Saturday, 19 November 2016

ford v carter

The other day I came across this logo for US election night 1976, and was surprised by how contemporary the design seemed. On closer investigation, however, this convention developed by television anchor-men at the time was not the standard adopted by broadcasters universally and was in fact the opposite to the colour-coding in use today.
Until the 1980s, following the European system with red being associated with Communism and the left-leaning politics, the relatively and presently liberal Democratic Party was symbolised with that colour—though not by all media, and the Grand Old Party was represented by blue—harking back, according to some sources, to the blue uniforms of Unionist soldiers during the American Civil War. The colour schemes remained relatively mixed—with some outlets assigning one colour to the incumbent party and the other to the challenger, without respect for affiliation—until the contested outcome of the 2000 that took weeks to resolve and to less than a majority’s satisfaction between Al Gore and George W Bush. When the interpretation of the prevailing votes mattered not only state by state but county by county and precinct by precinct, all networks had to get it right (too much was at stake) and so adopted the same protocols for reporting and calling. The convention of Red States and Blue States for the media has held since.