TUESDAY TRIVIA: Why the Donkey for Democrats and the Elephant for Republicans?

The donkey has long been the animal symbol for Democrats and the elephant has been the one for Republicans?

How did the donkey get associated with the Democratic party and the elephant with the Republican party?

Several sources say the origins of the Democratic donkey can be traced to the 1828 presidential campaign of Andrew Jackson. One says Republicans responded to Jackson’s campaign slogan, “Let the people rule,” by saying it sounded like herding a bunch of “jackasses” to Washington and letting them vote.

Instead of being insulted, Jackson embraced the animal image and started using it on campaign materials. The donkey was further cemented as the Democratic party’s mascot in the 1870s, when influential political cartoonist Thomas Nast used it as a symbol for the party.

According to History.com, an image of an elephant was featured as a Republican symbol in at least one political cartoon and a newspaper illustration during the Civil War (when “seeing the elephant” was an expression used by soldiers to mean experiencing combat), but the elephant didn’t start to take hold as a Republican party symbol until Thomas Nast used it in an 1874 “Harper’s Weekly” cartoon.

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