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. Both are from earlier comic. Especially Ponytail with a ray gun (the one she also wielded in 322: Pix Plz). The gun is for melting computers of persons that make snide remarks at women, clearly a reference to Donald Trump's sexual harassment of women in general and especially to his grab them by the pussy comment. Cueball with his weapon is 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. He wrote himself 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, which states that "We can do this", refers to Randall's desire to unite Democratic voters and elect Hillary Clinton to the White House instead of Trump. It is possible to 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. However this is not quite the same "We can do this" sentence that Randall uses. "We can do this" (or in German, "Wir schaffen das") was also the catchphrase of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the recent influx of refugees from the Syrian War — like Clinton, Merkel was fighting against a populist nativist movement that wanted to close the country's borders.
Unfortunately for Randall, these efforts were in vain, as Donald Trump (another populist nativist who wants to close the country's borders) was elected on Tuesday, November 8, falsifying the title-text. This result became a fact less than two weeks before the first (1761: Blame) of several sad comics that all seemed related to the election of Donald Trump.
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:
|What to do||How to do it||Explanation|
|Vote||iwillvote.com||A site to look up polling locations, ID requirements, etc.|
|Get a ride to the polls:||drive2vote.org||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||866-OUR-VOTE||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||civicinnovation.com
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.|
|Reminder:||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 (eg 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 (the one she also wielded in 322: Pix Plz, a comic where she was named Joanna). The gun is for melting computers of persons that make snide remarks at women, clearly a reference to Donald Trump's sexual harassment of women in general and especially to his Grab Pussy comment.
- Black Hat (who was the one introducing Joanna/Ponytail in the mentioned comic)
- Danish (Black Hat's girlfriend setting up a kite for him, 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:
- On the right side of the H are:
- Science Girl (The adult version of her, is holding her hand out towards a cute squirrel. Of course she could also be the girl from 635: Locke and Demosthenes where the squirrel is poisoned...)
- Beret Guy is holding a squirrel out towards Science Girl. (The first time squirrels was 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. Beret Guy has not been seen together with a squirrel before, but has been shown to care for animals, for instance in 614: Woodpecker).
- Another Cueball is standing on an office chair wielding a sword as he was shown 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 year old 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 wields 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 are recurring subjects in xkcd.
- [Eleven characters are drawn left, right and on top of a huge H with an arrow as the horizontal bar connecting the two vertical towers. The arrow breaks the right part of the H. It represents the logo from Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign for 2016. From left to right on the left side of the H are Ponytail with an exotic looking futuristic ray gun like weapon looking to the left away from the H and the others. 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 setting up a kite that flies 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 of the H 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 between the two H towers sits Megan leaning against the left H tower, also dangling her legs over the edge and arms resting on her knees. Cueball is standing to her right, just left of the right H tower. On top of the right H towers 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 an adult version of Science Girl holding a hand out towards the squirrel which Beret Guy is holding out in both arms towards her. Behind them is another Cueball standing on an office chair holding a sword high up in front of him to the right away from the others. He keeps his balance by holding his other arm out behind him. Below the H there is a large caption.]
- I'm with her.
- [Below the panel there are several lines of text. The first header line refers to the next four lines with solutions to problems, title/problem on one side then a long dash and the web-link or other information on the right side of that. Below those there is a reminder.]
- How to help
- Vote - iwillvote.com
- 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.
- Despite securing more votes, Hillary Clinton lost the election in the electoral college.
- She did win in Massachusetts (Randall's home state), but that was never really in any doubt.
- The fact that Trump was elected instead is likely the reason for several comics with a bad mood released after this and until at least just past the day Trump was inaugurated.
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