A group of Republicans attending a GOP event.

The origins of political nicknames and the meaning behind them can easily get lost in the mists of history, making it difficult to remember the subject of the name. The GOP moniker for the Republican Party is an even more confusing one, since it was originally used by Southern Democrats. Today, however, the Grand Old Party sobriquet belongs firmly to the Republicans.

Initiating a New Tradition

GOP became attached to the Republican Party following an editorial in the Chicago Tribune, after the 1888 election of a Republican president and majority of Congress. The writer proclaimed his gratitude that “under the rule of the Grand Old Party,” progress stymied by Democrat Grover Cleveland’s term of office would resume. However, as the National Federation of Republican Women notes on their website, the term "gallant old party" may have preceded this as early as 1875.