Why We Associate Political Parties with the Colors Red and Blue

Linking political parties to specific colors is newer than you probably imagine. Listen today to learn the story of colors and other fun tidbits about government and language.

Mignon Fogarty
2-minute read
Episode #787
The Quick And Dirty

In this interview, we had a fabulous discussion about:

  • The notion of "red" and "blue" being tied to the two parties.
  • Whether our nation is a democracy or a republic.
  • The Constitution's use of gendered pronouns.
  • The Declaration as the greatest break-up letter ever written.
  • "SCOTUS," "FLOTUS," and "POTUS." Which came first? (And what makes "veep" different?)
  • The French connection with the Supreme Court chant "Oyez, oyez, oyez."

Do you shrink into a corner when people start talking about government or politics? You're definitely not alone. 

In the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln called the U.S. a "government of the people, by the people, [and] for the people." But if you're one of those people, how do you participate in the democratic process in a meaningful way?

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My guests, Hannah McCarthy and Nick Capodice, hope to demystify some of the complexities of U.S. civics. They're the hosts of a public-radio podcast called "Civics 101" and the authors of the upcoming book "A User's Guide to Democracy: How America Works," which will be published on September 8. 

Starting September 7, Nick and Hannah will be taking over the Quick and Dirty Tips "Unknown History" podcast for a "User's Guide to Democracy" mini-series. Over four weekly episodes, they'll give listeners the quick and dirty basics about how the U.S. government works, share some fascinating history, and help you understand how to make your voice heard as an involved citizen. 

I was delighted to talk with them today about interesting stories that cover the intersection of words, writing, and government.

You can catch up with Nick and Hannah at the "Civics 101" website.

You can listen to the interview using the player at the top of this page or read a complete rough transcript.

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.