A political party is more like a standard business that requires a brand to capture the attention and loyalty of its targeted potential audience. Labels of any political party need a way to categorize the party’s motto to make it easier for the political arena to spread its aims and objectives to different segments of the general public. This essay defines and identifies the most prevalent myriad of political parties’ labels on the political spectrum and analyses what these labels do to the landscape and political discourse of the United States through commonalities and differences among these labels.
What Does a Political Party’s Label Mean?
A label of the political party is used to represent the mission and ideology of a political party although they are created in different sizes, shapes, colors, and even characters however they create the same effect. (Jarvis, 2005) The graphics used in political labels aim to encourage and connect with people to back up and support any political party of their choice. Each label of a distinct political party has its own unique cognitive and semantic properties that easily discriminate one party’s label from the other.
The most discriminating and prevalent characteristic of a party label refers to the distinctive electioneering, electoral behavior, and voting during the election campaigns that aid a party in attaining more votes than the other. These labels help develop a party’s reputation as “unique” and “independent” that can easily be distinguishable from the concept of other parties (Bastedo and Lodge, 1980). Many political analysts think that a political label can create a positive reflection of the party and destroy the image of a candidate at the same time. Politicians change their political labels over time based on the voters’ demand for more pacification and appeasement to relieve general public problems and also in the hope of maintaining peace in the region. (Hart and Jarvis, 2004)
Political Parties’ Labels Like Brands’ Marketing Tactic
To be a memorable brand in the political market, a party’s actions, tone of voice, and policies communicate with the audience to gain the most attention. Here is where a party’s label comes into play when it comes to politics (Jarvis, 2005). I have compared a party’s label with a brand’s marketing tactic because of the logic politicians run their election campaigns in the same way, the executives of a brand run their product campaigns to advertise their product or services. Similar to a brand’s symbol or logo, political labels also showcase a specific vision of a particular personality or a party. Political parties pick a catchy label that the members of that party think would be attractive and fanciful in a favorable way to their targeted voting public. (Bastedo and Lodge, 1980)
Moreover, political operatives create and use a myriad of artificial labels to define and portray their candidates in a favorable light whereas to separate their opponents in order to portray them in an unfavorable light. In the emerging parts of the United States, identity politics is created and used in the same way to polarize different political spectrums and fractions and to achieve this goal, the most prevalent labels are created and used in the political discourse (Claassen, Smith, and et. al). As politics is all about the game of demonizing the opponents, a party label does the same and places its own party’s objective in the best possible light.
Major Political Labels in the United States
There are plenty of political labels in the arena of United States politics that illustrate the opposite political spectrums of conservative and liberal which are colloquially represented as right-wing and left-wing. However, the best-known options for the memorable political party labels belong to the Democrats and Republicans. Unlike other political labels of the leading political parties in the other regions of the world which use different color schemes and a huge variety of graphics, Republicans and Democrats maintain the same color scheme with the label “National” in them. (Claassen, Smith, and et. al) The usage of word “National” in the political label is sometimes to show the patriotism or the agenda of the party. However, The US National Republicans and National Democratic parties use red, blue, and white as their theme colors on the labels.
Political Parties with the Usage of the Word “National” in their Labels
The word “National” in the political labels of the United States refers to the characteristic that owes allegiance to the protection of the US nation. Although there are a bunch of political parties in America that uses the term “National” in their political labels such as the California National Party, National Socialist Party of America, National Union Party, National Republican Party, National Democratic Party, National Renaissance Party operating within the United States. (Sniderman and Lelkes, 2016) However, I have explored the well-known political labels of the two contemporary as well as rival political parties in the United States.
It is to be argued that the National Republican Party- a contemporary political party in the United States supposedly claims the Christian label through the use of the word “National” as the main string to get the general public to put the party in the “National” Christian bucket. On the other hand, National Democratic Party uses the label “National” to embrace progressiveness as the word in US history contains a variety of beliefs and means different things and notions to different people of the political spectrums. (Sniderman and Lelkes, 2016) The party uses the term “National” to challenge the corporate power on behalf of the common masses and workers and in some spectrums, the term “National” challenges the systemic racism in the United States.
The idea of “Nationalism” holds the concept of a nation congruent with the state, both the contemporary US parties use the term “National” to promote the interests of the politicians and members of the said parties to address the nation’s sovereignty. (Bastedo and Lodge, 1980) In her book, The Talk of the Party Jarvis states that the motive of the Democratic Party through the use of “National” tends to encourage the nation to govern itself and build a national identity to promote the social characteristics of America such as language, ethnicity, religion, culture, politics, and the idea of shared singular US history. The label further aims to promote national solidarity to foster and preserve the traditional culture of the US nation through the rightful source of political power. (Jarvis, 2005)
Concluding the discussion regarding political labels and how they are created and used to polarize different political spectrums, it is deduced that the umbrella effect of the label “National” in the Democratic and Republican parties has excluded the general public chance to interact with the opposing mindsets who believe in other political ideologies. As the United States is a country with a multi-ethnic population residing in it having different political ideologies such as an immigrant from a war-struck country can only wish to build his/her identity, the term “National” addresses only the beliefs, mindsets, and ideologies of the US local residents (Hart and Jarvis, 2004). In particular, the mission of Republican Party through the label “National” only for the Christian community of the United States curbs the new perspectives and opinions of the people from other nationalities and religious backgrounds.
Bastedo, R. W., & Lodge, M. (1980). The meaning of party labels. Political Behavior, 2(3), 287-308. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00990483
Jarvis, S. E. (2005). The talk of the party: Political labels, symbolic capital, and American life. Rowman & Littlefield.
Hart, R. P., Jarvis, S. E., Jennings, W. P., & Smith-Howell, D. (2004). Political keywords: Using language that uses us.
Lelkes, Y., & Sniderman, P. M. (2016). The ideological asymmetry of the American party system. British Journal of Political Science, 46(4), 825-844.
Claassen, C., Tucker, P., & Smith, S. S. Ideological Labels in America.