WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA)--Some would say one of the greatest sporting events is politics. As with any team, there are mascots.
Why the elephant for the Republican Party? Why the donkey for the Democratic Party? Editorial cartoonist Thomas Nast gets most of the credit.
Source: Thomas Nast Portfolio
"The donkey first appeared as a symbol for the Democratic Party
in the 1830s when the Democrat Andrew Jackson was President. The donkey continued in American political commentary as a symbol for the Democratic Party thereafter. Thomas Nast built upon this legacy and used his extraordinary skill to amplify it. For a time, the rooster also served as the symbol of the Democratic Party, but gradually the donkey replaced it in popular usage after the 1880s. Nast first used the donkey as a symbol for the Democratic Party in "A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion" published January 15, 1870, in Harper's Weekly to comment on Northern Democrats (nicknamed Copperheads) dealings with Edwin M. Stanton, Lincoln's Secretary of War."
Source: Republican National Committee
"During the mid term elections in 1874, Democrats tried to scare voters into thinking President Ulysses S. Grant would seek to run for an unprecedented third term. Thomas Nast, a cartoonist for Harper's Weekly, depicted a Democratic donkey trying to scare a Republican elephant - and both symbols stuck. For a long time, Republicans have been known as the 'G.O.P.' with party faithful believing it meant the 'Grand Old Party.' But apparently the original meaning (in 1875) was 'gallant old party.' When automobiles were invented it also came to mean, 'get out and push.' That's still a pretty good slogan for Republicans who depend every campaign year on the hard work of hundreds of thousands of everyday volunteers to get out and vote and push people to support the causes of the Republican Party."