2016 Election: The Clown Taxi and the Attack of the 50 Foot Woman

2016 Election: The Clown Taxi and the Attack of the 50 Foot Woman BRODNERSIGNER.jpgBy Steve Brodner
The 2014 mid-term elections bring the sudden and discomfiting realization that the 2016 presidential campaign is kicking off. And before we get ready to inaugurate Hillary, it would be good to think about both parties, who the leading players are, and what they may portend for the election and the country.
Drawing portraits and caricatures of politicians forces one to look especially hard the elements of the faces and allow them to fall into shapes that connect with what you know about the person. The result is a blending; the face becomes a shorthand symbol for the creature itself.

Here, somehow connecting with all that, is my take on the 2016 morning line and what these faces "mean" to me and portend for the long campaign to come..
Hillary Reception Zoom-thumb-550x682-21885.jpg

(Newsweek, 2009. Art director: Amid Capeci.)

HILLARY CLINTON is pretty easy to draw. Start with a round face. As she has gotten older those edges have rounded off, which is true both in her face and her public persona.

Hillary Airport.jpg
(Washingtonian, 2013. Art director: Michael Goesel.)

Where she was once a divisive figure she has, post-Secretary of State, taken on the aura of consensus candidate. But of course that may all change as soon as the campaign machines start ramping up on both sides. She has a long scoopy nose and a tiny, pursed mouth (which may be what gets her in the most trouble).
Hillary NSA.jpg(The American Prospect, 2014. Art director: Mary Parsons.)

The mouth is tight and constricted, gerrymandering around words that once in a while tell the truth. Her hair changes all the time, which is the bane of caricaturists. Her eyes are large and expressive. But what do they express?

2014 Oscars 9 Hillary.jpg
(Los Angeles Times, 2014. Art director: Wes Bausmith.)

Isolating the eyes they can seem bright and engaged. Or sometimes tired. Or sometimes extremely bored or pissed-off. The extent to which she can control all of this will be the degree to which she controls her campaign. In 2008, Obama's campaign was mistake-free. Hers wasn't. And she still may have to pay the price for her embrace of Wall Street and the national security state. These things are much less popular than they were the last time around. All in all, the Hillary face is a mask. It is always suggesting that there's much more underneath. As a caricaturist that's what I'll be drawing.
Christie Dog.jpg(Brodner'sBicycle.com website, 2014.)

CHRIS CHRISTIE may be the best thing to happen to political caricature in years. He is our dream candidate. The whole story is there right in the face. The overweight mad dog with the smoldering eyes of a killer. But very animated in performance. A showboat. Also, incredibly, as Time discovered, has the profile of an elephant! Best of all is his record. We have a passel of Youtube videos where he can be seen bullying people. And then there's the cascading scandals of New Jersey. 

Christie Nation Cover with layout.jpg
(The Nation, 2014. Art director: Robert Best.)

He may be losing weight. But he can't change who he is. And everyone but Christie already knows how he will play in Iowa.

Christie car zoom 200.jpg
(Fortune, 2014. Art director: Time Leong.)

Have fun drawing him while you can. I think it will be a quick campaign.

Rand and Rand.jpg
(The Nation, 2012. Art director: Steve Brodner.)

RAND PAUL was judged by Time recently to be the Most Interesting Man in Politics. He breaks with conservative orthodoxy and holds complex (read: conflicting) opinions about many issues. This has confused almost everyone at some point, including his father. Since the GOP has no leader, and Rand Paul is the pop-heir to a cult pop, he has traction.
Rand Paul Pop Corn.jpg(The Nation, 2012. Art director: Steve Brodner.)

He's got a perfectly rectangular head, a WC Fields nose, baggy eyes and an Everett Dirkson 'do.
Rand Paul Nat J cover Final.jpg(National Journal, 2014. Art director: Jan Zimmeck.)

What is not confusing is that he is selling libertarian snake oil in new bottles.

Bush Thrones 200 sq.jpg
(Newsweek, 2014. Art directors: Priest + Grace.)

JEB BUSH is the Hamlet of the race. He has no reason to think that the world of presidential politics will treat him any better than it did the other Bushes. In fact current lunatic-fringe-GOP is telling him to get lost every day. He is very large and has a massive head.
Jeb Final.jpg(The Baffler, 2014. Art director: Patrick J.B. Flynn.)

Perhaps the largest since Newt Gingrich. I always draw the conflict between that biomass and the lost, dilated eyes.

Cruz Grinch.jpg(The Nation, 2014. Art director: Robert Best.)

TED CRUZ is the most "out there" person running in, perhaps, 60 years. More than George Wallace (if you remember him), Lester Maddox or Jesse Helms. He has a pair of small rubbery lips that hang under an intrusive ant-eater nose. The head is large and squared off with black, greasy hair. The eyes make him look like Joseph McCarthy. They peer out of dark sockets.
Wingnuts Nation Cover w type.jpg(The Nation, 2014. Art director: Robert Best.)

The eyebrows seem disconnected, soaring one way or another. Even when he smiles, his eyes are shouting: "Check your pockets, Bud." Most important about him, is the keen intelligence that sets him apart from the field.

2014 Oscars 3 Cruz.jpg(Los Angeles Times, 2014. Art director: Wes Bausmith.)

Unlike other crack-pot Republicans he has a razor-sharp legal mind. But it is fully programmed to build a platform of power using socio/religious mythology. He is simple and complex. A joke and no-joke. Cruz is no Palin but a Palin 2.0, who knows how to work through the crazy and stay king of his hill. And hope opportunity knocks.

Kochs Walker.jpg(The Washington Spectator. Art director: Steve Brodner.)

SCOTT WALKER, man of the moment now that has won three recent elections for governor of a swing state (Wisconsin). He has dullness to spare, extreme Right Wing tendencies and oodles of Koch Brothers cash. Here, from an animation for the website of The Washington Spectator, he is found meeting with the Brothers in their money closet.

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  • Cathy Hull

    If I were the jealous type, Steve would be the artist I'd love to hate. His pencil always has a very sharp point and a pristine eraser; with economy of line he nails it every time!

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