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Frank Beddor
By: 
Frank Beddor
October 26, 2022

Politics in the Age of Internet Even Finds Alice In Wonderland As Fair Game for Satire

Denholm here again, the former royal jester of Wonderland. The other day, Frank called me up and told me I was tasked to write an article about the best Alice in Wonderland political cartoons to coincide with the upcoming election in The United States of America. I responded, “Frank, though I may have worked for the royal family of Wonderland, I’m but a simple jester. I know not of your world's political systems, I’m not qualified to talk on such a subject.” Frank then explained to me the ins and outs of the American political system, and, yeah, turns out, I’m just as qualified as the rest of them.

Alice in Wonderland and political satire are one and the same. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland originally was a satirical view of Queen Victoria’s court. It only makes sense that it would be used today to satirize any government official around the world. Due to its original intentions and ease of comparative parallels, Alice in Wonderland is the most quoted book in history (besides the bible). There is an endless supply of political cartoons relating to Alice in Wonderland because of this. It seems like no matter where you look in politics, there is always a quote from Alice in Wonderland to help get drive a point home. I mean the republicans have a subset called the “tea party.” It’s like they’re begging to be portrayed as members of the Mad Hatters tea party.

I learned that there are two major political parties in America, the Democrats, and the Republicans. As of late, it seems as though the supporters of these two political parties aren't the biggest fans of each other. It isn’t a stretch to say they aren’t invited to each other's unbirthday parties. These comics are going to make fun of everyone, right, left, center, all fair game. If you feel yourself getting upset at a comic for whatever reason, just remember, these comics are making fun of people you don’t actually know, this is not making fun of you. If you leave an angry comment, email, or whatever, just know I will laugh at you for getting so upset you took the time out of your day to do that. This list will have comics for people who are left-leaning to chuckle at while they drive their Prius and sip coffee cut with some sort of plant-based milk as well as comics for right-learning people to chuckle at while they drive their Hummer to a gun range. By doing this, no one will get upset at me… Except they probably will… Because it’s politics. At least I’ve got my therapist on speed dial for when you all inevitably pull a Queen Redd and yell, “Off with my head!” So let’s get into it.

Trump’s Different Depictions in Wonderland

If you google “Alice in Wonderland political cartoons” you will be bombarded with drawings of Trump as the Red Queen, or Trump as the Cheshire cat, or Trump as the Mad Hatter, and even in one instance, Trump as Alice herself. It seems as though, since 2016, political cartoonists have all found a collective muse, ex-president Donald Trump.

Trump, strangely enough, does fit all these characters I have mentioned. Love them or hate them, with the current document scandal, the January 6th hearings, and Trump’s access to the media, I don’t foresee these kinds of comics leaving us any time soon.

Due to this, I decided to group together a bunch of Alice in Wonderland political cartoons involving Donald Trump.

Cartoonist: Rob Rogers
Cartoonist: Rob Rogers
Cartoonist: Phill Hands
Cartoonist: Phill Hands
Cartoonist: Rob Rogers
Cartoonist: Rob Rogers

The Red Queen works here because while Trump never did officially say “Off with her head.” He did say some other stuff that got his “fans” quite riled up, especially that one time in January when the “fans” tried to meet with then Vice President Mike Pence to “persuade him to reconsider his calling of the election.” There are about three-billion other cartoons of Trump saying, “Off with their head.” Which means one of two things; Trump throws a lot of tantrums and/or political cartoonists are all Carlos Mencilla and blatantly stealing each others jokes. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

Cartoonist: Drew Sheneman
Cartoonist: Drew Sheneman

The Mad Hatter and Trump is an interesting one for me. The cartoonist’s intentions behind portraying Trump as the Mad Hatter seem to me, to be an implication that Trump is crazy. The thing is that while Trump and the Mad Hatter are both crazy, the Mad Hatter is whimsical and random and I don’t think “whimsical” and Trump have ever actually been used in a sentence before.

I also mentioned above that there is a subset of the Republican party called the “tea party.” This fact could be another intention behind the use of the Mad Hatter. Along with Trump as the Mad Hatter we have a lot of other people being represented as characters from Alice in Wonderland. We have Tillerson as Tweedle Dee, Flynn as Tweedle Dum, Ivanka Trump as Alice, Mike Pence as the White Rabbit, Steve Bannon as the Cheshire Cat, and Putin as the Dormouse.

Cartoonist: Kevin Siers

The Cheshire cat depictions are also quite intriguing. Trump’s smile is slightly reminiscent of the Cheshire cat’s. But while the Cheshire cat has more of a mischievous grin Trump’s grin is more akin to that of a car salesman who tricked you into thinking you got a good deal.

Cartoonist: Dale Cummings
Cartoonist: Dale Cummings

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, if you don’t get it, Dum in the sounds like “Dumb.” What I like about this though, is that Boris Johnson and Donald Trump do look like they could be brothers. Even crazier is that they seem to be two halves of the same coin. Boris pretends to be odd to lower people’s guards and Trump pretends to… Um… No, actually, he seems pretty upfront with what he is about.

Bernie Sanders as the Cheshire Cat

Cartoonist: Steve Artley
Cartoonist: Steve Artley

Now that we’ve gotten Trump out of the way (unfortunately I’m only talking about in this article) let’s move on to poking fun at the Democrats. A political party that can’t seem to agree on stuff. This was made the clearest when Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were both running for the spot as Democratic candidate during the 2016 presidential election. I don’t know who threw the first stone, but at the time it felt like Bernie’s and Hilary’s supporters hated each other more than the whole hating Trump.

A Budget in Wonderland

Cartoonist: Jerry Holbert
Cartoonist: Jerry Holbert

Oh, looky here, the left thought they were safe from ridicule when it comes to Alice in Wonderland political cartoons, well that’s not the case. I think there is a good learning opportunity here. While I don’t necessarily agree with what is being said in this cartoon, I do think it’s funny. I think if people stop feeling the need to agree with a joke for it to be funny, we can start making steps to getting along a bit more. Sorry went down a bit of a rabbit hole on that rant. A boy can dream. Have you ever heard a political discussion between kids? It’s the funniest thing ever, neither kid has any idea as to what they are talking about and make up facts to prove a point that they don’t fully understand. Not unlike a political discussion between two adults.

Big Tobacco in Wonderland

Cartoonist: Joe Heller
Cartoonist: Joe Heller

The Blue Caterpillar and his hookah go together like peanut butter and jelly. Here’s a fun little fact for you, the Alice in Wonderland Disney movie was the first time in a Disney cartoon a character was against smoking, all be it, the “anti-smoking message” was Alice coughing, but for 1951, that’s pretty good. I’m not going to get into a discussion as to whether or not vaping is worse than cigarettes. If big tobacco is behind anything, it’s usually not a good thing. A lot of people I know vape and they only cough a lot during the day. There is a missing point here that I feel should be pointed out. Hookahs don’t burn tobacco, they heat the tobacco with coals and the “smoke” is actually vapor, which means Hookahs are the proto-vape. Along with this, they use flavored tobaccos that are similar to that of an electronic cigarette. If Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written today, without a doubt the Blue Caterpillar would be chiefing on one of those big vapes that put out massive clouds. He’d probably have a goatee and wear a beanie too.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (Republicans)

Cartoonist: Clay Bennett
Cartoonist: Clay Bennett

I’ve mentioned it above so it’s only natural I show you a representation. I’m going to be honest, with the way the Republican party is going, I miss the Tea Party. For those that don’t know, the Tea Party got their name from the Boston Tea Party. Not the Mad Hatters Tea Party, which is a bit of a letdown. For those of you who are from not America and are reading this list. The Boston Tea Party was a protest against the Tea Act of 1773. The protest consisted of raiding a merchant ship and throwing all the tea into the harbor.

This sounds cool but unfortunately, those involved in the Boston Tea Party were disguised as Native Americans. Which is pretty weak. If you’re gonna protest something, don’t pass the buck to avoid retribution. Maybe that’s why they call themselves Tea Party Republicans, they would strip public services of cash, then pass the buck and claim public services don’t work. So, the name is pretty fitting.

Alice in USSR-Land

Cartoonist: L. D. Warren
Cartoonist: L. D. Warren

I am so glad this comic had an explanation when I googled it because I had no idea who the Blue caterpillar was. Turns out it was former Russian leader Nikita Khruschev. This is the oldest political cartoon on this list. After some more googling about Nikita (I refuse to type his last name again). This is anti-Russian propaganda. That word, propaganda, strikes fear into the hearts of those who think they can’t be manipulated by the government. I would argue you can and are.

Worry not my tinfoil hat-wearing readers, propaganda can actually be used for good! I’ll give you an example. At the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, there was a Ukrainian fighter pilot that had apparently downed 40 Russian planes, known as the, “Ghost of Kyiv.” The fighter pilot that struck fear into the Russian’s hearts. Well, like a ghost, the Ghost of Kyiv is not real. That was propaganda, good propaganda used to raise the morale of those fighting to protect their home country, but still, propaganda none the less and you probably fell for it. I did. Please don’t go down the rabbit hole of trying to find out what is and isn’t propaganda like I did, it will have you questioning what is real.

With all these political cartoons I realized something. I miss Wonderland. Princess Alyss is much kinder than all these politicians. What’s worse, it seems that some politicians are learning how to use dark imagination. Though they are calling the dark imagination, “alternative facts.” We must work together to get rid of this oxymoronic term and get back on track with the truth.

With that final statement, I leave you with this.

Cartoonist: Jeff Stahler
Cartoonist: Jeff Stahler

Why are you still reading, I declared that my final statement…. Oh alright—here are a few more honorable mentions that are too good to miss:

Meet The Author

Jared Hoffman graduated from the American Film Institute with a degree in screenwriting. A Los Angeles native, his brand of comedy is satire stemming from the many different personalities and ego’s he has encountered throughout his life. As a lover of all things comedy, Jared is always working out new material and trying to make those around him laugh. His therapist claims this is a coping mechanism, but what does she know?

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