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Political Names: Which ones would you vote for?

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Canadian guest blogger Abby Simpson, of  The Name Station, takes us today into the realm of political names--past and present.

People say that few subjects are more controversial than politics, but sometimes politics has nothing on the often polarizing world of baby names! While some parents seek to avoid politically-inspired baby names at any cost, there are others whose passions drive them to use politically-inspired monikers from Thatcher to Reagan to Hillary, and even Chad.

So whether you need a list of names worth avoiding as we get closer to the U.S. election in November, or a list of names to inspire, this entry is as inclusive as politicians aim to be.

Reagan – the quintessential Republican hero has a surname that’s found relatively common use as a name through the years, though more for girls than boys. But if you’re looking for a more current GOP name, then why not Romney? Similar to hot Rom- names like Romy, Roman, and Romilly, the likely Republican presidential candidate has a gender-neutral name that could be shortened to Romy or Rome. Other notable past Republicans with names to inspire? Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Simpson Grant, TheodoreTeddyRoosevelt, and even Sarah Palin.

ThatcherMeryl Steep won her third Oscar in February for portraying Conservative former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. The name is already a hot selection for boys, along with a glut of other favoured –er names. Another British political name inspiration, with a vintage vibe, is Winston, for the indomitable wartime PM Churchill. (For a bonus name we can’t get enough of these days, Churchill’s wife was named Clementine.)

HillaryHillary Rodham Clinton is already a possible Democratic candidate for 2016.  Clinton is a surname that has long found use as a first name, while the name Hilary had its day in the late twentieth century – but if she were elected as the first US female president, it’s hard to imagine the name’s popularity wouldn’t bump up considerably as a result, Hilary being a much more accessible choice than Barack. Democratic Party inspirations could also include Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and Grover Cleveland.

Trudeau – (Obligatory Canadiana inclusion!) Most Canadians will tell you that Pierre Elliott Trudeau was among our greatest-ever Prime Ministers as a champion of civil rights and equality. While the name might feel clunky as other French favourites flow, the nickname Tru/True, oh-so-close to hot Hunger Games-inspired Rue, gives this name plenty of accessibility.

What are some more politically-minded baby names you can think of? Have you or anyone you know ever considered an extreme one for political reasons (like the guy who named his daughter, born during the 2008 campaign, Sarah McCain-Palin Ciptak)? (http://www.usatoday.com/news/offbeat/2008-10-14-baby-politicalname_N.htm)

Here’s a rundown on some of the names mentioned:

Abraham – Hebrew for “father of a multitude of nations,” it seems almost too perfectly political, despite the fact that it’s Biblical.

Barack – Swahili with Arabic origins, meaning “blessing,” and similar to the Hebrew term with the same meaning – Beracha. In use primarily in East Africa before Barack Obama won the 2008 election, it will probably always be a bit of a niche choice.

Chad – modern form of the Old English given name Ceadda, “chads” were the Democrats’ worst nightmare in the 2000 presidential election.

Delano – surname of Old French origin, meaning either “nighttime” (de la nuit) or “nut tree” (de la noix), it’s the unique ancestral middle name of America’s longest-serving president, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Electra – Greek for “shining, bright, radiant,” Electra isn’t just a play on words for ‘election,’ it’s an often seen name in the literary world, from mythology to comic books.

Hillary – Latin for “cheerful, happy,” it’s a name that could be among the hottest for baby girls come 2016.

Kennedy – Irish Gaelic for “ugly head,” surname Kennedy grew into common use as a first name in honour of JFK after his assassination in 1963.

Lincoln – Old English for “lake colony,” and the name of an early Roman settlement in England.

Palin – a surname of Scandinavian origin, it could also denote an English place name (from Poling, West Sussex or Sea Palling, Norfolk) or derive from the Welsh ap Heilyn, where ap means “son of.” In 2009, there was a noted a spike in baby girls named Palin, but the trend cooled along with her political career.

Romney – Welsh for “winding river,” the Romneys are a long-active Mormon Republican political family in the U.S.

Roosevelt – Dutch surname meaning “from the rose field,” it was the surname of two American presidents, including the longest serving, FDR.  His First Lady, Eleanor, who was among the most admired social activists of her time, makes another possible namesake. For girls, it’s a perfect way to get to nickname-names like Roz or Rosie.

Thatcher – English occupational surname meaning “roof thatcher,” this is a solid, boyish tribute to the Iron Lady.

Theodore / Teddy – Greek meaning “God’s gift,” –Theodore, and nickname Teddy, are experiencing a resurgence of late. Former President Theodore Roosevelt is still most often referred to as Teddy.

Trudeau – this surname is from the French pet form of Thouroude, or perhaps Gertrude.

Ulysses – Latin variant of Greek Odysseus, which means “angry man,wrathful,” best known as the name of the hero of Homer’s epic Odyssey

Abby Simpson is the author of The Name Station, a blog that delves into trending names, usually with a pop culture bent. She has worked in public relations and marketing for over a decade, but what she really loves is writing, and with her insatiable appetite for learning, has left it all behind to return to school, and to write. Being bullied about her name early on (Abby rhymes with crabby, blabby, scabby, grabby, and so on.) shaped her distinctly open-minded naming philosophy – to her, the biggest problems with names are the people who ridicule them, not the parents who pick them. It’s hardly surprising, then, that this PC-minded blogger chose a political theme for her Nameberry guest post! (Even though, as a Canadian, she won’t be voting in November.)

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