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The whole Todd Akin fiasco is kind of fascinating, isn’t it? It’s hard to remember the last time the Republican establishment has turned against one of their own quite so fast or quite so furiously. Normally they’d circle the wagons and invent some bizarrely creative reason why Akin had done nothing wrong, and even if he had, Democrats have done far worse.

But not this time. This time the lynch mob is out. Why? I think it’s because they learned a lesson from 2010: the tea party yahoos can seriously hurt them. Candidates like Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, and Christine O’Donnell cost them Senate seats that they could have won, and with control of the Senate genuinely within reach in 2012 they’re just not willing to take any risks this time around. Claire McCaskill is a sure goner running against any halfway normal Republican opponent, and no one wants to let Todd Akin get in the way of that. Ideological purity may be important, but winning elections is even more important. Right now, Akin isn’t running against McCaskill, he’s running against the ghosts of Angle, Buck, and O’Donnell.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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