Home > Graphics & Illustration, People, Politics, Things I Like... > Democratic Donkeys v Republican Elephants…

Democratic Donkeys v Republican Elephants…

November 7, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Firstly a huge congratulations to Mr. Obama.

I’m both pleased and relieved that the American public saw sense and voted in the only real contender for the top job. From where I stand, the world would seem to be a much safer place in the hands of an honest, believable and credible man like Obama sitting in the White House, than those of a rather dodgy Mormon…

Anyway enough with political opinion, that’s not what this blog is about, but Obama’s second term win and the almost blanket coverage we’ve had over here in the UK, has prompted me to write about the rather odd logos that represent each of the parties : a donkey and an elephant…

Firstly the Democratic Donkey.

Apparently it dates back to the 1820’s, when the Presidential candidate Andrew Jackson used the image of a donkey or jackass in response to the nickname he’d been given by his opponents.

He took the intentionally derisive name and redefined it in terms of being strong willed, smart, hard working, reliable and brave, a twist that obviously worked, as Jackson became the very first Democratic President of the US in 1829.

The Republican elephant came into being in the 1870’s after a drawing by the famous American cartoonist Thomas Nast. The cartoon (shown below) showed the Democrat’s donkey hiding under a lion skin scaring all the animals in the zoo with only the elephant remaining unafraid…

Not much to base a choice of logo on perhaps, but it stuck and the elephant has been used ever since, supposedly representing strength, dignity and persistence.

One thing that does occur to me looking at the two logos is how similar they are, both have a red bottom half and a blue top with white stars and both are animals…

If I think about the different logos for the Political Parties here in the UK, they all have a very distinctive colour and appearance, which I would have thought was essential when you’re trying to distinguish yourself from the others… (not easy in a coalition as the increasingly irrelevant Mr Clegg is finding to his cost)

Maybe this lack of distinction is part of the problem with US politics. It’s all so much to do with personality rather than policy (the face and character of Obama versus the face and character of the other guy) that the identity of the party itself becomes secondary, almost irrelevant.

In fact, as I’ve researched for this post, it would appear that neither party has ever really claimed one colour over another and in fact it’s only since the 2000 elections when a TV company denoted blue States and red States on a map of the country, that the colours have become more separated and synonymous with one party or the other…

  1. SteveWhite2008
    January 17, 2013 at 13:08

    To be honest I have a blanket revulsion for virtually all politicians & when somebody said that it’s just brands of cola in a blue or a red bottle I can’t disagree.
    The same people back both sides, anybody else is squeezed out.
    They spent billions of dollars to end up back where they are & pretend that is democracy!
    The money is needed elsewhere.
    Just don’t get me started on this country!

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