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The pandering in Iowa starts with candidates descending on the State Fair in Des Moines in August like earworms on sweet corn. Some highlights:

Mama’s Boy Fred Thompson introduced himself as an honest-to-goodness former prosecutor who’d once gone after “moonshiners,” referred to his “mama and daddy,” and repeatedly used the word “reckon”—but forgot to remove his Gucci loafers.

Flip-Flop Inside the Pork Tent, Mitt Romney declared that his favorite foods are “hot dogs and hamburgers.” He then flipped a pork chop onto the ground and tossed it back on the grill, to groans from fairgoers. “This is pork barrel the way it ought to be done,” he beamed, “not the way it is done in Washington!”

City Slicker Duded out in cowboy boots and blue jeans with a red hanky dangling from his back pocket, diplomatic frequent flier Bill Richardson grilled pork burgers and sneered at “the smarty-pants set in Washington.”

What a Boar In the Swine Barn, John McCain quipped, “We’ve made far more pork in Washington.” He repeated the line several more times before speaking to a crowd seated on hay bales.

Aw Shucks At Iowa Senator Tom Harkin’s September steak fry, 35-year Senate veteran Joe Biden assembled an enormous plywood display showing various candidates’ “ears” of experience in Washington.

Better Off Dead Looking for a spot for a rural rally, Rudy Giuliani’s campaign contacted Deb and Jerry VonSprecken, who own an 80-acre farm in Olin, Iowa. After going through security checks, the couple was informed that the event was off. According to Deb, Team Rudy said, “I’m sorry, you aren’t worth a million dollars and he is campaigning on the death tax right now.”

Stand by Your Ham Back at the State Fair, Hillary Clinton donned a personalized apron reading, “The Other White Meat.”

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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