Red State – Blue State

Did you ever wonder why all the maps shown on TV depict Republican-voting states in red, while Democrat-voting states are shown in blue? The system of political colors used in the United States is the reverse of that used in describing most other long-established governments. But it hasn’t always been that way, and today’s choice of political colors is no accident.

The flag on the left is of the former USSR, while the one on the right is flown over the People’s Republic of China. Remember the “Great Red Army”, or Chairman Mao’s “Little Red Book”?


Soviet flag
conservative news China flag




The color red has always been associated with Communist or “progressive” governments, while blue has always represented right-wing or “conservative” governments, such as the flag of Scotland.


conservative views Scottish map
And yes, there was a time when the blue color also represented the Republican or conservative party here in the US, and red depicted the Democrat or liberal party.

It is believed that political party color designations began in 1976 when John Chancellor, the anchorman for NBC Nightly News, asked his network’s engineers to construct a large illuminated map of the USA to be placed in the election-night news studio. If Jimmy Carter, the Democrat candidate that year, won a state, it would light up in red; if Gerald Ford, the Republican, carried a state, it would light up in blue. The feature proved to be so popular that four years later all three major television networks would use colors on Election Night to designate the states won by the presidential candidates.

But the colors changed with the 2000 presidential election. On an October 30th episode of the Today Show, the late NBC journalist, Tim Russert, former chief of staff to Democrat Senator Daniel Moynihan, felt the red color might too closely identify the Democrat party with its left-leaning ideology, so he assigned the color red to the Republican Party. Naturally, the remaining media fell in lock-step with the former Democrat operative’s designation.

conservative politics red and blue mapBy the time the 2008 presidential election came around, all the media showed Republican states in red, and Democrat states in blue. It has been so depicted ever since.



Color schemes may be OK for showing past elections. But it does get a bit more complicated when the pundits conservative views red white blue maptry to graphically predict the outcome of future elections; such as November, 2012. Additional colors are introduced to illustrate those states that may just be leaning in one direction or the other. So now we have red, blue, pink, light blue, and even white for those voters who don’t know what to think.

Then Dr. Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia gets even more complicated when he throws in yellow, and some sort of orange for the state of Missouri.


conservative politics map


The Political Science Department of the University of Michigan goes completely bonkers with various shades of purple on a county by county basis. These blends of colors may be more esthetically pleasing, but do tend to leave us about where we started. Confused.

conservative news purple map


But our liberal politicians and friends in the media are always anxious to come up with confusing identities. I still can’t remember if giving a woman “freedom to choose” means life or abortion for the unborn child. Of course we all know that Obamacare, the most expensive government program in history, is called The Affordable Health Care for America Act, and you will recall that Saddam Hussein’s murderous secret police were referred to as his Republican Guard. Coincidence, I am sure.

So, just remember that internationally red still means Communist, and blue still means Conservative. But thanks to our friends in the US media who are always anxious to discredit Conservatives wherever they may find them, Republicans are now painted red, and the Democrats as blue and pure as the skies above.

But considering their spectacular failure in attempting to unseat Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker in what has traditionally been a blue state, it is the leftist Democrats who are again showing the most red. . . especially just above the collar!





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1 comment for “Red State – Blue State

  1. Pingback: DH Holman

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