Democrats

DINO

Democrats In Name Only (DINO) is a disparaging term that refers to a Democratic candidate whose political views are seen as insufficiently conforming to the party line.

boll weevil Democrat

Boll weevil Democrats were conservative southern Democrats in the mid 1900s, largely known for their opposition to civil rights. They used the term because the boll weevil, a southern pest, could not be eliminated by pesticides – politicians therefore thought of them as a symbol of tenacity.

The term fell out of use in the 1980s, and conservative Democrats are now known as Blue Dogs.

Shivercrats

Shivercrats were a conservative faction of the Texas Democratic Party in the 1950s named for Texas Gov. Allan Shivers (D).

The term was first used in 1952 after Shivers backed Republican Dwight Eisenhower for president over Democrat Adlai Stevenson.

Interestingly, Lyndon B. Johnson initially aligned himself with the Shivercrats as a U.S. Senator but increasingly sided with liberals on domestic policy after becoming president in 1963. Most of the Shivercrats ended up leaving the Democratic party as the liberal-moderate faction took control of the state party after 1970.

Copperheads

The Copperheads were Northern Democrats who opposed the Civil War and wanted a peace settlement with the Confederates.

Republicans started calling them Copperheads, likening them to the poisonous snake. Interestingly, they accepted the label but because the copperhead to them was the likeness of Liberty, which they cut from copper pennies and proudly wore as badges.

Perhaps the most famous Copperhead was Ohio’s Clement L. Vallandigham. Many counties in Ohio and Indiana continued to exist as a kind of solid south in exile for years along the Ohio River.

convention bounce

A convention bounce refers to the surge of support a presidential candidates may enjoy after the televised national convention of their party. The size and impact of a convention bounce is sometimes seen as an early indicator of party unity.

Blue Dog Democrats

The Blue Dog Democrats were formed in 1995 by approximately thirty conservative-leaning House Democrats who sought to challenge the liberal tilt of the broader Democratic party. After Republicans took control of Congress in 1994 by a narrow margin, the Blue Dogs sought to become the swing vote.

Former Rep. Pete Geren (D-TX) is credited with the term by explaining these conservative Democrats had been “choked blue” by liberals in his party.

The group still exists today as the Blue Dog Coalition.

Yellow Dog Democrats

After Republican President Abraham Lincoln defeated the Confederacy, many Southern Democrats said they would rather “vote for a yellow dog before they would vote for any Republican.”

Today, the term refers to loyal Democratic voters who vote the straight party line.