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Capitol Ink | Best of 2021

(Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

The year began with so much promise: a new president, a new start. But those hopes were quickly dashed when Jan. 6 proved that Donald Trump and his ego would not go quietly into that dark night. 

But Washington carried on. With full control of the government for the first time in a decade, Democrats were quick to flex their legislative muscles while dealing with intraparty chaos that only seemed to get worse as 2021 went on. 

And so, from the absurd to the sublime, here are the most memorable Capitol Ink cartoons from this past year.

Published the morning of Jan. 6, hours before the deadly riot, “President Gollum” shows the Tolkien-esque toll the “Big Lie” has taken on Donald Trump.

R.J. Matson/CQ Roll Call

By Feb. 3, as debate swirls over the need for more COVID-19 relief, lawmakers struggle to find consensus, as “Bipartisan rescue brigade” shows.

R.J. Matson/CQ Roll Call

American graffiti” from Feb. 10 depicts the scars from Jan. 6 as GOP senators vote to acquit Trump a second time. 

R.J. Matson/CQ Roll Call

The world reaches the one-year milepost of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 11, as “First lap” illustrates. 

R.J. Matson/CQ Roll Call

Despite another deadly shooting, protecting gun rights still trumps protecting lives, as March 24’s “Good news about guns” shows.

R.J. Matson/CQ Roll Call

Uncle Sam Van Winkle” on April 15 nods to Washington Irving’s short story as the end of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan looms.

R.J. Matson/CQ Roll Call

For Nancy Pelosi, it’s been a confounding year dealing with her Democratic Caucus, as “Escher’s Cube” on Sept. 23 depicts.

R.J. Matson

Sept. 15’s “Speed trap” alerts Democrats to the pitfalls ahead as they slog toward passage of Joe Biden’s agenda. 

R.J. Matson/CQ Roll Call

Good Grief! Infrastructure is no longer a fake out and actually becomes law as Nov. 17’s “Winning” illustrates in this homage to a classic Peanuts bit.

R.J. Matson/CQ Roll Call

With the future of Roe v. Wade in doubt, “Pro-choice Republican” on Dec. 2 offers a new closing argument for opponents of abortion. 

2022 will see Congress knee-deep in the midterm mire, and R.J. Matson’s Berryman Award-winning political cartoons will try to make sense of it all. Look for new Capitol Ink cartoons Tuesdays through Thursdays (and most Wednesdays during recess weeks) in print and at online.

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