1756: I'm With Her
|I'm With Her
Title text: We can do this.
In this serious, no joke, comic released the day before the 2016 United States presidential election (which was more contentious than most, due in part to many people finding both candidates unusually distasteful), Randall urged his American viewership to vote, and showed his endorsement for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee in the election. She was up against the Republican nominee Donald Trump, who ended up winning. For the sake of completeness, it should be mentioned that there were also nominees from other parties, including Green Party nominee Jill Stein, and Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson. Neither hoped to garner enough votes to become president, but there was a chance they could affect the result in some states (no third-party candidate has won a state since 1968, and it did not occur this time either: the closest any came in 2016 was independent candidate Evan McMullin in Utah.)
It was the second time Randall referred to this election, the first being 1748: Future Archaeology three weeks before the election, but here it was just a wish to know the result using time travel (of course he did not learn the result back then…).
The "H" with an arrow was Clinton's campaign logo, and I'm with her an official slogan that was widely used by her supporters, hence the title. Randall then lists tips to help you cast your vote (see table below) suggesting a personal investment in the election. Clinton herself may be represented by Blondie sitting on top of the H looking out at the reader as the only of the 11 characters. The only type of joke in the comic is the chosen characters. Two with weapons flank the left and right side looking out ready to defend against Trump: Ponytail with an emp gun (that she also wielded in 322: Pix Plz for melting computers of persons who make snide remarks at women, clearly a reference to allegations of Donald Trump's sexual harassment of women in general and especially to his grab them by the pussy comment) and Cueball with his sword (from 303: Compiling). See more details in the character gallery below.
This is the first time Randall has used a comic to directly support a presidential campaign, although he did endorse Barack Obama in 2008 on his Blag. At that time, Randall wrote that he was troubled by Hillary Clinton's "basic lack of integrity", which is interesting considering he later endorsed her. He wrote later that it was very controversial when he endorsed Obama, but that it was not the most controversial comic he had published at that time. This comic might take that prize now, given that this was one of the most discussed elections up to its time. This is particularly noteworthy outside the US—for example, some European leaders openly opposed Trump, while others supported him. There were also reports of Russian hackers attempting to influence the election.
Randall's support for Hillary Clinton may have been due in part to Donald Trump being a prominent climate change denier. Randall has published comics opposing climate change denial such as this: 1732: Earth Temperature Timeline, published less than two months before the election, as well as several other comics on climate change. Also, Trump beating Clinton made Randall's regex that matches the last names of elected US presidents but not their opponents impossible to update. All the information on the bottom half of the comic includes sites, numbers, info, etc., current as of 2016, that are intended to help US voters to vote, regardless of whom they vote for. Including this information can assist voters who don't understand the process, don't feel that it's worth it, or feel intimidated or threatened. In general, these sites and numbers were likely included to help boost voter turnout.
The title text, "We can do this", refers to Randall's desire to unite Democratic voters and elect Hillary Clinton to the White House instead of Trump. One can buy T-shirts with the famed "We Can Do It!" logo from the Rosie the Riveter wartime poster, but with Hillary Clinton in the famed position. Both resemble the former president Barack Obama's campaign slogan Yes We Can and German Chancellor Angela Merkel's "Wir schaffen das" (We can do this) refrain during the Syrian War refugees influx the year earlier—like Clinton, Merkel was fighting against a populist nativist movement that wanted to close the country's borders. Although the title text wasn't originally meant as a joke, we in the future, aware of the election results, can extract humor from it in the form of dramatic irony.
How to help
The list of things that can help is all about getting people to vote. While Randall is likely to have wanted to boost voter turnout regardless of political leanings, it's clear from his endorsement of Clinton that he believed increased turnout would have helped her win the race. There is general evidence that certain more heavily Democratic-leaning demographics are less likely to vote, and in this election in particular, the various political issues that had been raised against Hillary (such as the FBI's public disclosures of its investigation into her use of a private email server) were shown to have reduced enthusiasm among Democrats. But all these issues aside, both Republicans and Democrats alike agree on encouraging everyone to vote, and Randall is likely to have agreed with that sentiment as well.
Here is Randall's list of suggestions for how to help Hillary Clinton win the election:
|A site to look up polling locations, ID requirements, etc.
|Get a ride to the polls:
|For voters in Douglas and Sarpy County, Nebraska, who needed a ride to the polls from Warren Buffett or his friends.
|If you're having problems voting
|Racism or other biases on the part of people running polling places is a real issue for minorities. Though it is illegal, people may lie or deny rights to would-be-voters who they believe will not vote for the candidate they agree with. In some instances, voters may require backup from someone with legal understanding to get to vote, which is a service this phone number provides. Since Donald Trump has suggested that unofficial poll watchers should patrol voting stations—which has been described as potential voter intimidation—this has been an especially widely discussed topic in this election. The phone number written out as numbers is 866-687-8683.
|Experimental social turnout project
App Store: VoteWithMe
|An app which "gives you a list of the top 10 highest-impact potential voters in your address book to get in touch with -- based on the likelihood that they support progressive candidates, and that they live in states with the most competitive races". This app is for Android and iOS, with the App Store ID as "VoteWithMe". The "VoteWithMe" app is created by Civic Innovation Works and "uses publicly available voter records to predict which of your contacts are likely to support Democratic candidates, but might not have a plan to vote", as it says on its App Store Page.
|If you're in line when the polls close, they have to let you vote.
|This is correct, as is printed on most election pamphlets as part of the Voters' Bill of Rights, as well as being cited on numerous sources online (e.g. here.) Being turned down for trying to vote after the polling place is officially closed (if you were already in line when the polls closed) might be an instance where you want to use the phone number mentioned above.
The comic shows a gallery of 11 xkcd characters including all the main characters from xkcd (except Hairy), which stand united behind Randall and Clinton despite their lack of agreement in many other comics.
From left to right on the left side of the H are
- Ponytail with a ray gun that she wielded in 322: Pix Plz (wherein she was named Joanna), for the purposes melting computers of persons whom make snide remarks at women. Possibly a reference to Donald Trump's alleged sexual harassment of women.
- Black Hat, who was the one introducing Joanna/Ponytail in the mentioned comic
- Danish, Black Hat's girlfriend setting up a kite, although it could be Megan, but she is also shown later with her regular shorter hair. However, it has mainly been Megan in comics with kites, like 235: Kite and 1614: Kites. Kites are a recurring theme on xkcd.
- White Hat looking at the kite.
On top of the H are
- Blondie, (looking out at us, maybe representing Clinton herself)
- Megan, (next to Cueball)
- Cueball, (forming the standard couple in xkcd with Megan)
- Hairbun with glasses (so specifically not the one from the previous comic 1755: Old Days, but rather like in 1637: Salt Mine).
On the right side of the H are
- Hairbun without glasses holding her hand out towards a cute squirrel. This could be a reference to 635: Locke and Demosthenes, where the squirrel is poisoned.
- Beret Guy holding a squirrel out towards Hairbun without glasses. The first time squirrels were mentioned was actually when Beret Guy found them in a tree in 167: Nihilism and since then they have become a recurring theme on xkcd and a similar squirrel can for instance be seen in 1503: Squirrel Plan.
- Another Cueball standing on an office chair wielding a sword as in 303: Compiling. Interestingly enough the previous comic 1755: Old Days was about Cueball asking Hairbun about compiling in the old days. Seems realistic that Randall has this comic ready for this Monday before the election for some time, and when finding this 9-yeared version of Cueball in the old comics, he may have gotten inspired to make a comic about compiling in the old days.)
Note that the two characters at either side of the comic wield weapons pointing out, defending the other nine. Those next to the characters with weapons are doing recreational things like kiting and admiring adorable squirrels, both of which are recurring subjects in xkcd.
- [Inset: Eleven characters are drawn around a huge H with a rightwards arrow as the horizontal bar connecting the two vertical towers. Ponytail stands on the left with a raygun looking leftwards. Behind her is Black Hat who looks at a girl that might be Danish or Megan (but with longer hair than Megan typically has). She is flying a kite above the first two characters. Behind her and looking up at the kite is White Hat. The H is right behind him, and on top of the left tower sits Blondie looking straight out at the reader with her legs dangling over the edge and her arms resting on her knees. On the arrow sits Megan leaning against the left tower, also dangling her legs over the edge and arms resting on her knees. Cueball stands to her right by the right tower. On top of the right tower sits Hairbun with glasses looking straight right with her legs dangling over the edge one arm resting on a knee and leaning back on the other arm. On the right side of the H is Hairbun without glasses holding a handout towards the squirrel which Beret Guy is holding out in both arms towards her. Another Cueball stands on an office chair on the right brandishing a sword looking rightwards. He keeps his balance by holding his other arm out behind him.
- I'm with her.
- How to help
- Get a ride to the polls―drive2vote.org
- If you're having problems voting―866-OUR-VOTE
- Experimental social turnout project―civicinnovation.com App Store: VoteWithMe
- If you're in line when the polls close, they have to let you vote.
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