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Why is the Republican party symbol an elephant and the Democratic symbol a donkey?

25 October 2020

3:03 AM

25 October 2020

3:03 AM

Political animals

Why is the Republican party symbol an elephant and the Democratic symbol a donkey? Both go back to political cartoons by Thomas Nast. In 1870 a drawing entitled ‘a live jackass kicking a dead lion’ symbolized the Democratic newspaper of the south as a donkey — while the dead lion referred to Edwin McMasters Stanton, Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of state for war during the latter stages of the Civil War. Four years later Nast symbolized the Republican vote — as opposed to the party itself — as a berserk elephant in danger of falling off a precipice into the ‘chaos’ below. The symbols took time to catch on, however. In the mid-20th century the Democratic party was officially using a rooster, while the Republicans used an eagle.

Down but not out

Who came bottom of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election?

Frank Atwood (Approval Voting party) 337 votes nationwide

Bradford Lyttle (United States Pacifist party) 382

Jerry White (Socialist Equality party) 475

Princess Jacob (Loyal Trustworthy Compassion party) 749

Rod Silva (Nutrition party) 751

Suffrage fatigue

How did the turnout in the 2016 election compare with other national elections?

Brazil (2018, 2nd round) 78.7%

France (2017, 2nd round) 74.6%

Germany (2013) 71.5%


India (2019) 67.4%

UK (2019) 67.3%

US (2016) 55.7%

Going viral

Has COVID-19 affected Republican or Democratic states most?

States with the highest death tolls:

New York (voted Clinton in 2016) 1,716 deaths per million

New Jersey (Clinton) 1,834

Massachusetts (Clinton) 1,395

Connecticut (Clinton) 1,271

Louisiana (Trump) 1,219

Rhode Island (Clinton) 1,067

Mississippi (Trump) 1,042

States with the lowest death tolls:

Alaska (Trump) 82

Vermont (Clinton) 93

Wyoming (Trump) 93

Maine (Trump) 106

Hawaii (Clinton) 119

Oregon (Clinton) 142

Utah (Trump) 163

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