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Lisa Benson’s political cartoons are popular in the USA because they are precision, funny, and ironic. The artist often draws new pictures which reflect a particular political event, an inappropriate statement of politicians, or even a Twitter post, and her style is easy to recognize. The two presented political cartoons by Lisa Benson devoted to the presidential race of 2016 and 2020, in which she ridiculed and focused on accusations in dishonest acts of Donald Trump.
The central figure of both pre-election races is Donald Trump, who is known worldwide for his harsh decisions and statements. Besides, the businessman is often accused of using his wealth to realize selfish goals, including electoral victories. Lisa Benson reflected this fact in both political cartoons. The drawings with a difference of three years have many similarities, since they depict almost the same political event and character. The author used exaggeration for both pictures, since in the 2016 caricature the dead voters literally rose from the grave to give his vote, and on the second one Trump drags a huge bag of money which can flatten his opponents. Besides, a common feature of these two political cartoons, like many other works of Lisa Benson, is hidden irony as for their understanding, the reader must know the context of the event. However, the message of these works is quite simple, even for people who are not interested in politics as they face Trump’s accusations every day by watching the news or TV shows.
There are practically no differences between the two images, but the reader may notice some of them. Firstly, in the cartoon of 2019, there are several symbols which make the situation understandable for the reader, but the signatures or phrases of the characters are missing. On Trump’s baseball cap, the author portrayed Trump’s campaigning slogan “ Keep America Great” as an abbreviation, she put the dollar sign and symbols used for the campaign on the bag, and give the woman who was crushed with the bag a sign “Resist” (Benson, 2019). These symbols are close to Americans as they meet them daily on social networks, on TV, and the street and the tablet in the hands of a woman makes it clear that money is the primary means of fighting Trump with his opponents.
The 2016 caricature has no symbols, but Benson conveys the meaning of the message through exaggeration and direct speech. The skeleton which climbed out of the grave is a way to show the rumor that election results were rigged, since people who were no longer alive gave their votes for one of the candidates. The skeleton phrase also shows the absurdity of the situation as the dead voter is surprised by the presidential candidates (Benson, 2016). Benson also made an inscription on the gravestone and the papers so that readers could understand her message without further explanation. Thus, this political pattern has fewer elements and symbols, and its essence is conveyed through the phrase.
Moreover, a notable difference in political drawings is that although Donald Trump is the central character of the messages, his image is only in one of the pictures, and in the second he is only mentioned. However, both ways of depicting ideas are useful as they make the readers smile, but at the same time, force them to think. For this reason, both Benson’s designs fulfill their purpose and deliver the message to the voters.
In conclusion, the two political cartoons of Lisa Benson have many similar elements, since they both touch upon the topic of elections and the participation of Donald Trump in them. Their minor differences are the image or its absence of the central character of the message in the drawing itself, as well as the presence of symbols in one cartoon and direct speech in another. However, the theme of both pictures as well as some of the problems of America are the same, and the author conveys them by using different tools successfully.
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