One of the most irritating things about the presidential election is the constant use of the term red state to describe those conservative states that tend to vote Republican and blue state to describe those liberal states that tend to vote Democrat. The red state blue state descriptions are inaccurate, unhistorical and confusing as red has long been the color identified with the left and blue the color of the right The color blue has long been associated with political conservatism. Blue is the color associated with Britains Conservative or Tory Party a party which according to Oxford historian Maurice Woods dates back to 1660 as the party or faction loyal to King Charles II. Phrase Finder credits the term true blue a term often used to describe conservatives to a color fast cloth made in Coventry England in the late Middle Ages. The term later morphed into a metaphor for political loyalty in the late 17th century. The historical association of the color red with the political left does not go back as far as the history of the identification of the color blue with the right, but the association has been stronger. Red was first used as a color to signify the political left by revolutionaries during the French Revolution in the late 18th century according to 19th century Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle. It was later used by revolutionaries in the wave of revolutions that swept Europe in 1848. The most known association was with the Soviet Communists during Russian Revolution in 1917. In the civil war that followed the revolution, the forces supporting the Soviet regime were known as the Reds, and the counter-revolutionaries were known as the Whites. Since that time, the color red has been used to signify other movements or regimes that were either left-wing or Communist, such as the Peoples Republic of China, which was long known in this country as Red China. According to the Washington Post as well as MSNBCs web site it was the host of NBCs, Tim Russert of Meet the Press fame who started using the terms blue state and red state to signify respectively states that vote Democratic and Republican. The use of these terms has taken off since that time and is now widely used to describe Democrats and Republicans. This is unfortunate because it runs so counter to the historical understanding of the political symbolism of the two colors. The Daily Utah Chronicle - Republicans historically blue and democrats red Prior to the election of 2000, red stood for Democrats and blue for Republicans. Reagans lake in 1980 turned blue. But sensitivity to the graphic association with the communist-socialist end of the spectrum appears to have been a cause for discomfort for Democrats and their lap dogs in the main stream press, and so an exercise in prestidigitation became necessary. Since the reversal defies logic, the original must have been a bit too close to the truth.