Political Cartoonists Impact Presidential Races

Throughout history cartoonists' influence has varied, but the enduring trade lives on.

Depictions of McKinley during his presidential race inspired legislation to make suing cartoonists easier.

Depictions of McKinley during his presidential race inspired legislation to make suing cartoonists easier.

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When it comes to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, cartoonists weren't seduced. "Eight years ago, Bush was depicted as the lightweight frat boy and Cheney as the grownup designated driver," Kallaugher says. "Now Bush is still regarded as a lightweight, while Cheney has evolved into the Dark Lord."

Currently, there are fewer than 100 full-time political cartoonists, down from 2,000 at the turn of the last century. But just like nearly all his predecessors, Kallaugher considers election season his favorite time to draw. "The cartoon-consuming public is paying attention to the news, so you can assume much more knowledge from the audience and do more-sophisticated work," he says. Kallaugher has yet to identify his least favorite candidate this year. In other words, the one he wants to win the White House to ensure four years of pitiless cartoons.