It’s no secret that I think Trump is horrible for America. But, I’m not a knee-jerk partisan bomb thrower. I vote for a lot of Republicans though, it must be said, I probably haven’t voted for a Republican to federal office in a general election since Sen. Lugar in 2006. The rise of Newt Gingrich and the impeachment of Clinton kind of soured me on federal Republicans. But in state and particularly local elections, I have historically kind of bounced around. I say this as a probably ineffective way to add credibility to my recommendation that Indiana voters vote for Joe Donnelly. I’m not making this recommendation out of mere tribalism.
I’m prompted to make this post by the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette’s endorsement of Joe Donnelly. The Journal Gazette leans left, so it’s probably no surprise that they endorse Joe. But, their main points, particularly the one on health care, remain valid. Donnelly cast one of the crucial votes against repeal of the ACA. Braun supports AG Hill’s lawsuit seeking to have the courts invalidate ACA protections on pre-existing conditions. (Per the FWJG editorial, “Braun still advocates repeal and has supported a lawsuit filed by Indiana’s Curtis Hill and other Republican attorneys general aimed at ending guaranteed coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.”) The ACA isn’t great, but we saw that after years and years and years of railing against it, Congressional Republicans could only come up with something that was likely to cost more and cover less. (Per the CBO, AHCA would “result in 24 million Americans losing their health insurance while raising premiums for those covered on the individual market.”)
Braun’s party line orthodoxy on health care goes to the larger point that I made on Twitter a few weeks ago shortly after the Donnelly/Braun debate: “I didn’t watch the Senate debate. I do know that Trump is an incessant liar with bad ideas. Joe Donnelly will vote against him sometimes & Mike Braun never will. No need to get into the weeds on this one.” It’s a frequent complaint among my Democratic friends that Sen. Donnelly votes with Trump and against the Democratic party line way too often. (See, e.g., his vote for Gorsuch.) They are either abandoning him or their support is very, very tepid. I get it, but the reality is that we have a two party system, and Indiana is culturally conservative. The choices are between an inconsistent Democrat and a Republican who will always enable Trump. Personally, I tend to think Donnelly is a good guy who more or less tries to do the right thing while remaining politically viable in Indiana. Middle class and working class people stand a better chance under policies he favors than those favored by Braun. And, in any event, for me Braun’s lockstep support of Trump is simply disqualifying.
Update: The South Bend Tribune endorses Donnelly similar reasons.