We could probably solve a lot of problems by just changing the colors we use on our political maps.
BOMBSHELL: I have definitive proof that television news networks are directly responsible for all the political strife in our country today and may have even contributed to the current laissez-faire Republican attitude toward Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election and Soviet leader Vladimir Putin.
No, no, it has nothing to do with so-called “Fake News.” It runs far deeper than that and is rooted in the colors used in their maps and graphics.
My investigation into the origins of this whole Red State/Blue State controversy trace back to the color schemes television news shows used when they put up election maps, but it may surprise you to find out that, before the turn of the century, neither party wanted to be associated with the color red.
Red, multiple internet sources say, was associated with the Soviet Union during the cold war, and neither party wanted anything to do with that. When Republicans put up a map, they painted their areas blue and painted the Democratic areas red. When Democrats put up a map, they painted their areas blue and Republican areas red.
When it came to political election maps, the network news shows went with pretty much whatever their graphic arts department gave them. In one instance, according to one website, ABC news used yellow for one of the candidates when they showed their map of the 1976 presidential election.
That same website, factmyth.com, along with several other websites, traces the origin of the Red State/Blue State phenomenon to Tim Russert on an October 30, 2000 episode of the Today show, where he is credited with coining the phrase.
Had the graphics folks at the networks stuck with other colors – say green and maybe purple -- perhaps our political climate wouldn’t be so poisoned now, and maybe Republicans would still be against Russia.
Green, color experts will tell you, is the easiest color on the eyes. It is also calming and it symbolizes nature. Even though blue is also a calming color, peaceful and tranquil, I think Democrats would be better served if they were green. For Republicans, long held to be the party of the rich and powerful, it just makes sense to use purple, which is the color associated with royalty and is a symbol of wealth.
I get that red and blue were the logical colors of choice given the colors of our flag. Red is more intense and confrontational. Blue, of course, more laid back and serene. Given their characteristics, the red does go better with the Republican philosophy. The red on the flag represents valor, while the blue, which represents justice, is more fitting to the Democrats. But we need to change anyway.
It is interesting that the negative connotations associated with the color red, which spanned the cold war years from the end of World War II until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, could so quickly be erased so that, within a decade, Russert could comfortably extoll a Red State/Blue State concept without eliciting fierce opposition from Republicans for being labeled as a Communist-friendly party.
More astonishing is that, in the intervening years, more and more Republicans have a positive opinion of Russia, even as it has devolved back into authoritarian rule. A Feb. 21 Gallup polled this year showed 32 percent of Republicans had an OK opinion of Russia, and aren’t concerned about our president’s close ties to that country or his fawning appreciation of its leader. The connection between the Republican acceptance of the color red, and the party’s growing acceptance of Russia, cannot be a coincidence.
The only way to fix our political system, obviously, is to change the colors that we associate with each of the two major political parties. Sorry Green Party, but your color is going to have to be co-opted by the Democrats. Consider it a sacrifice for the greater good. The GOP gets purple.
The 2018 midterm elections are going to be upon us before we know it. I implore the TV and cable news networks to mobilize their graphics departments now to begin work on new color schemes. It could be the only thing that saves us from total self-destruction.
Jim Lee is the editor at Gatehouse Media Delaware. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.