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US midterm polls: Why Republicans use an elephant & Democrats a donkey


Washington, Nov 7: The United States on Tuesday, November 6, went to its all-important midterm elections that, according to many, are a test for President Donald Trump who has been quite a polarising figure. Thirty-five seats in the Senate and 435 seats in the House of Representatives will go to polls during the day. The Democrats are in a minority in both houses and will be hoping to regain some of its lost ground in the mid-terms.

US midterm polls: Why Republicans use elephant & Democrats’ donkey

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On a lighter note: Why does the Republican Party use the elephant as its symbol and the Democratic Party the donkey?

In 1874, Thomas Nast, a Germany-born American cartoonist who is considered to be the father of American cartoon, drew an elephant to depict the Republican vote in his drawing "The Third-Term Panic". The cartoon came out in Harper's Weekly, an American political magazine which came out between 1857 and 1916, after the owner of the New York Herald reportedly criticised the idea of Republican president (1869-1877) Ulysses S Grant running for a third term. It though did not materialise in the end. In the drawing, it was shown that an "ass" depicting the Herald which scared other animals in a forest as the elephant - or the Republican vote - looked like it was about to fall into a pit.

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However, that "ass" in that cartoon isn't the one identified with the Democratic donkey. In 1828, Democrat Andrew Jackson's critics called him a "jackass" because of his populist viewpoints and the slogan: "Let the people rule". Jackson however decided to continue with it and even used images of a donkey in his campaign ads. Later, Nast also used a donkey to portray the Democratic Party.

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