A Fighting Chance

A damaging consequence of Republican gerrymandering and the creation of “safe” districts has been the behavior of Democrats, who effectively concede many such districts by failing to put up a candidate. 

You would think that statewide elections would be different, since they can’t be gerrymandered, but in Red states like Indiana, the Blue statewide candidates have all-too-often appeared to be tokens. I assume that’s because more competitive politicians opt out because they consider the state party too weak and/or the state too Red. Whatever the reason, that lack of competitiveness has facilitated the political rise of some truly substandard Republicans. 

This year, the likely candidates for Governor (Mike Braun) and Senator (Jim Banks) are particularly odious. But also this year–for whatever reason–the Democrats are running two absolute stars for those same positions.

I have previously posted my reasons for admiring and supporting Jennifer McCormick for Governor. More recently, Mark Carmichael has announced a run for Senate.

 Carmichael– a self-described “old political warhorse” was elected to Indiana’s General Assembly in 1986, after defeating a sitting Speaker of the House.  He says he entered the race because, among other things, he has four granddaughters, and because Indiana deserves better than to be represented by someone as “mean-spirited, blindly partisan and out of touch with the majority of Hoosiers as Jim Banks.”

His attacks on innocent LGBTQ children for purely political gain are disgusting and his vote against certifying the Biden election and dishonest rhetoric on FOX News after that election help lead to the riot at the U. S. Capitol on January 6. He should be ashamed.

Carmichael also issued a list of his ten most important positions and goals–all of which I can enthusiastically endorse.

  • Believes women’s rights are human rights and will work to codify Roe v Wade at a minimum.
  • Will work for a ban on military style assault weapons—the weapon of choice for the mass murderers of our children and other innocent victims, and will fight for a national red flag law.
  • Is concerned about the white nationalism and antisemitism growing in our country thanks to extremists’ ugly rhetoric, and by someone who believes racism is still a cancer on the United States.
  • Wants to leave our planet better than we found it for our children and grandchildren and will take immediate action on global warming.
  •  Will stand up for the LGBTQ youth who are being used as political pawns by mean-spirited, calculating Republicans who needed a new social wedge issue after Roe v Wade was overturned by the Republican Supreme Court majority.  These vulnerable children deserve our help, not scorn, and their healthcare decisions should be left up to their families and compassionate, qualified doctors, not political opportunists.
  •  Is committed to confirming fair and impartial federal judges, not like the partisan appointees that have been foisted on us by Mitch McConnell and the Federalist Society.  We deserve judges who don’t lie to get confirmed or accept generous gifts and travel from wealthy patrons.
  •  Is committed to no more gratuitous tax cuts for the rich and corporations who use the windfall to buy back and drive up the price of their own stock.
  • Believes teachers and librarians deserve our help and respect and not the threat of losing their jobs or getting shot. They shouldn’t have to fear being accused of a felony if someone whines about a book or movie that speaks honestly about life as it really is.
  • Will push for marijuana to be reclassified at the federal level from a Schedule 1 drug to a Schedule 3 or less.
  • Will work to lower drug costs and bring adequate medical care to all parts of Indiana, and will push for Medicare for all citizens.

In 2024, Indiana citizens will vote to replace an undistinguished and retrograde MAGA Senator (Braun, who is leaving the Senate to run for Governor). We will either replace him with the even more MAGA Jim Banks, or with someone who has actually read the Bill of Rights and has chosen to live in the 21st Century.

McCormick and Carmichael are immeasurably more attractive candidates than the dour and reactionary Rightwing ideologues they will face. More importantly, according to survey research, their positions–on abortion, on guns, on education, on civic equality–are far more representative of those held by a majority of Hoosiers.

I have friends and family members who believe that all it takes to win statewide office in Indiana is an  R beside the candidate’s name–that candidates’ intellect, character and positions on issues are irrelevant to the tribal rural voters who dominate state politics.

If we are ever to have a test of that thesis, the upcoming Senate and Gubernatorial races will provide it.


  1. Encouraging news. Thank you. Wouldn’t it be great if Brain’s decision to leave the Senate resulted in a double win for Democrats!

  2. Sheila: “I have friends and family members who believe that all it takes to win statewide office in Indiana is an R beside the candidate’s name–that candidates’ intellect, character and positions on issues are irrelevant to the tribal rural voters who dominate state politics.”

    I have stated this same belief for decades; growing up in a Republican family in a Republican neighborhood I was out of place in the racist, bigoted, antisemitic mind-set around me. Too young to make a political connection; I later made the connection voting as an Independent voter even through 20 years working in Republican Indianapolis City Government, it was that 2 years, 3 months and 11 days watching Goldsmith destroy what Mayor Bill Hudnut had accomplished in his 16 years. The lies foisted on the public by Goldsmith and his administration vs. what was actually going on inside city government made me look deeper into party vs. candidates at election time. My father went to his grave in 1998 believing, and never hesitating to speak out his belief, that Nixon had been a great president and his presidency was stolen from him. While living in Florida during his last years, Dad and I would go to the poll together to cancel out each other’s vote but never spoke of politics or candidates.

    In the current 118th Congress, there are 435 members of the House, 119 of the current Republican majority voted, and continue to support, overturning the 2020 presidential election. Of those 119 members, most are now Committee Chairs who rule the entire U.S. House of Representatives who are spending their time and wasting our tax dollars on such issues a censuring Democratic Rep. Schiff and now determined to impeach President Biden for investigating Trump as Trump’s indictments are growing in number and his high crimes and misdemeanors are becoming public by testimony from his former advisors and appointees. But Trump’s poll numbers continue mounting, as Sheila states regarding voting for those “R” candidates ; “If we are ever to have a test of that thesis, the upcoming Senate and Gubernatorial races will provide it.”

    I have said before and will continue saying; those at the federal level did not begin there; they came from the local and state elections and it is obvious we also need to “clean House” at all levels.

    President Abraham Lincoln: “A House divided against itself cannot stand.”

    “We the People of the United States, in Order for form a more perfect Union,…”

  3. I still believe that a turnip with an (R) wins in Indiana, or we would have Secretary of State Wells.

    However, people might actually listen when it comes to Governor and Senator. I just hope that the (R) won’t be enough for those offices. I’ll be working to try to see that it isn’t enough. I just hope that the Democratic Party is smart enough to (A) work all 92 counties, and (B) know that they have to jack up the plurality coming out of Marion Country.

  4. Finally! That’s great news. I’m going to make sure all of my Indiana family are aware, awake, and ready to vote.

  5. He forgot legalizing MJ for medical and recreational use will keep Indiana taxpayers giving funds locally rather than going to Illinois or Michigan for their weed. Trust me here. There are a lot of Hoosier smokers that want that legalized. Same with abortions.

  6. thanks for passing on a list of betterment. out of state donations sometimes ring a bell. if the indy warmongers cant get elected by decent bounderies and treaties,as mcconnald said, if we went to a popular vote republicans would never be elected again. they have dug their own grave,polls be damn,seems on a state level the people are sick of being poked and prodded to act. now that its a new civil rights era(for everyone)getting out the voter, should be done insolidairity. one issue,a legal holiday/day off, for the voter… since billionaire/millionaire mandates have taken enough,its time to return the rights and wages.. courts should not be the influencer. it should mantal the people first. weve dug a grave yard of wasted tallent over mandates to sentence and what is draconian sentancing for what i call trivial crimes. bail for that should not be dictated by the arresting side.
    keeping the people safe would best be served if the local law was to engage face to face everyday with all its citizens rather than fortify thier existance behind a black and white fully armed tank.
    if any new person runs for office,their whole approach now should be what we have been denied for the last 40 plus years. bring out the slander of the great white hopes of justified laws to ware house select people,while other$ just walk. If the Carmichaels have a stand, lets do it on what is wrong ,and what has been recently denied. public outrage is better than what some polsters have think tanked us into believeing. suttle, screw suttle, shove the light where it needs to shine…
    good luck indy,best wishes..

  7. One small correction: It’s Marc Carmichael, not Mark. Don’t underestimate him, as he upset Indiana House Speaker J. Roberts Dailey in 1986. Carmichael ran for Congress in 1994 (the Republican Revolution) and lost to David McIntosh. It was McIntosh’s ill-fated decision to challenge Frank O’Bannon for governor in 2000 that gave us Congressman Mike Pence.
    Indiana’s political landscape has changed dramatically since Carmichael took down the most powerful man in the state, but it’s good to see a smart, qualified candidate step up to challenge Banks. One thing I learned in 40 years of observing Indiana politics is that the unexpected can happen.

  8. I sincerely wish your preferred c candidates much luck. We could use many more like Carmichael all around the country.

  9. We need to get rid of “check the box” where voters vote all Dem or all Republican. Make people think about their vote. The Dems have to get out and talk to folks. Braun hides behind his “staff” – never has a real town hall. Banks is an abomination.

  10. Linda Robb; I agree, I always vote all the way down ballot to give candidates individual attention. They are campaigning personally and individually, not as a group.

  11. Democrats are a lot more competitive in statewide elections during presidential elections. I think McCormick could win, Carmichael I’m not so sure about. Seeing the issues Carmichael is emphasizing – a liberal wish list – won’t get the GOP crossover vote a Democrat needs to win a statewide election. Hogsett won Secretary of State as a Democrat against Hudnut because he ran as a fiscal conservative who criticized the big local tax increases that took place when Hudnut was mayor.

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