Skip to main content

Yellow Dog Democrat

The term used to describe particularly loyal members of the Democratic Party. It came about during the 1928 presidential election. At the time, Southern Democrats were reluctant to vote for their party’s chosen presidential candidate, Al Smith, but they voted for him anyway out of loyalty. One Democratic senator, Howell Thomas Heflin of Alabama, refused to vote for Smith, which upset the South’s party loyalists. Heflin voted for Republican Herbert Hoover instead. Hoover won, and retaliation against Heflin’s vote prompted this phrase from Democratic party loyalists: “I’d vote for a yellow dog if he ran on the Democratic ticket!” Today the term is used as a compliment to refer to any loyal Democrat regardless of the region of the country they are from.