Blue In Red Indiana

This will be a crassly political post. (As if most aren’t…)

“Blue No Matter Who” is an easy slogan, and I endorse it for reasons I have repeatedly recited. That slogan does, however, have one unfortunate implication: “no matter who” makes it sound as if we should vote for the Democratic candidate no matter how unsatisfactory we find that candidate. I actually endorse that sentiment, too; however, in the vast majority of contests I follow, the Democratic candidate is genuinely admirable–certainly not a “best we can get under the circumstances” choice–and infinitely superior to his/her Republican opponent.

Take Indiana’s Fifth Congressional District–a district that abuts the 7th, where I live (and am blissfully happy with my own Congressman, Andre Carson.) The 5th is an open district, thanks to the retirement of the incumbent and major disappointment, Susan Brooks. It has been reliably Republican pretty much forever, but it is populated with educated suburbanites and has been showing some purplish–even bluish–tendencies. Brooks ran as a moderate and voted like an alt-Right puppet (98% support for Trump) and her constituents had noticed.

The Republican primary for the open seat was an ugly free-for-all, with several candidates contending to see who could most strenuously support Donald Trump. The victor–one Victoria Spartz–was notable for her “pro life” and “pro gun” emphases (a bit of cognitive dissonance there?) and for putting a lot of her own money into the campaign. Her TV spots and website are notable for their lack of specificity and candor. (She’s a mother and she’s “not a career politician.”)

Her website is, however, unintentionally revealing.

Spartz lists each of her “issues” in two to three sentence paragraphs, none of which identify specific bills or initiatives she would support. She’s “for” the Constitution, but mentions only the 2d Amendment. She wants to balance the budget (!) by cutting spending on welfare (no mention of corporate welfare, just the social safety net variety.) She’s an immigrant, but wants to “build the wall.” She wants to spend whatever it takes to keep the military strong, and she favors “consumer choice” in healthcare (code for “if you can afford it you can have it.”) The only thing she says about education is that she favors “flexibility” for the states (code for vouchers), and–surprise!–she wants to further limit the regulation of business.

There is no mention of either COVID or the environment. I guess those aren’t problems.

If you feel I am being unfair, please visit her site and double-check.

Now, in the interests of transparency, I will admit that I worked a bit with Victoria’s Democratic opponent, Christina Hale, when she was in the Indiana Statehouse, and I was impressed with her. She was a serious legislator, and absolutely passionate about protecting children. Her website is here.

Not only does Christina address COVID and the Environment, along with other issues, but you will immediately notice that she doesn’t just identify issues with generalities and ambiguous language. Under “healthcare” she lists–and explains– her support for a public option, her opposition to attempts to allow insurance companies to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, and her support for requiring drug companies to negotiate for lower drug prices. Under “environment,” she underscores her support for clean energy infrastructure and technology, the creation of jobs to reduce carbon emissions, and improving Indiana’s water infrastructure.

There’s a lot more, but my point is that people in the 5th District who vote for Christina will do so knowing what sort of policy agenda she will pursue. (In all fairness, it’s pretty clear what sort of policy agenda Victoria will pursue, too–but that clarity sure isn’t a result of forthright labeling.) When I went to VoteSmart, I saw that during her single term in the legislature, Spartz voted against regulations for pesticides, and for allowing firearms on school grounds, among other interesting items…

This is one Congressional race among hundreds, and I’m not prepared to assume that the differences are this stark in every single one of them. Every political party has its losers (to appropriate one of Trump’s favorite terms), and I’m sure there are jerks out there with a D after their names. But the GOP has devolved into something approximating a  scary religious cult, and you can rest assured that virtually all Republican Senate and Congressional candidates are ideologues cut from the same cloth as Spartz– impervious to science and fact, suspicious of the government they want to join, and dismissive of climate change, COVID and people who can’t afford health insurance.

That’s why we need to vote Blue up and down the ballot, and in numbers sufficient to make the outcomes obvious on Election Night.


  1. This coming election is a referendum for character and integrity. Our household supports and will vote for a straight Democrat ticket. Thank you, Sheila. Well done.

  2. Thank you, Sheila, for giving me the perfect outlet to vent my spleen this morning after watching Bernie Sanders basically hand the presidential election to Donald Trump. His very public speech impugning Joe Biden’s campaign foundation and how to run his campaign feeds into those Bernie Bots/Bernie Bros and those who aren’t satisfied with Joe Biden for their personal reasons, not to vote for him. I supported Bernie in 2016 and 2020 till he removed himself from the nomination list. His public speech showed him to be a petty man working against the Democratic party which supported his Independent party membership of many years, a great surprise I hope to others. His issues with Joe should have been discussed during their meetings regarding party and campaign issues. Bernie’s speech sickened me and destroyed much of my hope that the Democratic party would unite to oust Trump; the Republican “Vote Red no matter how much you dread” candidate. But…Bernie isn’t a Democrat, is he.

    Joe Biden is not a Blue “no matter who” candidate and this election is between Donald Trump and the survival of this nation as the United States of America. We are finally paying attention to local and state level elections and recognizing their importance in the full outcome of this life-or-death General Election.

  3. It’s perhaps worth noting that Spartz was not openly elected to the Indiana Senate, but was appointed by Republican insiders following Sen. Luke Kenley’s election as a placeholder and subsequent retirement. Kenley opposed Spartz’s appointment to fill the seat.

    It’s also interesting that Spartz’s voice is almost never heard in her campaign ads, as if her noticeable Ukrainian accent presents a risk in attracting the support of the anti-immigrant, right-wing voters she is counting on.

    Spartz’s narrative, which the Hale Campaign should do more to point out, boils down to a few essentials: Ukrainian marries rich American farmer/land developer and aims for Congress on the anti-Soviet, “I got mine” platform.

  4. You present a clear and fair “compare & contrast “ regarding Christina Hale and Victoria Spartz. I will vote for the person regardless of party when I know what people stand for and their positions align with my values and those of democracy and constitutional governance. The candidate must show respect and concern for all people, not just their identified ‘us”. I don’t see a lot of candidates who fit this description this year with an “R” behind their name. I hope for a future where we do.

  5. I agree with your main point about voting blue up and down the ballot, especially the point about bringing enough numbers to refute all the lies that will be told about rigging the election results.

  6. JoAnn, I understand the vent but Bernie heartily endorsed Joe Biden and asked his minions to vote for him. Since then Joe has mostly focuses his campaign on tightly hugging the middle and trying to get votes from every moderate Republican and “Never Trumper” out there. He’s not all wrong for doing this, especially in the contested states, but if he does so the expense of the left, and BLM, it’s at his political peril. We cannot just tell the left, and especially POC to “fall in line”. That’s not how Dems roll. It’s already making me nervous as to whether Dems can remain United long enough to get anything done, assuming Joe & Kamala win the election.

    I heartily second Sheila’s thoughts. The LAST thing Indiana (and the US) needs is a carbon copy of Rep. Jim Banks, 3rd.

    A more important race in Indiana is for State Representative in the 37th Fishers. Aimee Rivera Cole is running against Republican House speaker Todd Huston for the 2nd time. You will find her policy positions to be well-informed and articulated on her website as well and may be seen at

    I’m trying to imagine how BAD a Dem candidate would have to be for me to not vote straight ticket from now on.

  7. Not only is Indiana somewhat paradoxical; it produced the polar opposites in politics, Mike Pence and Mayor Pete.

    Your description of candidates applies everywhere between Republicans who could care less about governing for the people and Democrats who actually think their everyday constituents matter.

    Indiana, to my knowledge, has been burdened with something called “conservatism” for a very long time. What does that mean exactly? How is it conservative to give tax breaks to the people and entities that need them the LEAST while shifting the social burden to those who could use them the most? The people who are making the rich richer are the ones needing the extra money, right? How is it conservative to miss that empirical point of logic?

    My point, that I’ve tried to make for years, is that Republicans are NOT conservative at all. They lean fascist and are now so corrupted by corporate money, that governing for the people is out of the question. Why do they want to privatize education? To give more money to their rich donors. Why do they worship their perverted view of the 2nd Amendment? To funnel more money to the gun makers who give them money. Why are they against universal health care? So more insurance companies can continue to get stinking rich and give them more campaign contributions. That is Republicanism in a nutshell.

    These crooks are NOT conservative. What they are are self-serving tools of the corporatists and the monied classes that desire unfettered power over our economy and our people…you know, just as Karl Marx predicted they would.

  8. Patrick; with a slight change of wording, an old adage holds true in every election, “You can PLEASE some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time. You can never PLEASE all of the people all of the time.”

    I do not look for perfection in anyone; especially in political candidates and policies. There are millions of us to be protected and served by our government; the Constitution was written so that democracy cannot be negotiated from “rule by majority”. (Except for the Electoral College) Sometimes we are in the minority on issues; there is no “one size fits all” in government. Neither can Joe campaign at the expense of those Democrats who are right-of-center; which takes us back to the fact that this presidential election is between Donald Trump and the survival of this nation as the United States of America.

  9. Well said Sheila, I couldn’t agree more. I was on a zoom call this week hosted by Christina and Pete B. One of the comments made is that they believe this race will come down to a 400-500 vote difference. It’s that close. As such, if you’re able please consider volunteering to make calls. You can do it from home, your commitment is two hours and you’ll get trained in just a few minutes by their very accommodating volunteers. It’s not hard, all you need is a phone. You can commit to as many or as few two hour stints as you like and you can sit outside and enjoy this lovely fall weather while you do it. Click here and sign up to volunteer.
    Vote blue (mostly) no matter who.

  10. Karl had a point, eh Vernon?

    JoAnn widely missed both the mark and the point today. Thanks to our capitalist duopoly, we have only two viable political parties in this country. The Koch’s were given the Libertarian Party, but there are several branches on the left called the Green Party, Democratic Socialist, and the People’s Party. They are trying to branch out of the Democratic Party for a reason. There is also the Socialist Equality Party. None of these parties feel the DP is representing “we the people or we the collective.”

    When the DNC aligns itself with Wall Street, it cannot represent we the people/workers and we the capitalists at the same time. It’s just not feasible. Their interests and motives are not the same. So, while the people want the party to go one direction, the donors are seeking another path and pay handsomely to keep the party aligned with their interests.

    The capitalists and the GOP have no issues since their interests are the same.

    Since the DNC has chosen to represent their donors versus the people, they face an interesting challenge every election. How can they keep their money and get people to vote for them?

    With the center-right Joe Biden/Kamala Harris ticket, it’s a tough sell. The left doesn’t like the policies or the candidates, so what motivates them to vote?

    The DNC can either bring in more voters by choosing more progressive candidates or adopt more progressive policies. Just demanding “unity” behind their Wall Street candidate and policies will not attract anyone! Declaring their candidate is not as bad as the GOP candidate, or appealing to the negative will get some to vote while others could care less.

    I laugh when I hear a firmly planted oligarchic supporting democrat (which should be an oxymoron), telling Democratic voters that we must make changes incrementally. That was Clinton’s downfall in 2016 when asking progressives to accept incremental changes after feeling forty years of the DNC shifting to the center-right while abandoning the working class. Considering progressives swallowed lies by Obama in 2008, thereby getting shafted for eight years, it was not a solid strategy.

    In 2020, the DNC is reaching for GOP voters turned off by Trump and pro-capitalist democrats while snubbing the left completely. If they win the election, the oligarchy still wins. We’ll move from fascism with an authoritarian wannabe back to fascism.


  11. I am in the 5th district and will definitely vote blue. I don’t know how Pike township got into the 5th district but I suspect it’s a way to disenfranchise the votes of my African-American neighbors.

  12. I have never voted single party or issue in the 50 years that I’ve been voting. I will this year as a one time exception to that record reluctantly but driven by priorities to save the Constitution. I imagine what that message would say to the Republican Party. That’s just the message that will save them from themselves and their sponsors. They are on the brink of if not already falling into the canyon of neoliberalism and that is a very big danger for any country to flirt with. There is a reason why such economics have never been tried ever by any country. It’s a dream caused by too many burritos too late in the evening. It’s not a real thing but an inaccurate memory of the past that favored white Christian heterosexual males that they can’t leave behind and blame everyone else for depriving them of. They are driven by a cultural reluctance to leave their entitlement behind when in fact that old culture just is not adapted to these and coming realities of a human race on the edge of unsustainable population and average life style for the earth to support.

    It’s easy to understand why they remember a better past. It’s harder to understand how they have been programmed into connecting that with extreme neolibralism.

  13. I vote in a slightly over two for one Republican county in Florida. We know we are going to lose in that county but that is no excuse for despair and stay at home mentality. Our job is to lessen the margin of defeat so that contiguous Democratic counties like Miami-Dade and Broward can make up the difference with a view toward winning the overall count. I think Florida may turn blue this cycle and that if it does Trump’s political goose is cooked. I will be voting by mail, as usual, and I will be voting a straight Democratic ticket since I don’t want to reward Trump’s enablers, without whom we would not be in this needless nightmare of a wannabe despot aided by a Rasputin (Barr) and cowed Republican senators fearful of Trump’s tweets and his base. So yes, vote blue even if a particular candidate is flawed, and why? Because we know not voting blue ensures that we have voted not only for the sick bigot but for his enablers as well.

  14. I am in IN-5 and strongly endorse and of course will be voting for Hale. FWIW, I was very disappointed to be gerrymandered out of Rep. Carson’s district, and did not vote for Rep. Brooks.

  15. I am in Hale’s district and will happily Vote All Blue. Northern Marion County should give her a big boast.

    The GOP has no platform for Progress. The GOP has been campaigning on FEAR since the 1980’s. The Trumpet and Pastor Pence have ramped this FEAR up to a new level. The Trumpter’s now feel free to vent in public exactly who they are.

    I found a photo and posted it on my Face Book page. It had three Trumpter’s two clothed in their Trumpter gear and one wearing a black T-Shirt and big letters SS, with his Trump cap on. The SS type of letters the actual Nazis SS wore. My comment was: >> “A Trumper with an SS on his shirt. The SS was a Nazi Organization responsible for the Death Camps and the organizers of Mass Murder.”

    A relative on mine ( A Trumper) posted, “Those are Arizona bolts for the club.”

    My more astute friends immediately reacted, “you have to wonder why the “club” chose the nazi SS symbol for their own.”

    Other comments: “Two possible explanations they were too dumb to research the Origin of the SS Symbol, or they know exactly what it means as a symbol.”

    “Too bad they didn’t do more research before they chose that as their design.”

    “They probably did the research and decided – Yeah this what we want to be.”

    “A slight margin in favor of too stupid to know that, but 49% probably wear the full nazi uniform around the house you know to do yard work.”

    HA, HA, can you imagine the healthy, wealthy Car-Mel (Carmel) Republicans inviting the gun-toting Camo types with Trump caps on for a lawn party???

    It should be clear by now to the GOP types what has taken over their party and/or who they attract, or will they just Vote Red, until I am Dead.

  16. Spartz sold her soul out to Trump to win the nomination. Now she faces a general election in a district where Trump is not popular, she wants to be an “independent” voice in Congress. Uh, no. Too late.

  17. “The GOP has no platform for Progress”

    The GOP has no platform. Period. Every election since the Republican Party was founded in 1856, it had a real platform…until 2020. This year instead of a platform of principles, the party adopted a statement of enthusiastic support for President Trump. Whatever he does, we Republicans enthusiastically support him! The GOP, at least on the national level, has become a personality cult.

  18. I don’t trust Spartz, she reminds me of Maria Butina the woman who infiltrated the Republican Party & NRA with dark money. If Potus is influenced by Kremlin & Russian money I don’t think it’s too far fetched to be suspect on the local level. Trump’s wife is also suspect!

  19. Vernon Turner:

    “Not only is Indiana somewhat paradoxical; it produced the polar opposites in politics, Mike Pence and Mayor Pete.”

    Which begs the question: How can voters, knowing what they know possibly support Mike Pence to continue in the pipeline toward the presidency in view of Pence’s adherence to Trumpism and evident support of Trump, warts and all? What do Mother Pence and Mike Pence talk about at the kitchen table?

    The way to prevent another catastrophe is to VOTE BLUE UP AND DOWN THE BALLOT and pray that Trump remains in good health and NOT resign through November to stop the threat of a Pence ascendancy.

    Voters have observed Pence in the Trump administration. Voters want a presidential President, not a foppish toady who has not given Trump the what for he has needed since childhood.


  20. Todd,

    You often remind me of Dan Ackroyd’s most famous quotation on SNL.

    You must realize that any candidate you would regard as representative of your ideals would have no chance in any national election and that voting for the far left wing is probably as self-punishing as voting for the far right. Since I’ve been at it for awhile, I’m guessing I can come up with as many despicable flaws in capitalism as you. However, to suggest that there is even a smidgen of similarity between Biden and Trump is to ignore the history of both. To save America from a babbling autocrat who demeans democracy and is certifiable, we must elect a Democrat. If not Biden (Mayor Pete was my first choice), who gives us a better chance, or do you care?

  21. I will add my two cents on Christina.

    Shortly after beginning her run for the State House, she contacted me and asked to talk over coffee. I had just run for Council and I agreed to meet with her.

    We spent over an hour talking. She told me her life story, her views, everything. She is an incredibly warm, caring, and able person and won me over immediately.

    I have supported her ever since, but here is what I really share with people, when they ask. In a state legislature that operated under the principle that Democrats didn’t need to be there, Christina chose important, less controversial issues and garnered Republican support. She didn’t overturn the general Republican views of Indiana, but she did make inroads in favor of women, children and families.

    If Democrats win big, as I hope they will, she could play a vital role in preventing the internecine wars that rocked the Democrats after Obama’s win in 2008. I keep repeating, but Will Rogers had it right – I don’t belong to an organized political party – I’m a Democrat.

    Todd and JoAnn – a point lost in history and to too many Bernie supporters – The Democratic Socialists formed to NOT be a third party, but to influence one of the two major parties, their choice being the Democrats. They believed that third parties guaranteed the most conservative choice would win.

    LBJ’s War on Poverty came from them. Who knows what other good measures would have gone from Democratic Socialist to Democrats to law if LBJ hadn’t been so worried that he would be branded a “commie” if he wasn’t a hawk on Vietnam.

  22. The Club for Growth controlled by the Koch brothers is the group putting anti-Christina Hale ads on TV, accusing Hale of being a socialist because she supports affordable health care for all. The Koch brothers hope to continue to pollute our air and water and their multi-billion dollar petro-chemical and fossil fuel companies that are warming the planet and causing hurricane and fire disasters in the southeastern and northwestern U.S.

    The Koch Brothers are the initiators of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and a wide variety of legislation to protect multi-national corporations, deny pay and rights to workers, foul the environment, privatize all sorts of public services including schools and the post office to reduce service, transparency, and accountability, and to maintain lucrative government subsidies for themselves.

    Beware of candidates who have earned “Club for Growth” support.

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