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Reply #73: It's a scam that started in 2000. [View All]

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JackRiddler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-16-11 06:25 PM
Response to Reply #55
73. It's a scam that started in 2000.
The parties were never color-coded before then.

Colors are eternal and immutable concepts. The idea of red states and blue states turns issues into matters of cultural or personal identity. Suddenly it's in your Texan DNA to vote for Republicans, even when they're screwing you.

Here's a DU post I wrote about it back in 2008:

originally posted at DU Sun Jan-20-08 03:32 PM

The designation of states since 2000 as "Red" for Republican and "Blue" for Democratic long ago became a subtle manipulation, and should be rejected as such.

A History in Color

Since the ascendancy of color television, blue and red have alternated as the colors assigned to the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates on the election night maps used by the TV networks. This is not just because red and blue are primary colors and appear on the U.S. flag. They also happen to be universally distinguishable among viewers with different forms of color blindness.

Many readers may remember that Reagan states were shown in blue in 1980 and 1984. Bush was given red in 1988, but Clinton states were red in both 1992 and 1996.

An informal rule has governed color selection and has almost always been followed by every broadcast network since 1972: Color alternates for the incumbent party. Since incumbency varies, the same party can get the same color several times in a row.

For example, the incumbent color in 2000 was blue and thus given to the Democrats, while the opposition Republicans received red. The next election, the incumbent color switched to red. But since a Republican was now in office, states that voted for Bush remained in red.

If the rule is followed in 2008, however, then the Republican states will be shown in blue and the Democratic states in red.*

The above is explained and illustrated with old TV shots on a right-wing blog that features a table showing the colors used in different election years:

A Psychology of Color

After the 2000 election, something changed. For the first time, the colors used arbitrarily on the election night maps entered the language (if informally) as the permanent colors of the parties.

This may have arisen simply because the election took more than a month to resolve (or steal, if you will), so that the coverage constantly featured maps with Gore in blue and Bush in red. But Blue and Red since then have remained widespread as terms describing a dichotomy.

Democrats and Republicans may often sound and act the same, but to call them Blue and Red suggests true and irreconcilable differences. The two colors, after all, can never be the same. The two-party system is both legitimated subtly as genuinely adversarial, and enshrined as a natural state.

Colors are beyond rationality. They are abstract, natural, and emotionally powerful.

To speak of Blues and Reds is to turn political ideologies and party coalitions into essential aspects of geography, culture and identity. A state no longer votes Republican, but simply is Red by nature. The country is graphically polarized, in fact divided into gangs, Bloods and Crips. Hooligans called the "Greens" and "Blues" once battled each other in the stands at the Hippodrome of Constantinople.

The Blue/Red terminology favors the discourse of the culture wars over mere debate on issues (or economic interests). Thus it encourages a manner of thinking about politics that I would argue is skewed to favor the concerns normally associated with the present-day "Reds."

Colors play to patriotic feeling, and thus reinforce those who are more prone to it. In my observation, the ideologues on the "Red" side have more frequently and more proudly adopted the distinction and termed themselves "Redstaters."

I do not think this coincidental, albeit ironic after the many decades Republicans spent sniffing around for Commie Red bastards.

The fact is that the populations of the states that voted for Bush (notwithstanding that several of these victories were probably stolen on his behalf) tend to be poorer and to have less formal education; they are considered more likely to have a chip on their shoulder and feel resentment against the states that swing Democratic. At any rate, this is what Rovian politics has understood and encouraged, creating the category of "NASCAR Dad" to counter "Soccer Mom." Again, Red/Blue subtly reinforces that.

November will bring a test: If the networks follow their own longstanding informal rule, they will designate blue as the Republican color and red as the Democratic. Some confusion will ensue, which should be constructive, as it will bring forth the arbitrary choice involved in the color assignment. It's easy to imagine protests arising, especially on the right, at what may be called a move by the liberal media to drain away the now widespread connotations of the colors.

If however the broadcasters instead continue the color scheme of 2000 and 2004, giving blue to the Democratic contender and red to the Republican stand-in for incumbency, they will implicitly endorsed the role the colors have come to play since 2000. The use of Red/Blue will have been confirmed as a psychological operation.


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  -Compromise Is Bad! MineralMan  Apr-16-11 12:52 PM   #0 
  - sometimes we don't compromise  Enrique   Apr-16-11 01:19 PM   #1 
  - Yes, they did, and they also moved the age of full retirement up.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 01:22 PM   #3 
  - I would consider that their failure to consider compromise, not ours. nt  guruoo   Apr-16-11 02:00 PM   #18 
     - the dems didn't offer a counter to Bush's plan  Enrique   Apr-16-11 02:07 PM   #21 
  - Yeah but the whole idea is to ask for much more  walldude   Apr-16-11 01:21 PM   #2 
  - Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn't.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 01:22 PM   #4 
  - Why is this idea so bandied about here?  treestar   Apr-16-11 01:30 PM   #6 
  - Good example.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 01:37 PM   #7 
  - Yeah good example if you are not  walldude   Apr-16-11 01:44 PM   #10 
     - It was an obvious exaggeration.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 01:51 PM   #12 
  - Right use a ridiculous example of a moron overreaching  walldude   Apr-16-11 01:43 PM   #9 
  - Well duh  treestar   Apr-16-11 01:47 PM   #11 
  - Why? Because we learn, over and over  EFerrari   Apr-16-11 01:54 PM   #14 
  - Exactly. Compromise is a sub-routine of  EFerrari   Apr-16-11 01:52 PM   #13 
  - OMG you caved! You caved to your wife! !!!!!  treestar   Apr-16-11 01:28 PM   #5 
  - LOL!  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 01:37 PM   #8 
  - The poor and working class people in this country have compromised enough.  TheKentuckian   Apr-16-11 01:54 PM   #15 
  - +1  leftstreet   Apr-16-11 01:59 PM   #17 
  - + 1,000,000,000... What You Said !!!  WillyT   Apr-16-11 03:53 PM   #65 
  - Thank you. "Compromise" here is as disingenuous as the Republicans' "shared sacrifice." nt  woo me with science   Apr-16-11 05:52 PM   #68 
  - Indeed. And what of the Iraqis, Afghanis and all the others who don't get a choice to "compromise"?  JackRiddler   Apr-16-11 06:37 PM   #75 
  - Recommended, as usual.  MH1   Apr-16-11 01:58 PM   #16 
  - Thanks. It's worth a lot to me.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 02:27 PM   #24 
  - So, compromise is not bad because you do it?  EFerrari   Apr-16-11 02:01 PM   #19 
  - Reductio ad absurdum is pretty bad, too  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 02:20 PM   #22 
  - I must apologize for my comment about your Latin.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 03:04 PM   #32 
     - If you felt bad enough to apologize why didn't you just delete your comment.  boston bean   Apr-16-11 07:03 PM   #78 
  - You can't compromise in US politics when there is no Left  leftstreet   Apr-16-11 02:01 PM   #20 
  - Depends where you draw the line, doesn't it,  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 02:22 PM   #23 
     - You're mistakenly assuming the Democrats represent the Left  leftstreet   Apr-16-11 03:02 PM   #30 
     - I have displayed how I draw the line.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 03:12 PM   #39 
        - Yes. Between "crazy" people  leftstreet   Apr-16-11 03:15 PM   #40 
           - Yeah, the Crazy part is a little silly.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 03:19 PM   #43 
              - You're using "the seating arrangement in the US Congress" now?!  leftstreet   Apr-16-11 03:22 PM   #48 
                 - It's where the expressions originated.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 03:24 PM   #51 
                    - Well then why are Democrats blue and Republicans red?  leftstreet   Apr-16-11 03:32 PM   #55 
                    - That I cannot answer. That never made any sense to me, either.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 03:37 PM   #56 
                    - It's a scam that started in 2000.  JackRiddler   Apr-16-11 06:25 PM   #73 
                    - Actually, the term orginated based on the seating of the French  white_wolf   Apr-16-11 03:48 PM   #61 
                    - Nope, it comes from France,  Bluenorthwest   Apr-16-11 06:08 PM   #72 
     - LOL  G_j   Apr-16-11 03:12 PM   #38 
        - Not really. It's pretty much a standard political bell curve  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 03:15 PM   #41 
  - Compromise is good..up to a point.  Tierra_y_Libertad   Apr-16-11 02:29 PM   #25 
  - Unfortunately, half of the bulk of the voting population doesn't  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 02:33 PM   #26 
     - How does going along with the system change it?  Tierra_y_Libertad   Apr-16-11 02:47 PM   #27 
     - As you say. The individual votes, based on his or her own lines.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 02:57 PM   #29 
        - No, individuals vote based on what the menu offers  leftstreet   Apr-16-11 03:04 PM   #35 
        - I have not been in such a restaurant.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 03:08 PM   #37 
           - Grayson was a Democrat, not third party.  white_wolf   Apr-16-11 03:21 PM   #46 
              - Damn! I always confuse Grayson with Bernie Sanders.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 03:23 PM   #50 
                 - It is fine. I can see how you would get them confused  white_wolf   Apr-16-11 03:25 PM   #52 
                    - I hope Grayson can come back, too.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 03:28 PM   #54 
        - I stated my "plan".  Tierra_y_Libertad   Apr-16-11 03:20 PM   #44 
           - Very well. It is your vote.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 03:22 PM   #47 
              - I will. And, I assume you will do likewise.  Tierra_y_Libertad   Apr-16-11 03:41 PM   #58 
                 - I always do. Always have.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 03:46 PM   #60 
     - And that is because for far too long, people have gone along  sabrina 1   Apr-16-11 03:38 PM   #57 
        - If a third party emerges, that's what happens.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 03:50 PM   #64 
           - There have always been lots of parties.  sabrina 1   Apr-16-11 04:05 PM   #66 
              - Well, that'd be nice.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 05:57 PM   #69 
                 - I know you don't. A lot of people didn't see  sabrina 1   Apr-16-11 06:29 PM   #74 
                    - As I said, good luck with that.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 06:37 PM   #76 
  - Excellent post. Our Country was built on Compromise.  johnaries   Apr-16-11 02:55 PM   #28 
  - Very well stated.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 03:04 PM   #34 
  - No one dies when /you/ compromise. nt  sudopod   Apr-16-11 03:03 PM   #31 
  - except the fish  Enrique   Apr-16-11 03:04 PM   #33 
     - Actually, not even the fish.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 03:06 PM   #36 
  - I'm not opposed to compromise in all things, it is just that the Dems compromise is terrible.  white_wolf   Apr-16-11 03:18 PM   #42 
  - I don't disagree with you. I'm actually way over to the left in  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 03:21 PM   #45 
     - People say that a lot, and they may very well be right, but  white_wolf   Apr-16-11 03:23 PM   #49 
        - There have been many temporary shifts, and sometimes  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 03:27 PM   #53 
  - How can I compromise with people whose outlook on taking care of the people of this country  OmmmSweetOmmm   Apr-16-11 03:46 PM   #59 
  - By drawing lines you won't cross.  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 03:48 PM   #62 
  - That is pretty much where I stand.  white_wolf   Apr-16-11 03:49 PM   #63 
  - Platitudes are bad. (Really.) So are abstract generalizations.  JackRiddler   Apr-16-11 05:48 PM   #67 
  - You think it's removed from the political realities of today?  MineralMan   Apr-16-11 05:59 PM   #71 
  - that depends on how you go about it  paulk   Apr-16-11 05:58 PM   #70 
  - I've never respected TINA.  JanMichael   Apr-16-11 06:55 PM   #77 
  - But to be compromised is completely different.  grahamhgreen   Apr-16-11 07:10 PM   #79 
  - "Almost universally" brings to mind the Pinafore!  Bluenorthwest   Apr-16-11 08:36 PM   #80 
  - Oh, I see what your problem is.  bvar22   Apr-17-11 11:52 AM   #81 

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