Democracy's Branding Problem

Democracy has a branding problem, and I think it has something to do with the root names of America's two political parties: Democratic and Republican.

I've been thinking about this for some time now, but I was inspired to weigh in today by one of the political cartoons I receive in my social media newsfeed. The cartoon, by Sacramento Bee cartoonist Jack Ohman, depicts Lady Liberty waving a banner that says "Democracy Is In Peril!" on it. Standing next to her on The Capitol steps is a Mitch McConnell-like character saying, "I'm out... It has 'Dem' in it!"

The cartoon is actually an update of one Ohman created in 2017 featuring an average Joe holding a placard reading "Democracy," with a MAGA hat/Trump t-shirt-wearing character who invokes the same "I'm out... It's got 'Dem' in it!" punchline. That one was published in the run-up to the Presidential election and featured a caption noting, "Half of GOP voters favor postponing the 2020 election if Trump suggested it..."



That punchline offers a powerful insight, if not quite a revelation, that party politics has become more about the brand of the two parties than their policies. And certainly not their stand on lower cased "democracy," the "republic," and especially the Constitution.

I understand some of this is about the rudimentary nature of team sports, and the fact that people simply want to root for their side, now matter how badly they play. The problem is this isn't a game. It's about our most fundamental rights as Americans. You know, the ones enshrined in the Constitution that enable a democratic process, and as founding father Ben Franklin famously quipped, "a republic, if we you can keep it."

I've come to think that the team sport aspect of party politics has distorted the meaning of those words, and that both parties should be rebranded to make it abundantly clear where they stand. Not on policies, per se, but on democracy.

I think the Democratic Party should seriously consider renaming itself the Constitutional Party, because politics aside, that seems to be what it stands for.

And I think the Republican Party should be renamed something else too, because a majority of those claiming to be in it, no longer want to keep it.

I even thought about putting some multiple choice GOP rebranding suggestions below, but I'd rather see what readers recommend.

One thing though, expletives will be deleted.

2 comments about "Democracy's Branding Problem".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 2, 2021 at 4:27 p.m.

    Interesting, Joe. I think that an apt name for the Democratic Party might be the Social Liberal Party. As for the GOP, it's impossible to say---even in jest---until those involved figure out what they are now as there seems to a good deal of confusion and in-fighting over that.

  2. Dan Ciccone from STACKED Entertainment, June 3, 2021 at 2:24 p.m.

    It's unfortunate that there even has to be a debate about how we define democracy and how we interpret the constitution...but it all starts with education.  So when most high school kids can't even name the three branches of the government, it's not a suprise that voters get sucked into identity politics vs. issues.

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