hertzberg's characterization? Isn't that the essence of what they intend? Otherwise, why persist?

One of my least favorite notions in the English language is "passive aggressive." But if someone is adamantly and aggressively opposed to all that current Democrats stand for, and uses the term "Democrat Party" knowing that it is offensive to Democrats, how can they quibble about Hertzberg's description? It would be pure passive aggression, to deny the accuracy of Hertzberg's description.

I did my own Googling of "Democrat Party" as you did. You may have already discovered these things. First, there's an interesting Wikipedia page for "Democrat Party (epithet)". And there is something called "Conservapedia" which hosts a page that is almost a parody of the Wikipedia page. It includes this line; "Democrat Party is the grammatically correct term for the Democratic Party. The Party is not "democratic," and proper nouns like "Democrat" are not converted into adjectives by adding "ic" as a suffix."

There is an NPR Omdudsman page devoted to the subject and what NPR considers proper usage (which is not as easy as it sounds, and the NPR page makes for a tricky read).

But moreover, there are a variety of "Democrat Parties" around the world. There is one proper name for the Democratic Party in the United States, and that is the Democratic Party. Insisting on "Democratic Party" is merely an insistence on accuracy.

Clyde said...

The Democrat Party can kiss my ass.

Leland said...

some members of the Republican Party (which, come to think of it, has been drifting toward monarchism of late)

Because Republicans didn't accept our self-anointed leader and make them the head of our ticket over other options?

Republicans are always drifting to X bad thing, yet the Democratics (MS Edge says I made a spelling mistake, which yes, yes I did) are already there.

chickenlittle said...

"You Rang" reminds me of one of my Celebrity Ringtones

rehajm said...

Google hasn't caught up to the term leftie

rehajm said...

It's Canada Geese, for chrissakes.

SeanF said...

EDH: Republicans comprise the Republican Party.

Democrats, not Democratics, comprise the Democrat Party.

Simple as that.


Republicans belong to the party which is Republican. Democrats belong to the party which is Democratic. Simple as that.

There was a political/sci-fi show a couple years ago about aliens taking over the population of DC. Only saw a few episodes of it, but one bit where senators from the two parties were debating on a TV show stuck with me.

The GOP senator used the term "Democrat Party", and the Dem senator corrected him - "Actually, it's Democratic."

To which the GOP senator responded with a smirk, "Not lately."

MayBee said...

I try to remember to say "Democratic Party", because it's what they want. But the party, with its super delegates, is not democratic at all.

rcocean said...

Life long Republican Chuck seems really upset that someone should insult the Democrat Party.

I don't think Hertzberg's article is "Funny" - he's a hate-filled Lefty who's trying smear anyone who wants to use the term "Democrat". I'm surprised he didn't call someone a Nazi.

People like him are boring when they're not disgusting.

Amadeus 48 said...

The Donkey Rat Stalinists hate being called the Democrat Party. Don’t ever call them the Democrat Party because they hate being called the Democrat Party and if you call them the Democrat Party you are bullying the Democrat Party and you are calling attention to the rat in Democrat Party, which the Democrat Party hates.

Call them the Donkey Rat Stalinists.

Nonapod said...

I've never really put a great deal of thought into my use of the term Democrat Party over Democratic Party, I just do it. But I suppose a more accurate descriptor for the modern Dem Party would probably be "The Progressive Socialist Party" or something along those lines.

Amadeus 48 said...

Althouse, put some donkey’s ears on that rat and you have a line extender.

tim in vermont said...

(which, come to think of it, has been drifting toward monarchism of late)

Is there even a point in going over the Democrat ACTUAL drift toward monarchism? Kennedy, Roosevelt, The fucking Clintons? Turning mockery of Obama (lèse-majesté) being turned into some kind of high crime?

BTW, I use it because it reminds me of Reagan, and I like that it rankles. And no, the party that has been working full bore to overturn an election, and which makes most of its progress in the courts with unelected judges is not “democratic.” I personally never heard the “rat” thing, but I am fine if that’s how they see themselves.

Democratics are apparently upset at being called “Democrats” so I won’t do it from now on.

Chuck said...

Ann Althouse said...
It's Boy Scouts, not Boyish Scouts.

It's the dog park, not the doglike park.

It's the corn field, not the corny field.

Those who think they are making a grammar point in opposing "Democrat Party" are so easily toppled. You could think of a hundred easy examples of adjunct nouns that would absolutely require them to back off their grammar point!


It isn't a "grammar point"! How could you not understand that? It's a proper noun.

It's not "the Boyish Scouts" because the proper name is "the Boy Scouts" and not anything else. It isn't a grammar question at all. We're not talking about any question of "a democratic party." We're talking about a group that calls itself the Democratic Party.

You can do what you want, when it is your group and your name. There is a Phoenix Suns NBA team, and a Connectiuct Sun WNBA team. Is one right and another wrong?

The U.S. has a Democratic Party and Turkey has a Democrat Party. I don't understand what sound language idea you are advancing by claiming grammatical superiority over the people who own the name, and trying to impose a different name on them.

Ice Nine said...

Blogger EDH said...
Republicans comprise the Republican Party.
Democrats, not Democratics, comprise the Democrat Party.

*Only* because this thread is all about grammar and pedantry...

Wrong.

The Republican Party comprises Republicans.
The Democrat Party comprises Democrats.

stevew said...

Using Democratic Party is upsell marketing, branding, if you will. Using Democrat Party is grammatically accurate but also a counterpoint to the use of Democratic Party - essentially refusing to accept the Party's virtue implied description of themselves. Oh, and often an epithet or pejorative.

As such I don't fret about it - though I do say Democrat Party or Democrat Senator and Democrat Representative. The party is well known enough that the conflation is inconsequential.

Original Mike said...

Chuck said..."There is one proper name for the Democratic Party in the United States, and that is the Democratic Party."

After all, that's what it says right on his checks.

tim in vermont said...

Insisting on "Democratic Party" is merely an insistence on accuracy.

Chuck rises to the defense of the Democratics once again, LLR that he is! It’s a shibboleth, Chuck, use of the term is one way that Republicans can identify like-minded people. This is just one more reason that nobody buys your LLR act.

BJM said...

Althouse has her sassy pants on today!

MayBee said...

I think Althouse is pushing back on people who try to make the argument that "Democratic Party" is grammatically correct. It is only correct because it's what they have named themselves.
I have had people try to make the grammar argument to me. It doesn't make sense. I also think its silly to think people are calling you a "rat". Especially considering calling people racist and homophobic is so currently in style.

HT said...

"And why think you're insulting them by calling it the "Democrat Party" — other than that you know they're annoyed?"

Because it was started by Rush Limbaugh. Because it's not the correct name, and you obviously know it. Will this be the point in time you adopt this expression of contempt?

____________________________

Language expert Roy Copperud said it was used by Republicans who disliked the implication that Democratic Party implied to listeners that Democrats "are somehow the anointed custodians of the concept of democracy".[8] According to Oxford Dictionaries, the use of Democrat rather than the adjective Democratic

is in keeping with a longstanding tradition among Republicans of dropping the –ic in order to maintain a distinction from the broader, positive associations of the adjective democratic with democracy and egalitarianism.[9]

Political commentator William Safire wrote in 1993 that the Democrat of Democrat Party "does conveniently rhyme with autocrat, plutocrat, and worst of all, bureaucrat".[10] In 2006, Hendrik Hertzberg wrote in The New Yorker:

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'.[11]

Pollster Frank Luntz tested the phrase with a focus group in 2001, and concluded that the only people who really disliked the epithet were highly partisan Democrats.[12] Political analyst Charlie Cook attributed modern use of the term to force of habit rather than a deliberate epithet by Republicans.[13] Journalist Ruth Marcus stated that Republicans likely only continue to employ the term because Democrats dislike it,[3] and Hertzberg calls use of the term "a minor irritation" and also "the partisan equivalent of flashing a gang sign".[11]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democrat_Party_(epithet)

JHapp said...

Google is just a modern version of the wigi board.

Darrell said...

"Connectiuct Sun WNBA team" is wrong, Chuck.

It's Connecticut.

Tommy Duncan said...

The party of the bureaucratic government and the entrenched establishment has the power to demand to be called whatever it likes.

Including results for democratic party.
Search only for "democrat" party?

Martin said...

Sure, "Democrat" means "rat." Just like "Republican" screams "pubic" if you get rid of an "L" and ignore the letters that come before and after.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

I call them Democratics. fits.

Michael Fitzgerald said...

I always call them Democrat party members, so it coincides with the historical terms of their ideological brethren, Communist party members and Nazi party members.

SeanF said...

Chuck, you better read Althouse's "grammar point" comnment again. She didn't say what you think she said.

gerry said...

I love irony. "Democratic" party operatives deprived Bernie of the nomination by thwarting democratic processes. How can you call that party "democratic"?

tim maguire said...

I don't get why Republicans decided Democrats are offended by being called Democrats. I also don't get why they are right. What's offensive about it? Who cares?

That said, the fact that at least some Democrats are offended by being called Democrats is funny and makes me want to join in.

Bob Boyd said...

Democratish Party would be more accurate.

Big Mike said...

I have no problem calling it the Democrat-ICK party. They are, after all, as icky as they come.

Jeff Weimer said...

Why rankle at "Democrat Party"?



Because Rush Limbaugh has made a point of it for years.

rehajm said...

Democratchiks.

Rory said...

It seems all objections are avoided by calling them the Democrat party instead of the Democrat Party.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

the Republicans can change their name to the "Z" Party.

the socialist Dems can be the "Not Z" Party

wildswan said...

The Boy Scouts name is Scouts USA as of February because they let in girls. Similarly, to me, Democrat party is correct because autocrat, plutocrat, and bureaucrat describe the orientation of its members. (Hat tip to Bill Buckley)


e

wildswan said...

This is what Google finds for Demonrats:


"Social justice is what they're calling it now
It's more like masked racism, I'm calling it out
Act superior but the empirical evidence shows that you think every other race is inferior though
So let's go ahead and get to the real
Decipher through all the bull and I'll tell you the deal
And I don't give a crap how that makes you feel
Because the one you need to watch is the white liberal
He's a fox indeed
Showing all of his teeth but he's smiling cheeck to check
When will you see
Don't look to him to succeed cause it ain't what it seems
And it's him that's pulling the string

You've got to be out of your mind
You're falling for the okie doke and that's every time
They got a hold on you and it's one of a kind
What will it take to realize that they aren't on your side
You ignore the truth that's right in front of you
You still believe what you want to believe
What's it going to take for you to realize
That everything is lost and you're to blame
We're lost and you're to blame
We're lost and you're to blame
We're lost and you're to blame"

and more

buster said...

Chuck @ 9:41

Insofar as the post is about correct grammar, I think Chuck wins.

Yancey Ward said...

Chuck wrote:

"You can do what you want, when it is your group and your name."

All this gives one is the right to complain about other descriptors, nothing more. In other words, the entire issue is not worth even the words I have just written, not to mention the efforts you have put forth.

Yancey Ward said...

You can name your group anything you like, but everyone else is free to use whatever descriptor they want. What I find funny is that Democrats get so annoyed by the implied insult- that is why it is effective.

By the way, Rethuglican is exactly the same thing, and I would give the same advice- don't acknowledge it when someone uses it.

Yancey Ward said...

I have been aware of this issue for over decade, but what Ms. Althouse is critiquing, it seems to me, is that people defending the Democrats shouldn't be using the grammar argument. This, Chuck, is why your comment was once again a misfire- you accuse her of something she didn't do.

Yancey Ward said...

And every time I have ever seen this issue come up, the people criticizing "Democrat Party" use the grammar argument first and primarily. Althouse is correct- that argument holds no water.

Ann Althouse said...

""You Rang" reminds me of one of my Celebrity Ringtones"

I knew many people would think of Lurch, but I was trying to evoke Maynard G. Krebs.

Rick said...

Recall the first accusation of microaggressions included correcting students' spelling. If you can normalize that either expected or innocuous behavior is now off limits those who might possibly criticize you must now spend their effort ensuring they don't break any of the newly invented and always ready to change norms. So instead of focusing on your deficiencies everyone is judging the critic.

Republicans pounce...

Propaganda 201, it's a little more advanced than 101.

SeanF said...

buster: Chuck @ 9:41

Insofar as the post is about correct grammar, I think Chuck wins.


Well, since the post isn't about grammar at all, that's not very far.

Birkel said...

Bing

Or

DuckDuckGo

Ann Althouse said...

"Insofar as the post is about correct grammar, I think Chuck wins."

The post has the "grammar" tag, and I do discuss grammar. There's nothing grammatically wrong with "Democrat Party." The people who say there is are embarrassingly bad at analyzing grammar.

Ann Althouse said...

The main point I'm making is that the Democrats themselves have the name Democrat Coalition, so if it's a problem, they have the problem too.

rehajm said...

This program of lefties controlling language to eliminate tools of their political opposition is a wholly Clintonian idea.

Chuck said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Insofar as the post is about correct grammar, I think Chuck wins."

The post has the "grammar" tag, and I do discuss grammar. There's nothing grammatically wrong with "Democrat Party." The people who say there is are embarrassingly bad at analyzing grammar.


That's where you lose me, Althouse.

The Democrats have given their party its proper name (a proper noun): "the Democratic Party." Democrats aren't complaining that "Democrat Party" is "grammatically wrong." They are complaining that a) it is an incorrect name; b) it is a deliberate insult, and; c) it is a toxic and damaging bit of branding to them.

I agree with Althouse that "[t]here's nothing grammatically wrong with 'Democrat Party'." There is also nothing "grammatically right" about "Democrat Party." That Conservapedia page that I referenced; it hilariously goes out of its way to attempt to make a case that the one grammatically correct way to entitle the opposition party is "Democrat Party." It is the dumbest "grammatical" argument I've ever seen. The reason that the Democratic Party should be referred to in that way is because that is the one correct name for the party. That is all.


rcocean said...

I'll start calling the Democrat's by their real name:

Demo-traitors.

Rick said...

This program of lefties controlling language to eliminate tools of their political opposition is a wholly Clintonian idea.

Political language control has a centuries long history in radical politics - even predating Marx. Over the last four decades or so radical tactics have been mainstreamed largely as a consequence of the radicals' March through the Institutions. The Clinton's didn't do anything new, nor are they even the primary sources of this tactic. They just happened to be powerful when the activists' fruit ripened.

Jim Harvey said...

Google, algorithmically, is suggesting the more common/standard form of the phrase in order to give more hits. The results are similar either way.

If you search "democrat party", in quotes, you get different results skewed toward the right wing epithet usage.

Sam L. said...

Dems are rats. DEMON RATS.

tcrosse said...

Democratoids are so Democratesque it's Democratish.

bagoh20 said...

I guess "Socialist Party" is already taken. Accuracy would suggest "Kleptocratic Party". Every single one of them at the national level makes millions at a job that pays thousands. I don't know any other job that can make you so much more money on the side than it pays up front.

Jim Harvey said...

Haha where'd you hear that one Zeke?

Jim at said...

I made the 'mistake' of referring it to the Democrat Party once. The ire I received was so over-the-top, it was hard to believe.

Now I do it just to piss them off.

Jim at said...

This has been a pet peeve of mine for a while. It's seems since Obama got elected dems started using the term "democratic" instead of democrat.

Nope. It was long before that.
I was in a public position in 1995 and used it. They came unhinged.

Leora said...

My parents were active Democrats and we always called it the Democrat Party at home. Now this was a very Republican area so perhaps it was Stockholm syndrome. I remember when people started to complain about the usage when W was President and just staring at them in disbelief.

tim in vermont said...

Rush did not start it. It was a thing before Rush. Reagan did it. I was a Democrat before Reagan, but I don't remember being offended. Democrats hate it because it's effective. Too bad. It's the lese majeste argument. We shall not disparage Democrats, our natural rulers! Or maybe Reagan was just recalling what he used to call his own party in his early years as a Democrat.

Imagine writing a blank check to your political opponents to allow them to rankle you so. Thanks Democrats!

tim in vermont said...

Maybe it upsets Democrats because there is nothing more infuriating than denial and disparagement of the One True Faith, The Democrat Party.

mesquito said...

I spell gooder than Google.

Jupiter said...

Chuck wrote:
"You can do what you want, when it is your group and your name."

OK, so what do you turdsuckers prefer to be called?

Amadeus 48 said...

Like, you rang?
—Maynerd G. Krebs