There are symbols and signs – some open, some coded – that push us toward one thing or away from another. One of the most overlooked of these is color. We may not know it, but the political and natural world is full of secret messages based on color that are guiding us.
A Blue Wave?
From advertisements to social media, we are under a barrage of information … and that information is crafted to persuade. Have you ever wondered why Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Periscope, LinkedIn, and so many others all have blue as their dominant color? It’s no coincidence.
Blue represents something: communication and calm. Blue is what’s known as a background color; it doesn’t get in your face and, therefore, promotes calmness. It gives users a sense of peace, a sense that they are somewhere they should be. It also helps that blue is the color that both men and women prefer.
Red V. Blue
And what about the present political system? We associate blue with the Democratic Party. When political commentators talk of a “blue wave,” they mean a powerful force of nature, but also one that will resettle into an ocean of calm. “Blue-sky thinking” gives an unconscious connection to persuade us that Democrats are the party of the “grand idea,” which has never before been tried.
A Media Choice?
The Republicans and Democrats did not choose their own colors.
In fact, the standardization of these parties’ colors didn’t really take place until the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Prior to this, news networks and papers would all vary which color was used to represent parties; different outlets used different colors. And then came The New York Times and USA Today electoral maps, which gave red to the Republicans, apparently because it started with an “r.”
Forcing An Idea
Portraying the Democrats as blue gives them an air of calm and contemplation and appeals to both men and women, but it also means that they are not identified with the color red … which may be of even more significance.
Traditionally, red represented the monarchy or Christianity, quite literally, the blood of Christ. During the French Revolution of 1789, the red flag was adopted to represent not the blood of Christ, but “the blood of the angry workers.” And this use of the Red Flag continued through the Russian revolution, Marxism, socialism, communism, and revolutionary groups.
Ironically, Republicans are usually against socialist ideas, while the Democrats are more supportive of them.
Colors That Bind
So we have the communist red, and the steady and stable blue. Each comes with its own associations; it’s almost a freebie in terms of political messaging.
Colors are beautiful things. They can inspire emotions, calm an angered heart, soothe a savage soul, and even provide that boost of passion we so often need to help us overcome the challenges of life.