The Trump Presidency in Editorial Cartoons engages with close to one thousand editorial cartoons to analyze the visual representations of President Donald Trump and his responses to six news events during his term in office. Natalia Mielczarek traces the mechanisms through which the drawings construct the president’s image and their potential rhetorical consequences for interpretation. Through this analysis, Mielczarek argues that the right-leaning cartoons largely erase the president’s likeness from their plotlines, acting as a shield against accountability for Trump. Left-leaning cartoons, on the other hand, tend to clone the president and exaggerate his image in most of their stories, often functioning as tools of symbolic censure and punishment. Through these de- and re-contextualization tactics that make President Trump either largely absent or hyper-present in the narrative, the cartoons construct inadvertent rhetorical paradoxes and coalesce around ideological heroes and villains. This result, Mielczarek posits, more closely resembles partisan propaganda, rather than political commentary and social critique. Scholars of communication, political science, and media studies will find this book of particular interest.
Natalia Mielczarek is associate professor in the School of Communication at Virginia Tech.
Chapter 1: The U.S. Press, Editorial Cartoons and the Presidency
Chapter 2: The 2016 Presidential Election Victory
Chapter 3: Family Separation on the U.S.-Mexico Border
Chapter 4: President Trump Goes to North Korea
Chapter 5: President Trump’s First Impeachment
Chapter 6: President Trump’s Covid-19 Pandemic Response
Chapter 7: President Trump and the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol Attack
Chapter 8: Conclusions
About the Author
"This book expertly shows the important and diverse roles cartoons play in public political discourse—especially during the term of America's most cartoonish president."
“The Trump Presidency in Editorial Cartoons is probably the most thoroughly researched and intellectually engaging book ever written on one of history’s most popular forms of visual political communication. Dr. Mielczarek shows that while there are serious questions about the power and influence of political cartoons, they remain an accurate (and frightening) indicator of the extreme polarization of American politics and America itself. Her comprehensive study lets us literally look through a mirror darkly at the great divide we all may be falling into. The book will be of interest to scholars and students of political culture and journalism, news practitioners and politicians, and also the citizen who wants to understand how many forces strive to sway our opinion through new and old forms of media."
“Natalia Mielczarek does an admirable job of curating, describing, and critically analyzing trenchant journalistic cartoon re-presentations of the tumultuous Trump presidency. Her thoughtful selection and analysis of apt cartoons that visually crystallized and criticized President Trump and his unconventional presidency demonstrates the aphorism that to describe is to ascribe; to caricature is to make ethical and moral judgments. By collecting and analyzing these trenchant visual, satirical depictions of the Trump presidency, Mielczarek adds to the body of knowledge on political caricature and satire as important forms of political communication in democratic societies.”