I haven’t posted much other than School Board stuff in a long time, and I suppose this will touch on that as well. But I’m not exactly “focused” this election day morning. So I thought I’d just write a little bit and see what comes up. The big ticket item today is obviously Biden v. Trump. The available indicators look good for Biden, but the folks who recognize Trump for the absolute shit-show of a President that he has been for the last four years are jumpy. We’ve been hurt before.
A thought that caught my attention was a Biden campaign ad that focused on America as an “idea.” There are probably a lot of variations on exactly what that idea might be, but at the end of the day, it allows inclusion of people who buy into that idea. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years writing about how so much hinges on “us” versus “them,” who falls into those categories, and how one goes about moving between those categories. If Biden is correct that America is an idea, then the only thing that’s really required is (to paraphrase the Captain from Cool Hand Luke) that a person get their mind right. Trump’s vision of America has more to do with what the Nazis called blood and soil. It’s a place and a people. Those people are American by virtue of their ancestory and where they were born, not their belief in an idea. In fact, if they are from the right place or have the right parents, their ideas can be completely antithetical to what the Founders had in mind when they wrote the Declaration and the Constitution, and still be deemed more American than those who have kept faith with our Founding. Every election seems more consequential than the last – like we keep playing a game of double or nothing. I’m not sure if the stakes have always been as high as what I perceive, but this time it seems real enough. I think 1996 was the last time I wasn’t wound up very tightly during a Presidential election.
I haven’t been paying much attention to the House of Representatives races. On the national level, it looks like the Democrats have the House in the bag. On the state level, it’s been awhile since Indiana’s Congressional districts seemed competitive. I suppose that’s part of a red-shift in state politics and partly gerrymandering that followed the 2010 census. Indiana’s 1st (Lake County) and 7th (Marion County) districts will be Democratic. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 9th will be Republican. And the 5th looks to be the only one that’s up in the air. It’s a fight for the seat being given up by Susan Brooks. Republican Victoria Spartz and Democrat Christina Hale seem to be pretty close. If I had to guess, Hale will pull it out. The suburban vote has been breaking against Trump lately and I think that will pull Hale across the finish line. But I’m horrible at these predictions. Indiana doesn’t have any Senate races. Nationally, it looks like the Democrats have a decent chance of taking control. The incumbent Democratic Senators most at risk look to be Doug Jones (Alabama) and to a lesser extent, Gary Peters (Michigan.) The Republicans seem to be at risk of losing seats in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia (x2), Iowa, Maine, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, Kansas, and Texas.
On the State level, I assume the General Assembly is still firmly under Republican control. The House Democrats can hope to deprive the Republicans of a supermajority, but I expect that’s about it. (Although, it looks like Todd Huston — the current Speaker — is in an exciting race that could shake up the House leadership.) The Democratic Caucus in the Indiana Senate will, I predict, continue to be a relatively lonely place. I haven’t heard too much about our local races – I assume the various incumbents will keep their seats. The Governor’s race could have been interesting if Woody Myers had gotten off to a smoother start. The roll out was fairly rocky and, at the time, Gov. Holcomb looked more or less untouchable. However, his support on the right wing of his party began to deteriorate due to his relatively sane COVID response — the masks-are-tyranny crowd are defecting to Rainwater. I tend to believe that defection is mostly illusory — if the Myers campaign had looked more threatening, the Rainwater Republicans would return to the Holcomb fold.
For me, the big state-wide race is Weinzapfel v. Rokita for Attorney General. I’ve never much cared for Rokita in any of his positions. He doesn’t seem to be well-liked among other Republicans, let alone Democrats. But he took advantage of Hill’s groping scandal and Holcomb’s somewhat tenuous control of the State party to win the Republican nomination. Meanwhile, Weinzapfel is a serious candidate who would likely do a good job as Attorney General. However, the fact remains that this is a pretty red state, so it’s going to be an uphill climb for any Democrat — even in a generally favorable year for Democrats. I’m crossing my fingers on this one.
And then there is my school board race. Fifteen people running for four spots. I’m hopeful, and I’m a competitive person, so I’d really like to win. Losing will sting for a bit. But, in the bigger picture, my life won’t change much one way or the other. I’d like to think enough of myself that I think the school will be worse off if I don’t pull this out. But the reality is that the schools will probably be fine whatever happens. Either way — and I know this is a cliche — but the good wishes of folks in the community have really meant a lot to me. The enthusiasm of friends has been gratifying and a little surprising (in a good way!) My wife is simply a juggernaut. Give her a solid project, and she’ll organize the hell out of it. My campaign would be a shambles but for her. The kids seem to be getting a kick out of their friends mentioning seeing my ad on YouTube.
Crossing my fingers and hoping for good things all across the board.