Star reader Jack Lillis need not worry. In his February 24 letter to the editor, Mr. Lillis asks — perhaps with tongue mildly in cheek — that the term "Democrat Party" be outlawed. Point of fact: There is not now, nor has there even been, a "Democrat Party," just as there has never been a "Republic Party."
To the best of my knowledge as an 87-year-old, the term "Democrat Party" was an orchestrated effort by two Republican leaders in the mid-1960s. They were Sen. Everett McKinley Dirksen (R-IL.), the then-minority leader of the Senate, and Rep. Charles Halleck (R-IN), the then-minority leader of the House.
In their weekly radio broadcast, "The Ev and Charlie Show," the two gentlemen were the first (at least in my lifetime) to use the term "Democrat Party" in a deliberate attempt to convince voters not to confuse the uppercase and lowercase uses of the word "Democratic" and democratic. More bluntly, Ev and Charlie were obviously planting the idea that the Democratic Party was not — heaven forbid — democratic in its thinking or its actions.
Over time, the ruse became entrenched, at least among and within the Republican Party. So again, Mr. Lillis can rest easy: What he wishes for has always been the case.