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1960: The Making of the President» Forums » General

Subject: Red vs Blue States rss

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Bob Shurig
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In 1960: The Making of the President, John F. Kennedy is aligned with the Blue states and Richard Nixon is aligned with the Red states. I assume this is keeping with the current color scheme as oppossed to how it was historically. Even later on, when Ronald Reagan was president, Republicans were still referred to as Blue states and Democrats as Red states. I wish 1960: The Making of the President was authentic in this regard. Can anyone tell me in what year this flip-flop occurred and, more importantly, why it occurred?
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Mike Helba
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Good catch. I didn't recall how recent this convention is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_states_and_blue_states
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brian
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Even though it is not "authentic" for the period, it is now the standard and would make the most sense to use. Sicne there was no standard in 1960, the scheme they used is technically not incorrect.
 
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Jason Matthews
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Yes, we debated going with the historical convention, but it would have undoubtably created more confusion than it was worth. Not only were red and blue not standard in 1960, we still had networks using green and other colors when it suited them.

Jason
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Bob Shurig
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Actually, I do remember Red and Blue being the standard in 1960 (and beyond as I alluded to even in President Reagan's time in office).
 
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Bob Shurig
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I just checked the old game, Mr. President; and, yes, the Blue cards did belong to the Republicans, and the Red cards did belong to the Democrats. The contributer to that game also said that the flip-flop occurred in 2000, and "it just isn't right."
 
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Jason Matthews
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Sorry Bob, the consistency depends on your network preference, please read below. Also keep in mind, until there was color television -- a novelty in 1960 -- these color schemes would not have meant much. Newspapers, of course, were also not printing in color. It is true that the opposite color scheme was often previously used, but it is not really a significant element of the election in 1960.

Early on, some channels used a scheme of red for Democrats and blue for Republicans. The first television news network to use colors to depict the states won by presidential candidates was NBC. In 1976, John Chancellor, the anchorman for the NBC Nightly News, asked his network's engineers to construct a large electronic map of the USA. The map was placed in the network's election-night news studio. If Jimmy Carter, the Democratic candidate that year, won a state it would light up in red; if Gerald Ford, the Republican, carried a state it would light up in blue. The feature proved to be so popular that four years later all three major television networks would use colors to designate the states won by the presidential candidates. NBC continued to use the color scheme employed in 1976 for several years; NBC newsman David Brinkley famously referred to the 1980 election map as showing Ronald Reagan's 44-state landslide as a "sea of blue".[3] CBS, from 1984 on, used the opposite scheme—blue for Democrats, red for Republicans. ABC used yellow for one major party and blue for the other in 1976. However, in 1980 and 1984, ABC used red for Republicans and blue for Democrats. As late as 1996, there was still no universal association of one color with one party.[4] If anything, 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 Magazine and the Washington Post used an opposite scheme.

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