Democrats red, Republicans blue

I am really young. A random person wanting to buy my domain, webdonkeys.com, said she was planning to use it for something Democrat-related. That led me to read about Democrats and Republicans, their symbols of red and blue, and past elections and so forth. I also read this Wikipedia article on the Red state vs. blue state divide. It was fairly shocking. The 2000 election is the first one I ever paid attention to (I guess I was just the right age when it happened), and for some reason it seemed to me that Republicans have always been traditionally red, and Democrats always traditionally blue. But now that I think about it, I think Wikipedia is right. It should be the opposite!

Prior to the 2000 presidential election, there was no universally recognized color scheme to represent the parties. The practice of using colors to represent parties on electoral maps dates back at least as far as the 1950s, when such a format was employed within the Hammond series of historical atlases. … Early on, the most common– though again, not universal– color scheme was to use red for Democrats and blue for Republicans. This was the color scheme employed by NBC– David Brinkley famously referred to the 1984 map showing Reagan’s 49-state landslide as a “sea of blue”, but this color scheme was also employed by most newsmagazines. CBS during this same period, however, used the opposite scheme … ABC used yellow for one major party and blue for the other. As late as 1996, there was still no universal association of one color with one party.[2]; if anything, the majority of outlets in 1996 were using blue for the GOP and red for the Democrats.

But in 2000, for the first time, all major media outlets used the same colors for each party: Red for Republicans, blue for Democrats. Partly as a result of this first-time universal color-coding, the terms Red States and Blue States entered popular usage in the weeks following the 2000 presidential election. Additionally, the closeness of the disputed election kept the colored maps in the public view for longer than usual, and red and blue thus became fixed in the media and in many people’s minds.[3] Journalists began to routinely refer to “blue states” and “red states” even before the 2000 election was settled, such as The Atlantic’s cover story by David Brooks in the December 2001 issue entitled, “One Nation, Slightly Divisible.” Thus red and blue became fixed in the media and in many people’s minds [4] despite the fact that no “official” color choices had been made by the parties. …

The choice of colors in this divide is counter-intuitive to many international observers, as throughout the world, red is commonly the designated color for parties representing labor and/or leftist interests[6][7], which in the United States would be more closely correlated with the Democratic Party. Similarly, blue is used in these countries to depict conservative parties which in the case of the United States would be a color more suitable for the Republicans. For example, in Canada party colours are deeply ingrained and historic and have been unchanged during the Twentieth Century. The Liberal Party of Canada has long used red and the Conservative Party of Canada has long used blue, and in fact the phrases Liberal red and Tory blue are a part of the national lexicon, as is Red Tory, denoting Conservative members who are social moderates. Similarly, the symbol of Britain’s Labour Party is a red rose (and the socialist song ‘The Red Flag’ is still sung at party conferences), while the British Conservatives are traditionally associated with the colour blue. …

13 Responses to “Democrats red, Republicans blue”

  1. Nick says:

    Yes, I have found this interesting myself. There is an amazing history and the 2000 election was amazing espicailly because one lady who was an elector did not vote.

  2. Ickabod says:

    I think that the liberal news media purposely switched the colors in 2000 to associate the republican party and the evangelist sector with the negative perception of communism. Blue has always been the republican color.

  3. Red=Evil, Blue=Good and Media Partisanship…

    Darth Vader used a red light saber.
    I thought about this topic for quite some time, never posting. Can’t say why, for sure. Perhaps it’s my ADD or quote possibly early onset Alzheimer’s (my wife says it’s the Amber Ale) but wha…

  4. David says:

    I would like to see this current color scheme changed back to the way it should be. It is inaccurate, both in the US and worldwide. Red has historically been the color of Socialism/Communism. Blue – Conservatism. Green – Islam. Purple – Royalty. Etc

  5. Anne says:

    I agree with David and Ickabod. The Red was associated with the left wing Socialism/Communism by their OWN preference for wearing RED bandanas etc to symbolize their party. They have been called “Reds” since the Communist revolution in Russia. Their flags and symbology has always been RED.

    The switch was done purposely by the liberal Dem media and the Dem party to confuse the public as to which party was pushing a Socialist agenda. The Dems did not want to be associated with that in the public’s mind. It worked quite well. Now we have a neo-communist in the White House. Would not surprise me to see that color changed as well at some point.

  6. Ayw says:

    Obama has already told SEIU that they will be painting the country with THEIR color of purple.

  7. the Color switch was to associate Nazi’s and Communism with Republicans, and associate Democrats with Conservatism……Just more Lies and BS from the Far Left to confuse the Populace, Red is associated in Europe with the Left, and Blue is associated with the Conservatives…..Just the Opposite of the US…….think that’s just a coincidence ?……….Not in this lifetime.

    • Diane says:

      Why must you all give such importance to color —all your retorts seem to me to be tinged in RED!!!! This is what is wrong with our Country — all this pointing of fingers about which side is wrong. ALL sides are wrong — we should concentrate on not dividing the Country and work together for the good of all the people. GEE what a concept!!

  8. Sandra Levy says:

    Since I was a child I was aware of the significance of color/ideologies and political affiliation. How could we not connect the color red with Socialism /Communism?

    I am 67 and hope we can give up our passivity about what is representative of what we stand for?
    Can we begin with conviction, grace and clarity do what we can to change this to the way it should be?

    “It is inaccurate both in the US, and world wide.
    Red has historically been the color of Socialism/Communism, Blue – Conservatism. Green – Islam. Purple – Royalty, etc.”

  9. Joan says:

    Red is associated with COMMUNISTS.

    The democrats wanted to get away from that.

  10. Justine says:

    all republicans are paranoid, if they were still blue they would want to change because blue is too depressing a color. If its such a big deal why does EVERY republican politician wear a red tie or hideous red pantsuit. Being angry, unreasonable, discriminative, and unwilling to work with anybody outside of their party just screams RED!

  11. Gregg says:

    The Democrats were concerned that the color red would be associated with the communist movement (which it is) and that they might be viewed as communists (which they are). But being evasive as usual and in control of the media, they chose to rebrand themselves as blue. It’s amazing that the Republicans allowed this to happen, but it proves what pussies they have become, lacking any backbone to stand up for themselves. How about a Conservative party that will get rid of all of these losers politcal hacks?

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