The Sorensen Monologues

Archive for July 4th, 2024

Supreme Debacle

The Supreme Court ruling overturning the Chevron doctrine was largely overlooked in the wake of the debate, but possibly even more apocalyptic. In short, the Republican majority gutted the precedent that gave deference to scientists and other experts at setting regulations for pollution, safety, worker rights — i.e., basic functions of government. Everything now has to go through the courts, which are jam-packed with Trump appointees and other Federalist Society-backed corporate extremists. This Slate article provides a good overview. To quote Justice Kagan, who I attempted to draw in the first panel: “the majority today gives itself exclusive power over every open issue—no matter how expertise-driven or policy-laden—involving the meaning of regulatory law. As if it did not have enough on its plate, the majority turns itself into the country’s administrative czar.”

We all breathe air and eat food, and I assume many of the justices have children that they don’t want poisoned. No one escapes the impact of these rulings. But it’s their reality now and we’re just living in it. 

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A Smaller Tent

In my experience, Dems do better when they at least acknowledge the concerns of different factions of the Big Tent. In 2004, during the height of Iraq war jingoism, they were at their milquetoast Republican-lite worst — and Kerry lost to Bush. This era was was formational to me as a cartoonist; it was a time when many were galvanized to build a more progressive party that reflected its own constituents. My growing concern with the Democratic party this election season isn’t coming from a place of “purity” per se, but fears that they are underestimating the risk of alienating voters they need to win — not fringe zealots, but people who care about the basic values of human rights, democracy, inclusivity, and intellectual honesty. Republican-lite pandering makes the party less able to deal with the pressing issues of our time: the Supreme Court, big money in politics, authoritarianism, and other crises that require the courage to speak frankly. Cede too much ground and you’ve lost moral clarity and moral authority.

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Jen Sorensen is a cartoonist for Daily Kos, The Nation, In These Times, Politico and other publications throughout the US. She received the 2023 Berryman Award for Editorial Cartooning from the National Press Foundation, and is a recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. She is also a Pulitzer Finalist.



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