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Game on in the US presidential election

Mark Knight, August 21, 2020 8:38AM Kids News

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Part of Mark Knight's cartoon. media_cameraPart of Mark Knight's cartoon.

civics

Reading level: green

Every four years Americans go to the polls in November to vote for the next president of the United States.

There are two main political parties: the Republicans and the Democrats. The current president, Donald Trump, is from the Republican party and he is seeking a second term.

Presidents can only serve two terms in office under the US constitution* and while most do win a second term, it is not a given, and so we are about to see if Mr Trump, one of the more controversial presidents, can win again.

I would love to see Donald Trump returned as president, but I’m a cartoonist, and because he is such a maverick* as leader, he provides me with plenty of material for my political cartoons!

But putting my self interest to one side, it will be up to the American people to decide on November 3 if they want Mr Trump or Democrat Joe Biden to lead them for the next 4 years.

This week the Democratic party endorsed* Mr Biden as its candidate. It signalled the start of the last phase of the election campaign as the two leaders go head-to-head, and so I decided to draw a cartoon about it.

Also this week, the Democrats endorsed Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s vice presidential candidate, the first female of colour to run for the position. She would have to be in the cartoon as well, I figured.

Mark Knight’s cartoon. Right-click and open in new tab for full-sized image. media_cameraMark Knight’s cartoon. Right-click and open in new tab for full-sized image.

I love sporting analogies* to describe political contests because most people usually barrack for one political party their whole life, a lot like how we might support a footy team. It’s their side and they’ll stick with them through thick or thin!

One of the most popular sports in America is baseball. I imagined the Republicans and Democrats fighting out the presidential contest on the baseball field.

I started to draw Donald Trump, the incumbent* President. He is wearing the traditional baseballer’s outfit and is pictured stepping up to the plate with bat in hand ready to take a swing at whatever his opponent, Joe Biden, can throw at him.

Behind Trump is Kamala Harris as Biden’s backstop, which in reality is a job every vice president has to do for their leader. Back them up.

Standing behind the backstop in baseball is the umpire who is in charge of the game. So in the cartoon I have drawn the Statue of Liberty officiating*. A symbol of America’s democracy, I thought Liberty was a good choice as ump.

The last person to add was Joe Biden, the Democrats leader. He would be pitching. And again in reality that is what he is doing during the election campaign, making his pitch to the American people on why they should vote for him to lead their country.

Presidential Candidate Joe Biden And Running Mate Kamala Harris Get Briefed On Coronavirus media_cameraKamala Harris has been chosen as the Democrats’ candidate for the role of vice president and is running with Joe Biden against Donald Trump. Picture: Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP
Vice Presidential Nominee Kamala Harris Addresses Virtual DNC From Delaware media_cameraDemocratic presidential nominee Joe Biden hopes to replace Donald Trump as the US president. Picture: Win McNamee/Getty Images/AFP

And this is where the punchline of the cartoon is contained. In baseball the pitcher is very important because they have to throw the ball and try and beat the batter. Three strikes and the batsman is out!

Pitchers have a selection of ball throws they like to use: a slow ball, a curved ball, the slider and the forkball are just a few.

For Joe Biden, I selected one of the nastiest balls of all to hurl at Mr Trump … the COVID ball.

The coronavirus cell, as we all know by now, is spherical* in shape and has all those spiky proteins sticking out of it. So I drew it as a baseball, which Mr Biden is about to pitch.

Why? Well the coronavirus has turned the world and America upside down. The US has suffered more than 170,000 fatalities* so far due to COVID-19 and the American economy has been devastated by it.

People are questioning if the President could have done a better job of managing America’s response to the virus.

It has seriously affected Mr Trump’s chances of re-election. The coronavirus could claim the Trump Presidency as its next victim.

So in the cartoon, Joe Biden is getting ready to pitch his COVID ball, one that will really test the batting skills of President Donald J Trump!

GLOSSARY

  • constitution: a document setting out the laws and values of the country
  • maverick: someone who does things their own way
  • endorsed: declared support for
  • analogies: comparisons
  • incumbent: currently holding the position
  • officiating: umpiring
  • spherical: round

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. Name the three characters in the cartoon.
  2. How long can a US president remain in the job?
  3. Who drew this cartoon?
  4. What sport are they playing?
  5. Who has the ball?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. What Happens Next?
Imagine this cartoon is part of a story that is made up of three cartoons. The three cartoons tell a complete story, and Mark’s cartoon is the start of the story. Think about what the story could be and draw the next two cartoons that tell the story.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Visual Arts, Visual Communication Design, Critical and Creative Thinking

2. Extension
‘To be a great cartoonist, being able to draw is only one of the skills that you need.’

Write a list of all of the other skills that you think cartoonists like Mark need to do their job. Next to each skill, write a sentence that explains why that skill is important or helps them to do a great job.

Time: allow at least 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability, Media Arts, Visual Communication Design

VCOP ACTIVITY
Stretch your sentence

Find a ‘who’ in the cartoon. A person or animal.

Write it down.

Add three adjectives to describe them better.

Now add a verb to your list. What are they doing?

Add an adverb about how they are doing the action.

Using all the words listed, create one descriptive sentence.

HAVE YOUR SAY: What would you like Mark Knight to draw a cartoon about?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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