Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the main event. In the right corner, weighing in at a thick and hearty 11,500 pounds, with a record of 19 wins and 27 loses, we have the Elephant of the Republican Party. And in the left corner, weighing in at a slim and trim 500 pounds, with a record of 16 wins and 30 loses, we have the current reigning Donkey of the Democratic Party.
In the past 241 years the political parties, or groups have shifted many times. Wait, how did I come up with 241 years? George Washington was President in 1789, April 30, 1789, to be exact, and some simple math shows that to be 233 years, not 241. No, I didn’t fail math in school, no, I didn’t fail “Math for Marines”. But you might have not scored well in American History, as George Washington was the first President of the United States under the U.S. Constitution. Prior to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, there was the Articles of Confederation, the predecessor to the Constitution. The Articles of Confederation also called for a president. Eight men, each of whom was appointed to serve a one-year term as President of the Articles of Confederation
Regardless of the year, there were other parties besides the Democrats and the Republicans. There was the Federalist
, National Republican
, and National Union
, and if things were confusing enough, there was also the Democratic-Republican party
. Today we primarily have the Republican party, the Democratic party, and a few others that can’t get a big enough following like the Libertarian party. There were other parties, some 200 years ago, but these are the main parties at least for this post. Speaking of this post, I need to get back on track about the Left vs Right and the political polarization in America.
We started with the Donkey and the Elephant, but how in the world did those two animals become the symbols of the two main political parties in the United States? The origin of the Democratic donkey can be traced to the 1828 presidential campaign of Andrew Jackson. The story goes on to state that his opponent called him a jackass during the race. Basically, Jackson embraced it and made it his mascot for the race.
Somewhere around 1860, the elephant appeared in a political cartoon when Abraham Lincoln was running for President, however, it didn’t become officially tied to the party until it appeared in an 1874 edition of Harper’s Weekly. (Source
Today the Democrat donkey points to the left, to indicate the left-wing views of the party. The Republican elephant faces the right, to indicate the right-wing views of the party. (Source
The below infographic helps to illustrate the differences between the two parties.