Welcome to Campaign Season in the Heartland

An award-winning photographer’s 3,000-mile summer trek to document Election 2012.


Danny Wilcox Frazier’s photography assignments have taken him around the world, from Afghanistan to Cuba, Kosovo to Tanzania, and many places in between. But for our September/October issue, we asked Frazier, a Mother Jones contributing photographer, to trek around the middle of America and check in with three candidates fighting to go back to Washington. While putting over 3,000 miles on his Toyota 4×4, Frazier followed Bob Kerrey, who once served as Nebraska’s governor and senator—and now hopes to serve as senator again—to two down-home Fourth of July parades. He travelled with Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat in a conservative trending state, on a whistles-top tour of Missouri’s small towns as she fights outside-funded dark money attacks. And he followed Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq veteran and double-amputee now running for an Illinois congressional seat, who jokingly asked him to shoot only “her good side.” Together, the photos give a snapshot of the summer of 2012, when politics tints every ritual of the season.

A young American attending the J.E. George Boulevard Fourth of July parade. Omaha, Nebraska.
 

A Bob Kerrey supporter drives a convertible in the J.E. George Boulevard Fourth of July parade. Omaha, Nebraska.
 

Children stand ready with their plastic bags to catch candy at a Fourth of July parade. Seward, Nebraska.
 

Bob Kerrey waits to meet ranchers and farmers at a diner event. Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
 

Bob Kerrey greets ranchers and farmers. Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
 

A voter listens to Kerrey. Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
 

A Kerrey campaign staffer videos the event. Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
 

Cattle in a western Nebraska feedlot.
 

Inside Sudsy’s Submarine Sandwich Shop. Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
 

Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth attends a summer festival. Villa Park, Illinois.
 

Duckworth in her campaign office. Rolling Meadows, Illinois.
 

The sixth congressional district in suburban Chicago is dotted with vacant office complexes. Duckworth has made economic issues a key part of her campaign. Arlington Heights, Illinois.
 

Working the phones in Tammy Duckworth’s campaign headquarters. Rolling Meadows, Illinois.
 

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) aboard a RV during her “In Our Town, On Our Side” campaign tour. Kennett, Missouri.
 

Democratic party headquarters. Caruthersville, Missouri.
 

McCaskill shakes hands in an Elks’ lodge. Poplar Bluff, Missouri.
 

McCaskill’s campaign RV in southeastern Missouri.
 

A sign outside Katie’s Diner, where McCaskill made a campaign stop. Portageville, Missouri.
 

McCaskill campaigning. Farmington, Missouri.

 

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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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.

payment methods

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