A Boll weevil Democrat was a conservative southern Democrat in the mid 1900s, largely known for his 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 were also called Dixiecrats.
The term fell out of use in the 1980s, and conservative Democrats are now mostly known as Blue Dogs.
A related term for Republicans is the “gypsy moth Republican.”
Use of “Boll Weevil Democrat” in a sentence
Reno Gazette Journal (September 22, 2015): “James Santini was elected to Congress in 1974 and soon became known as a moderate to conservative Democrat not afraid to buck his own party. He became what was known at the time as a ‘Boll Weevil’ Democrat, even supporting President Reagan’s tax cuts in 1981.”
Texas Observer (September 26, 2016): “He’d served in Congress as a ‘boll weevil’ Democrat in the mold of Phil Gramm, winning his seat in 1978 against George W. Bush — the only election Dubya was to ever lose.”
Taegan Goddard is the creator of the Political Dictionary.
Goddard spent more than a decade on Wall Street as managing director and chief operating officer of a prominent investment firm in New York City. Previously, he also served as a policy adviser to a U.S. Senator and Governor.
Goddard is also co-author of You Won – Now What?: How Americans Can Make Democracy Work from City Hall to the White House, a political management book hailed by prominent journalists and politicians from both parties.
His essays on politics and public policy have appeared in dozens of newspapers and magazines across the country.
Goddard earned degrees from Vassar College and Harvard University.
He lives in New York with his wife and three sons.