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So this cartoon was written fairly recently,1 while the Trump administration’s Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, was seemingly ordering cutbacks, leading many people to worry that this was an attempt by Trump to make vote-by-mail ballots less likely to be counted.
This was my original idea for the final panel of this cartoon:
But I felt a lot of hesitation about that panel. Because while I was working on it, it was (and still is) a developing story. Is DeJoy actually trying to affect the elections? Or is he just trying to destroy a public service (he has investments in the Postal Service’s private industry competitors)? Or is he just an incompetent Trump crony thrust into a position he doesn’t understand (during hearings in the House, he seemed to know very little about the postal service, and claimed to not know who ordered the cutbacks)? All of these explanations seem possible.
And would anyone even remember this story a month or two from now?
I don’t want to spend a week or two working on a cartoon and then have it almost immediately be mooted by a changing news story. So even though I’d already put a lot of work into it, I almost didn’t finish this cartoon.
Then I read someone arguing that it’s unfair of accusing the GOP of trying to cripple the postal service to suppress voting, when they might have different (but also venal) motives. And I thought, if that’s true, whose fault is that?
The GOP has tried, again and again, to suppress the vote. If people are now quick to interpret what the GOP does as yet another attempt to suppress the vote, that’s entirely reasonable. It’s a reputation they’ve earned with considerable effort over many years.
And that’s a cartoon idea I feel a lot more confidence in.
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows a gigantic man – as tall as a two-story house – speaking to a bunch of voters. The giant is wearing a collared white shirt, striped tie, suit vest, and pants. He is white and balding and middle-aged, but looks quite strong. He is cheerfully grinning in every panel.
The giant is destroying a small building – wood and a piece of roof and a chimney flying in all directions – by stomping on it. We can see the remains of a big wooden sign, which says “VOTE HERE,” being snapped in two by his shoe. A couple of alarmed human-sized people are watching him do this.
GIANT: I closed 542 polling sites in minority neighborhoods – but I also closed 34 voting sites in white neighborhoods. So it’s perfectly fair!
The giant is holding a piece of parchment, which says “Voting Rights Act” in big letters. In his other hand he holds a paintbrush, dripping red paint. There’s a can of red paint open on the ground near the giant’s feet. A gigantic “X” has been painted on the parchment, over “voting rights act.” Six human-sized people are watching, one of them filming with a smartphone.
GIANT: The law is from 1965! Who needs voting rights now?
On a city sidewalk, the giant is standing holding a long roll of paper, with “Voter Rolls” written at the top. The long roll of paper is on fair. A red gas can is on the sidewalk near the giant’s feet. A couple of human-sized people are also on the sidewalk, looking angry and aghast.
GIANT: Gotta purge Black vot — I mean, bad voters.
The giant is standing on a path in a public park, a giant axe held resting on one shoulder, shrugging. There are trees and a little pond. The giant is talking to several human-sized people, who are listening looking skeptical and annoyed. Again, one person is filming with their cell phone.
GIANT: How could you think I’d try to suppress the vote?
- Actually, this paragraph was written almost a month ago when I posted this cartoon on Patreon, so it’s a bit less recent now. [↩]