Democrats Like Being Blue

May 01, 2013

The now familiar Red State, Blue State designations began during the 2000 presidential recount. Many of the news anchors covering the weeks-long escapade did so in front of color coded maps -- Gore states were blue and Bush states were red. 

I don't know that too much thought was put into assigning those colors, but I imagine it mostly centered on what looked good on television. Once red and blue were chosen, the party assignments were probably preordained. You could hardly give "red" to the Democrats, who had been slandered for decades as being socialists. Before 2000, the political association with the color red was to communists and socialists, particularly Soviet Russia -- as in, "Better Dead than Red."

I've never talked to other Democrats about it, but I'm pretty sure most of them are quietly overjoyed that they got blue in that inadvertent lottery. Probably first among the reasons is that old association -- "red" isn't a bad word someone can hurl at liberals anymore. And after decades of being on the defensive about patriotism, they get to be "true blue" Americans. For the religious, the heavens are blue and fire is red. Red feels angry, blue feels cool...a good match for our calm Democratic President and the fiery Tea Party supporters who oppose him.

Republicans have embraced "red" to some extent. One of the most popular conservative blogs is "Red State." But given the number of bumper sticker makers ("This Is a Blue Car"), Democratic consulting firms (bluestatedigital.com), and web sites (bluevirginia.us) who use that color, it seems like liberals have embraced their hue more enthusiastically.

So, as they say in Michigan (which President Obama won by 10 points): Go Blue.

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