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Old 09-18-2008, 09:36 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
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When did the colors red and blue begin to be applied to the Republicans and Democrats, respectively? I have asked several people and no one could give me an answer. What's more is that all of them agreed with me that the colors would seem more intuitive if they were reversed.
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Old 09-18-2008, 10:23 PM
 
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Since 1984, CBS has been using blue for Democrats and red for republicans on electoral maps, but this was not universal in the media until 2000. In 2000, Gore happened to use blue lawn signs, and Bush red ones, and Tim Russert in 2000 coined the term "blue state" and "red state".
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Old 09-19-2008, 07:24 AM
 
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I'll second Ira500 about the blue state / red state label being applied in the 2000 presidential election.

The television news networks used to switch up the colors every election cycle, and CBS might have a different color scheme than ABC or NBC for representing states won by the Republican and Democratric presidential nominees. Blue and Red were almost exclusively used, but green would sometimes be employed when there was a third party candidate of note (John Anderson in 1980, Ross Perot in 1992 and 1994). I still remember a television commentator describing the electoral map of the 1984 presidential election as being "a sea of blue" for Ronald Reagan, who took all but the state of Minnesota in that election.

The colors became fixed, in many people's opinion, due to the 2000 Florida election controversey. The election map stayed on the national news for a month, when it usually was on the news only during election night. The imagery of Red States for George W Bush and Blue States for Al Gore sort of got burned into the national news psyche at that time.

But then again, everyone knows that the United States aren't really red or blue, they're actually various shades of purple.
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Old 09-19-2008, 07:35 AM
 
Location: St. Joseph Area
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One thing I noticed when watching the conventions: Blue was everywhere at the Democrats convention, while the GOP's was awash in red. Did anyone else notice this? Also...

Quote:
What's more is that all of them agreed with me that the colors would seem more intuitive if they were reversed.
Why? I don't understand...
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Old 09-19-2008, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Boise, ID
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Thanks for the explanation. I was figuring it went back a hundred years or more!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Niners fan View Post
What's more is that all of them agreed with me that the colors would seem more intuitive if they were reversed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mackinac81 View Post
Why? I don't understand...
I figured someone would ask this. I can't speak for others, but here's my simple, silly and apolitical explanation...

Fascism is an extreme right-wing ideology and generally involves extreme patriotism. I think of blue as a color of loyalty. So even though Republicans are not fascists and Democrats are not unpatriotic, for some reason I just think of blue as a more natural color for the right-wing.

I think of red as an impassioned color. And nearly every protest or strike I see (with the notable exception of anti-abortion protesters) is composed of people with a left-wing ideology. So I think of red as a more natural color for the left-wing.

This might not make sense to others but remember I did put the "silly" disclaimer at the start!

Just out of curiosity, does anyone else find the colors counter-intuitive?
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Old 09-19-2008, 03:06 PM
 
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Should a third party candidate ever go really deep in a presidential election which I do believe will happen in our lifetime, I wonder what colors they would use for their party. Green Party would more than likely use Green, but what about the others?
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Old 09-19-2008, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j760 View Post
Should a third party candidate ever go really deep in a presidential election which I do believe will happen in our lifetime, I wonder what colors they would use for their party. Green Party would more than likely use Green, but what about the others?
Interesting. Green would be the natural choice except for the Green Party and its association with various environmental efforts so it is not a "neutral" color.

Fox News uses yellow for toss-up states and I imagine others do too since it is the other primary color.

Black and white would seem unlikely, as would brown.

I would suggest a light purple or light orange.

As someone noted above the parties and analysts have readily adopted the colors. Seeing as how this is the history forum, is this the first time a major party or parties have adopted a specific color?
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Old 09-19-2008, 08:13 PM
 
Location: outer boroughs, NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niners fan View Post
Thanks for the explanation. I was figuring it went back a hundred years or more!





I figured someone would ask this. I can't speak for others, but here's my simple, silly and apolitical explanation...

Fascism is an extreme right-wing ideology and generally involves extreme patriotism. I think of blue as a color of loyalty. So even though Republicans are not fascists and Democrats are not unpatriotic, for some reason I just think of blue as a more natural color for the right-wing.

I think of red as an impassioned color. And nearly every protest or strike I see (with the notable exception of anti-abortion protesters) is composed of people with a left-wing ideology. So I think of red as a more natural color for the left-wing.

This might not make sense to others but remember I did put the "silly" disclaimer at the start!

Just out of curiosity, does anyone else find the colors counter-intuitive?
I do sort of see where you are coming from. In fact, there is a much simpler historical reason why it's ironic that the Republicans are "red."

In the USA today, the Republicans are the right-of-center party and the Democrats are the left-of-center party. Historically, who has been the most left-of-center? Communists. What color were they? Red.

Indeed, the color red has long been associated with left-wing or left-of-center movements, from Soviet Communists to the comparatively tame European Social Democrats. In Germany, the previous government - which involved a coalition of Social Democrats and Greens - was referred to as the "Red-Green Coalition." During the McCarthy era in the US, people with percieved communist leanings were referred to as "pink" - a shade of red.

Now, I'm not equating Republicans or Democrats (or, hell, Social Democrats or Greens) with Communists, but it is kind of strange that the right-of-center party in the modern US is associated with the color red. The OP's feeling that it would seem more intuitive for them to be reversed actually makes sense.
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Old 09-21-2008, 08:41 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neonwattagelimit View Post
I do sort of see where you are coming from. In fact, there is a much simpler historical reason why it's ironic that the Republicans are "red."

In the USA today, the Republicans are the right-of-center party and the Democrats are the left-of-center party. Historically, who has been the most left-of-center? Communists. What color were they? Red.

Indeed, the color red has long been associated with left-wing or left-of-center movements, from Soviet Communists to the comparatively tame European Social Democrats. In Germany, the previous government - which involved a coalition of Social Democrats and Greens - was referred to as the "Red-Green Coalition." During the McCarthy era in the US, people with percieved communist leanings were referred to as "pink" - a shade of red.

Now, I'm not equating Republicans or Democrats (or, hell, Social Democrats or Greens) with Communists, but it is kind of strange that the right-of-center party in the modern US is associated with the color red. The OP's feeling that it would seem more intuitive for them to be reversed actually makes sense.
It might not be strange at all. Maybe CBS purposely did that to avoid any appearance that they were labeling America's left-of-center party as Communists.
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Old 09-21-2008, 08:58 PM
 
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According to the Wiki article "Red States and Blue States," (Red states and blue states; - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; scroll down to "Origins of current color scheme"), various color schemes have been used, including blue and yellow by one network during the 1976 election. The article speculates that the reason all three networks used the same colors for the first time in 2000 was that it happened that Bush used red as his campaign's theme color, and Gore used blue.

Agreed that the colors would seem to make more sense if reversed. I've thought for a few years about red for the Democrats due to that color's association with the left, and in similar tongue-in-cheek fashion to associating the Dems with communists, I've thought that an association could be made between the Republicans and the color blue because there is a perception that they are the party of bluebloods.
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