Climate Denier Ron Johnson Topples Russ Feingold

Pete Marovich/Zumapress.com

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And so bows out one of the Senate’s liberal legends, Wisconsin’s Russ Feingold. Since he was elected in 1992, Feingold has carved out a career as an independent-minded Democrat, a politician hardly in lockstep with his party. For instance, Feingold was one of two Democrats to vote against the financial reform bill passed by Congress this summer.

Yet Feingold couldn’t overcome his party’s enthusiasm gap in 2010, nor the anti-incumbent wave sweeping the country, nor the attack ads against him funded by outfits like the US Chamber of Commerce, which spent $750,000 to defeat him. All told, outside groups spent $1.32 million opposing Feingold’s reelection campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics; the shadowy, conservative American Action Network lead the way, pouring $910,000 into the race. Meanwhile, Ron Johnson, the conservative businessman who defeated Feingold, funelled $8.2 million of his own money into his campaign.

A surprise winner at the state GOP’s convention, Johnson ran on a traditional conservative platform: He opposes same sex marriage and the Obama admnistration’s stimulus; supports protections for the Second Amendment and a balanced budget amendment; and wants to lower taxes and repeal the Obama administration’s health care reform legislation, which he described as the “single greatest assault to our freedom in my lifetime.” What landed Johnson in headlines earlier this year was his claim that climate change wasn’t created by humans but instead was the result of “sunspot activity.”

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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.

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