How Donkeys and Elephants Came to Represent the Political Parties of the United States

In response to a viewer submitted question, “Today I Found Out” host Simon Whistler offers a detailed history explaining how donkeys and elephants came to be the iconic symbols of the Democrats and Republican parties.

The donkey is stereotypically bumbling, slow, and stubborn; the elephant– big and clumsy. Being compared to one of these animals is not exactly flattering in this sense. Yet, for well over a century, they have been the popular symbols of America’s major political parties – the donkey for Democrats and the elephant for Republicans. So how did the donkey and elephant enter into our political lexicon? As one could imagine, it all started with an insult.