“Republican” in the book series is used to refer to a citizen of the Republic – the sole surviving state of the new world – in the fictional environment or something that belongs to or is a part of it. Note the use of the capital R.
A “republic” in general is a political order whose head of state is not a monarch. Historically speaking, religion often played a more minor role in republics compared to monarchs. Historically, the authority of a king or a queen was usually said to come from God. This is one tie-in with the setup in the book series.
For example, take the Spanish Civil War from 1936-39. The Spanish Republicans fought Franco’s Spanish Nationalists. The Republicans leaned away from religion, the Nationalists leaned towards it.
“Democrat”, as it is used in the book series, refers to its literal dictionary definition – an advocate or supporter of democracy. Note the use of the lower case d for “democrat”.
These two terms playing quite the role in the story was actually a coincidence (they appeared organically as I was writing). P.S. Star Wars wasn’t the first to come up with a governing body called “the Republic”; instead, they took it from the real world, just like I and others have.
Was I aware that using these terms might lead to readers speculating about this, considering the names of the major political parties in the US? Of course. But I would never be so simple as to make a value statement about the merits of the parties so obviously and explicitly. There are both traditional elements of the US Republican Party and traditional elements of the US Democratic Party that can be found in “the Republic” in the book series, and on the other side of the fence too.
Or in other words, it’s not black and white … it’s grey.
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