The Democratic Nomination


  Cartoonist:  Udo J. Keppler
  Source:  Puck
  Date:  February 5, 1908

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century, the humor magazine Puck stood for conservative Democratic principles represented by President Grover Cleveland (1885-1889, 1893-1897). In 1896 and 1900, it opposed the election of Democrat William Jennings Bryan, whose views it considered too radical. In 1904, it returned to the Democratic fold to support the election of conservative Alton B. Parker. This February 5, 1908 cover of Puck continues the magazine’s longstanding antipathy toward Bryan. The candidate is pictured as Narcissus, the legendary Greek who was so self-absorbed that he fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Cartoonist Udo Keppler optimistically suggests that the “Democratic Sentiment” for Bryan is only a projection of the candidate’s own desire. In the ancient myth, Narcissus cries when he is unable to kiss his reflection. His tears disrupt the image, and he dies of sorrow. The implication in this cartoon is that Bryan will not win the Democratic presidential nomination in 1908. After he did (in July), Puck refrained from caricaturing him as the dangerous threat it had in 1896 and 1900. Nevertheless, late in the campaign, the publication endorsed the election of Republican William Howard Taft.













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