The colors used to be reversed. Tim Russert (big media) changed it in the 2000 election. He didn’t like the obvious association of red/communist and democrats being made by the public!Red states and blue states
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The terms "red states" and "blue states" came into use in 2000 to refer to those states of the United States whose residents predominantly vote for the Republican Party or Democratic Party presidential candidates, respectively. A blue state tends to vote for the Democratic Party, and a red state tends to vote for the Republican Party, although the colors were often reversed (I would argue they were always reversed. I remember being surprised at the color change…it wasn’t what I was accustomed to!) or different colors used before the 2000 election. According to The Washington Post, the terms were coined by television journalist Tim Russert during his televised coverage of the 2000 presidential election; that was not the first election during which the news media used colored maps to graphically depict voter preferences in the various states, but it was the first time a standard color scheme took hold. Since 2000, usage of the term has been expanded to differentiate between states being perceived as liberal and those perceived as conservative.
This unofficial system of political colors used in the United States is the reverse of that in most other long-established democracies, where blue represents right-wing and conservative parties, while red represents left-wing and socialist parties.
What you’re looking at is a map of the 2008 Presidential election, broken down by the results in each county. If Barack Obama received most of the votes in a particular county, it appears in blue. If John McCain was the winner, that county is in red.
If you added up the land mass of every blue and red county you’d see something really striking—the Republicans won 80 percent of this country, when measured by acreage. John McCain got a majority of votes in 2,417,000 square miles of the United States. Barack Obama, by comparison, won in just 580,000 square miles.
Ah, but now let’s look at the population numbers for each county. McCain still came out ahead, but not by much. The total population of counties won by Republicans was 143 million, while the population of counties won by Democrats was 127 million.
Basically, the Democrats swept the populations centers—the cities and more populated suburban areas—while the Republicans won everything else.
Now, guess what you would find if you could then overlay this map with one showing the distribution of food stamps, unemployment checks, subsidized housing and other welfare payments? Sure, there will be some in all of those red areas. There are plenty of Republicans receiving Social Security and Medicare. I’m sure there are even some Republican farmers who get paid not to grow crops. And there are certainly some Republican businessmen getting subsidies from Uncle Sam.
But the overwhelming majority of voters in the red areas pay more into government than they receive; while just the opposite is true in the blue areas. The majority of people there receive more in government benefits than they pay in taxes. In fact, 45 percent of adults in America pay no income taxes at all. Not one red penny. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, and is always followed by a dictatorship.”