Rename The GOP
A few years ago it became popular among members of the Republican party to refer to the Democratic Party as the “Democrat” Party. It was a way of being disrespectful to the Democratic Party, but it was hard to pinpoint the way in which it was disrespectful. Maybe it came down to the simple fact that saying someone’s name wrong is disrespectful, especially if it is a shortened version of your name. If I call Robert “Bob” even after Robert tells me his name is Robert or Rob, not “Bob,” it’s disrespectful. However it worked, it worked. Democrats chafed at being called members of the Democrat Party, especially by President George W. Bush, but there was nothing they could do about it.
In the last few days and weeks since the Presidential Primaries ended and the massacre in Orlando, the Democrats have shown a level of political coordination that was once foreign to them. First they came out in a coordinated and effective way to back Hillary Clinton and begin an organized effort to portray Donald J. Trump fairly. Then, after the Orlando shooting, there have been two legislative efforts, more chaotic, but still showing strong unity, to show the American public that the Democrats are the party that cares about reducing gun violence and changing the culture of gun ownership in this Country.
I believe that the next logical step to galvanize the Democratic Party and its voters would be to coordinate a name change for the GOP. In all public discourse, when referring to the Republican Party, Democrats should substitute the term “NRA Party” or “National Rifle Association Party” for GOP or Republican Party.
Democrats should make this substitution whether or not the topic of discussion is guns or gun violence. When asked about their views on the Presidential election, sober Democrats should puff out their lips judiciously as they already do, and say: “The NRA Party will have their convention in Cleveland; and we will have our convention in Philadelphia, and then we’ll see what the American people decide.” Just as seriously, when a transportation bill is under discussion, Democrats speaking on the floor of the legislature or speaking to members of the media should say things like this: “I hope that members of both parties, the Democrats and the NRA Party, can work together to make these important improvements to our infrastructure.” And obviously, when the subject under discussion is guns and gun violence, the rhetoric should be straightforward. Democrats should say: “We have a two-party system in this country. We, the Democratic Party, stand for one thing. The National Rifle Association Party stands for the other. The NRA Party has majorities in both the House and the Senate, as well as many State and local legislatures. Until that changes, there’s not much we can do.”
If all Democrats follow this advice, it will make Republicans mad. Unlike the belittling disrespect that was implied by calling the Democratic Party the “Democrat” Party, calling the Republicans the “National Rifle Association Party” or “NRA Party” will serve a specific, legitimate, political purpose, of associating the Republican party with guns, gun violence, uncontrolled access to semi-automatic weapons, large magazines, the refusal to take reasonable steps to take guns away from crazy people and terrorists.
It won’t work forever, but it doesn’t need to work forever to be effective. As the next logical step in the Democratic push towards the elections in November, it will serve it’s purpose if it captures the news cycle for a few weeks. Democrats will deny that they are doing anything at all. Republicans will twist and fume, but won’t be able to distance themselves from the label. The best possible outcome would be legislative action, and because that is not possible while the Republicans retain control of the House and Senate, electoral success in November will have to do.