red/blye states

The Color of Politics

The Color of Politics

red/blye states

Summary

15 nations of North America

 I have been fascinated by the color of  politics  around the world, especially intrigued by how the color schemes flipped in the U.S. from red symbolizing the left to red symbolizing the right in recent decades.  I noticed that this shift has occurred in both Japan and Korea in recent decades as well.

I explore the color of politics starting in the US,  where I have lived in blue states, purple states, and red states, then looking at Korea where I currently reside since I retired in 2016, and have been coming to for decades since I first went there in 1979 in the Peace Corps, and finally look at the color of politics in other countries.

And I explore what does it mean that the color of politics scheme has flipped –  In the U.S., and a few other places ? I recall growing up Red was for communism, blue for conservative, and green well has always been green.   When did this occur?

The underlying data is taken from various sources, cited in the endnotes.  My commentary is labeled “comment”.  My data sources mostly talked about political movements by color, I re-arranged that to discuss political movements by country.  Thought that was a more useful analysis.

In the U.S.

A key exception to the convention of red to mean socialism is the United States. Since about the year 2000, the mass media have associated red with the Republican Party, even though the Republican Party is a conservative party (see red states and blue states).[24] This use is possibly entrenched, as many political organizations (for example, the website RedState) now use the term. Conservative parties such as the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan and the People Power Party of South Korea also adopted red as their political color in recent years.

“Since around the 2000 United States presidential election, red states and blue states have referred to states of the United States whose voters predominantly choose either the Republican Party (red) or Democratic Party (blue) presidential and senatorial candidates.[1] Since then, the use of the term has been expanded to differentiate between states being perceived as liberal and those perceived as conservative.[not verified in body] Examining patterns within states reveals that the reversal of the two parties’ geographic bases has happened at the state level, but it is more complicated locally, with urban-rural divides associated with many of the largest changes.[2]

Origins of the Color Scheme

The colors red and blue are also featured on the United States flag. Traditional political mapmakers, at least throughout the 20th century, had used blue to represent the modern-day Republicans, as well as the earlier Federalist Party. This may have been a holdover from the Civil War, during which the predominantly Republican north was considered “blue”.[5] However, at that time, a maker of widely-sold maps accompanied them with blue pencils to mark Confederate force movements, while red was for the union.[6]

Later, in the 1888 presidential electionGrover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison used maps that coded blue for the Republicans, the color perceived to represent the Union and “Lincoln‘s Party”, and red for the Democrats.[7] The parties themselves had no official colors, with candidates variously using either or both of the national color palette of red and blue (white being unsuitable for printed materials).

There was one historical use, associated with the boss rule, of blue for Democrats and red for Republicans: in the late 19th century and early 20th century, Texas county election boards used color-coding to help Spanish-speaking and illiterate voters identify the parties;[8] however, this system was not applied consistently in Texas and was not replicated in any other state. In 1908, The New York Times printed a special color map, using blue for Democrats and yellow for Republicans, to detail Theodore Roosevelt‘s 1904 electoral victory.[9] That same year, a color supplement included in a July issue of the Washington Post used red for Republican-leaning states, blue for Democratic-leaning states, yellow for “doubtful” states, and green for territories that had no presidential vote.[10]

Contemporary Use

“The advent of color television in America in the late 1950s and early 1960s prompted television news reporters to rely on color-coded electoral maps, though sources conflict as to the conventions they followed. One source claims that in the elections before 2000 every state that voted for Democratic candidates but one had been coded red. It further claims that from 1976 to 2004 in an attempt to avoid favoritism in color-coding the broadcast networks standardized the convention of alternating every four years between blue and red the color used for the incumbent president‘s party.[10][13]

According to another source, in 1976, John Chancellor, the anchorman for NBC Nightly News, asked his network’s engineers to construct a large illuminated map of the United States. The map was placed in the network’s election-night news studio. If Jimmy Carter, the Democratic candidate that year, won a state, it lit up in red whereas if Gerald Ford, the incumbent Republican president, carried a state, it was in blue.[1] The feature proved to be so popular that, four years later, all three major television networks used colors to designate the states won by the presidential candidates, though not all using the same color scheme. NBC continued its color scheme (blue for Republicans) until 1996.[1] NBC newsman David Brinkley famously referred to the 1980 election map outcome showing Republican Ronald Reagan‘s 44-state landslide in blue as resembling a “suburban swimming pool”.[14]

Since the 1984 electionCBS has used the opposite scheme: blue for Democrats, red for Republicans. ABC used yellow for Republicans and blue for Democrats in 1976, then red for Republicans and blue for Democrats in 1980, 1984, and 1988. In 1980, when John Anderson ran a relatively high-profile campaign as an independent candidate, at least one network provisionally indicated that they would use yellow if he were to win a state. Similarly, at least one network would have used yellow to indicate a state won by Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996, though neither of them did claim any states in any of these years.”

By 1996, color schemes were relatively mixed, as CNN, CBS, ABC, and The New York Times referred to Democratic states with the color blue and Republican ones as red, while Time and The Washington Post used the opposite scheme.[15][16][17] NBC used the color blue for the incumbent party, which is why blue represented the Democrats in 2000.

In the days following the 2000 election, whose outcome was unclear for some time after election day, major media outlets began conforming to the same color scheme because the electoral map was continually in view, and conformity made for easy and instant viewer comprehension. On election night that year, there was no coordinated effort to code Democratic states blue and Republican states red; the association gradually emerged. Partly as a result of this eventual and near-universal color-coding, the terms “red states” and “blue states” entered popular use in the weeks following the 2000 presidential election. After the results were final with the Republican George W. Bush winning, journalists stuck with the color scheme, as The Atlantic‘s December 2001 cover story by David Brooks entitled, “One Nation, Slightly Divisible”, illustrated.[18]

Thus, red and blue became fixed in the media and many people’s minds, although the Democratic and Republican parties had not officially chosen colors.[19] Some Republicans argue the GOP should retain its historic link with blue since most center-right parties worldwide are associated with blue. On March 14, 2014, the California Republican Party officially rejected Red and adopted blue as its color. Archie Tso, The New York Times graphics editor who made the choice when the Times published its first color presidential election map in 2000, provided a nonpolitical rationale for retaining the red–Republican link, explaining that “Both ‘Republican’ and ‘red’ start with the letter ‘R.'”[20]

In the United States, the two major political parties use national colors, i.e. red, white and blue. Historically, the only common situation in which it has been necessary to assign a single color to a party has been in the production of political maps in graphical displays of election results. In such cases, there had been no consistent association of particular parties with particular colors. Between the early 1970s and 1992, most television networks used blue to denote states carried by the Democratic Party and red to denote states carried by the Republican Party in presidential elections. A unified color scheme (blue for Democrats, red for Republicans) began to be implemented with the 1996 presidential election; in the weeks following the 2000 election, there arose the terminology of red states and blue states.

Political observers latched on to this association, which resulted from the use of red for Republican victories and blue for Democratic victories on the display map of a television network. As of November 2012, maps for presidential elections produced by the U.S. government also use blue for Democrats and red for Republicans.[78] In September 2010, the Democratic Party officially adopted an all-blue logo.[26] Around the same time, the official Republican website began using a red logo.

The conservative Blue Dog Coalition within the Democratic Party adopted the color blue at its founding before the 2000 election solidified the red-blue convention.

There is some historical use of blue for Democrats and red for Republicans: in the late 19th century and early 20th century, Texas county election boards used color-coding to help Spanish speakers and illiterates identify the parties,[79] but this system was not applied consistently in Texas and was not picked up on a national level. For instance, in 1888Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison used maps that coded blue for the Republicans, the color Harrison perceived to represent the Union, and “Lincoln‘s Party” and red for the Democrats.[80]

As the other TV operations went to full color, they too added vivid maps to their election night extravaganzas. But they didn’t agree on a color scheme, so viewers switching between channels might see Ronald Reagan’s landslide turning the landscape blue on NBC and CBS but red on ABC.”

In the United States, the color blue has been associated with the liberal Democratic Party since around the 2000 presidential election, when most of the major television networks used the same color scheme for the parties.[24][25] This makes the United States an exception to the general rule that blue represents conservative parties; the major conservative party in the United States, the Republican Party, uses red. In 2010, the party unveiled a blue official logo[26] (see red states and blue states).

Now, in America, red has become the color of conservatism. An accident of media history, the current colors are evidence of the randomness and instability of political color codes – though it’s unlikely Donald Trump will be selling blue “Make America Great Again” baseball caps any time soon.”

Purple Swing States

Purple is also unofficially used in the United States to denote a “swing state“, swing district, or county. (i.e. one contested frequently between the Republican Party, whose unofficial color is red; and the Democratic Party, whose unofficial color is blue). Purple is also used by centrists to represent a combination of beliefs belonging to the Republicans (red) and the Democrats (blue). It has also been used to reference Purple America, a term used in contrast to “blue” or “red”, noting the electoral differences nationwide are observed more on discrepancies instead of unity (see red states and blue states).

All states contain considerable amounts of both liberal and conservative voters (i.e., they are “purple”) and only appear blue or red on the electoral map because of the winner-take-all system used by most states in the Electoral College.[3][4] However, the perception of some states as “blue” and some as “red” was reinforced by a degree of partisan stability from election to election—from the 2000 election to the 2004 election, only three states changed “color” and as of 2020, fully 35 out of 50 states have voted for the same party in every presidential election since the red-blue terminology was popularized in 2000, with 10 swing states as of the 2020 election. Although many red states and blue states stay in the same categorical placement for some time, they may also switch from blue to red or from red to blue—over time, spanning many years.”

Yellow

In the United States, the color yellow was the official color of the suffrage movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[74] In the 21st century, the Libertarian Party‘s official branding colors are gold-yellow, grey, and black.[75] The gold-yellow color is prominent because of the historical association with classical liberalism and a gold-backed currency and free markets.

Green

Comment: the color green has become identified with the green party, and to some extent with the democratic party as well.  Although formal green party candidates have not done that well electorally speaking, the green movement has been quite successful politically.  Green has also been the color of pro-marijuana legalization movements in the U.S. and elsewhere. and the green color was also used by agrarian and populist movements in the late 19th century.  End Comment

Grey

Grey can also be used to refer to reactionary independence or secessionist movements, due to its association with the Confederate States of America.[32]

Japan and Korea

Interestingly, Japan and Korea have also adopted the US color scheme, with liberal parties adopting blue and conservative parties adopting red colors.  This is quite a contrast to when I first visited Korea in the late 70’s when  red “빨간 Balgan) ” was still used an an insult to describe some one who was pro-communist.

Japan

In Japan, blue is associated with liberal, centrist, and center-left parties. Three center-left parties in Japan with elected representatives use blue: the Constitutional Democratic PartyDemocratic Party for the People, and the Social Democratic Party. Historically, blue was used by Japan Socialist Party.”

In Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) uses green as its official color, though in recent years it has changed to use red.

Korea

“As in most other places of the world, colors are a very powerful tool used in Korean politics for delivering the right messages to the people.

Red – reminds people of communism. It is also the color of labor strikes and management disputes.

Blue and green represent stability, honesty, harmony, and growth. President Myung Bak Lee often wore light blue for this very meaning along with an emphasis on economic growth.

Vivid yellow – this happens to be the most successful political color in Korea. Two former presidents (Moo-Hyun Rho and Dae-Jung Kim) chose this color to emphasize a message of hope and peace.

FIFA World Cup and its influence on the popularity of red colors in Korea

Red had many negative perceptions in the past for Koreans, especially in politics and industry. Mainly, it symbolized the communist ideology, riots, labor unions, and unrest. However, the FIFA world cup of 2002 (Korea-Japan) gave the color a whole different symbolic meaning, and it started being viewed as the color of vitality, energy, joy, and festivity. Koreans now believe that red evokes passion and excitement in people and connects them in oneness.”

Comment: Starting in 2000 or so Koreans also adopted the blue/red colors to describe domestic politics, departing from the traditional use of red for left and blue for right-wing political parties.   The most recent election featured a dramatic split in Korean politics, the eastern side of the county was red and the western side was blue.  The southwest was solid blue – 80 percent for the liberal party. Seoul and Incheon were purple but leading blue, and the SE the traditional homeland of conservative parties was solid red.

In South Korea, traditionally blue was used by conservative parties. In 2013, blue has adopted by the Liberal Democratic Party of Korea (previously used as green and yellow), while the conservative party change its color from blue to red.

In South Korea, green was used by liberal parties. It changed to using blue in 2013.

In South Korea, yellow is associated with historically Uri Party and former President Park Kyun He supporters.

east/west red blue political division in Korea

Rest of the World

Summary

“This unintended color-coding of American politics reversed the political associations of red and blue that exist almost everywhere else in the world.

This association has the potential to confuse foreign observers in that, as described above, red is traditionally a left-wing color (as used with the Democratic Socialists of America), while blue is typically associated with right-wing politics.[1] This is further complicated by the diversity of factions in the Democratic Party ranging from conservatives to right-libertarians to democratic socialists alongside the dominant centrist and social liberal elements of the party that outside the United States often each uses different political colors.”

“The recent (21st century) association of colors in American politics lies contrary to the long-standing conventions of political color in most other countries whereby red symbols (such as the red flag or red star) are associated with left-wing politics.[11] Indeed, as late as the 1990s, Democrats were often represented by red and Republicans by blue.[1] According to The Washington Post, journalist Tim Russert coined these terms during his televised coverage of the 2000 presidential election.[12] The 2000 election was not the first during which the news media used colored maps to depict voter preferences in the various states, but it was the first time a standard color scheme took hold. In previous elections, the color assignments or even the actual colors used were often different.”

The Choice Of Colors In This Divide May Appear Counter-Intuitive To Non-American Observers, As In Most Countries, Red Is Associated With SocialistCommunist, Or Social Democratic Parties, While Blue Is Associated With Conservative Parties. For Example, The Major Center-Right Conservative Parties In Germany, The United KingdomCanadaAustraliaNew ZealandBrazilItalySpain And France All Use Blue Or Its Shades (Whether Officially Or Unofficially) Whereas The Major Socialist, Communist, Or Social Democratic Parties In Each Country Are Associated With Red.

If The U.S. Followed Such A Pattern, Blue Would Be Used For The Republicans And Red For The Democrats. However, The Current U.S. Scheme Has Become So Ingrained In The American Election System That Foreign Sources Who Cover U.S. Elections, Such As The BBCDer Spiegel, And El Mundo Follow With The Red-Republican, Blue-Democratic Scheme For U.S. Elections.[49][5

Parties in different countries with similar ideologies sometimes use similar colors. As an example the color red symbolizes left-wing ideologies in many countries (leading to such terms as “Red Army” and “Red Scare“), while the color blue is often used for conservatism, the color yellow is most commonly associated with liberalism and right-libertarianism, and Green politics is named after the ideology’s political color.[2][3]

The political associations of a given color vary from country to country, and there are exceptions to the general trends.[2][3] For example, red has historically been associated with the monarchy or the Church, but over time gained an association with leftist politics, while the United States differs from other countries in that conservativism is associated with red and liberalism with blue.[2][3]

Politicians making public appearances will often identify themselves by wearing rosettesflowers, or ties in the color of their political party.”

By  Country/Group

Agrarian Movements (Green)

Green has sometimes also been linked to agrarian movements, such as the Populist Party, in the U.S. in the 1890s and the current-day Nordic Agrarian parties, as well as the National Party of Australia, a conservative party traditionally representing regional and agricultural interests.[37] The International Agrarian Bureau, though often known as the “Green International”, did not formally endorse the color, although its successor, called International Peasant Union, was represented by a clover.[38]

Albania

In Albania, purple is the color of the Socialist Party of Albania.

Anarchists Movements (black)

Anarchists in Germany in the black bloc

The colors black and red have been used by anarchists since at least the late 1800s when they were used on cockades by Italian anarchists in the 1874 Bologna insurrection, and in 1877 when anarchists entered the Italian town Latino carrying red and black flags to promote the First International.[6] During the Spanish civil war, the CNT used a diagonally half strip of black and red, with black representing anarchism and red representing the labor movement and the worker movement. The flag was quickly adopted by other anarchists, with the second color used to distinguish specific anarchist philosophiesanarchy pacifism with white, green anarchism with green, anarcho-syndicalism, and anarcho-communism with red, mutualism with orange, and anarcho-capitalism with yellow, while black alone typically represents Anarchism without adjectives.

Anti-Fa U.S. and EU -Black

Comment: In the U.S. and EU. The Antifa movement protestors often wore black colors and carried black flags.  

for more info see:

wiki on antifa

End Comment

Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, the Taliban reversed the Islamist schema, using black shahada on a white background (symbol of purity)

Argentina

“In Argentina, blue is associated with the syncretic Peronist movement. The left-wing populist Frente de To-dos uses sky blue alongside the Justicialist Party, the main party of the front. Federal Peronism, which represents the right-wing of the Peronist movement and the conservative Christian Democratic Party current, uses dark blue.”

Belgium

In Belgium, blue is associated with liberalism, used both by the Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats in the Reformist Movement.[19]

It has been used to represent the Purple governments of Belgium and the Netherlands, formed by an alliance of red social-democratic and blue liberal parties.

Brazil

In Brazil, yellow, combined with green, is associated with right-wing populists and national conservatives movements against corruption, anti-Workers Partyanti-communists, supportive of impeachment of Dilma Rousseff[72] and later, with support of Jair Bolsonaro, like PSL and the Alliance for Brazil.[73] The association came because many of the protesters against Dilma wore the jersey of the Brazil national football team, which is yellow with the numbers and some details in green, and because the protesters chanted that the Brazilian flag “will never be red” (about the colors of the communism and Workers’ Party) and “will always be green and yellow”.

“In Brazil, the right-wing populist and formerly social-democratic Brazilian Labor Party uses black. Black is also the color of the far-left Popular Unity

In Brazil, red combined with black and white was formerly associated with Brazilian nationalism.[citation needed] The first incarnation of the agrarianismcentrist Social Democratic Party, both incarnations of the Brazilian Labor Party (the first a social democratic party, the current one a populist one) and the Brazilian Democratic Movement use this color scheme. Red, Black, and White are associated with the three races which form the ethnic composition of Brazil: the Amerindians (Red), the Afro-Brazilians (Black), and White Brazilians.

In Brazil, in addition to its use by the Green Party, green, as the main color of the Brazilian flag, is strongly associated with Brazilian nationalism and the Brazilian people. The big tent, pro-democracy Brazilian Democratic Movement, the conservative Social Christian Party, the far-right nationalist Patriota, and the populist, anti-corruption, and pro-direct democracy Podemos all use different shades of green. In the past, green was also the color of the Conservative Party of the Empire of Brazil

“In Brazil, blue is associated with mainstream center-rightliberal and conservative parties opposed to populism, often associated with the left but also opposed with the populist reactionary right, like National Democratic UnionNational Renewal AllianceProgressive PartyBrazilian Social Democracy PartyDemocrats, and Brazil Union. The first major party which used blue was the far-right Brazilian Integralist Action, but their successors use Gold.”

In Brazil, orange is the color of the liberal New Party and also is the color of three parties associated with a socially conservative social democracy: ForwardRepublican Party of the Social Order, and Solidarity

Australia

In Australia, a dark shade of green is used to represent the right-wing National Party of Australia, while a light shade of green is used to represent the Australian Greens.

In Australia, orange is used to represent the One Nation party, a right-wing populist and national conservative led by Pauline Hanson. It is also used to represent other populist parties, such as the Center Alliance party.

In Australia, yellow is used to represent the right-wing, nationalist United Australia Party when it was revived in 2013. Before its dissolution in 1945 as the major conservative party, it was represented as blue.

Canada

In Canada, in addition to the Conservative Party, blue is used by the Bloc Québécois, a party centered around Quebec nationalism.

In Canada, in addition to its use by the Green Party of Canada, green has also been frequently used by right-wing and populist parties that are unaffiliated with the Conservative Party. Examples include the Social Credit Party of CanadaReform Party of CanadaCanadian AllianceWildrose Party in Alberta, and the Saskatchewan Party.

In Canada, Orange is the official color of the social-democratic New Democratic Party. During Jack Layton‘s leadership, green was used as their accent color; The logo was a green maple leaf with orange “NDP” lettering. Currently, light blue is used as their accent color although it seldom appears and is not included in the logo (the current logo is an orange maple leaf with orange “NDP” lettering).[52]

In Canada, the People’s Party of Canada is a right-libertarian and right-wing populist party whose color has been purple since its founding and have changed their logo in 2021 to reflect that. The People’s Alliance of New Brunswick is another right-wing party that uses purple in Canada. Previously, purple was used by several municipal politicians, such as Naheed Nenshi and Lisa Helps, as a “nonpartisan” or “postpartisan” color, due to its lack of association with any major party or ideological viewpoints.[64]

In Canada, red is the color of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Yellow is the customary color of Canadians, with blue and white, the other colors in the flag of the Canary Islands, also being used.

China

The assertive red flag would become still more visible in the 20th century as the

triumphal emblem of post-revolutionary Russia and Communist China, which, along with the large Red armies and the Little Red Book, fueled the Red Scare in the United States.

Comments: Pro-democracy groups have tended to adopt the blue color to represent their movement, and green represents environmental movements. End comments 

Czech

The Czech Social Democratic Party uses the orange color alongside the more traditional red.

Denmark

In Denmark, it is used by the right-center conservative party Det Conservative Folkeparti.

Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic, the Dominican Liberation Party logo is a yellow five-pointed star on a purple background. It was originally a leftist party but today the party is seen gravitating towards a more centrist platform.

Environmental movements (Green)

Comment:  Green has become associated with environmental movements across the world, in the US, Europe, and Asia there are active third-party environmental movements and parties, although they have had little electoral success, they have had considerable influence. End Comments

France

Le Bonnet Rouge’ (‘The Red Hat’) was the name of an anti-government French magazine in the early 20th century. Wikimedia Commons

The bonnet rouge – the soft red cap worn by the French revolutionaries – symbolized their fervor and their solidarity. It was also a defiant appropriation of the red color worn by the government’s supporters. But it would come to be solely the color of the French left, and after the revolution at the end of the 18th century, red remained their color. When the radicals briefly controlled Paris in 1848 and again in 1871, they raised their red flag over the Hôtel de Ville.

. Later it was used by the Whites who fought against the communist “Reds” in the Russian Civil War, because some of the Russian “Whites” had similar goals to the French “Whites” of a century earlier (although, it is worth noting that the Whites included many different people with many ideologies, such as monarchists, liberals, anti-communist social democrats, and others).

Yellow vests protests – Wikipedia

The yellow vests protests or yellow jackets protests ( French: Mouvement des gilets jaunes, pronounced [muvmɑ̃ de ʒilɛ ʒon]) are a series of populist grassroots weekly protests in France, at first for economic justice and later for institutional political reforms, that began in France on 17 November 2018.

Germany

“In Germany and Austria, black is the color historically associated with Christian democratic parties, such as the Christian Democratic Union of Germany and the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP); however, this is only customary, as the official colors of CDU are orange while the official color of the ÖVP is turquoise.”

“In Austria blue is heavily associated with the right-wing populist Freedom Party and with pan-Germanism. It is the Freedom Party’s official color, and its members are generally referred to as “blues” in the media and in colloquial speech.[16] The blue cornflower was a national symbol of Germany in the 19th century, often associated with Prussia. It later became a symbol for Pan-German nationalists in Austria, such as Georg Ritter von Schenirer’s Alldeutsche Vereinigung. In 1930s Austria the cornflower was also worn by members of the then illegal NSDAP, as a secret symbol and identifier.[17] After 1945, MPs of the Freedom Party wore cornflowers on their lapels at the openings of the Austrian parliament, until they switched to the more “Austrian” Edelheit in 2017.[18]

In Germany, although the official color of the left-wing party Die Linke is red, mass media uses magenta as the party color to prevent confusion with the center-left Social Democratic Party whose party color is red.

Greece

In Greece, orange is associated with liberal and centrist parties, like Center UnionDrassi, and Recreate Greece[original research?]

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, blue is used by pro-Beijing camps.

In Hong Kong, yellow represents the pro-democracy supporters.

Islamic World

In the Islamic world, black flags (often with a white Shahadah) are sometimes used by jihadist groups. Black was the color of the Abbasid caliphate. It is also commonly used by Shia Muslims, as it is also associated with mourning the death of Hussein ibn Ali.[11] It is now known as the flag color of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

 

Green, the holy color of Islam, is used to represent Islamism such as HamasSaudi Arabia, and Islamist parties.[40][41][42]

In Morocco, it is associated with the Green March of 1975.

Israel

In Israel, the color orange has become the dominant color of the right-wing, with an emphasis on the religious right. This is when, from 2004, the color became the leader of a protest against the disengagement plan, and became identified with the right-wing camp.

The color blue, normally of a lighter shade, is of prime significance in Judaism. The flag of Israel features two blue horizontal stripes and a blue Star of David. See also Teeleet and Zionism.

India

“In India, black represents protest. In Tamil Nadu (a state in India), black represents atheistic human rights rebels who follow Pereyra.[13]

“In India, light blue is the color associated with the Indian National Congress, a national center-left party. Meanwhile, dark blue is associated with the Dalit Movement, represented by multiple parties: the Republican Party of India (and its Athawale splinter), the Bahujan Samaj Party, etc.”

In India, green is used mainly by center-left parties, such as All India Trinamool Congress and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and by Islamic political parties, such as the Indian Union Muslim League.

Saffron is traditionally associated with HinduismHindutva, and the Hindu nationalist movement.[67] S*affron was chosen because, in Hinduism, the deep saffron color is associated with sacrifice, religious abstinence, the quest for light, and salvation. Saffron or “Bhagwat” is the most sacred color for the Hindus and is often worn by Sanyasis who have left their home in search of the ultimate truth.

Italy

In Italy, black is the color of fascism because it was the official color of the National Fascist Party. As a result, modern Italian parties would not use black as their political color; however, it has been customary to use black to identify the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement.[10]

In ItalyNorthern secessionist movements such as Lega Nord chose green as their political color, advocating their Celtic origin.

In Italy, purple has been adopted by anti-Silvio Berlusconi protesters (see Purple People) as an alternative to other colors and political parties.

In Italy, a red cross on a white shield (scudo cruciate) is the emblem of Catholic parties from the historical Christian Democracy party.[69]

International Organizations

lue is used by many international organizations of center-right and conservative parties, such as the International Democrat Union, the Democrat Union of Africa, the Asia Pacific Democrat Union, the Caribbean Democrat Union (together with red), the European Democrat Union, the European People’s Party, the European Conservatives and Reformists Party.

Comment: A staple of the right-wing anti-UN movement in the US has been the claim that black UN helicopters are being used in various anti-government illegal surveillance operations.  End comment

Iran

In Iran, green has been used by the Iranian Green Movement, a political movement that arose after the 2009 Iranian presidential election, in which protesters demanded the removal of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office.

Latin America

Red is also the traditional color of liberal parties in Latin America and was the color used, for example, in Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Uruguay for liberal parties.

In Europe and Latin America, red is also associated with parties of social democracy and often their allies within the labor movement, a symbol of common solidarity among leftists.

In Latin America, it is not unusual for left-wing social democratic parties to use yellow, as red was the traditional color of liberals, especially in countries with prominent red-using liberal parties like Uruguay, Honduras, Mexico, Colombia, and Costa Rica.

Ireland

In the Republic of Ireland, blue is associated with the center-right Fine Gael party, going back to the Blueshirts, a quasi-fascist uniformed group that merged into the party in 1932. “Blueshirts” is a common derogatory term for Fine Gael, and they often use blue in party materials.[20][21][22]

Irish Nationalist and Irish Republican movements have used the color green.[39] Sinn FeinFianna Fail, and Antu all use green as a color.

In the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, orange is associated with Unionism and the Orange Order.

In the Republic of Ireland, purple is the color of the Social Democrats;[58][59] in most other countries, social democrats use pink or red, but the use of purple has allowed the party to stand out visually from other left-wing parties (such as LaborSolidarityPeople Before Profit and the Workers’ Party, who all use shades of red and pink). Co-leader Catherine Murphy used purple as her color when she was an independent politician, before the party’s foundation in 2015.[60][61][62] She also described it as a “strong female color”, noting its use by suffragettes, and that Mary Robinson wore purple when she was sworn in as President of Ireland.[63]

Malaysia

In Malaysia, yellow was used by Berish (The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections).

Mexico

In Mexico, orange is not linked to Christian democratic movements (the Christian democratic party Partido Action Nacional uses blue). Instead, it is linked to the center-left secular party Movimiento Ciudadano.

Netherlands

It has been used to represent the Purple governments of Belgium and the Netherlands, formed by an alliance of red social-democratic and blue liberal parties.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the Electoral Commission rejected a proposed orange logo[53] for being likely to confuse or mislead voters by being too similar to the color used by the country’s electoral agencies.[54]

Paraguay

In Paraguay, two center-left social democratic party uses green: the Revolutionary Ferberite Party and the Progressive Democratic Party

Peru

In Peru, the Purple Party is a liberal party that chose purple as a color to represent centrism, between blue on the right and red on the left.

Puerto Rico

In Puerto Rico, the main conservative party, unusually named the New Progressive Party, uses blue, while the Popular Democratic Party uses red, and the Puerto Rican Independence Party

“That arrangement was consistent with the habit of many texts and reference books, which tended to use blue for Republicans in part because blue was the color of the Union in the Civil War. Blue is also typically associated with the more conservative parties in Europe and elsewhere.

Philippines

In the Philippines, yellow is commonly associated with the center to center-left Liberal Party although other colors such as red and blue are used.

Pro-Choice Movements

“In most of Latin America, blue is used as a color of anti-feminism and, more specifically, anti-abortion. This color was used as a response to the feminist/pro-abortion green. This originated in Argentina.[27]

Green is often associated with pro-choice movements, the color started being used in Argentina as a symbol of third-wave feminism and abortion rights, with a green scarf as a symbol.

Anti-Abortion movements in Latin America

[43] However, green is also the color of many Christian democratic parties in the region which oppose abortion, like in ArubaBoliviaPeruBrazilHondurasEl SalvadorVenezuela, and Panama.

Russia

“In Russia, black was used for monarchism and nationalist movements, such as the Black Hundreds before their defeat.[12]

Later Whites fought against the communist “Reds” in the Russian Civil War, because some of the Russian “Whites” had similar goals to the French “Whites” of a century earlier (although, it is worth noting that the Whites included many different people with many ideologies, such as monarchists, liberals, anti-communist social democrats, and others).

Because of its use by anti-communist forces in Russia, the color white came to be associated in the 20th century with many different anti-communist and counter-revolutionary groups,[68] even those that did not support absolute monarchy (for example, the Finnish “Whites” who fought against the socialist “Reds” in the civil war following the independence of Finland). In some revolutions, red is used to represent the revolutionaries, and white is used to represent the supporters of the old order, regardless of the ideologies or goals of the two sides.

Spain

In Spain, blue is the color of the mainstream conservative People’s party, but regionally: Light blue is used by Galician nationalism as it appears in the flag of Galicia. Dark blue is used by non-separatist Catalan nationalism, being the color of Convergence and Union, which ruled Catalonia from 1980 to 2003 and from 2010 to 2015, and its successor Peat.

In Spain, green is used by monarchists, as Verde (Spanish: green) is the initial of “Viva El Rey de España” (“Hail the King of Spain“).[44] Currently, green is used by monarchist and far-right party Vox. To avoid a clash of colors, green parties Más MadridMás País, and Equi use teal. Also, regionwide:

Green is the standard color of Basque nationalism and separatism; with dark green used by the center-right Basque Nationalist Party, and light green used by abertzale left EH Bindu.

Green is the color of Andalusian nationalism as it appears in the flag of Andalusia, based on the flag of the Medieval Caliphate of Córdoba.

In Spain, orange is used by Citizens, a liberal party that opposes Catalan separatism. This is in contrast to the yellow used by Catalan separatism (see below).

Red is the official color of both the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party and the Communist Party of Spain. Because the Socialists are a major party, and to avoid a clash of colors, the Communists United Left voluntarily use dark red as the customary color.

South Africa

“South Africa has adopted blue for liberal parties and red for conservative parties.

In South Africa, blue is usually associated with liberal political parties, the most popular being the Democratic Alliance, the largest opposition party. The color blue was also used by the United Party, from which the Progressive Party (the most senior ancestor of the Democratic Alliance) split in 1959.[23]

In South Africa, orange is often associated with conservative Afrikaner political movements. Orange was the official color of the National Party which was the country’s governing party from 1948 to 1994. Additionally, its successor, the New National Party, used the color orange. It is used by the Christian democratic and Afrikaner nationalist party Freedom Front Plus. Orange-red is the official color of the Independent Democrats, a social-democratic political party in the Northern and Western Cape Provinces.

Southeast Asia

In East and Southeast Asia, yellow is used to represent monarchies.[citation needed] For instance, in Thailand yellow represents King Bhumibol. It was also the color of the pro-monarchy Panchayat system in the Kingdom of Nepal.

It is also a common color to represent Buddhism, monks in Burma used it in the anti-government protests.

Taiwan

In Taiwan, Green is used by the Democratic Progressive Party.

UK

In the United Kingdom, for example, the Conservative party color is blue, while the unofficial anthem of the Labor Party begins “The people’s flag is deepest red.”

Blue is usually associated with center-right or conservative parties,[2] originating from its use by the Tories (predecessor of the Conservative Party) in the United Kingdom.[14]

In Northern Ireland, the Unionist parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly are called the “orange block” and the Nationalist parties are the “green block”.[76]

Some of the established political parties use or have used different color variations in certain localities. This was common in British politics up to the 1970s. The traditional color of the Penrith and the Border Conservatives was yellow, rather than dark blue, even in the 2010 election Conservative candidates in Penrith and the neighboring constituency of Westmorland and Lonsdale wore blue and yellow rosettes. In Northeast England, the Conservatives traditionally used red, Labor green, and the Liberals blue and orange. In parts of East Anglia, the Conservatives used pink and blue, whilst in Norwich, their colors were orange and purple. The Liberals and Conservatives used blue and red respectively in West Wales, while in parts of Cheshire the Liberals were red and Labor yellow. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the Tories used orange in Birmingham, pink in Whitby and red in East Worcestershire, whilst the Whigs were blue in Kendal, purple in Marlborough, and orange in Wakefield.[77] The traditional color of the Warwickshire Liberals was green, rather than orange.

During the English Civil War of 1642, orange was associated with parliamentarian Roundheads.

In the United Kingdom, purple is associated with Euroscepticism, being the official color of the UK Independence Party and the minor parties Veritas and the Christian Peoples Alliance.

In the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland, red is also the color of the labor movement and the Labor (spelled Labor in Australia) parties in those countries. The use of red as a symbol is referenced in the British Labor Party’s anthem, The Red Flag.[65]

In the heyday of the British Empire before 1960, maps, globes, and atlases typically used red or pink to designate the British Empire or its Commonwealth.[66] As soon as a colony became independent, it needed its distinctive color and the practice died out.

In the politics of the United Kingdom, white represents independent politicians such as Martin Bell.

Venezuela

In Venezuela blue represents the Democratic Unity Roundtable, the large multi-ideological coalition of opposition parties, probably as a counterpart to PSUV‘s red.

Other Uses Of Political Color

Black

During the golden age of piracy, the black flags of pirates such as Blackbeard and Calico Jack became popular symbols of piracy. The flags represent death and no quarter to those who did not surrender. The black flag of the jolly roger, used by Calico Jack turned into a popular and recognizable symbol of pirates, particularly of pirates of the Americas.[7][8] The skull and bones also became a hazardous symbol to display poisons such as cyanideZyklon B, and other toxic substances. The black flag of piracy would later influence the symbols of anarchism, such as the symbols of the Free territory and the Ronstadt rebellion. The rise of internet piracy led to the symbols of the golden age of piracy becoming widely adopted, becoming the symbols of pirate sites such as The Pirate Bay.

Black became a color to represent pirate parties.

Brown

Brown has been associated with Nazism because of the Sturmabteilung (SA), whose members were called “brownshirts”. They were modeled on Benito Mussolini‘s black shirts, and the color was chosen because many brown uniforms intended for the colonial troops in Germany’s African colonies were cheaply available after the end of World War I. In Europe and elsewhere, the color brown is sometimes used to refer to fascists in general.[28]

Brown is sometimes used to describe the opposite of green parties, that is to describe parties that care little about pollution.[29]

Buff was the color of the Whig faction in British politics from the early 18th century until the middle of the 19th century. As such, it is sometimes used to represent the current political left (in opposition to blue, which represented the Tories and then the Conservatives and political right).[30]

Grey

 

Grey is sometimes used by parties that represent the interests of pensioners and senior citizens, such as “The Greys” in Germany.[31]

Grey is often used to represent independent politicians. However, in the UK, white is used to represent independent politicians.[33]

Green

Green is the color for both environmentalists [34] and Islamic political parties and movements (see green in Islam).[2]

The Esperanto movement makes wide use of green in its symbolism, including the language’s flag which is known as the Verdi Flago (literally Green Flag)

Fern green is occasionally used by political organizations and groups who advocate the legalization of the medicinal use of marijuana.[35]

Sea green was used as a symbol by members of the Levelers in 17th-century Britain and for this reason, it is occasionally used to represent radical liberalism.[36]

Green has sometimes also been linked to agrarian movements, such as the Populist Party, in the U.S. in the 1890s and the current-day Nordic Agrarian parties, as well as the National Party of Australia, a conservative party traditionally representing regional and agricultural interests.[37] The International Agrarian Bureau, though often known as the “Green International”, did not formally endorse the color, although its successor, called International Peasant Union, was represented by a clover.[38]

Magenta

Magenta is a color that tends to replace yellow for liberal and centrist parties and organizations in Europe.[45] It is not to be confused with the socialist or social-democratic use of the color pink.

Orange

Orange is the traditional color of the Christian democratic political ideology and most Christian democratic political parties, are based on Catholic social teaching and/or neo-Calvinist theology. Christian democratic political parties came to prominence in Europe and the Americas after World War II.[46][47]

Orange is often used to represent the mutualist current in anarchist politics, as a middle ground between pro-market currents such as anarcho-capitalism (associated with the color yellow of liberalism) and anti-capitalist currents such as anarcho-syndicalism and anarcho-communism (associated with the color red of communism and socialism).[50]

Humanism frequently uses orange for representation. It is the color of the Humanist International, as well as the humanist parties in Argentina, Costa Rica, Chile, and other humanist organizations.[51]

Pink

Pink is sometimes used by social democratic parties, such as in France and Portugal. The more traditional color of social democracy is red (because social democracy is descended from the democratic socialist movement), but some countries have large social democratic parties alongside large socialist or communist parties, so it would be confusing for them all to use red.[55] In such cases, social democrats are usually the ones who give up red in favor of a different color. Pink is often chosen because it is seen as a softer, less aggressive version of red, in the same way, that social democracy is more centrist and capitalistic than socialism. This is also the origin of the colloquial term “pinko“.[dubious – discuss][citation needed]

In some European nations and the United States, pink is associated with homosexuality and the pink flag is used as a symbol in support of civil rights for LGBT people,[56] it is commonly used to represent queer anarchism. This use originates in Nazi German policy of appending pink triangles to the clothing of homosexual prisoners.

Comment:  Pink or PInko was commonly used as insult in the U.S. and elsewhere to desribe communists  End Comment

Purple

Although purple has some older associations with monarchism, it is the most prominent color that is not traditionally connected to any major contemporary ideology. As such, it is sometimes used to represent a mix of different ideologies or new protest movements that are critical of all previously-existing parties.

Purple is often associated with feminism and when combined with black, is often used to represent anarcha-feminism.

In Europe, purple tends to be used for movements, parties, and governments that are neither clearly right nor left.[57] The color is also used by the European federalist party Volt.

As disccused  above, Purple is used to discuss political swing states and districts in the U.S.

Red

Red is often associated with the left, especially socialism and communism.[2] The oldest symbol of socialism (and by extension communism) is the Red Flag, which dates back to the French Revolution in the 18th century and the revolutions of 1848. Before this nascence, the color red was generally associated with the monarchy or the Church due to the symbolism and association of Christ‘s blood. The color red was chosen to represent the blood of the workers who died in the struggle against capitalism. All major socialist and communist alliances and organizations—including the FirstSecondThird, and Fourth Internationals—used red as their official color. The association between the color red and communism is particularly strong. Communists use red much more often and more extensively than other ideologies use their respective traditional colors.

Comment: As noted above, “red’ used to represent left-wing parties in the U.S until the 1980’s when the current association of Red with conservative republican party came to be the dominant narrative in the U.S.  End Comment

White

White is today mainly linked to pacifism (as in the surrender flag).[2]

Historically, it was associated with support for absolute monarchy, starting with the supporters of the Bourbon dynasty of France because it was the dynasty’s color. Partly due to this association, white also came to be associated with Jacobitism, itself allied with the Bourbons. White cockades, white ladies’ gloves, and Rosa pimpinellifolia (the ‘burnet’ or ‘Stuart’ rose) symbolized support for the exiled House of Stuart. Later it was used by the Whites who fought against the communist “Reds” in the Russian Civil War, because some of the Russian “Whites” had similar goals to the French “Whites” of a century earlier (although, it is worth noting that the Whites included many different people with many ideologies, such as monarchists, liberals, anti-communist social democrats, and others).

Yellow

Yellow is the color most strongly associated with liberalism and right-libertarianism.[2][3][70][71]

Color Revolutions

The Orange Revolutions In Eastern Europe

Orange since 2004 has represented Post-Communist Democratic Revolutions in Eastern Europe such as the “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine.[49] This gave the color orange a certain association with radical anti-authoritarian politics in some countries

“ Colour revolution (sometimes colored revolution)[1] is a term used since around 2004 by worldwide media to describe various anti-regime protest movements and accompanying (attempted or successful) changes of government that took place in post-Soviet Eurasia during the early 21st century—namely countries of the former Soviet Union, the former Yugoslavia, and People’s Republic of China.[2] The term has also been more widely applied to several other revolutions elsewhere, including in the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific region, and South America, dating from the late 1980s to the 2020s. Some observers (such as Justin Raimondo and Michael Lind) have called the events a revolutionary wave, the origins of which can be traced back to the 1986 People Power Revolution (also known as the “Yellow Revolution”) in the Philippines.

Some of these movements have had a measure of success; in the early 2000s, for example, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia‘s Bulldozer Revolution (2000), Georgia‘s Rose Revolution (2003), Ukraine‘s Orange Revolution (2004), and Kyrgyzstan‘s Tulip Revolution (2005). In most but not all cases, massive street protests followed disputed elections or demands for fair elections. They led to the resignation or overthrow of leaders regarded by their opponents as authoritarian.[3] Some events have been called “color revolutions” but differ from the above cases in certain basic characteristics, including such examples as Lebanon‘s Cedar Revolution (2005) and Kuwait‘s Blue Revolution (2005).

Russia, China, and Vietnam[4] share the view that color revolutions are the “product of machinations by the United States and other Western powers” and pose a vital threat to their public and national security.[5]

Additional Reading:

For more information see

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colour_revolution

The Secret Code of Political Colors – Liberty Nation

https://www.libertynation.com › the-secret-code-of-political-colors

To uncover the roots of American colors, it’s important to look back in history at the British political parties and their color schemes. In the United Kingdom, blue is the color of the Conservative Party, and in fact, is the color used by many right-leaning political outfits around the world.

What Colors Represent Democrats And Republicans – USA …

https://uspoliticnews.wordpress.com › 2021 › 09 › 26 › what-colors-represent-democrats-and-republicans

The History Of The Colors Of The Us Political Parties Why Democrats Are Blue and Republicans Are Redland Why Itâs the Opposite Everywhere else the history of the colors of the U.S. political parties is rich. According to the article The Color of Politics, It got started on TV, the original electronic visual, when NBC, the first all-color…

 

Political Color Wheel – Looking deeper into politics…

6 https://politicalcolorwheel.com

Up to 16,777,216 different colors! To map out political orientations, we use the Red-Green-Blue (RGB) color wheel. The RGB color wheel is a tool commonly used by graphic designers and web developers to create unique color schemes on projects. The RGB color wheel functions by using different combinations of varying shades of red, green, and blue …

 

Political Colors and the Art of War – Liberty Nation 7 https://www.libertynation.com › political-colors-and-the-art-of-war

Color is more than just the reflection of light; it is a political tool used to persuade, encourage, and lead the masses to commit to decisions they may not otherwise make. In an earlier article, we examined how the Democrats and Republicans got their colors and how the politicization of blue and red comes with connotations that spur us to action.

Red state, blue state: How colors took sides in politics

8https://theconversation.com › red-state-blue-state-how-colors-took-sides-in-politics-93541

This unintended color-coding of American politics reversed the political associations of red and blue that exist almost everywhere else in the world. In the United Kingdom, for example, the …

 

Why Republicans Use the Color Red – ThoughtCo

https://www.thoughtco.com › meaning-behind-democrat-and-republican-colors-3368087

The color associated with the Republican Party is red, though not because the party chose it. The association between red and Republican began with the advent of color television and network news on Election Day several decades ago and has stuck with the GOP ever since. You’ve heard the terms red state, for example.

Summary

 

The US convention of referring to political parties by color, blue for democratic, red for conservative, green for environmental is not universal, it first came about in the late ’90s and has become standard in the U, S,  it is becoming more common in other countries such as Korea and Japan, but most countries continue to use the color scheme of red for socialist/left, and blue for conservative parties.

Endnotes

(1)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_states_and_blue_states#:~:text=Since%20around%20the%202000%20United,blue)%20presidential%20and%20senatorial%20candidates.

(2)https://www.npr.org/2014/11/13/363762677/the-color-of-politics-how-did-red-and-blue-states-come-to-be

(3) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_colorKorea Usage

(4)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_color

(5)https://www.color-meanings.com/korean-color-symbolism/

(6)The Secret Code of Political Colors – Liberty Nation

(7)https://www.libertynation.com › the-secret-code-of-political-colors

(8)What Colors Represent Democrats And Republicans – USA …

((9)https://uspoliticnews.wordpress.com › 2021 › 09 › 26 › what-colors-represent-democrats-and-republicans

(10) Political Color Wheel – Looking deeper into political …

(11)https://politicalcolorwheel.com

(12) Red state, blue state: How colors took sides in politics

(13)https://theconversation.com › red-state-blue-state-how-colors-took-sides-in-politics-93541

(14) Why Republicans Use the Color Red – ThoughtCo https://www.thoughtco.com › meaning-behind-democrat-and-republican-colors-3368087

(15) https://theconversation.com/red-state-blue-state-how-colors-took-sides-in-politics-93541

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colour_revolution

https://www.e-ir.info/2009/07/31/explaining-the-color-revolutions/

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=color+revolutions&atb=v314-6&ia=web

wiki on antifa

 

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