It used to be that there was no rhyme or reason for which party’s candidate was assigned which color. Some networks would make states that voted Democratic blue and Republicans red, whereas others would do the exact opposite. I remember reading that each new president was assigned the “opposite” color of his predecessor. If the current president wasn’t up for reelection, then the parties would “switch.” The current blue automatically equals Democrat/red equals Republican scheme didn’t become standard until 2000. Now that we’re certain of having a new president, do you think some networks will switch once again? On the one hand, it might confuse some people, but on the other hand, it would be nice to stop hearing about all this blue state vs. red state crap.
“It might confuse some people…”
You answered your own question.
I’ve been wondering the same thing. The way they’re talking, it’s going to stay Redpublican and Bluebama. I just hope whatever they go with, they make sure everyone is on board.
Man, I can’t keep my eyes and ears off this election.
It’s fine as long as you don’t use red or blue for either candidate. I noticed today that Gallup is using yellow and green in their presidential polls. At first I was confused, because I’m so used to seeing the red and blue. But once I figured it out, I found it restful. I also like the fact that it gets us away from all of that red state/blue state rhetoric. I’d like to see at least one network go there.
No, It would confuse everybody and benefit nobody. It switched because there was no clearly established narrative, and thus no real reason to keep using the same color scheme. Now Republicans are firmly entrenched as red, and Democrats as blue.
One of the Democrats small victories. Could you imagine how it would have been spun if the Democrats were red?
<Fox News>Aren’t they already?</ Fox News>
It wasn’t random. The networks used to assign blue to the incumbent party and red to the challenger. This was the pattern in 2000. But the aftermath of that election had so much talk about blue Democratic states and red Republican states, that the colors became permanently associated with those parties.
Yeah, but it’s ass backwards - the conservatives are blue, the liberals are red. That’s the way it works in Canada, anyway. The US has just been needlessly confusing for the last 8 years.
That’s not really true, Little Nemo. Different networks did different things.
They could pick colors few would rally behind or seek to inject into their party’s rhetoric. But then again, they’re already using donkeys and elephants as symbols.
Am I the only doper old enough to remember “Better Dead, than Red”? I’m shocked that the Republicans, somehow, let us have blue. Green would be nice; something weird, like cyan, mauve or chartreuse might be even better.
I say we make the Democrats lime, the Greens green, the Republicans asparagus, and the Libertarians invisible.
I’m pretty sure the Libertarians are already invisible on the electoral map.
It always confuses me because here blue is very definitely for the right-wing party, and red is for the left. As chacoguy420 mentions, red is for commies! Even if our left-of-centre party is a bit more moderate than that ;).
I still have have to stop and think “Red? Wait, that’s Republican”.
Me too. What I find bizarre is that there wasn’t any colour association until so recently.
We’ll fix it as soon as we finish converting to the metric system.
There was no need for it.
Journey to the bygone era of 1988, when Bush’s father took on the immortal Michael Dukakis. There was very little state-by-state polling in advance of the election, and thus no occasion for color-coded up-to-the-minute election predictions. There was no Internet, and most newspapers printed in black and white with primitive graphics. Maybe once, maybe twice, in the fall election season, a Sunday newspaper or a color news magazine might print a graphic election forecast–based more on historical analysis than on the latest polls. Nobody cared if the colors were standard. By the time you saw one map, you’d forgotten what you saw previously.
On election night, there were three networks, plus CNN (if you had cable, and a lot of people didn’t.) Remote controls were less common than now. Most people were loyal to one network, and there was relatively little channel surfing. It didn’t disturb anybody if CBS used one scheme and NBC another.
And then, two days after the election, all was forgotten for another three years and ten months. No more maps, no bloggers, no year-round election chatter. And nobody cared about the colors.
None of this is any different to the situation in other countries. However, many parties have long-standing associations with a particular colour, perhaps the most fundamental part of brand images possible. America somehow sidestepped this.
"America somehow sidestepped this. "
Possibly because many Democrats found it offensive to be permanently associated with the “Reds.”
But yes, in an ideal world, Democrats would be red because they are of the left, and Republicans would be something else, probably blue (perhaps royal blue, reflecting the conservative monarchist traditions? I dunno).
But 2000 changed that, and it’s now useful (if admittedly tired) political shorthand. It’s too entrenched to change anytime soon.
Oh well. As a GOP “red state” voter, I can take solace in knowing that I’m living in red-blooded America, unlike those depression-suffering blue voters ;-).
In Canada, the Conservatives are dark blue, the Liberals are red, the Bloc Quebecois is a lighter shade of blue, the Greens are green, the NDP is orange, the Christian Heritage Party is maroon, and after that it becomes less organized.
You could get ecru and puce in there as well. Maybe then I’d find out what those colours actually are…