The long, strange trip to the 2016 election: a cartoon view

I drew this at the height of the GOP madness during the primary season. I think it speaks for itself.

I drew this at the beginning of February when I first “felt the Bern.” One of my friends noticed that the gap between Hillary Clinton’s ankles looked like a light saber. I thought it was appropriate because Bernie Sanders’ hordes of young supporters referred to him as Obi-wan.

February 9: This is the second cartoon I drew of the campaign, as I started to warm to the process. It summed up my opinion at the time, though I had to keep revising the GOP side as contenders kept dropping out. Note Hillary Clinton holding tight to Obama’s coattails and Bill Clinton holding forth in his bedroom slippers.

February 23: Early on in the primaries it was becoming increasingly clear that Donald Trump was going alpha male on his opponents. Trump as King Kong was a natural, but while I was drawing it I had to keep reducing the number of planes (representing his rivals in the primaries) as he knocked them down. (The damsel in distress, Fay Wray, is missing because he already ate her.)

March 19: Not all the Republican contenders were able to come to terms with Trump as the presumptive nominee after Super Tuesday (Ted Cruise would bite at his ankles for months afterward before grudgingly endorsing him), but Ben Carson and GOP hanger-on Sarah Palin stepped right up to support him — and Chris Christie quickly assumed the toady position. He remains there at this writing.

April 26: Bernie stood apart from the saber rattlers during the primary debates, as Republicans tried to outdo each other whipping up terrorism fears and promising scary, militaristic solutions to a war-weary country. Hillary Clinton joined in, although I wasn’t sure if they were her real positions or if the potential first female major-party candidate just wanted to prove she could sound as tough as the guys.

May 3: It was becoming clear that my preferred pick Bernie Sanders would not be the candidate, and in mid-July, he would make it official. Still I had to keep this potential president and first husband OUTside the gate, just in case.

July 20: It’s been a banner year for the fact-checkers and, no question, the candidates’ credibility from the primaries on has been tarnished by mischaracterization, exaggerations and sometimes flat-out lies. Hillary Clinton was not immune, but, according to PolitiFact, her statements only drew the “pants on fire” tag 2% of the time; Donald Trump? 17%. Clinton rated true or mostly true more than 50% of the time. Trump? 15%. The cartoon reflects this, and the alternative universe Trump inhabits.

July 26: I drew this in the summer when Trump started calling Clinton’s designated attack-dog Elizabeth Warren, “the Indian,” and a “a fraud” because of her earlier claims to Native American ancestry. Later I revised the caption when he started calling her “Pocahontas”. “Goofy Elizabeth Warren,” as he (also) called her, appeared to get under his skin, calling him, for example, a “small, insecure money-grubber.”

September 21: Even before vice president candidate Mike Pence made the shocking statement that “Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader in his country than Barack Obama has been in this country,” it seemed to me Putin’s mouth must be watering at the opportunity that a Donald Trump presidency would bring. After all, Pence was only echoing his running mate, who has embraced the Russian President, even as he’s complained of a “rigged” election process in the United States. Ironic, because, GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan (among others) charges that Russia had been “conducting state-sponsored cyberattacks” on “our political system.”

October 5: At the vice-presidential debate, Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, tried again and again to get Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, to defend Trump’s most outrageous positions. But Pence was way ahead of him. He simply denied that Trump held these positions, shook his head, chuckled, and so on. Being in denial is apparently the only way Pence can live with himself.

October 6: Hillary Clinton mentioned Trump’s humiliation of Alicia Machado in the first debate on September 26, and Trump’s reaction spun out of control in the days that followed. Machado’s would be the first in a fusillade of stories from women describing their alleged mistreatment and/or sexual harassment at the hands of the real-estate mogul. But his response to the story of the former Miss Universe made news after he dispatched a series of abusive, 3 a.m. tweets railing against Machado and Clinton. The behavior seemed to cry out for an intervention from someone who could stifle him. Hence the cartoon: We knew that Trump kids were the only ones able to influence him. Maybe this is the only way possible!

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