Thursday, November 15, 2018

Q Toon: Sinema Vérité

I wanted to draw a cartoon this week about the Senate race in Arizona between Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally, which had yet to be decided when I sat down at my drawing board. Sinema was leading at the time, and has since been declared the winner, making her the first out bisexual elected to the Senate.

Reading a Huffington Post story about LGBTQ candidates elected to office convinced me to expand the scope of the cartoon to include Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), who coasted to reelection in my home state, and three newly elected members of the House of Representatives: Angie Craig (D-MN), Sharice Davids (D-KS), and Chris Pappas (D-NH). Cramming them all into one cartoon, I barely had enough room to squeeze in my signature.

And as soon as I thought I was finished inking the toon, I realized that I had completely forgotten about Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI). It turns out that Pocan had no opponent in his Madison-area district, so he wasn't even in the local coverage of election results.

For that matter, I also neglected to include David Cicilline (D-RI), Sean Maloney (D-NY), and Mark Takano (D-HI).  Shame on me for not fact-checking HuffPo! My Spidey sense should have been tingling, if only because when I originally read their story, the lead photo at the top of the page was of Representative-elect Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who has not been identified as L, G, B, T, Q, or any of the other letters of the rainbow alphabet.

As for the Congresspersons who did make it into this week's cartoon, Sinema flips a Senate seat that has been Republican for three decades. She has been a member of the House's Blue Dog caucus of moderate and conservative Democrats, even winning the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2014. That didn't stop Republican opponent Martha McSally from trying to paint Sinema as a radical left winger, based on Sinema's having entered local politics as a candidate of the Green Party.

Baldwin is in fact well to the left of most Senators, but ran a finely tuned and savvy campaign for her third term. Unopposed in the primary while two Republicans duked it out for their party's nominations, she established herself in early television ads as having stood up for small towns hurt when their major employer pulls up stakes; for the cheese-making industry; and for favoring American-made products in military contracts. When ALEC stooge Leah Vukmir won the Republican nomination, Baldwin's ads attacked her relentlessly for acting to restrict access to and affordability of health insurance.

Craig, in a rematch of a race she lost in 2016, beat a militant libertarian who equated marriage equality with slavery and complained that calling a woman who has had more than one or two love interests in her life a "slut" just isn't acceptable any more. A former health care executive, she joined many others in her party in focusing her campaign on health care issues.

Davids makes history as the first out LGBTQ Representative from Kansas and one of the two first Native American women elected to Congress. A member of the Ho-Chunk nation, she unseated four-term Congressman David Yoder in the only swing district in a solidly red state. Another likely Blue Dog, she campaigned on working within the current health care system rather than promising Medicare for All, and she supported modest immigration reforms rather than abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Pappas was elected to succeed fellow Democrat Carol Shea Porter in what has been described as a bitter election from primary to general. The general election was as much a referendum on Donald Trump as anything else; in their first debate, Republican Eddie Edwards attacked Pappas over a photo taken at an LGBTQ pride parade of Pappas wearing a rainbow t-shirt with the word "Resist" across the chest. "I'm proud of who I am," Pappas replied, "and I'm proud to stand up against hate and bigotry and intolerance."

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