Meet Sen. Dan Coats (R-K Street)

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Count Indiana’s Rep. Brad Ellsworth among today’s Democratic dead. Republican Dan Coats beat out Ellsworth, capturing the seat of retiring Democrat Evan Bayh. Coats eked out of May’s primary with 39% of the vote, earning ridicule from the Democrats for his slim plurality. But Republicans will have the last laugh, at least until 2012. And so will K Street.

A former Senator and ambassador to Germany, Coats has spent his off-years as a lobbyist for a number of clients including Google, Lockheed Martin, and Bank of America. In a less enflamed political climate, Coats’ hobnobbing with special interests and Ellsworth’s moderate credentials might have delivered the race to him. During his time in House, Ellsworth had a knack for pissing off Nancy Pelosi. As one of the Stupak Seven, he refused to support any health reform bill that paid for abortions with public money (he eventually came around and voted for the bill). He’s also pro-gun, and opposes any energy policy that taxes coal-burning power plants. It’s no surprise that he voted against his party almost more than any other Democrat, choosing to represent his constituency’s interests over his party’s.

What, then, did Indiana voters find so objectionable? That he’s a Democrat. Obama barely won the state in 2008, and the Indiana electorate is historically bipolar. Ellsworth’s strict adherence to the center, along with voters’ skepticism of Coats’ illustrious lobbying record, should have kept him safe. But Coats’ ability to tap into the nation’s anti-incumbent fervor paid off, seemingly proving that all you needed to prevail this year was to not be a Democrat. (Ellsworth’s loss is also likely to be a Democratic double-whammy: His House seat in the Indiana 8th will probably be picked up by Republican Larry Buchson). Meanwhile, his lobbying record doesn’t seem to have been much of a liability.  

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.

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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.

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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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