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1. Symbol is defined as: something that stands for or suggests something else; a visible sign of something invisible (the lion is a symbol of courage)
What does the donkey symbolize in this cartoon? What does the elephant symbolize?

2. a) What is the main idea of Lisa Benson’s cartoon?
b) Watch the video clip from the State of the Union. Do you agree with Lisa Benson’s assertion in this cartoon? Explain your answer.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.

Cartoon by Lisa Benson


1. The donkey is the symbol of the Democratic party; in this cartoon the donkey represents the Democrats in Congress. The elephant is the symbol of the Republican party; in this cartoon the elephant represents the Republicans in Congress.

2. a) During President Trump’s State of the Union address this week, with the exception of a few Democrats who face tough re-elections in red states, the Democrats as a party sat mostly stone-faced or angry/bored looking during Trump’s entire speech. They did not applaud any policy he mentioned, including policies they support. Lisa Benson is implying that they were acting like children/babies/sore losers.
b) Opinion question. Answers vary.

Watch a news report:


Liberal columnist Dana Milbank wrote in his Washington Post commentary “Democrats’ behavior at the State of the Union was embarrassing”:
“Dozens of Democrats refused to stand when the president entered the House chamber, forgetting that one stands out of respect for the office, not the officeholder. … Democrats groaned, scoffed, heckled and made lemon-biting faces….”

From an op-ed at the conservative Daily Wire:
“[The Democrats] didn’t just sit, actually. They grimaced. They groaned. They booed and hissed. And it wasn’t just that they disapproved of Trump on policy. It’s that they refused to stand for things they supposedly believe in because they hate Trump so much. Paid family leave? They sat. Infrastructure spending? They sat. Amnesty for 1.8 million illegal immigrants? They sat. And then they sat some more. They sat when Trump touted the American flag. They sat when Trump touted American freedom. They sat when Trump touted low black unemployment rates. They sat when Trump cheered American opportunity.”

Pollster Frank Luntz asked in a tweet:
“Why are @TheDemocrats not applauding job growth, higher wages and the drop in Latino and African-American unemployment? I thought economic success is good for everyone regardless of party.”