Obama’s 2008 campaign had Shepard Fairey’s “Hope” poster; if there’s a defining image for Donald Trump’s presidential moment, it could well be The Forgotten Man, an oil painting by Utah-based artist Jon McNaughton.
The detailed image takes some unpicking: In front of a twilit White House, with the American flag at half-mast, all the past presidents of the US are gathered. In the left foreground is a Caucasian man in contemporary dress, sat on a bench, his gaze cast downwards, “distraught and hopeless as he contemplates his future,” as the artist puts it. Closest to him stand (presumably) Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, who hold out their hands to him as they look beseechingly to the figure on the right: Barack Obama. Obama stands aloof, arms folded, looking away, surrounded by an applauding gaggle including Bill Clinton and Franklin Roosevelt. Founding father James Madison beckons towards Obama’s feet in a “What are you doing?” gesture. Under Obama’s right foot is the US Constitution.