2000–TIME Cartoon–Justin Geiser
Due to unprecedented amount of controversy created by the results of the 2000 election, political cartoonists were able to have a field day. Usually political cartoons are used to make fun of a candidate on a certain issue or call out candidates for during their scandals. Historically, they have been published in newspapers as well as political journals and magazines. One cartoon in particular that I found amusing concerning the results of the 2000 election was printed in TIME magazine following the election. The ad pictures Gore as a passenger on a large boat that resemble a naval carrier with “Gore” painted on the side of the boat. Floating only a few feet away is a tiny little rowboat being navigated by Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. The sail on his boat read “3%” referring to the percentage of the popular vote he received in the 2000 election. Gore appears to be yelling from the boat, “You’ll never make it! So maybe you could give me a tow…”
While TIME Magazine is usually known for its in depth articles on national as well as worldly issues, it also dabbles in political cartoons and political jokes. At the time the cartoon was released, every story in the news world seemed to revolve around the state of Florida until the winner of the state was determined. On television channels such as CNN and Fox News, there was around the clock coverage of the election. If you weren’t discussing the close election, people were not watching or willing to pay attention.
As most Americans can remember, the election came down to who could carry the state of Florida and its 25 electoral votes. The battle for the vote of Florida was so close that various news outlets had credited both candidates with winning at certain points. The state, which was governed at the time by the brother of President to be George Bush, was too close to call according to most experts, until the recount was completely done. It is believed that the difference between the two candidates was within couple hundred votes. It believed by some that the presence of a third party candidate may have cost Gore the state of Florida as the Green Party candidate (Nader) stole large amounts of votes from the battleground states of Florida and New Hampshire.
Ralph Nader was viewed by many in the Democratic Party who were supporting Gore in the election as a spoiler. Not only was Nader never a serious threat to win any state, much less any of the battleground states, he proved to be a nuisance to the Gore effort in a few important states as the majority of Nader supporters would have likely voted for Gore but voted for the Green Party candidate once he announced his candidacy. According to some, a big reason why Nader was attempting to run in the election was to secure 5% of the popular vote so he could match funding for the Green Party in the next Presidential election in 2004.
Obviously, the main idea of this piece of rhetoric is to make light of the fact that Nader could have aided in Gore’s inability to win Florida. There were a few stylistic devices that the cartoonist used that I found interesting and relevant to his message. The stylistic goal in the cartoonist portraying the Gore campaign as this monstrous ship in the ocean compared to Nader’s little wooden rowboat is to show how small-time Nader’s third party candidacy really was as compared Gore’s democratic candidacy. Nader’s sail on his ship is also poorly cut piece of cloth tied together by some string also adding to the idea that Nader’s campaign was not put together nearly as well as it needed to be in order to be effective. The 3% written on the sail is in reference to the fact that Nader was able to win 3% (around 2.75% to be exact) of the popular vote. Gore’s remark about “giving him a tow” that he is yelling through a bullhorn on the deck of his ship is basically supposed to be him pleading with Nader to not run in the election or to endorse Gore’s campaign because he doesn’t have a realistic shot of winning and it will hurt Gore’s chances. Many experts still believe that had Nader not carried the 3 percent popular vote and had he not run all together, then Gore would have been able to take Florida and the Presidency.
http://www.time.com/time/teach/glenspring2001/12.html (Article w/ Cartoon)