How The Parties Got Their Colors


Whenever we look at a campaign button or an electoral map, we know instinctively that red means Republican and blue means Democrat. Growing up, I thought that had always been the case. I thought wrong.

Take a trip back in time with me to the year 2000. After a hotly contested Florida vote seemed to give George Bush the presidency, the Al Gore campaign launched a legal challenge to the ballot count that would take over a month to resolve. In the past, Republican and Democratic states had alternated red or blue on the big studio maps put up by major networks like CNN and NBC. In 2000, the GOP got the color red, and with all the media attention, the color stuck. Likewise, after the recount was over, the Democrats were permanently stained blue.

Historically, there’s actually a pretty strong precedent that says these colors are backwards. Before color TV, Republicans were blue and Democrats were red – keeping in line with how conservative and liberal parties are colored in Europe. But to avoid accusations of bias, news stations decided on the rotational color scheme, until the 2000 election locked it into place.

So there’s a little bit of election trivia for you. Next time you’re at a party, maybe you could use it to wow your friends or impress this one girl you know. Or, if you’d rather not look like a government nerd, don’t – just sit there with your drink in your hand, quietly wondering if you really live in a red state, or a blue one.

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I'm a young guy with a news addiction. I love engineering, politics, and economics, and I have a mind built for analysis. Also, I write a lot, though I hate the paperwork... You can read my work at www.dynamopolitics.com !

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2 comments on “How The Parties Got Their Colors
  1. Josef Dentin says:

    A+ Never knew this. Fascinating.

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DYNAMOpolitics

DYNAMOpolitics

I'm a young guy with a news addiction. I love engineering, politics, and economics, and I have a mind built for analysis. Also, I write a lot, though I hate the paperwork... You can read my work at www.dynamopolitics.com !

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