Prior to the 2000 presidential election, there was no universally recognized color scheme torepresent political parties in the US. Color-based schemes became widespread with theadoption of color television in the 1960s and nearly ubiquitous with the advent of color innewspapers. A three-color scheme — red, white and blue, the colors of the U.S. flag — makessense, and the third color, white, is useful in depicting maps showing states that are“undecided” in the polls and in election-night television coverage.Early on, the most common—though again, not universal—color scheme was to use red forDemocrats and blue for Republicans. This was the color scheme employed by NBC—DavidBrinkley famously referred to the 1984 map showing Reagan’s 49-state landslide as a “sea of blue”, but this color scheme was also employed by most newsmagazines. CBS during thissame period, however, used the opposite scheme—blue for Democrats, red for Republicans. ABC was less consistent than its elder network brothers; in at least two presidential electionsduring this time before the emergence of cable news outlets, ABC used yellow for one majorparty and blue for the other. As late as 1996, there was still no universal association of onecolor with one party.But in 2000, for the first time, all major media outlets used the same colors for each party:Red for Republicans, blue for Democrats. Partly as a result of this first-time universal color-coding, the terms Red States and Blue States entered popular usage in the weeks followingthe 2000 presidential election. Additionally, the closeness of the disputed election kept thecolored maps in the public view for longer than usual, and red and blue thus became fixed inthe media and in many people’s minds. Journalists began to routinely refer to “blue states”and “red states” even before the 2000 election was settled. After the results were final, journalists stuck with the color scheme, such as The Atlantic’s cover story by David Brooks inthe December 2001 issue entitled, “One Nation, Slightly Divisible.” Thus red and blue becamefixed in the media and in many people’s minds despite the fact that no “official” color choiceshad been made by the parties.The choice of colors in this divide is counter-intuitive to many international observers, asthroughout the world, red is commonly the designated color for parties representing labor,communist, and/or liberal interests, which in the United States would be more closely correlated with the Democratic Party. Similarly, blue is used in these countries to depictconservative parties which in the case of the United States would be a color more suitable forthe Republicans. For example, in Canada party colours are deeply ingrained and historic andhave been unchanged during the Twentieth Century. The Liberal Party of Canada has longused red and the Conservative Party of Canada has long used blue, and in fact the phrasesLiberal red and Tory blue are a part of the national lexicon, as is Red Tory, denotingConservative members who are social moderates. Similarly, the symbol of Britain’s LabourParty is a red rose (and the socialist song ‘The Red Flag’ is still sung at party conferences), while the British Conservatives are traditionally associated with the colour blue. However, inthe United States the term “blue collar” is applied to working people and may be associated with organized labor, which is generally supportive of the Democratic Party.