The Origins Of Red And Blue As Political Colors For Republicans Democrats
They have many associations, but conjure them right now and electoral maps will probably come to mind. You know, the ones designating Republican and Democratic states.
The color coding seems obvious. Red and blue are the colors of the American flag, along with white.
But red and blue, as colors, have a complicated relationship. They, along with yellow, are primary colors from which all others are derived. You see them together on the basic color wheel, neighbors but not necessarily friends.
The color wheel explains how we perceive colors and the feelings we attach to them.
Red is warm, blue is cool.
Red is passionate, says Jane Doggett, a graphic designer and color-theory expert who designed the blue and red wayfinding system at Tampa International Airport. Its associated with blood. Also the heart.
Blue is more calming, says Judith Dazzio, another artist and color-theory expert who is the owner of the Dazzio Art Experience in St. Petersburg.
The colors can be difficult to use together in art because of their high contrast and are, in art parlance, considered noncomplementary.
So is there a special or subliminal meaning to the assignation of red to Republicans and blue to Democrats?
The parties do not officially embrace their media colors, and some say the color coding is oversimplified.
On red and Republicans, Schale said, Theres an element of the Republican Party that tends to have more moral certainty.
The Republican And Democratic Logos
No matter how you feel about the Democratic and Republican parties, their logos are impossible to ignore. Known throughout the world for their color choices, mascots, and more, the two leading US parties have made their mark on history.
Today, the elephant and donkey are still recognisable outside of the United States.
If youre keen to learn more about the political party logos, or some of the other emblems famous for shaping our world, you can check out some of our other insightful logo blogs here on the Fabrik website.
Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.
You’ll Never Guess Why Republicans Are Red Democrats Blue
Hint: It has nothing to do with patriotism.
America 101: Why Red for Republicans and Blue for Democrats?
— The drama over the Electoral College and popular vote split caused political chaos during the 2000 election, but those turbulent days led to at least one orderly solution.
That’s when television networks banded together to color Republicans red on their electoral map graphics and Democrats blue.
The color associations had nothing to do with politics or patriotism. And both parties were apparently reluctant for many years to be associated with the color red.
Learn why that changed in the video above.
Read Also: How Many House Seats Did Republicans Lose
Contrast With Color Usage In Other Countries
The recent association of colors in American politics lies contrary to the long-standing conventions of political color in most other countries whereby red symbols ” rel=”nofollow”> red flag or red star) are associated with left-wing politics. Indeed, as late as the 1990s, Democrats were often represented by red and Republicans by blue. According to The Washington Post, journalist Tim Russert coined these terms during his televised coverage of the 2000 presidential election. The 2000 election was not the first during which the news media used colored maps to depict voter preferences in the various states, but it was the first time a standard color scheme took hold. In previous elections, the color assignments or even the actual colors used were often different.
First Use Of Red For Republican
The first use of the terms red state to connote a Republican state came about a week before the 2000 presidential election between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore, according to The Washington Post‘s Paul Farhi.
The Post scoured newspaper and magazine archives and television news broadcast transcripts dating back to 1980 for the phrase and found that the first instances could be traced NBC’s “Today” show and subsequent discussions between Matt Lauer and Tim Russert during the election season on MSNBC.
“As the 2000 election became a 36-day recount debacle, the commentariat magically reached consensus on the proper colors. Newspapers began discussing the race in the larger, abstract context of red vs. blue. The deal may have been sealed when Letterman suggested a week after the vote that a compromise would ‘make George W. Bush president of the red states and Al Gore head of the blue ones.'”
Don’t Miss: Did Trump Say Republicans Are Stupid
Amerika: An American Politics
With a nod to Franz Kafkaâs first novel, Amerika, the amerika package offers a variety of a American-politics inspired color palettes for a host of applications both in an out of politics. Building on Karthik Ramâs approach to designing color palettes seen in the wesanderson package , amerika offers a variety of color palettes ranging from blue on the left to gray in the middle and red on the right.
With wide application in mind, the palette options range from only a few colors to several colors, but with discrete and continuous options to offer greatest flexibility to the user. amerika allows for a range of applications, from mapping brief discrete scales to continuous interpolated arrays including dozens of shades graded from blue to red . See below for a list of the palettes followed by a few political and non-political examples.
Current Structure And Composition
In the 2014 election, the Republican nominee for Governor was Governor of FloridaRick Scott. He defeated the Democratic nominee, who was the Former Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist who was once elected as a Republican.
The Republican National Committee is responsible for promoting Republican campaign activities. It is responsible for developing and promoting the Republican political platform, as well as coordinating fundraising and election strategy. Senator Mel Martinez of Florida is the Republican Party’s former General Chairman. Ronna McDaniel is the current Chairman of RNC. The chairman of the RNC is chosen by the President when the Republicans have the White House or otherwise by the Party’s state committees. The RNC, under the direction of the party’s presidential candidate, supervises the Republican National Convention, raises funds, and coordinates campaign strategy. On the local level there are similar state committees in every state and most large cities, counties and legislative districts, but they have far less money and influence than the national body.
You May Like: Democrat Controlled States
Why Are Republicans Red And Democrats Blue
Today, citizens across the US are casting their ballots, hoping to tip the balance of their state to red or blue, but few stop to wonder from where the concepts of red and blue states stem. According to Smithsonian Magazine, red did not always denote the Republican party and blue wasnt always symbolic of Democrats this now-common lexicon only dates back to the 2000 election.
In 1976, NBC debuted its first election map on the air, with bulbs that turned red for Carter-won states , and blue for Ford . This original color scheme was based on Great Britains political system, which used red to denote the more liberal party. However, other stations used different colors and designations for a variety of ideological and aesthetic reasons, which often differed from person to person.
It was a more natural association.
The color coding were familiar with today didnt stick until the iconic election of 2000, when The New York Times and USA Today published their first full-color election maps. The Times spread used red for Republicans because red begins with r, Republican begins with r, said the senior graphics editor Archie Tse, it was a more natural association. The election, which didnt end until mid-December, firmly established Democrats as the blue party and Republicans as the red denotations which will likely hold fast for some time to come.
How Did The Republicans Red Democrats Blue Party Colors Come About
Did steppe horse archers shoot individually and with precision or did they fire in volleys like foot archers?
In 2012, Susan Schulten at the University of Denver was perusing her massive collection of atlases and found something shed previously overlooked an incredibly detailed map showing the county-by-county breakdown of the 1880 election that dates from 1883. As best as Schulten can tell , this is the first map showing nationwide election returns and its actually quite modern with strength-of-voting by county painstakingly illustrated no one click color intensity via Photoshop back then!
It chose red for Democrats, blue for Republicans, brown for Greenbacks and given the alignments of both the election and parties at the time, associating either red-left or blue-right wouldnt have been accurate in any case. Unfortunately, the printer leaves no record of their logic, but a reasonable assumption is that given blue was the color worn by Union troops, they followed a general trend among many illustrators using that to indicate the North.
Over the course of the next few decades, on the rare times that newspapers added colored inserts, they generally tended to pick whatever color they wanted yellow was common but more often for the main paper they used dots or dashed lines to fill a state box in black, white, or other shades of grey.
Sign Up to Our Newsletter
Get notified about exclusive offers every week!
You May Like: Trump Vs Democrats
Red States And Blue States
Since around the 2000 United States presidential election, red states and blue states have referred to states of the United States whose voters predominantly choose either the Republican Party or Democratic Party presidential and senatorial candidates. Since then, the use of the term has been expanded to differentiate between states being perceived as liberal and those perceived as conservative. Examining patterns within states reveals that the reversal of the two parties’ geographic bases has happened at the state level, but it is more complicated locally, with urban-rural divides associated with many of the largest changes.
All states contain both liberal and conservative voters and only appear blue or red on the electoral map because of the winner-take-all system used by most states in the Electoral College. However, the perception of some states as “blue” and some as “red” was reinforced by a degree of partisan stability from election to electionfrom the 2000 election to the 2004 election, only three states changed “color” and as of 2020, fully 35 out of 50 states have voted for the same party in every presidential election since the red-blue terminology was popularized in 2000.
Slavery And The Emergence Of The Bipartisan System
From 1828 to 1856 the Democrats won all but two presidential elections . During the 1840s and 50s, however, the Democratic Party, as it officially named itself in 1844, suffered serious internal strains over the issue of extending slavery to the Western territories. Southern Democrats, led by Jefferson Davis, wanted to allow slavery in all the territories, while Northern Democrats, led by Stephen A. Douglas, proposed that each territory should decide the question for itself through referendum. The issue split the Democrats at their 1860 presidential convention, where Southern Democrats nominated John C. Breckinridge and Northern Democrats nominated Douglas. The 1860 election also included John Bell, the nominee of the Constitutional Union Party, and Abraham Lincoln, the candidate of the newly established antislavery Republican Party . With the Democrats hopelessly split, Lincoln was elected president with only about 40 percent of the national vote in contrast, Douglas and Breckinridge won 29 percent and 18 percent of the vote, respectively.
Also Check: What Political Party Does Obama Belong To
Which States Are Considered Red And Which Are Blue
To go along with the colors, the terms red state and blue state were popularized by anchorman Tim Russert during and immediately after the 2000 election. Today, these terms are used to refer to which party a state voted for during a presidential election.
Generally speaking, the Northeast and the West Coast are considered a collection of blue states as most of them have sided with the Democrats since the early 1990s.
The Southern states have sided with Republicans since the 2000s, while the Midwest tends to be tougher to predict. For example, Illinois and Minnesota are currently considered blue states, while Missouri and Nebraska are red. Hawaii and Alaska have been traditionally considered blue and red respectively as neither has switched parties since the late 1980s .
The Southwest has been split since 2000 with Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado going blue more often than red and Utah and Arizona voting predictably red. Finally, we come to the coveted purple states or swing states, such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan. These states switched colors in recent elections and are often a key focus of electoral campaigning and strategy. Swing states can vary by election year.
The Latest Key Updates On The 2020 Us Election Results
However, in the US blue represents the more left-leaning Democrats, while the Republicans denoted by red, as per Donald Trumps Make America Great Again caps.
One might assume that the colours represent a long-standing tradition, but theyre a relatively recent feature of US elections.
According to Professor David Scott Kastan of Yale University, writing inThe Conversation, the systems origins lie in the spread of colour TV in the late 1960s, when colour-coded maps were first used on election TV broadcasts.
The red and blue colouring was a nod to the British system, The Verge reports, but initially there was no permanent colour association for either party.
TV networks changed the map coding from election to election, with Prof Kastan explaining: In Cold War America, networks couldnt consistently identify one party as red the color of communists and, in particular, the Soviet Union without being accused of bias.
Indeed, there were famous US election nights where the current colour scheme was memorably reversed.
Don’t Miss: How Long Did The Democrats Control Congress
Edit: About The Political Symbolism Of The Color Red
Today the color red is associated with Communism. This was even more so during the Cold War.
The Soviet Union, China, Vietnam and other countries had or still have national flags, which are dominated by red. During the Cold War red was the color of the enemy. Western maps depicted NATO countries in blue and members of the Warsaw Pact in red. Nobody would want red as their color, if they didnt have a good reason .
After the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War it became okay to be associated with the color red. Blue was claimed by the Democrats. Plenty other colors have also undesired connotations. Yellow is visually not so attrative especially in front of a white paper background. So, why not red?
How Did The 2000 Election Solidify Red For Republican And Blue For Democrat
The 2000 election between Gore and Bush was a momentous event for American politics. The election became a constitutional crisis and dragged on for 36 days, leading to constant television and newspaper coverage of recounts and debates over which candidate won each swing state. Networks banded together on their color selection for each party for the purposes of uniformity, choosing red to represent states Bush won, and blue for those Gore won.
It was also during this election that the New York Times and USA Today ran their first full-color electoral state maps featuring red for Republican and blue for Democrat.
Do you know where the Democrat and Republican Parties got their names? Find out here.
But why these particular colors? Thats a difficult question to answer because all news stations want to take credit for what is now the standard.
The credit of the colors rests in part with New York Times graphics editor Archie Tse, who used red for Republicans in 2000 election maps because red begins with R, Republican begins with R. Whatever the reason, all of the news outlets certainly played a part in establishing blue and red as the colors when they collectively used them the same way.
Why Do We Have Red States And Blue States
If youve watched the news as a presidential election heats up, youre probably well aware that political pundits like to use the color red to represent the Republican Party and blue for the Democratic Party. A red state votes Republican in presidential elections and Senate races, while a blue state leans Democratic.
No matter which news program you favor, they all use these same colors to represent the parties. So it would be reasonable to assume these must be the official colors of these two parties and have been used for over a hundred years, right?
Surprisingly no. Republicans havent always been associated with the color red, nor have Democrats affiliated their party with blue. In fact, the whole notion of consistently attaching a particular hue to each political party is a relatively new concept in the US, not emerging as a common distinction until the 2000 presidential election between Democrat and Vice President Al Gore and Republican Texas Governor George W. Bush.
But why red for Republicans? And why does blue stand for Democrats?
Lets break it down.