The History and Meaning Behind Red and Blue in Politics

By Katia Idiri
For Unwind magazine

With Election Day around the corner, it is nearly impossible for anyone watching the debates to not notice the prevalence of imagery and more specifically, the prominent colors of politics: blue and red. The questions are, what is the true significance behind these colors, how do they tie in with politics, and how can you incorporate them into your own wardrobe this fall?

For the first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton wore a brilliant all-red pantsuit along with a matching crimson blazer, black shoes and rouge lipstick.

Her adversary, Donald Trump, sported a dramatic raven black suit with a bright cobalt necktie and a subtle American flag pin.

Red, being the color of blood and fire, has often been associated with love, passion, heat, leadership, wrath, and radiance. On the American flag, the red stripes signify the hardiness and valour our soldiers fought with during the American Revolution.

Contrarily, blue is the color of the sea and sky and is usually connected with depth, stability, trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, and truth. Blue also appears on the American flag but it signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice with which the U.S. won their independence.

The color classification that we see in today’s politics is the outcome of the combative campaign between George Bush and Al Gore in the 2000 election. Although neither party officially chose their own colors, all dominant media networks as well as the general public agreed to use red for the Republican party and blue for the Democratic party. We see this today in the Fox News (mostly blue) and CNN (entirely red) logos.

So the question is, how can you incorporate these colors into your own wardrobe?


Christine Holm, a freshman majoring in government and politics, feels confident when she wears “patriotic” accessories like her blue backpack, white converse and red jacket.

“I have a royal blue Jansport backpack which I wear every day, and on voting day I’m going to go all out,” she laughed. “I’m planning to wear my Hillary Clinton socks from Urban [Outfitters] and an all blue outfit!”

Similarly, Burke Eric, a freshman and political science major, recently sported “red kicks and jean jackets” around campus.

“Those are by far my most-worn things so far this year,” Eric said.

Subtlety is key and accessories are everything this fall in preparation for Election Day, so don’t forget to show your support for either party in your wardrobe!


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