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This Week’s Poll!

In case you haven’t been paying attention, 2012 is an election year!

OK, so you probably already noticed. But the media’s relentless dissections of the White House candidates tend to eclipse the smaller races across the country – which in many cases are more interesting.  Like the right-wing conspiracy theorist who just won the Democratic primary in Tennessee, the naked reindeer herder in Michigan and the prison inmate who’s doing pretty well in Oklahoma.

And then there’s our hero of the election cycle, Senator Claire McCaskill, the Missouri Democrat up for re-election whose seat is considered extremely vulnerable. Three Republicans were vying in the primary for the chance to kick her out of the Senate. The craziest of them was the ultra-ultra-conservative Todd Akin, the US congressman who doesn’t like the minimum wage or the public school lunch program and who called government student loans “the Stage 3 cancer of socialism.”

This guy is the proud recipient of a 100% approval rating from the American Conservative Union and got an “A” from the NRA. (He even went so far as to tell NBC last year that the “heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God.” We’re talking pretty extreme here.) Perhaps not surprisingly — even for Missouri — Akin was coming in third in the polls for most of the primary race. And then he won.

Whoa! Where did that come from? Some say it was the praise heaped on him by former-governor-turned-cuddly-talk-show-host Mike Huckabee. Others, however, point to an ingenious move on McCaskill’s part – she spotted him as the biggest loser, and to make sure he was her opponent, she ran aggressive ads “against him” denouncing Akin as a “crusader against bigger government,” having a “pro-family agenda” and being a candidate who wants to gut federal agencies, kill Planned Parenthood, privatize Social Security and, in the end, “is just too conservative.”

Bingo. The strategy had extremists rushing to the polls to vote for Akin. And now, McCaskill is running against the hand-picked nut she might be able to beat.

“Honestly, if you wanted to drive Tea Party voters to the polls,” wrote columnist Gail Collins in the New York Times, “it was the next best thing to hiring a bus.”

Maybe this was a dirty trick. But we’re too busy laughing our assess off to decide. So it got us wondering: What else can Democrats do on limited budgets to counteract wide-scale, well-funded GOP schemes like imposing random voter-ID requirements designed to strip Democrats of their right to vote? Let’s get creative people! Tell us YOUR ideas!

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And now, check out this week’s selection from Lester & Charlie’s DO IT AT HOME, AMERICA!

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