Limbaugh’s dream ballot

The Washoe Voter Registrar’s office has done what it said it would not do again—use a Republican term for the Democratic Party on official sample ballots.

The term “Democrat Party,” is used to describe the Washoe primary ballot for Democratic voters. The term is incorrect English usage, a right-wing public relations term designed to grate on public sensibilities, and inaccurate. The party is incorporated with the Nevada Secretary of State’s office as “Democratic Party of Nevada,” making it the only proper term in Nevada.

There are, in fact, 20 Democratic Party-associated groups incorporated in Nevada. None of them uses the term “Democrat.” The closest they come are two groups that use the term as a noun—the Nevada Senate Democrats and the UNLV Young Democrats. All adjectival usages are Democratic. There is no adjectival term Democrat. Richard Nixon biographer Earl Mazo used a footnote to correct Nixon’s belief that the term was proper usage: “The Greek adjective is demokratikos, which becomes in English ‘democratic.’ There is no Greek source for the adjective ‘democrat’.”

“It sounds as though the Washoe election officials are too stuck in Republican talking points,” said Progress Now Nevada director Erin Neff last week.

The first time the term was used on a Washoe primary ballot, in 2008, county voter registrar Dan Burk responded to complaints by saying, “[W]e will go back to the traditional ‘Democratic’ Party for the general election and in the future.”

Last week, however, Burk said he was uncertain and doesn’t see the negative connotation. “Some guy … is raising holy hell about it because he thinks it is a pejorative, and we will look at it for the general election and see if there is any validity to the contention that it undermines one of our political parties,” he said. “I just don’t see it, but maybe there is something there, and we will address it for the general election.”

A Wikipedia entry reads, “ ‘Democrat Party’ is a political epithet used in the United States instead of ‘Democratic Party’ when talking about the Democratic Party. The term has been principally used by conservative commentators and members of the Republican Party in party platforms, partisan speeches and press releases since the 1930s. The explicit goal is to dissociate the name of the rival party from the concept of democracy.” Rush Limbaugh has urged his followers to use the shortened term.