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Laughter is the best medicine

Over the past twelve days, I’ve aggregated material from a variety of sources into five different posts in order to consider the midterm elections and their impact on our democracy. I won’t apologize for the fact that I have called out the authoritarianism of one of our political parties, the Republicans, in these pieces. Their leaders have made their goals abundantly clear.

  • As I said in the post For those still living in the reality-based world (November 4th) we have a party — and party leaders — that, in order to maintain the pretense that they are relentlessly persecuted by progressives, will lie and then laugh about an attack on an 82-year-old grandfather that almost killed him. When one looks at all the accomplishments of the Democrats and the Biden administration in the face of this unrelenting disinformation campaign, it is truly remarkable.
  • Monday’s post dove deeper into the will of the electorate. In The people speak (November 14th), I surveyed a number of ballot initiatives that passed in support of progressive priorities, even in deep-red states.
  • That was followed on Tuesday by Consider the source (November 15th), a look at how a number of respected media critics and historians see the failure of our political press as being part of the problem in the threats to democracy. Veteran journalist James Fallows calls for a time out for our political press while they find their way.

This morning’s post is the fifth and final piece in this series. The midterms are (mostly) behind us, but the political cartoonists are still having a field day, especially in highlighting how the red wave (or red tsunami as Ted “Cancun” Cruz predicted) crashed and burned. And now, with Trump’s “big announcement”, there is even more to satirize.

I have featured a series of posts highlighting political cartoons during this midterm election season. It seems appropriate to give the cartoonists (and a few other wags) the last word in considering what to make of the voters’ choices.

If you want to see the earlier editions of ‘toons from this political season, visit herehereherehere, and here.

Other than to point out that the political cartoonists seemed to be much more on top of the mood of the electorate than the political press, which fumbled badly during this season, not a lot of editorial commentary is necessary.

The missing red wave

By ignoring court orders and breaking the law in at least four states, the Republicans probably won just enough seats to take the House. Had those four states followed judges’ orders, the Democrats’ evening would have been even more historic.*

Veteran’s Day

The art of (no) self-reflection

The “historic” announcement (or, as Andy Borowitz framed it, Trump to Try for Historic Third Impeachment).

And takes from a few non-cartoonists

She might pull through

Let’s end with a non-political post (although it does include an elephant) just to make you laugh

Stay all the way to the end. AND NOTE: One family member laughed so hard they almost hurt themselves, so be careful!

Laughter is the best medicine. Have a good day.

More to come…


*Many factors made the difference for what’s guaranteed to be a very narrow GOP majority, but among the most consequential for democracy is that Republicans almost certainly owe their majority to gerrymandering.

In a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2019, every GOP-appointed justice voted over the opposition of every Democratic appointee to prohibit federal courts from curtailing partisan gerrymandering. Chief Justice John Roberts disingenuously argued that judicial intervention wasn’t needed partly because Congress itself could end gerrymandering, at least federally. But following the 2020 elections, every Republican in Congress voted to block a bill supported by every Democrat to ban congressional gerrymandering nationwide, which failed when Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin refused to also curtail the GOP’s filibuster to pass the measure.

Consequently, Republicans were able to draw roughly four out of every 10 congressional districts after the 2020 census—three times as many as Democrats drew.

After Republicans blocked Democrats from ending gerrymandering nationally, Democrats largely refused to disarm unilaterally and gerrymandered where they could, just as the GOP did. Republicans, however, had ma​​​​​​ny more opportunities, in large part because state courts struck down a map passed by New York Democrats and replaced it with a nonpartisan map.

By contrast, the Supreme Court and judges in Florida allowed GOP gerrymanders to remain in place for 2022 in four states even though lower courts found that they discriminated against Black voters as litigation continues. Had Republicans been required to redraw these maps to remedy their discrimination, Black Democrats would have been all but assured of winning four more seats, possibly enough to cost the GOP its majority on their own. And in Ohio, Republicans were able to keep using their map for 2022 even though the state Supreme Court ruled it was an illegal partisan gerrymander, potentially costing Democrats another two seats.

Stephen Wolf for Daily Kos elections, November 16, 2022

The image of the cartoonist’s desk is from The Comics Journal, which posted an essay excerpted from the introduction to Jeff Danziger’s book, The Conscience of a Cartoonist: Instructions, Observations, Criticisms, Enthusiasms

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: November observations in More to Come… | More to Come...

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