Blue-Dog Democrat
Frank Pierce
For those familiar with American politics, can anyone suggest the origin and meaning of the adjective "blue dog"? It always refers to a moderate- to right-of-center Democrat, often at odds with the liberal wing.

They use that term to describe themselves. So it's not pejorative.

The idea is that they are not yellow dogs."
Lewis Joplin II
Interesting. I will give a look in William Safire's political dictionary.

Lewis Joplin II
I haven't been able to find "blue dog Democrat."

"Safire's New Political Dictionary" by William Safire (Random House, New York, 1993) has "yellow dog Democrat." Another source says this phrase originated after the Civil War. Mr. Safire says: "...Senator Tom Heflin of Alabama refused to support fellow Democrat Al Smith in the 1928 election and bolted to Herbert Hoover, other Alabamans who disagreed with Heflin popularized the line, 'I'd vote for a yellow dog if he ran on the Democractic ticket'..." Safire also lists the term "brass collar Democrat -- one who slavishly follows the party line; used mainly in the southern U.S...A possible allusion to othose newly freed blacks in Reconstruction days who did not vote Republican..."

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