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Fun & Delegate Games, Or How Ron Paul Got His Kicks In Massachusetts

August 29, 2012

I recently did a cover illustration for Worcester Magazine, an alternative newsweekly in Worcester, Massachusetts. It was for their lead story about squabbles within the state Republican party re delegates to this week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. Here’s the final: ย cover illustration for Worcester Magazine alternative newsweekly showing United States presidential candidate Mitt Romney kicking Ron Paul off the back of an elephant with map of Massachusetts and suitcase referencing delegates going to Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida

What does the illustration mean, exactly? Let me break down some of the main elements, especially for my non-U.S. readers:

There are two major political parties in the United States: Republican and Democratic. The Republican party is represented (in cartoons) by an elephant.

Each party nominates its candidate for president at a national convention. Republicans are holding their convention this week in Tampa, Florida. There’s a tradition of wearing straw hats at these conventions, though I’ve been unable to trace its origin.

Most of the delegates in Tampa will cast their votes for Mitt Romney, making him the Republican presidential nominee. Why? Because Mr. Romney won the most delegates in state primary elections which took place earlier this year.

The other “player” in my illustration is Ron Paul, one of several other candidates who ran against Mr. Romney in the state primary elections. Mr. Paul is a Republican, but he is also a hero to many Libertarians, who advocate limited government and expanded personal freedoms.

And that helps summarize two competing factions in the Republican party:

Mr. Romney represents traditional or mainstream Republicanism (a majority), Mr. Paul represents a more libertarian strain (a vocal minority). In the illustration, Mr. Romney is kicking Mr. Paul off the elephant.

How good are the caricatures? Here are two photos of Mr. Romney, with his full head of too-perfect hair, deep-set eyes, slightly down-turned nose, pronounced chin:

two photos of Republican presidential candidate and presumed nominee Mitt Romney showing side profiles of his face

And here are two of Mr. Paul: baggy, somewhat puffy eyes, dark scraggly eyebrows, large ears, pronounced ski-nose:ย two photos of Republican and Libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul including side profile of his face

A bit more background on the Massachusetts delegate controversy:

Massachusetts utilizes both caucuses and a primary. Delegates (the actual people who will attend the national convention) are chosen at local caucuses. Statewide primary voting determines which candidate wins those delegates. The delegates pledge to vote for the winner (of the primary) on the first ballotย at the national convention.

The potential for conflict arises because a delegate may personally support a candidate who lost the primary. He is pledged to support the winning candidate on the first ballot, but he actually prefers a different candidate.

That’s what happened in Massachusetts (and some other states like Maine): Ron Paul supporters campaigned hard at local caucuses, and won many of the delegate slots. Mitt Romney, however, won the primary. All delegates are obliged to vote for Mr. Romney on the first ballot, but Ron Paul supporters also want to do all they can to keep Mr. Paul and his ideas in the spotlight.

The state Republican party decided to put extra pressure on the delegates who were Ron Paul supporters. They asked them to sign an affidavit, swearing to vote for Mr. Romney at the convention. Some refused, some were late returning the affidavits. The state party then decertified those delegates, and gave those slots to the runners-up in the same caucuses (who are Mitt Romney supporters).

Which is why the illustration shows Mr. Romney giving Mr. Paul the boot.

The illustration also contains a little joke: Boston is the capitol of Massachusetts and its largest city, with a population of about 618,000 people. Worcester is the state’s second largest city, pop. 180,000. However, since the illustration was for Worcester Magazine, I made Worcester the “big star,” and reduced Boston to a tiny speck. Here’s a close-up:

detail image from cover illustration for Worcester Magazine alternative newsweekly showing United States presidential candidate Mitt Romney kicking Ron Paul off the back of an elephant with map of Massachusetts and suitcase referencing delegates going to Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida

What do you think? Does it make sense to elect delegates who support one candidate, and then oblige them to vote for another? Ever felt torn between sticking with your own candidate and supporting another for the sake of party unity? Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

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Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

Hard Luck: Mitt Romney’s Campaign Bus Gets Stuck At A Turtle Crossing

Political Correctness, Free Speech & The Right To Draw

Eating Peas, Kicking The Can, And The Road Not Taken

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38 Comments leave one →
  1. Steven L. Campbell permalink
    August 29, 2012 12:57 PM

    I love the illustration.

    As for an answer to your question, the ways of politics confuse me, always; and yes, I’m almost constantly torn between potential presidents and vice presidents. It’s like mixing salt with your sugar… or something like that! ๐Ÿ™‚


    • August 30, 2012 9:09 AM

      Many thanks, Steven, sincerely appreciated.

      The ways of politics confuse me, too. When politicians start spinning the issues, my poor head starts to spin. Salt and sugar indeed, and neither one is good for my blood pressure… : (

      Thanks so much for stopping by, and for your kind support! : )


  2. August 29, 2012 1:42 PM

    Wow! What a wonderfully succinct wrap up of the political process. That in and of itself was worth the read. But then there is the added bonus of the cartoon!

    I love your take on Romney. He’s very Dudley Do-Right which is an apropos take on Romney’s image! HA! And poor ol’ Ron Paul. I really liked him. I never noticed his ears being so big. But that they are! He must be a great listener.

    And I’m sure the residents of Worcester agree completely with your map! LOL!

    Your posts are always tip top, Mark. ๐Ÿ˜€


    • August 30, 2012 9:15 AM

      Ah, dear Linda, what a lovely comment! Instead of reading all the political junk mail that shows up in my post office box every day, I’m going to come back here and re-read your comment– thank you!!

      Your quip about Ron Paul being a great listener because of his big ears had me positively convulsed– I’m still laughing!

      Thanks as ever for your wonderful support! : )


  3. August 29, 2012 10:00 PM

    Excellent caricatures. I think you really nailed it, Mark.

    I have taken a vow not to publicly discuss my politics. This stems from being a former reporter and currently a public servant, a teacher.


    • August 30, 2012 9:31 AM

      Many thanks, Judy.

      I applaud your vow not to discuss politics. It’s dangerous ground, and can easily destroy friendships. A shame, really, since we can all benefits from different perspectives. We make the mistake, I think, of investing too much of ourselves in our political identity. Result: we feel under attack personally when our views are challenged, and the urge to counterattack is strong. The fact that rudeness seems to be the “new normal” just makes things worse. Sigh.

      Thanks for stopping by and being your usual good influence! : )


      • August 30, 2012 6:44 PM

        Mark, that vow of silence includes not commenting on all controversial topics. That means the only thing left that I can talk about is “your wonderful cartoons.” Keep up the great work.


        • August 31, 2012 1:22 PM

          Ha! Given the vitriol that passes for so much of “opinion” these days, I can’t help wishing more people would take a vow of silence! : )

          You’re only willing to talk about my wonderful cartoons?? I don’t see a problem– I can’t think of a more pressing or congenial topic!! : P

          Judy, you’re the bestest– thanks so much for your support. : )


  4. August 30, 2012 10:41 AM

    Hey, congrats! Nice clean illustration and I’ll have to check out Worcester (excuse me – Woostah) Magazine. Looks very interesting.

    I wish I could be as Buddhist as earthriderjudy but it just won’t happen today. I fear both major parties are too close in faults (environmentally and in health care policy) to support either. I wish the Green and Working Class parites could join the debate for a little shakeup.

    My boyfriend supports single transferable votes, which is something I’d have to think about but it couldn’t be worse than what we have right now.


    • August 31, 2012 12:43 PM

      Only the really cool people know the proper (prop-puh?) way to pronounce Woostah. I mean, Worcester. You have, of course, mastered many local dialects in your wide-ranging studies… : )

      Always glad to have your plain-spoken opinions, and always delighted to see you– thanks, Amelie! : )


  5. robpixaday permalink
    August 30, 2012 4:55 PM

    Mark Armstrong, for Illustrator-in-Chief!!!!! That’s my vote and I’m sticking with it.

    This is a GEM! And my favorite twinkly part is the elephant’s tail.

    Molto perfetto!!!



    • August 31, 2012 1:15 PM

      Ha!! This comment made me grin so hard, my face hurt!!– and a face like mine desperately needs to minimize hurts!! : P

      Illustrator-in-Chief… woof! I’m making V for Victory signs here, and waiting for the balloons to come down– where are they?? : )

      Glad you liked Ol’ Pachyderm’s tail. Must admit I got a kick out of it myself. Totally incorrect anatomically, but– it seems to work!

      A trumpet blast of thanks to you, Robin, for your wonderfully sustaining support!! : )


  6. August 30, 2012 8:11 PM

    Love the caricatures, Mark.

    Naturally, being an Aussie, I’m not as invested in another country’s politics, although I watch the news and, invariably we get to see what is happening all around the globe. The political situation in the States is currently sharing a good deal of air time here.

    Our Australian political structure is based on the UK system. It’s a convoluted system, which it is said, guarantees those with the majority vote will rule. However; should the individual in my electorate/division (and who has received my vote) not receive sufficient votes to be elected, his/her ‘preference’ will receive my vote. This continues until, at last, someone receives the majority votes, and duly receives the honour. This candidate may not be the man/woman of my choice however; there you have it, he gets my vote.

    “Ever felt torn between sticking with your own candidate and supporting another for the sake of party unity?”

    A similar situation; one that is an inevitable consequence of the world of politics..!

    As I said above; love the caricatures, they really express the situation very accurately and clearly… Well done to you, Mark…! I’m sure the Worcester Magazine would have been delighted… ๐Ÿ™‚


    • August 31, 2012 1:37 PM

      Thank you, dear Carolyn!

      Really enjoyed your summary of the Aussie electoral process– fascinating. I have this image in my mind of a guy with a sack of votes. He approaches a rival, hands him the sack and says: “I didn’t get enough votes, but here, take ’em, I hope they will help you!” Seems odd and rather altruistic at the same time… : )

      Many thanks for your kind words about the illustration. Speaking of altruism, you are a most valued and sustaining force!! : )


      • August 31, 2012 4:42 PM

        You must ‘think in pictures’ quite a lot being an illustrator..! I can imagine being in your head to be a most fascinating place to reside…! Your visual summary of my summary is so comical… no wonder you do what you do. Where else would all of this talent express itself…!?! ๐Ÿ™‚


        • September 1, 2012 12:41 PM

          Too kind, too kind, too kind!!

          No wait, on second thought, that was just right… : )

          Thank you, dear Carolyn!!


  7. August 30, 2012 9:25 PM

    Came in by way of Robin’s blog.

    It’s a little more personally surreal because Mitt is a near kinsman, but like much of my extended family (family ties that are closer than him), he lives a very separated life compared to mine. Speaking of family, and illustrations, really, he’s not as nearly related as Don Bluth (yes, the movie animator) is… and yes, I formally checked. Bluth is like a first cousin once removed or something like that and Romney is … more. But still, he’s close enough that it’s close to home, so to speak.

    Anyways, I feel the need to distance myself not only because I’m not a fan of partisan politics, but because he IS a family member of sorts AND because like many in my family, he professes the same denomination of faith. Religion *and* politics– more conflict, y’know? Furthermore, it reminds me of why I left Facebook; even after paring away contacts for silly games, and then acquaintances (schoolmates, etc.), I was still left with family members with negative vibes including political ones.

    Appreciate your thoughts about political views being too personally wrapped in identity these days for many people; I do think that is a considerable factor.


    • September 1, 2012 11:36 PM

      Hi Jak, I know we’re both Robin King fans, and it’s nice to meet you. Many thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

      Mr. Romney seems like a good man, and I’m sure he’s used to editorial comment. I hope his candidacy will result in a better understanding of the Mormon faith. Anything that helps us get to know one another better and promotes understanding, is a good thing. Blogging has shown me that there are a lot of good people in the world, and a lot of good will. I find that a very hopeful sign, and I hope we can all build on it.

      Again, thank you for stopping by, you are always very welcome here. : )


      • September 5, 2012 4:09 AM

        An honor, sir.

        I appreciate your sanguine thoughts on blogging; I have met very kind folks but sadly also very bitter ones. That I am not more optimistic probably reflects the struggle I’m still having with some personal pain and suffering, and specifically an imbalance of measuring trust due to trauma.

        Anyways, I am building small, step by step. As to the subject at hand (politics), for me, that is usually a carefully considered and written letter to the editor for the local newspaper, from time to time. Wrote another today and will probably write about it in a moment. Your feedback is welcome if you choose to visit.


        • September 6, 2012 3:29 PM

          Thank you, Jak, and welcome.

          Blogging’s an interesting experience, to put it mildly, and I know it’s done me a lot of good. I appreciate your thoughts, and I shall certainly be stopping by to visit your blog.

          Onward! : )


  8. August 31, 2012 1:21 AM

    Good stuff, Dude!


    • September 1, 2012 11:16 PM

      Thanks for that kind and supportive comment, Phill, and I really appreciate your stopping by. The welcome mat will always be out for you here! : )


  9. September 1, 2012 10:58 AM

    Mark … I used a quote you made here “The fact that rudeness seems to be the โ€œnew normalโ€ just makes things worse” in my post about Rude Behavior. The post is linked to your blog. Hope this meets with your approval. Judy


  10. September 2, 2012 8:23 PM

    It’s about politics so it doesn’t matter whether something makes sense or not. The only thing they care about is how to make their candidate win the competition or election. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Nice illustration. Perhaps later the elephant will put his front feet up so Mr. Romney would fall over as well. That would be even funnier, Mark! LOL


    • September 5, 2012 1:27 PM

      Ha!! Your comment made me roar with laughter, Inge! Perhaps they should run it with political ads and political news coverage on television. They could reassure puzzled viewers at the end by telling them: “Don’t worry– that was about politics, so it doesn’t matter whether it made sense of not!” : )

      And the elephant could rear up and toss off Mr. Romney, too– I can see you’ve got the mind for this sort of thing, Inge!!

      Many thanks for your good-humored comment! : )


  11. September 4, 2012 12:51 PM

    Mark for President!! You nailed the caricatures of both. And I love that you made Worcester bigger than the Boston speck on the map:-)

    As always, you bring out the light-hearted and informative humor in every aspect of life… even politics. Well done!!!


    • September 5, 2012 1:57 PM

      Gosh! That wunnaful comment made me so happy, I’m ready to jump off an elephant myself! And I think I will– as soon as I can strap on a parachute, of course… : )

      Thanks so much, Tracey, for all your good humor and support! : )


  12. September 6, 2012 12:47 PM

    It is very interesting to follow the election campaign in USA. In November we will know the new Mr. Presidant. Maybe it is still Barack Obama ๐Ÿ˜‰

    best regards from Germany


    • September 6, 2012 3:45 PM

      How delightful to have a famous personality from Germany stop by… : )

      Many thanks for your comment, Magdalena, and it’s lovely to see you here! : )


  13. September 6, 2012 1:18 PM

    I am a U.S. reader, but I still appreciated the breakdown! Great job on the explanation and illustrations!


    • September 6, 2012 3:48 PM

      Ah! That’s quite a compliment coming from an accomplished writer like yourself.

      Thank you, Lisa– I sincerely appreciate your kind support!


  14. Margie permalink
    September 7, 2012 10:50 PM

    Thanks for the explanation. Makes me glad our Canadian political campaigns are so much simpler (and shorter.)


    • September 8, 2012 10:56 AM

      This post gave you a renewed appreciation for the Canadian Way, ehhhh??

      My pleasure, Margie– always appreciate your stopping by!! : )


  15. robpixaday permalink
    September 10, 2012 9:36 AM

    Just stopped back in to tell you that I LOVE that “Once Upon a Time” poster!


    • September 10, 2012 4:32 PM

      Aw man, I’m beat! Your extreme kindness blew me out the window. I had to climb down from a tree and then scale the wall and climb back in through the broken window. Maybe I shoulda gone around and used the door. Or better yet, waited for the fire department… : (

      But anyway, it was worth it– thank yoooouuuuuu!!!!! ::dances around room, trips, falls out window… SPLAT!!::



  1. Rude Behavior | earthriderdotcom

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