Tag Archives: nominative determinism

Republicans Are Douchebags

Or, more technically, douchebags are disproportionately Republican. But I figure with this title I’m guaranteed front-page links from Salon and Daily Kos.

A while back, I argued – not especially originally – that “conservative” and “liberal”, far from being mere descriptions of political views, pointed to two very different tribes of people who might as well be considered totally different ethnicities.

One marker of ethnicity is different name preferences – we all know what groups people named Juan, Tyrone, or Mei are likely to belong to – and a recent article in Vox confirms that names differ between Democrats and Republicans at very impressive rates. For example, of the 200,000 registered US voters named “Willie”, 81.8% are Democrats. Of the 40,000 registered voters named “Rex”, 59.4% are Republicans (and I assume the others are Rottweilers or tyrannosaurs). You can find some impressively complete statistics at this site, including what percent of people with your name have a gun, go to church, attend college, et cetera.

But looking through Vox’s list of most Republican names, I was struck (or possibly stricken) by a resemblance to a different list I had seen a couple years ago.

Reddit: I fear my first name is the biggest douche bag name an American male can have. In your opinion, what is the cliche douchebag character name?.

This seems like a relatively popular internet question, and thetoptens.com maintains a Most Douchebag Names list as well. This provides two independent lists of douchiest names (my Reddit list is the first name proposed in the ten most upvoted first-level comments there). They both turn out to be pretty similar.

THETOPTENS:
1. Chad
2. Trent
3. Guy
4. Brad
5. Paul
6. Blake
7. Brody
8. Chaz
9. Tad
10. Keith

REDDIT:
1. Chad
2. Chase
3. Tyler
4. Brody
5. Brad
6. Trey
7. Hunter
8. Scott (@#$% YOU TOO, REDDIT)
9. Biff
10. Preston

Clarity Campaigns can tell us what percentile each of these names are on the political spectrum. When I plugged all of them in, the median douchebag name was in the 98.5th percentile for Republicanness. In other words, with a little bit of noise the top ten douchiest names are pretty much the top ten most Republican names.

(The big exception is “Chaz”, which leans Democrat. But I refuse to believe that “Chaz” is a real name anyway.)

I tried to test alternate hypotheses that Clarity just over-Republicanned all names, or that it was a function of these being male names, or white names, or names of a certain generation. I tested the top ten most popular male baby names of 1990 (that being the generation probably in its peak douchebag years right now) and combined their full name and nickname versions (since I didn’t want to confound by whether Republicans or Democrats are more likely to go by a nickname). The median popular 1990 male name was in the 73rd percentile for Republicanness. This isn’t surprising – men tend to be more conservative than women, and this effect probably swamps any within-gender name effects, so if all male names are more conservative than all female names we would expect the average male name to be about the 75th percentile for Republicanness. Our popular 1990 control group comes very close.

But the average douchebag name is in the 98.5th percentile for Republicanness.

I can think of two three hypotheses.

First, douchebags are disproportionately Republican.

Second, the parents who name kids douchebag names are disproportionately Republican, and Republicanism is partly hereditary (I almost missed this one, but JayMan reads this blog and I know he would call me on it if I forgot).

Third, “douchebag” is a tribally-coded slur. If someone asks “Have you ever noticed that all assholes are named things like ‘Moishe’ or ‘Avram’ or ‘Menachem’?” – then they’re telling you a lot more about the way they use the word ‘asshole’ than about the Moishes and Menachems of the world.

I expect there are many more fun things I will think of to do with this name list.