National / World News3:40 p.m. Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Election Day was a sea of red _ on Democrats, too

  • Print
  • E-mail

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — The sea of red was undeniable: Lisa Murkowski, Carly Fiorina, Christine O'Donnell, Rand Paul.

FILE- This Nov. 2, 2010 file photo shows Kentucky Sen.-elect Rand Paul as he waves to the crowd after addressing supporters at his victory party in Bowling Green, Ky. Maintaining a longtime tradition, many politicians wore the powerful color red for their Election Day appearances at the polls, podiums and on TV. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke, FILE)
FILE- This Nov. 2, 2010 file photo shows Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell surrounded by family and supporters while delivering remarks after conceding the election to opponent Democrat Chris Coons in Dover, Del. Maintaining a longtime tradition, many politicians wore the powerful color red for their Election Day appearances at the polls, podiums and on TV. (AP Photo/Rob Carr, FILE)
FILE- This Nov. 2, 2010 file photo shows Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, center, as she speaks with media in Anchorage, Alaska following early election returns showing write in candidates with a five-percent lead in the vote. Maintaining a longtime tradition, many politicians wore the powerful color red for their Election Day appearances at the polls, podiums and on TV. (AP Photo/Michael Dinneen, FILE)

Of course, we're not talking states or party affiliations here. We're talking wardrobe.

Maintaining a longtime tradition, many politicians wore the power color red for their Election Day appearances at the polls, podiums and on TV. And it wasn't just a nod to the GOP territory expanding on electoral maps. Barbara Boxer and Andrew Cuomo were among the Democrats in red.

"Red is a very exciting color, physically," says Ellen Evjen, instructor of color theory at Parsons The New School for Design. And party affiliation aside, the color makes a much clearer visual statement than Democratic blue, which is a close cousin of black, she explains.

Evjen also notes the psychological associations with red — passion, immediacy, urgency and, in Asian cultures, luck. Blue, meanwhile, is seen as more spiritual.

On the night Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, he wore a red tie and Michelle Obama wore a mostly red dress by Narciso Rodriguez. But when the Huffington Post chronicled President Obama's ties during his first 50 days in office, there were more blue ones than red, 42.5 percent to 30.

Virginia-based image consultant Sandy Dumont says Obama shouldn't wear light blue ties, in particular, because they carry a message that's too "country club." She had the same advice for former President George W. Bush.

"Red is an action color. We instinctively go for red for energy, drive and action," Dumont says. "When people wear red — the people who pass you on the street or down the hall — they stand taller."

Nancy Reagan made the red power suit her signature as first lady, and Sarah Palin is often photographed in red, including a red leather jacket worn on the campaign trail when she was candidate for vice president.

If the "power color" reputation sounds silly, consider a study by two British anthropologists at the University of Durham who looked at four individual combat events at the 2004 Olympic Games and found that athletes wearing red gear won more often. Red seemed to confer a similar advantage in a preliminary analysis of the Euro 2004 international soccer tournament.

Tuesday night, Paul, the senator-elect from Kentucky, wore a red tie and was surrounded by a red-clothed clan during his victory speech, while New York governor-elect Cuomo, who comes from one of the bluest states, also did the red-tie thing.

"Red ties vs. blue? I'm happy if politicians color coordinate. In reality, being the best dressed candidate really pales in comparison to being the best policy candidate," says Democratic consultant Chris Kofinis. "But I guess a nice tie can't hurt."

Republicans Susana Martinez, the governor-elect in New Mexico, and Mary Fallin, soon-to-be governor in Oklahoma, proudly wore electric blue, a shade normally favored by Hillary Clinton.

The most successful uniform for a man in politics is the combination of a white shirt, red tie and blue suit, "It's how you move up the ladder," Dumont says.

For a woman, though, Catherine Moellering, executive vice president of the Tobe Report, a fashion trend consultancy, says she should put on her statement-making red suit or at least red accents.

"I don't know a woman who wants to be really strong in a meeting who would say, 'I'm going to wear my flat shoes and my blue suit,'" Moellering says. "But if I were going in front of a jury, I'd wear the blue and not red."

___

November 03, 2010 03:40 PM EDT

Copyright 2010, The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Inside AJC.COM

Can you see the change?

Can you see the change?

What's altered in the two photos? See how you score when you play the Find 5 Challenge!

Luckovich on promises

Luckovich on promises

Editorial cartoonist Mike Luckovich gives his take on local news, politics, sports and celebrities.

Free coffee

Free coffee

If you start your day with a cup of Joe, swing by Burger King on Fridays in November to save cash.

France honors author

France honors author

Saying she's 'beloved,' Toni Morrison receives Legion of Honor from the French culture minister.

Hollywood dog tricks

Hollywood dog tricks

At the Zoom Room in Los Angeles, dogs and their owners can learn pet tricks seen in movies.

Life of a superhero

Life of a superhero

Brad Pitt mugged with a real-life version of his character at the premiere of 'Megamind.'