Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reverse the Red-State-Blue-State Color Designation

In his column in Human Events today, Michael Barone, author of The Almanac of American Politics, writes that he has produced a map of the 50 American states showing which political party leads in public opinion polls in each of the states, with the Republican-leaning states colored in blue and the Democratic-leaning ones colored in red. Thus, he has reversed the color designation practice that has been used by the media and political commentators since 2000. This welcome shift is long overdue.

Red and blue are symbolic opposites, as they are two of the three primary colors (with yellow) and are nearly at opposite ends of the visible light spectrum. Blue is symbolically associated with good and red with evil. For example, in a blockbuster film released just three years before that watershed election, the hero of Star Wars used a blue light saber, while the villain working for the evil “Empire” (like the “red” Union of Soviet Socialist Republics United States President Ronald Reagan referred to as the “Evil Empire”) used a red one. Throughout the Cold War between the Soviets and the West, the Catholic Blue Army fought the Communist Red Army through prayer for the conversion of communist Russia from atheism to Christianity.

The media, especially the three television broadcast networks, began coloring the states whose presidential electors were won by each of the parties either blue or red on maps at least as early as 1980. Although not all of the broadcasters used the same color designation, the majority colored the states won by Republicans blue and Democrats red. This designation seemed fitting at the time because the GOP’s Reagan-Bush ticket made the media’s maps turn mostly blue, while the Democratic Party’s Carter-Mondale ticket succeeded in turning only a few states red, the color of socialism and communism, as their party platform favored welfare statism and a more conciliatory approach to the Soviet menace.

The liberal media was not indicating any support for Reagan in its blue coloration for him, as it did not expect him to win, especially with such a large 40-state electoral mandate. Indeed, it established a practice of alternating color designation in order to be fair to the parties, so that each election year the designation would be reversed, with the Democrats represented by blue and the Republicans red, and so on. The new cable television networks joined in participating in the alternating color designation custom, which continued through the 2000 election.

The disputed 2000 election for presidential electors significantly raised the public consciousness of the color designation as the media and political commentators referred to this or that states as “blue” or “red.” Such references to the states continued over the next election cycle. In 2004, the media and political commentators ended the practice of alternating the color designation. They have now permanently fixed the color designation as blue for Democrats and red for Republicans, thereby abandoning all fairness.

Republicans and conservatives should demonstrate their independence of the liberal media by following Barone’s example and coloring Republican states blue and Democratic states red, especially now that the creeping socialist platform of the latter party is becoming ever more clear.

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