Oh no! No more Donald Trump for cartoonists to feed off of! What will I draw now? Oh, the creative drought to come! Oh, the financial ruin! Hogwash.
People didn’t just start asking me, “What ya’ gonna draw without Trump around?” after the election. I was getting asked that back in 2017. Hell, when we all thought Hillary Clinton was going to win, people were asking me that in 2016. What am I going to do? I’m going to draw what the news gives me.
I can’t speak for other cartoonists, but I’m going to be OK. Hey, if all the pro-MAGAt cartoonists can get through the past four years, then the cartoonists who aren’t mindless sycophantic hacks can survive the Biden presidency. I’ve been doing this for a long time. My career started in 1990 when George H. W. Bush was president. I drew cartoons before there was Donald Trump. I’ll continue without Donald Trump.
It’s been noted many times that when cartoonists are doing well, then the country isn’t. Every cartoonists has days when they struggle, not just for an idea…but for a subject. There are slow news days. But I can honestly tell you that since Donald Trump began his presidential campaign in 2015, there has not been one day when I didn’t have a subject. Sure, there were days where I struggled for the right idea…but if anything, I usually had too many subjects. Stuff was constantly being pushed aside.
Over the past two years (a little less really), I’ve drawn over 1,000 roughs. I didn’t draw 1,000 published cartoons in that time frame. That should give you an idea of how much stuff I had to push aside. I still don’t think I drew enough cartoons about the pee-pee tape.
One thing people assume during the Trump era is that cartoonists were making bank. Honestly, no. It’s not like a bunch of newspapers were clamoring for more Donald Trump cartoons. I never had an editor call me and say he didn’t have enough Donald Trump cartoons. In fact, Donald Trump was bad for business. I had editors come out and tell me straight that they couldn’t run any…ANY cartoons that criticized Donald Trump.
Before Donald Trump came along, the newspaper business was suffering. Hell, I was laid off from my last newspaper job in 2012. Before Donald Trump came along, newspapers were already afraid of theirs readers. They were tip-toeing around them like crazy, afraid to publish anything that might offend even one reader in the slightest manner. One time when I worked at The Free Lance-Star, editors almost killed our caption contest because one, just one, reader got upset over one of the cartoons…before there was even a caption. It was just a drawing of Sarah Palin and one of her daughters..without any words. After Trump came, papers were afraid of a lot more than just losing subscribers because of anti-Trump cartoons. It’s really hard to convince an editor to carry a cartoon he thinks might get him killed.
I got an email from a friend yesterday, who is editor of a newspaper group in blood-red Indiana, home of Mike Pence. He told me their three daily newspapers lost over 100 subscribers since the attack on the Capitol. Why? Because they ran a front page story on the attack on the Capitol. I believe the word “insurrection” was in the headline. They lost readers for reporting the news.
As some editors were telling me they couldn’t carry anti-Trump cartoons, I had editors of small weeklies, who supported Trump, reply with hostility to my pitches. Ever been called “libtard” by a newspaper editor? I have. And also, I never figured out how anyone in the information business could support a man so opposed to information. I never figured out how newspaper people could support a man who called them the “enemy of the American people.” And then there are the editors who told me they couldn’t run any cartoons on Trump. No pro, no con…any. They felt Trump was just too toxic.
I picked up a lot of clients over the past four years…and I lost a bunch too. Much of it has to do with the state of the industry and a lot has to do with Donald Trump. I actually had an editor suggest I draw cartoons about Trump that were pro and con, as if I had no integrity or that I’m in the cartoon business to make money. I’m trying to survive but nobody goes into the cartoon business to make money. Not anymore. And who draws a cartoon expressing an opinion they don’t believe in? And how would anyone have credibility after that? Actually, I do know a couple cartoonists who tried that. Do they have credibility? Nope. Do they suck? Yup.
As for writing cartoons about Trump, now I’ll have to actually write cartoons again. At least, that’s the impression a lot of readers have who believe Trump wrote my material for me. I do know that it’s hard to satirize satire. It’s hard to make a clown look more like a clown. Come to think of it, I’m probably the only cartoonist who got through the Trump years without drawing a clown car.
And a lot of readers thanked me for helping them get through the Trump era. If you’re one of those, thank you. You gave me something I always wanted which was readers anticipating my next cartoon. Thanks for making me feel special.
But, it’s not over. My job wasn’t done when Trump stepped onto Air Force One for the last time this morning. Just like the people scrubbing the White House clean today, we have a disgusting job in front of us.
Donald Trump fucked up a lot of shit. There’s a lot of work to do. There’s a lot to repair behind Donald Trump. The economy is trashed. Over 400,000 people are dead from COVID. The vaccine rollout has been a disaster. Our nation’s reputation is in tatters. If only someone warned us that installing a corrupt narcissistic man-child racist with the IQ of a shoe horn was going to be bad for the country.
There are still over 150 representatives in Congress who objected to a democratic election. There are Qanon believers in the House. Traitors like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley are still in the Senate. There are still terrorists running around believing the lies Trump told them. White nationalists and other assorted racists are more emboldened today thanks to Donald Trump. We still have Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and Qanon. We still have fucknuts. We still have tiki-torch Nazis that Donald Trump defended.
Also, there are reports Eric Trump’s wife wants to run for Congress from North Carolina where she doesn’t live. Ivanka may run against Marco Rubio for his Florida senate senate seat (don’t make me move to Florida, fuckers!). Ivanka and Don Jr are going to fight over the Trump base of idiots. And…Donald Trump isn’t going to go away. He’ll probably resume rallies next week. He may still build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Maybe he’ll create his own cable “news” network. He may even run for president again.
And, there’s the Senate trial over Trump’s impeachment. There are civil and criminal charges coming Trump’s way. I haven’t gone after all the goons he pardoned yesterday. How much did Lil’ Wayne pay for that pardon? Did Trump secretly pardon himself?
And, do you think Donald Trump is going to stop being corrupt or engaging in fuckery now that he’s no longer in the White House? Do you think he’s going to stop being a baby? Do you think he’s going to stop being bitter? Do you think he’s going to stop staying racist and stupid shit? There will probably be another divorce and marriage I’ll have to cover.
Finally, Donald Trump is talking about creating a new political party which will be called the Patriot Party.
I’m not done. Stay tooned.
Signed prints: The signed prints are just $40.00 each. Every cartoon on this site is available. You can pay through PayPal. If you don’t like PayPal, you can snail mail it to Clay Jones, P.O. Box 9103, Fredericksburg, VA 22403. I can mail the prints directly to you or if you’re purchasing as a gift, directly to the person you’re gifting.
Notes on my book, Tales From The Trumpster Fire: I have an order of 20 copies of my book (11 are left to purchase) on the way, which I’m selling for $45.00 each, signed. The books won’t arrive until after the new year, but orders are being taken and they’ll be shipped as soon as I receive them. Also, I have copies of my first book from 1997, Knee-Deep in Mississippi available for $20.00.
Tip Jar: if you want to support the cartoonist, please send a donation through PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also snail it to P.O. Box 9103, Fredericksburg, VA 22403.
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