There have been happy exceptions. In 2008, the year Republicans nominated Arizona Sen. and maverick John McCain, the Party platform committee voted down a proposal to call the opposition the “Democrat Party” in the platform. Then-Mississippi Gov. and committee Chairman Haley Barbour explained, “We probably should use what the actual name is,” a position endorsed by one Indiana committee member who argued, “We should afford them the respect they are entitled and call them by their legal name.”
Just as most Irish-Americans reject being called “micks,” and Catholics don’t like to be referred to as adherents of the “Church of Rome” any more than Jewish Americans appreciate being told they are “of the Hebrew persuasion,” members of the Democratic Party do not like to be told they belong to the “Democrat Party.”
If the Republicans are sincerely interested in winning in 2020, for what would be only the second time having a majority of the national vote in the last eight presidential elections, they — and their leader, President Donald J. Trump — could begin by calling their fellow Americans across the aisle members of the Democratic Party. Sometimes it’s not just how you say it; it really is what you say.
To find out more about Mark Shields and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.