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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