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This Week: Countdown to Election. Plus: Remembering George McGovern | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

This Week: Countdown to Election. Plus: Remembering George McGovern

ELECTION COVERAGE. With the final debate behind us (and jokes about my role as Romney adviser aside), the presidential race and the fight for Congress is in its final stretch, and The Nation’s smart, truth-telling reporting continues to be invaluable in the days leading up to the election. George Zornick examines what a Republican Senate would look like—and the dramatic effect it would have on policy in the coming years. Lee Fang continues to cover money in politics and how corporate lobbyists manage our presidential debates. In light of the GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s comments on rape and abortion this week, Jessica Valenti proposes a plan to end rape illiteracy. And be sure to check back daily to our Voting Rights Watch blog. Aura Bogado reports on the surge of suppression efforts as the election nears—follow Bogado, Brentin Mock and Ari Berman for more up-to-speed news on this front.

2012 WRITING CONTEST WINNERS. We’re pleased to announce the winners of The Nation’s seventh annual Student Writing Contest. We asked students to tell us, in 800 words, what they think is the most important issue of Election 2012. The breadth and diversity of responses was simply inspiring. We received close to 1,000 submissions ranging from high school to college students. Congratulations to the winners, Andrew Giambrone, an undergraduate at Yale University who wrote about the human costs of unemployment and the economic crisis, and Tess Saperstein, a junior at Dreyfoos School of the Arts in Boca Raton, Florida, who offered elegant commentary on Susan B. Anthony’s contemporary legacy. You can read their essays, along with the ten finalists here, and the two winning essays will be excerpted in an upcoming issue of The Nation magazine.

REMEMBERING GEORGE McGOVERN. We were deeply saddened this week at the loss of George McGovern, progressive champion of peace and human rights. In my blog, I write how the presidential nominee and Nation contributor never wavered in speaking out against war, poverty and human rights abuses. John Nichols reflects that McGovern practiced “a purer politics, a better politics, because it was so rooted in his love of America’s history, its literature and its possibility.” Representative Jim McGovern remembers his friend as the “Atticus Finch” of American politics, a man who “spoke the truth even when—especially when—it was uncomfortable.” And William Greider calls McGovern “the last honest Democrat,” writing, “George McGovern would tell the truth nobody wants to mention.” Also, I hope you’ll take a look at The Nation’s 1972 profile, “George McGovern: The Man, the Press, the Machine, the Odds.”

MEDIA AT WORK. In this week’s cover story, Eric Alterman details how the mainstream media has covered the 2012 election—and it’s not pretty. In an era of post-truth politics, reporters have neglected the real issues, obsessing over made-up gaffes and meaningless campaign moments. Alterman argues that mainstream journalists have an “inability…to admit to, or account for, the radicalization of the Republican Party—whether it involves the candidates’ commitment to extremist ideology, or their loyalty to billionaire funders like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson.” Read more from Alterman here.

PAUL WELLSTONE, TEN YEARS LATER. It’s been ten years since the passing of the great progressive hero, Paul Wellstone. I remember Wellstone this week in my WashingtonPost.com column as “a relentless champion, a true public servant and one of the few movement senators we’ve ever had.” From protesting and picketing with workers to voting against the invasion of Iraq as a senator, Wellstone’s political courage is deeply missed. I am heartened that his legacy lives on in a new generation of progressive representatives and in grassroots activism around the country. As I write in my column, “Paul Wellstone was not a tall man, but he was a giant of a politician, progressive, human. Ten years after, I still miss him.”

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