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I worry a lot about how Republican court-packing makes it easier for them to win elections, making it easier for them to do more court-packing, and on and on.
It’s a prospect that sincerely terrifies me, but I’ve had trouble thinking of ways to talk about it in a cartoon. I’m amazed it took me so long to think of illustrating it in a loop cartoon (like this cartoon about Puerto Rico).
I initially planned to draw three separate panels, floating in white space. (Like the cartoon about Puerto Rico). But after I thought of having Republicans from the three branches of government tying up some ordinary citizens in the middle, it had to be a single panel. (Even though I almost never do single panel cartoons).
The background to this cartoon – simple as it is – is well outside my comfort zone, and took longer to draw than anything else in the cartoon. As is usual for me, I drew the perspective by eye. Then – as is also pretty common for me – I threw out everything and redid it the proper way, with perspective lines.
I didn’t draw that swirly carpet pattern; I found a free carpet pattern online, and then changed its colors and put it into perspective in Photoshop.
I also spent a long time drawing the female senator’s high heeled shoes – I am terrible at drawing this kind of shoe, but they seemed necessary in this case. With a lot of work, I finally drew shoes that, if not exactly good, were at least not unacceptably bad. Then I drew the male senator, and didn’t realize until after I’d positioned him that his hand covered up her shoes. Oh, well.
I also spent an enjoyable time trying playing with all the elements to try and make the circular motion apparent. What ended up working best was using the word balloons to guide readers’ eyes along the circle, supplemented by actual dotted-line arrows.
In the end, I’m pretty happy with how this cartoon looks. I hope you like it.
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
The cartoon shows four people walking clockwise in a circle around three people. The four people are an older white man in a suit – let’s call him The President (he isn’t drawn to look like Donald Trump, he’s just a generic politician). Next, going clockwise, are two well-dressed middle-aged people, a woman and a man. We’ll call them The Senators. And moving clockwise, next is a white-haired man with a beard and mustache; he is wearing judge’s robes, so we’ll call him The Judge.
It’s a big hall of the sort you find in some nice government buildings – fancy wainscoting on the wall, wooden floors, a large institutional-looking carpet with swirly patterns, a big potted plant (more like a small tree) near the wall.
Each person or pair – the President, the Senators, and the Judge – is holding a rope, which they are wrapping around the three ordinary citizens in the middle as they walk in a circle around them. They all look cheerful. The three ordinary citizens, who look unhappy and a bit stunned, have been thoroughly tied up.
There are dotted line arrows – the sort that indicate “read this next.” One points from the President to the Senators. One points from the Senators to the Judge. And a third and final arrow points from the Judge to the President.
PRESIDENT: And after Republican judges allow the anti-voting laws, I’ll be president even if most voters prefer the Democrat. Then I’ll nominate more Republican judges.
An arrow leads from the President to the Senators. The male Senator speaks.
SENATOR: And after the President nominates more Republican judges, Republican Senators can confirm the judges and write more anti-voting laws!
An arrow leads from the Senators to the Judge.
JUDGE: And after Republican Senators confirm us, Republican judges can rule that their anti-voting laws are constitutional!
An arrow leads from the Judge back to the President.