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#1
Old 09-09-2011, 08:32 AM
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Why are there no staunch Democrats?

I only see the adjective staunch being used to describe Republicans. Just did a Google search and Republican wins 2.3m hits to 1.5m. But I remember when I realized how often I saw staunch Republican that I decided to look out for staunch Democrat and I don't recall ever seeing it.
#2
Old 09-09-2011, 09:21 AM
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Maybe "staunch" is one of those words that just seems to fit Republicans better. It brings to my mind an image of Pres. Taft looking at his pocket watch.

Google is really a bad indicator on the prevalence of such things. If you search "registered Democrat" you get something like 15 million hits, but "registered Republican" gets you 118 million hits. But I'm reasonably sure that there are not over ten times as many registered Republicans as there are Democrats.
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Old 09-09-2011, 09:31 AM
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IMHO, I think most democrats are democrats because it's the lesser of two evils. They don't feel enthusiastic, merely less repulsed. Of course, I might be projecting my own feelings there.
#4
Old 09-09-2011, 09:56 AM
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What about the Kennedys, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Shuman, Dianne Feinstein, Charles Rangel?
#5
Old 09-09-2011, 10:14 AM
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Why questions are always borderline inappropriate for GQ, particularly where politics is involved. With that caveat, here's a not-really GQ answer.

The word staunch implies (at least to me) an attitude like my arms are folded, my mind is made up, I'm right, period. Which describes the stereotypical Republican pretty accurately.

Conversely, Democrats (or at least Progressives and Liberals as the term is used outside the US) are stereotypically defined mostly by their belief in diversity of valid opinion in others, and an open-minded willingness to beleive that new evidence could produce a change in their own opinions.


Whether one considers open-mindedness to really be a sugar-coated word for value-free wishy-washy-ness, or one considers staunch to really be a sugar-coated word for willful and selfish ignorance is left as an exercise for the reader.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 09-09-2011 at 10:15 AM. Reason: Out! Out Foul typos!
#6
Old 09-09-2011, 10:24 AM
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Just use different search terms. I Googled "life long Democrat" and got 578,000 hits, while "life long Republican" got 359,000. "Committed Democrat" and "committed Republican" both got about 27,000 hits.
#7
Old 09-09-2011, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
Just use different search terms. I Googled "life long Democrat" and got 578,000 hits, while "life long Republican" got 359,000.
Aha, but whereas "lifetime Democrat" gets 8.6 million hits, "lifetime Republican" garners 49 million.

I suspect "staunch" describes fewer and fewer adherents of both major parties, given their recent proclivities and behavior.
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Old 09-09-2011, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Jackmannii View Post
Maybe "staunch" is one of those words that just seems to fit Republicans better. It brings to my mind an image of Pres. Taft looking at his pocket watch.
No, that would be a stout Republican.
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#9
Old 09-09-2011, 11:56 AM
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Will Rogers: "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat."

Staunch just doesn't apply, historically.
#10
Old 09-09-2011, 11:59 AM
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The typical media member is a liberal Democrat. It is a human tendency to see their own views as being the result of a rational process while the opponents views are the result of ignoring the evidence. Staunch implies inflexibility and an unthinking loyalty to party. Since Republicans have different views than the average media member they are more likely to be thought of as staunch.
#11
Old 09-09-2011, 12:24 PM
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Searching "yellow dog" democrat turned up 273k results.
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:27 PM
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[QUOTE=LSLGuy;14236139]Conversely, Democrats (or at least Progressives and Liberals as the term is used outside the US) are stereotypically defined mostly by their belief in diversity of valid opinion in others, and an open-minded willingness to beleive that new evidence could produce a change in their own opinions./QUOTE]

Wow, I am impressed. You actually managed to type the above statement with a straight face. I especially liked the "opon-minded" part.
#13
Old 09-09-2011, 12:36 PM
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Do not use Google counts to determine relative importance like this. Their counting algorithm isn't good enough to produce results that can be compared between searches. The results are meaningless. The best you can say is that both terms are in fairly common use.

Last edited by suranyi; 09-09-2011 at 12:38 PM.
#14
Old 09-09-2011, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post
Democrats (or at least Progressives and Liberals as the term is used outside the US) are stereotypically defined mostly by their belief in diversity of valid opinion in others, and an open-minded willingness to beleive that new evidence could produce a change in their own opinions.
<Assuming this is not a woosh.>

Wow. Just wow.
#15
Old 09-09-2011, 12:41 PM
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Does anyone use the word "staunch" in any context other than describing how dedicated they are to a political party?

I expect that it's just a common unthinking word usage that has extended beyond the normal lifespan of such words, like saying "fine" in response to "How are you?" or declaring yourself to be "shocked and dismayed" at the start of a letter to the editor.
#16
Old 09-09-2011, 01:15 PM
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In the past I've described myself as a "staunch Democrat" and a "dyed in the wool Democrat" in a tongue in cheek fashion. But "lifelong Democrat" and "yellow dog Democrat" are more the phrases. Yellow dog meaning I'd rather vote for a yellow dog than a Republican. These days I'd rather vote for a yellow dog than a Democrat too. Let's face it, yellow dogs have a lot of great qualities and few faults.
#17
Old 09-09-2011, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by leahcim View Post
Does anyone use the word "staunch" in any context other than describing how dedicated they are to a political party?
The first thing you do when you have amputated the limb of a friend with a chain saw is try to staunch the flow of blood with a tourniquet. Call the neighbors over for a spontaneous BBQ is the next thing you do.

Last edited by The Second Stone; 09-09-2011 at 01:18 PM.
#18
Old 09-09-2011, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by leahcim View Post
Does anyone use the word "staunch" in any context other than describing how dedicated they are to a political party?

I expect that it's just a common unthinking word usage that has extended beyond the normal lifespan of such words, like saying "fine" in response to "How are you?" or declaring yourself to be "shocked and dismayed" at the start of a letter to the editor.
Yup. 'Staunch republican' is a strong collocation. It doesn't tell you that Democrats are less likely to be staunch, just that this phrase, 'staunch Republican,' doesn't act like a normal adjective+noun noun phrase: the words are much more closely tied together.
#19
Old 09-09-2011, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by The Second Stone View Post
The first thing you do when you have amputated the limb of a friend with a chain saw is try to staunch the flow of blood with a tourniquet. Call the neighbors over for a spontaneous BBQ is the next thing you do.
It's usually spelt stanch in that context, but staunch isn't really used as an adjective with anything but Republican.
#20
Old 09-09-2011, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by SciFiSam View Post
It's usually spelt stanch in that context, but staunch isn't really used as an adjective with anything but Republican.
Two different spellings of the same word with the same meaning according to Merriam Webster, with "stanch" preferred.

Quote:
Main Entry:2staunch
Variantr stanch \*st*nch, -*-, -*- sometimes -a-, -aa(*)-, -ai-\
Function:adjective
Inflected Form:-er/-est
Etymology:Middle English, from Middle French estanche, feminine of estanc, from Old French, from estancher to stanch

1 a : WATERTIGHT, SOUND *a staunch ship* b : strongly built : SUBSTANTIAL *staunch cabin*
2 : dependable to find, mark, or follow game *staunch hound* *drill his dog T to make him staunch on point— W.F.Brown b. 1903*
3 : constant and steadfast in loyalty : firm in principle : STEADY, TRUE *the king's staunchest followers* *staunch defender of free speech* *staunch friend* *staunch ally*
synonyms see FAITHFUL

Last edited by The Second Stone; 09-09-2011 at 01:52 PM.
#21
Old 09-09-2011, 01:53 PM
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Maybe I'm also reading in my own political beliefs, but in my view anyways the Democratic Party is still more of an old-style "big tent" party. Practically every position the party has is opposed by some faction or other, so describing one's political beliefs as "Democrat" (staunch or otherwise) doesn't really tell you much.

The Republicans have their factions too, but they're much smaller and the doctrinal differences are much less. I think there is enough of a core platform there that is agreed on by a large enough portion of the party that saying you are a "Republican" (staunch or otherwise) does convey a basic outline of someone's political beliefs.
#22
Old 09-09-2011, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by The Second Stone View Post
Two different spellings of the same word with the same meaning according to Merriam Webster, with "stanch" preferred.
Yes... as in it's usually spelt stanch, like I said. And the adjective meaning is, these days, only used in very limited circumstances; I have actually seen it used with 'supporter' as well as Republican, but it's not used as a free adjective, IYSWIM - you wouldn't expect it see it with any old word.
#23
Old 09-09-2011, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by SciFiSam View Post
Yup. 'Staunch republican' is a strong collocation. It doesn't tell you that Democrats are less likely to be staunch, just that this phrase, 'staunch Republican,' doesn't act like a normal adjective+noun noun phrase: the words are much more closely tied together.
So the answer to the OP is really just that people are notoriously un-creative in their speech and writing and "staunch republican" just happened to be a phrase that stuck.
#24
Old 09-09-2011, 10:53 PM
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As progressives we try to be more "with it" and "staunch" is too 1890.
#25
Old 09-09-2011, 11:00 PM
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I consider myself a "staunch" Democrat, although I'm more left than the party is currently.


Oh, and Taft was actually a Democrat.
#26
Old 09-10-2011, 05:09 AM
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Moderating: Moved thread GQ->IMHO

Moved thread to IMHO, since there really isn't a GQ answer to this one.
#27
Old 09-10-2011, 06:00 AM
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I hear the term "staunch Catholic" with some regularity.

And despite being admonished not to do so, I googled the following phrases:

staunch Catholic -> 94,800 hits.
staunch Baptist -> 6,870 hits.
staunch Methodist -> 9,580 hits.
staunch Jew -> 1,210 hits.

And, just for fun, a "staunch American" got 22,200 hits.
#28
Old 09-10-2011, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by leahcim View Post
Does anyone use the word "staunch" in any context other than describing how dedicated they are to a political party?
I've heard people referred to as a "staunch defender of something-or-other" on occasion.
#29
Old 09-10-2011, 08:54 AM
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I can't imagine most Republicans ever voting for a Democrat. Have any of you?

But I've voted for a Republican for the Senate at least twice. My Democrat mom voted for one Republican candidate for President -- Nixon. (She never did it again.)

I too think that Democrats tend to be a little more open to change and negotiation and therefore aren't as "staunch." But I don't think that all Republicans are staunch and all Democrats willing to accomodate.
#30
Old 09-10-2011, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Zoe View Post
I can't imagine most Republicans ever voting for a Democrat. Have any of you?

But I've voted for a Republican for the Senate at least twice. My Democrat mom voted for one Republican candidate for President -- Nixon. (She never did it again.)
There are straight party line voters in both parties. There are also people who take the time to consider legislation (and candidates) on a case-by-case basis.

Look at Montana, where I live. It's considered a "red" state, with both houses controlled by the Republicans; yet both of our U.S. Senators, our Governor, and our Secretary of State are Democrats. At least here, the Republicans are perfectly willing to elect a Democrat if they feel he (or she) is the better candidate for the job.
#31
Old 09-10-2011, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Guinastasia View Post
I consider myself a "staunch" Democrat, although I'm more left than the party is currently.


Oh, and Taft was actually a Democrat.
Wm H. Taft? In what sense?

As to the OP, it doesn't sound like there are no "staunch Democrats." Chalk the difference up to slight subcultural differences or to a quirk of statistics? I don't know if "staunch Republican" became a repeated phrase in its own right so much as "yellow dog Democrat" doesn't have a GOP corollary.
#32
Old 09-10-2011, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary "Wombat" Robson View Post
Moved thread to IMHO, since there really isn't a GQ answer to this one.
Eh? There is - I already gave it.
#33
Old 09-10-2011, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by SciFiSam View Post
Eh? There is - I already gave it.
Oh, that was good information, Sam, but it doesn't really answer why "staunch supporter" is very common (much more so than "staunch Republican"), but "staunch dissenter" isn't -- or why "staunch" would attach itself so much more to Republican than Democrat. You can't get much more "staunch" than a Southern Democrat, right?

At this point in the thread, it's all speculation...
#34
Old 09-10-2011, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Guinastasia View Post
I consider myself a "staunch" Democrat, although I'm more left than the party is currently.


Oh, and Taft was actually a Democrat.
He was a Republican. But it might be a valid argument to say that the Republican Party stood considerably further to the left in those days than it does now. Or, at least we can say Taft himself took a left-leaning position on several issues, albeit not with uniform success.

It's not too surprising that, in later years as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Taft remarked that it was almost as if he didn't remember ever being President.
#35
Old 09-10-2011, 07:10 PM
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Huh. I could have sworn he was a Democrat. Oh well. Of course back then, the Dems were on the right, and the Repubs were on the left, to put it simply.

Last edited by Guinastasia; 09-10-2011 at 07:12 PM.
#36
Old 09-10-2011, 07:34 PM
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Huh. I could have sworn he was a Democrat. Oh well.
You might be remembering him running against Teddy Roosevelt, who served as President under the Republican label. But in the election where Taft and Roosevelt were running against each other, Roosevelt was running under the Progressive (AKA Bull Moose) party label. In practice, they ended up splitting the Republican vote (with Roosevelt actually getting a larger share of it), giving the election to the Democrat, Woodrow Wilson.
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#37
Old 09-11-2011, 11:51 AM
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Hedgehogs are staunch, but not foxes.

"Staunch" implies loyalty to an organization more than to a cause. Since societal progress takes multiple directions, often even conflicting ones, a party that is essentially an alliance of progressives will have multiple agendas, often even conflicting. Loyalty in the context of such an alliance is therefore to the notion of the benefits of progress rather than to the alliance itself, which is essentially only a flag of convenience.

But, to an adherent of an organization whose appeal is to those who oppose, or simply fear, societal change on the basis that their own position in it, or perhaps the quality of society overall, might somehow be diminished find their strength in the organization itself, which helps reinforce that view. There are no differing or competing visions that make it into a tactical alliance; it's only about saying No and telling each other that's good.


ETA: I would say more that TR was running against Taft than vice versa. If the GOP used primaries then, there never would have been a Bull Moose Party, but that was how an incumbent was challenged by a disaffected fellow party member then.

Last edited by ElvisL1ves; 09-11-2011 at 11:53 AM.
#38
Old 09-11-2011, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by The Second Stone View Post
But "lifelong Democrat" and "yellow dog Democrat" are more the phrases. Yellow dog meaning I'd rather vote for a yellow dog than a Republican.
Wow, I really had the meaning of this one wrong. I thought they meant yellow=coward. What the heck am I confusing this with?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoe View Post
I can't imagine most Republicans ever voting for a Democrat. Have any of you?
For president, no, never. For democrats running for governor and state reps, sure, a bunch of times.
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#39
Old 09-12-2011, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Revtim View Post
IMHO, I think most democrats are democrats because it's the lesser of two evils. They don't feel enthusiastic, merely less repulsed. Of course, I might be projecting my own feelings there.
This. I think most Democrats aren't Democrats because they feel strongly about the Democratic issues, but because they're not Republicans.
#40
Old 09-12-2011, 06:01 PM
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Other than political references, "staunch" is used for loyalty to universities, such as a "staunch Boilermaker."

The counterpart to the "yellow dog Democrat" who would rather vote for a yellow dog than a Republican is the "Second Coming Republican," who would vote against Jesus Christ Himself, if he came back and ran as a Democrat.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:56 PM
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