Red state, blue state
The red state/blue state map produced after the 2000 American presidential election - with the Northeast, the Upper Midwest, the Pacific coast and a few other states blue and everything else red - was a cultural meme for a while, becoming the starting point for a great deal of discussion of the intersections between culture, politics and geography in the United States. It inspired partisans on both sides and even a movie (now out on DVD) in which a disgruntled Democrat finds love on the road to Winnipeg in the aftermath of John Kerry's defeat.
It also inspired people with really good MapPublisher skills to mess around with the original concept, showing an alternative version designed to show the U.S. in all its real complexity as mostly shades of grey or perhaps purple. Or pink. There's even this population-weighted version which looks sort of like a chemical spill seen from the air.
Now a Flash app at the LA Times’s election site offers you the chance to simulate the presidential election yourself, putting states into the red or blue camp, depending on your fears or preferences, and seeing the changes in the Electoral College. It’s very educational – it’s one thing to know in principle that the election will hinge on a few high-population states that are realistically in play, and quite another to be able to play with the concept interactively.