New Hampshire Primary

Daryl Cagle / (click to view New Hampshire Primary cartoons)

Click to view our New Hampshire Primary cartoon collection.

Tomorrow, voters in New Hampshire will go to the polls to decide the winner of their GOP Primary. Most polls point to front-runner Mitt Romney, who barely squeaked our a victory in Iowa, easily winning New Hampshire.

Between Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, cartoonists have been keeping their hands full covering this primary. Check out what they think in our New Hampshire Primary cartoon collection.


Thomas Nast: Anti-Irish, Anti-Catholic Bigot?

I received an email this morning from Michael Dooley, an instructor at The Art Center College of Design, UCLA Extension, and Loyola Marymount University. Dooley wrote a column about Thomas Nast, the father of modern political cartoons, that I thought I would share with all the cartooning fans here on


Thomas Nast: Anti-Irish, Anti-Catholic Bigot?

Biased. Disrespectful. Offensive. All sterling job qualifications for any good editorial cartoonist. But “racist”? Woah!

Thomas Nast was the granddaddy of the American political cartoon. And having lived in New Jersey, he’s been nominated for induction into the state’s 2012 Hall of Fame. But last month, legislators of both political parties fought to take his name off the ballot.

Caricature is oversimplification, a type of dehumanization for speedy communication. It’s also a tool of Nast’s trade which he vigorously practiced during the 1800s, most notably for Harper’s Weekly. For him, party Democrats were stubborn jackasses and murderous tigers. William “Boss” Tweed was a bloated bag of ill-gotten gains and his Tammany Hall cronies were predatory vultures. But some of Nast’s lesser known works have been singled out as evidence that he was anti-Catholic and anti-Irish.

And while some of those images have been disseminated in the press, hardly any of Nast’s opponents have meaningfully dealt with their content in context.

Let’s look at one of the supposedly anti-Catholic Nast cartoons. “The American River Ganges” (above) depicts an army of bishops crawling onto our shores. Their miters have transformed into crocodile mouths, as they prepare to devour young children.

As a Catholic… okay, ex-Catholic, I don’t see any problem here. “Ganges” isn’t anti-Catholic, it’s anti-Roman Catholic Church. Briefly stated, Nast was opposing state aid for parochial schools, and calling for church-state separation. And I consider his attack as justified as, for instance, contemporary editorial cartoons that condemn the Church’s countless pedophile priest cover-ups.

The other cartoons in question – and there are several – portray the Irish as a bunch of drunken, violent apes. As an Irishman, if I saw such stereotypes today, isolated from any explanatory indicators, I’d be highly insulted. But typically, Nast was criticizing specific groups of Irishmen, and for a variety of specific reasons. For one thing, he felt that their majority support of Tweed’s corrupt political machine in New York was foolish at best and downright stupid at worst.

Thomas Nast

As another example, in “The Chinese Question” (above) he’s drawn a noose and a burning building behind an ugly Irishman leading a gang of ruffians. This was to reference the riots in which predominantly Irish American mobs protested President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation by lynching blacks and setting fire to a Colored Orphan Asylum. That’s not racism on Nast’s part, that’s rage.

I’ve expressed my admiration for Nast in the past. And I really don’t know the depth of his alleged anti-Irish prejudice. His flattering depiction of an Irishman at his “come one come all, free and equal” table (below) is certainly cause for reflection. But I do know about his admiring and highly compelling portrayals of Chinese immigrants and other minorities. And his depictions of blacks, whether courageous Buffalo Soldiers or emancipated slaves, rank among the most exemplary graphic representations of a woefully underacknowledged part of our country’s history.

Note the Irish couple at the right end of the table. (click to enlarge)

I also know that when many Southern blacks voted for corrupt administrations during post-Civil War Reconstruction, the same way the Irish had been voting for Tammany gangsters, Nast didn’t hesitate to savagely ridicule both those groups (below). Totally unacceptable by today’s standards, most certainly, but typical of the visual parlance one and a half centuries ago.

Thomas Nast Harpers

And speaking of voting, let’s return to New Jersey. When the Hall of Fame winners are announced this month, I seriously doubt Nast will be mentioned, much less inducted. And it’s not just that his chances were undermined by negative publicity. It’s also that he was competing with names like Alexander Calder, Alfred Stieglitz, Dorothy Parker, Joyce Carol Oates, and even another cartoonist, Charles Addams. Woah!

Nevertheless, as a fellow former resident of New Jersey and a believer in counterbalancing what I feel was unfair treatment, I decided to cast my vote this year for the disrespectful and distinguished Mr. Nast.

Michael Dooley is the creative director of Michael Dooley Design and teaches Design History at Art Center College of Design, UCLA Extension, and Loyola Marymount University. He is also a Print contributing editor and writes on art and design for a variety of publications.


New Hampshire is First

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Best Political Cartoons of the Week

Every Friday, we collect the best political cartoons of the week and stuff them into one big, glorious slideshow.

So just relax and catch up on a week’s worth of news with our Best Cartoons of the Week slideshow.

Nate Beeler / Washington Examiner (click to start slideshow)




After the Iowa Caucuses

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Controversial Ron Paul Cartoon

Taylor Jones / Cagle Cartoons (click to enlarge)

Last week, our brilliant caricacturist Taylor Jones (view more of Taylor’s cartoons here) drew a cartoon featuring Ron Paul wearing a Klansman’s robes. This was in response to the news of racists diatribes appearing in newsletter printed by Ron Paul more than 20 years ago. Paul has denied writing these, but refuses to say who might have, or explain how they ended up in his newsletters.

The cartoon obviously toched a nerve for Ron Paul supporters and non-supporters alike. We asked what you thought of the cartoon, and boy, did you tell us! Here’s a sampling:

Sandra Chung – If GOP candidates can make crap up about their opposing members, or others, then they shouldn’t be surprised or offended when their own past comes back to bite em on the ass.

Johnz Thomaz – He is not a racist, and has supported policies for years that would treat people as individuals, which is the ultimate way to break racial walls.

Dennis Jasinski – Typical political mud-slinging.

John Berger – When all else fails, call the person a racist, bigot, sexist, homophobe, adulterer, drug user, nazi, etc. and go back as far in time as is necessary to justify it.

Tyler Yaeger – At this point, I don’t think it’s fair to call Paul a racist, but he’s certainly worked with a lot, and has the support of a lot of them.

James Chapman – Absolutely fair. If he is going to demonize Hispanics, African-Americans, and Homosexuals then he better be prepared for the blowback. Besides I don’t see him giving back that $1 million that was raised from those racist newsletters.

Joe Sexton – There must be some reason why certain racists support him and donate money to his campaign. Does that make him a racist or just an opportunist–like just about all politicians?

Anika Denton – I loathe Ron Paul and his brain dead acolytes, but this is just lazy and not even clever. It’s one thing to be a bigot, but a Klan robe should be reserved for the likes of Pat Buchanan or Rick Perry.

Supa Charger – Ron Paul would protect your right to do this, would any of the other do the same?

Eating Steak – This is all you got? Some years-old stale newsletters accusing the Republican who scores the highest with non-whites of being a racist?

History Squared – Not really fair, since they weren’t his words, whereas Obama says he lied and was ashamed of his white heritage. Anything on that? Of course not.

RELATED: View our collection of Ron Paul cartoons


Iowa Caucuses Cartoons

Dave Granlund / (click to view Iowa Caucuses cartoons)

Click here to view our collection of Iowa Caucuses cartoons

Republican presidential hopefuls are making their final pitches in Iowa today, criss-crossing the state to bolster their chances of winning tomorrow’s Iowa Caucuses.

One thing crazy about this year is the wide-open nature of the race. After endless debates and months of town halls and handshakes, 41 percent of those polled said they could still change their minds.

What do cartoonists think of the first in the nation presidential contest? Find out with our new Iowa Caucuses cartoon collection.



Iowa and USA Voters

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