Republicrat or Demopublican (also Repubocrat, Demican, Democan, and Republocrat ) are portmanteaux names for both of the two major political parties in the United States, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, collectively. These derogatory names first appeared in the presidential election of 1872.
Equivalent terms in countries other than the United States
An equivalent term used in the United Kingdom is Lib-Lab-Con or LibLabCon, a pejorative portmanteau referring to the three main political parties (the Liberal Democrats, the Labour Party, and the Conservative Party), suggesting that there are no real differences between the three and that the UK is effectively a single-party system.
Republicans have often portrayed themselves to be pro-business and, in recent times, have favored an aggressive foreign policy; Democrats have tended to campaign on more liberal social policies and a more important role for government-funded social programs. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as "a member of the Democratic party esp. in the southern states who supports to a large extent the policy and measures of the Republican party." Earl Killian's U.S. political glossary defines the term as "a portmanteau of the words "Republican" and "Democrat"...used to symbolize the one-party nature of U.S. politics, when it comes to issues on which the dominant parties of the two-party system agree....In this view...Republicrats is then the name of the single U.S. political party, and the Republicans and Democrats are seen as factions of this one-party system, rather than as true independent parties." Wikitionary defines this term as " United States politician who is a member of one of the two major political parties (Democrat and Republican), but frequently votes with the other party." This definition is similar to the one used by Oxford Dictionaries.
Some commentators, such as right-wing radio talk-show host Michael Savage and left-wing activist Ralph Nader, who have both used the terms, have opined on how it is often hard to tell the parties apart, leading to the term's popularisation. This was a view shared on the left by the Green Party during the 2000 U.S. Presidential election, whose bumper stickers read, "Bush and Gore make me want to Ralph". Former Dead Kennedys vocalist and Green Party member Jello Biafra has used the term during interviews as well. In 2004, boxing promoter Don King told Larry King he was a Republicrat. He defined it as being for "whoever's going to be doing something or the upward mobility of America, black and white alike."
The term is also used in a pejorative sense by members of one party to attack members of their party who are either centrist or who have the "wrong" ideology. The term Republicrat is commonly used by liberal Democrats to attack conservative and centrist members of the party, such as Senator Joe Lieberman. On the Republican side, George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich are common examples of Republicrats due to their liberal stances on various political issues. Another term used by liberal Democrats to describe conservative and centrist members of their party is "Democrat In Name Only" or "DINO"; likewise, a conservative Republican term for liberal and centrist Republicans is "Republican In Name Only" or "RINO".
There is also a slightly lesser known usage of note. In this usage, the words are put together in order to voice the not unheard-of opinion that the two mainstream American political parties are two sides of the same coin. Often, this usage expresses the sentiment of "ordinary citizens" who see all politicians as serving the same special interests and make little distinction between the two parties.
Usage in popular culture
- In the 1982 TV special "Rap's Hawaii", comedian Rap Reiplinger portrayed Willy Maunawili an "independent republicrat candidate for representative".
- In the 1994 movie "Reality Bites" actor Ethan Hawke performed the song "I'm Nuthin'", written by him. One of the lines was "I ain't no Republicrat or Demican, ain't nothing in between."
- The song "Slow Down Gandhi" on Sage Francis' album A Healthy Distrust includes the line "republicrat, democran, one-party system."
- The song "Bleeding Brain Grow" on MC Paul Barman's album Paullelujah! includes the line "Republicrats: they take half a step forward and then they double back."
- A 2008 speech entitled "Republicrats" by Thomas Teague was awarded first place at the Oklahoma State Speech and Debate Contest, which drove home the point that neither party has all of the answers and that people should be open minded.
- The term republicrats became the titular subject in a webisodic series produced through MSN and Generate: Republicrats.
- The St. Louis Punk Rock band "The Horrorshow Malchicks" had a song entitled "Republicrats" on their self-titled cd.
- The song "Serpentine" on Ani Difranco's album Evolve includes the line "and the democrans and the republicrats are flashing their toothy smiles."
- On August 19, 2008, Microsoft's MSN and Generate (an independent entertainment studio) launched their latest scripted original Web series, the political satire Republicrats. Created by and starring comedian Sean Masterson, the creator behind Generate's critically lauded Web series Home Purchasing Club, Republicrats follows Masterson as a former weather man who forms the "Republicrat" party and runs as the party's presidential candidate. Masterson's approach is to allow the American people to make every major decision in his campaign, from selecting a VP running mate to a First Lady. Viewers will have the opportunity to share their opinions on Masterson's various platforms and pitch themselves to be a part of his presidential Cabinet by uploading videos directly to the Republicrats robust, interactive destination site.
- Paul McFedries (2004). Word spy: the word lover's guide to modern culture. Broadway Books. p. 362. ISBN 978-0-7679-1466-6.
- Grant Barrett (2006). "Demopublican". The Oxford Dictionary of American Political Slang. Oxford University Press US. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-19-530447-3.
- Louise Pound (2007). Blends — Their Relation to English Word Formation. READ BOOKS. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-4067-2359-5.
- Grant Barrett (2006). "Repubocrat". The Oxford Dictionary of American Political Slang. Oxford University Press US. p. 224. ISBN 978-0-19-530447-3.
- Tali Mendelberg (2001). The race card: campaign strategy, implicit messages, and the norm of equality. Princeton University Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-691-07071-1.
- Matsuoka, Doug. Rap Reiplinger, Remember?