Democrats Defeating Themselves

E.J. Dionne recently wrote about Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, whose re-opening of a collapsed highway in a mere twelve days made news. Dionne was  (properly) impressed with Shapiro’s general approach to governing, and the article is interesting, but what leapt out to me was the following:

You’ve got to show up everywhere, and you’ve got to speak to everyone, and you’ve got to speak in plain language and in practical terms,” he told me in an interview last week in the final days of settling a tough state budget fight. He noted that in his 2022 campaign, “I went to counties the Democrats had written off a long time ago and spoke about workforce development and spoke about how we’re going to bring back the economy and talked about it in very tangible, practical ways.”

The emphasis in that paragraph is mine, because in states like Indiana, the biggest problem Democrats face is attitudinal–they’ve “written off” their chances before they even begin.

Here’s an example that still has me steaming–a discussion with my youngest son, a staunchly liberal Democrat who contributes generously to political campaigns. I told him I was enthusiastic about the US Senate candidacy of Marc Carmichael, and suggested he make a contribution. His response: he will send his money to candidates who “have a chance of winning.” He had written off Indiana as a lost cause.

My son isn’t the only presumably “savvy” political observer who begins with that defeatist attitude, and in my view, it is far and away the biggest barrier to Democratic victories in this state. It prevents otherwise intelligent observers from recognizing opportunities when they present themselves. (I have allowed him a rebuttal to my view, which you can read at the end of this post.)

Is Indiana a hard state for Democrats to win? Yes. Does this year offer unusual openings? Absolutely– especially in state-wide races where the GOP’s extreme gerrymandering is irrelevant. (By the way, the Republicans who drew those gerrymandered districts had a problem last time, because rural Indiana is emptying out–they were unable to add to their existing Red districts, and the margins in existing districts were narrower.)

Why do I see an opening for Democrats, especially in the Senate race?

  • It’s an open seat–no incumbency advantage.
  • Jim Banks will be the Republican nominee. Banks is a culture warrior far, far to the right of even conservative Republicans. His positions–he’s for permit-less carry and banning abortion and he’s a full-throated endorser of Donald Trump– are at odds with positions held by significant majorities of Hoosiers. His attacks on gay children have been ugly and mean-spirited, and his entire focus is on culture war. (He’s basically Indiana’s version of Marjorie Taylor Green.)
  • The Democrats have another excellent statewide candidate in Jennifer McCormick, whose gubernatorial campaign is likely to energize the state’s teachers and librarians.
  • Carmichael is politically knowledgable and an affable and engaging retail politician.
  • Trump–four indictments or no– is likely to be the Republicans’ Presidential nominee.
  • The abortion issue has energized women and Red state voters who otherwise don’t turn out–from Kansas to Kentucky to Ohio.

Does any of this guarantee victory? No, of course not.

Carmichael needs to raise enough money to get his message out; he needn’t match the resources that the Club for Growth and other far-Right PACs will give Banks. I think he is on his way to doing that–we’ll see when the next financial reports come out– but the biggest barrier he will face is the self-defeating conviction held by people who agree with him on the issues but believe that a Democratic victory in Indiana is beyond hope–a conviction that ignores the Democrats we’ve previously elected, and shrugs off the fact that the state voted for Obama in 2008.

That defeatist attitude permeates the state: in gerrymandered districts, all too often the party doesn’t even run a candidate. Political pundits routinely characterize campaigns by Democrats as “uphill.” Then we wonder why Democrats have problems with fundraising and turnout.

Democrats need to stop defeating themselves.

Son’s rebuttal:

First, mom, thanks for letting me respond within the body of your blog. Second, I agree with your core message that we Democrats cannot win if we don’t show up and get out the vote. Everyone should – and I will – vote!  Where we differ is on our views of political reality, and where resources can be effectively deployed to maximize Democratic – and Democracy’s – chances of success.

You characterize my attitude as “defeatist” and as the biggest barrier to Democratic victories.  Respectfully, the barriers to Democratic victories in Indiana – a poorly-educated electorate, lack of diversity in this State, a fractured media that prevents “our” messages from reaching those who might otherwise agree with us – are more complex and mountainous than my attitude (and that of others like me) can overcome in a single election cycle.

As you note, I DO give to political candidacies I see as viable, even if “underdogs.” In the last election, I gave money to Democratic Senate candidates in Wisconsin, Georgia, and a few others with “close” but winnable races. I also donated to organizations that “get out the vote.” Not all of these candidates won, but their base-line numbers were within a few percentage points, not more than 10 points, below their opponents.  With due respect to Marc Carmichael, whom I don’t know but have heard is a great guy, notwithstanding how truly despicable Jim Banks is, I think there is only ONE Democratic candidate with a chance to win the upcoming U.S. Senate race here – Pete Buttigieg – and (sadly) I don’t see him coming back to run that race. (By the way, Mayor Pete, if you do come back to run, I will “max out” to your campaign!)

Unfortunately, in the absence of a high-profile, once-in-a-generation candidate like Pete, I see Democrats’ chances in Indiana through the lens of the Diego Morales/Destiny Wells race for Secretary of State in 2020.  The Republican Morales, like Jim Banks, was a despicable, pathetic character: in the months leading up to the 2020 election, Morales – a Trumper and election-denier – was credibly accused of sexual assault, and it was reported that he had been “disciplined” and fired from the very office he was seeking, and had previously committed voter fraud by voting in a county where he lacked residency!  The Democratic candidate, Wells, was well-regarded and had generally positive press.  Notwithstanding, Morales won the race by more than 10 points.  Winning 54% of the vote, he only slightly underperformed Governor Holcomb’s 56% and Trump’s 57%. (While I think Trump being the nominee helps Dems in many places, there’s no evidence yet that it does anything but help Republicans in Indiana.  In other words, the Republican “baseline” advantage in Indiana requires more than a “can do” attitude to overcome. It requires a Mayor Pete-level candidacy.) And as for Governor Shapiro’s win in Pennsylvania, the political baseline there (according to Pew Research) is 46% Democrat/39% Republican, while the same source reports the political baselines here are 37% Dem/42% Republican (with 20% no-lean).

Now, I know you see the politics of abortion altering the political landscape (because moderate Republicans join us on this issue).  And it is true – to a point.  Where abortion is “on the ballot,” the side favoring abortion rights does win (see Ohio, Kansas, and even the State Supreme Court election in Wisconsin). But the data on how General Elections go, when abortion is just one of many issues, doesn’t (yet) tell the same story. And while Dems everywhere need to make it as central an issue as possible, I still see donations to statewide candidates in Indiana akin to buying a lottery ticket – if you don’t play, you can’t win, but the odds are pretty much the same for now (unfortunately).

Finally, I DO truly hope you are right and I am wrong!  I would love nothing more than to see Indiana Democrats win the Governorship and the U.S. Senate race here – and while I will vote, I am still going to direct my limited resources to political candidacies which I view as more “winnable,” because we risk losing the entire country, not just Indiana, if Trump and his ilk win otherwise close races elsewhere.

Okay, readers–what say you about this argument? 


  1. I see both of your points…and encouraged one of my liberal friends up in the north to run but he’s recently moved 5 miles away to Michigan. How can Dems vote blue if there’s no candidate? My uncle, a professor in Alabama wrote the same in his book last year. As a strong liberal, he had no choice but vote for a moderate Republican because the seats were unopposed! We need candidates willing to run.

  2. I agree with taking a 50 state strategy – Talk to everyone. Ask everyone for their vote.

    From wikipedia

    Howard Dean pursued an explicit “fifty-state strategy” as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, putting resources into building a Democratic Party presence even where Democrats had been thought unlikely to win federal positions, in hopes that getting Democrats elected to local and state positions, and increasing awareness of Democrats in previously conceded areas, would result in growing successes in future elections. Democrats who supported the strategy have said that abandoning “red states” as lost causes only allowed the Republican Party to grow even stronger in areas where it was unchallenged, resulting in lopsided losses for Democrats in even more races.[2]

    During the 2008 United States presidential election, Barack Obama attempted a form of the fifty-state strategy to reach into deep red states to try to flip them. This was largely based on Obama’s appeal during the primaries in very Republican states, like those in the Deep South and the Great Plains.[3]

  3. Getting out to the people is so important. I live in rural Indiana and most of my life have. One day a gentleman knocked on my door and asked for my vote for judge. I didn’t know him or any candidate, but I remembered his name in the voting booth.

    When a friend of mine wanted to run for Mayor in a heavily Republican Indiana city, I told him to go out and knock on every door and ask for their vote. He did. He has served 3 terms.

    We who are very engaged in the political sense and nonsense of our day sometimes forget that most people are not, and simply going where Democrats don’t normally go can make a difference.

  4. Another thing — the 50 state discussion is a good argument for one person – one vote with no electoral collage. Then all votes are equal.

  5. To Sheila: where is Carmichael’s campaign? Where’s the website? Essential.
    To Sheila’s son: As I understand it, Pete lives in Michigan now.

    We should have hope for the Senate because, as Sheila wrote, Banks is so far to the right. Unlike the failed run at the Secretary of State office, U.S. Senate is not always a base-vote contest, much like the race for governor. The 2024 ballot will be topped by the presidential race, which will produce a higher turnout. So there’s no reason to be defeatist if the Democrats have good candidates.

  6. Dear Sheila’s son; I define your Mom’s term “defeatist” to mean defeated before they begin so they don’t bother voting because their votes won’t count. You and I are willing to spread the word and to vote with fingers crossed. I don’t see how Democrats, especially in Indiana, can possibly win a majority because all I see on news channels is Donald Trump and the Republican lineup. The mentions of Democratic candidates are just that, mentions with no force behind them.

    I have a “Joe Hogsett for Mayor” yard sign along with “For the love of God, Anyone But Trump” and “Pence Must Go” posted in my front yard. I am not speaking against the opposition but letting those around me of like mind know that they aren’t alone. There is one “Andy for Indy” yard sign down the street; we are the only two who appear to be interested in the current election and the 2024 General Elections which will decide the future of this entire nation and the global survival of democracy.

    But Mom is right; “Democrats need to stop defeating themselves.”

  7. “…single election cycle.” But, the Dems have to start at least building momentum somewhere.
    You both have good points.

  8. Well, I had not heard of Marc Carmichael before reading this post. So, it is a good thing to learn about a D who will run against Trump/Banks, but it is also a sad comment on the Indiana Dems that his name is (so far) unknown to voters, even in the Blue Island of Indianapolis.

  9. “the barriers to Democratic victories in Indiana are more complex and mountainous than my attitude can overcome in a single election cycle.” So, why not start with THIS election cycle?

  10. I am the Democrat Party Chairperson for Dubois County, the “home” of Mike Braun who really lives in Hamilton County now. Sheila, you are correct in the fact that Democrats don’t get enough people on the ballot, but that has more to do with the difficulty in getting someone to commit to running in a race that will cost lots of money and time when no wants to help out with time and money. I agree with your son about investing in Democrat candidates that can win, and here in most of Indiana it is hard to see how some Democrats can win an election. In our county we are focusing on getting people out to vote; only 30% of the county voted in 2022 and across the ballot the split was 70% to 30% favoring the GOP. Nearly 80% of the ballots cast were straight ticket, verifying the fact that older rural folks vote for the party, not the candidate.

    Our goal for this election of municipal candidates is to encourage everyone to get out and vote for the local candidates that have direct impact on the lives of the voters. Our county has the same problems as all of the other rural counties in the state, no local media, a large aging population that is fearful of change, and younger people that feel there is no reason to vote because nothing will change. But I see hope on the horizon for the same facts that Sheila stated, the dwindling older population and the activism spurred on by actions of our horrible State Legislature.

    Dubois County is in the 8th Congressional District, home of two of the larger cities in the state, Terre Haute and Evansville. A statewide candidate has to get a significant amount of votes from the 8th District to be able to win. If you want to help us out here in the rural areas of the state, then donate to the Democrat County parties that are working hard to get the votes out this election. It’s easy to do, just go to and search for the County party and donate!

  11. I’m hopeful that Sheila is right, but unfortunately the math makes it hard for average Democrats to raise money. One of her youngest son’s statements is patently false. I know him very well, he has never maxxed out to any campaign!

  12. To those noting for me that Pete has moved to Michigan — I know (and knew) that. My point was simply to observe the level of candidacy required to win (though, in point of fact, if Pete were gripped with a desire to run, there would be plenty of time for him to move back to Indiana and run. 😉)

  13. I just went to a workshop in French Lick tbis weekend and heard Anthony Flaccavento of RUBI (Rural Urban Bridge Initiative). He would agree with Sheila and acknowledge that her son speaks truth but misses the point. Deep canvassing, locals speaking to locals, enlarge the blue bubbles of the urban areas to peel off moderate republicans and independents expanding into the burbs, and own our hubris as part of the despises elites. Build trust—-because the Dems and their crowd have lost all credibility with our rural neighbors. Send money now!

  14. In places where too many “conservatives” would rather sell their mothers into slavery than vote for ANY Democrat, writing off districts, etc., may be moot. Voting against their own best interests is part of the GOP cultist agenda.

    Where I lived in Texas, the joke there was that Jesus himself could run as a Democrat and he’d lose 72 – 28. I think Indiana – or at least most of it – is in the same situation no matter what the Democrats do or who they run. It’s a generational thing where subsequent generations pass down their biases. In this case it is: NEVER vote for a Democrat no matter what.

  15. You’re both right. The Democratic party in Indiana has not committed itself to the shoe leather nature of winning campaigns. They have to get out and ASK for the votes of most people if they want change. BTW it’s the Democratic party, not the Democrat party. Take a little pride in your party please.

  16. In David’s favor I would say is the Morales/Wells point – and that one is pretty devastating. Morales was, unquestionably, unfit to a degree that would be hard to image. He was a perfect republican to beat, even in Indiana. But, the partisan default left Wells 10+ points back at the end of the day. Republicans, for all their many faults (and WHO boy, do they have faults), sure can stick together. Losing to that degree is pretty stunning, though I think there would be hope that a candidate for a “bigger” office would do better. SOS is wildly important, but doesn’t carry the same heft that governor or senator does.

    Democrats will need a unique candidate. For example, Sanders could have done well in Indiana (I think) had he been the nominee in 2016 – of course that was 1,000 political years ago.

    Indiana is borderline impossible for democrats, but that doesn’t mean you should surrender it. Their best hope is taking advantage of Republican complacency at some point. Hopefully they pick up a firebrand speaker who says (and believes) the right things about taking care of folks lower down the economic ladder. Build a coalition that focuses on how liberal policy help the working class. It could be done, but you’re going to need thick skin, a loud voice, and a long time.

  17. Frankly, we are in this mess because our party leadership has written off almost all of Indiana. Carmichael and McCormick are great candidates and so much of Indiana deserves better than the current state of affairs. We have not had a true and effective leader in the Democratic Party since Robin Winston.

  18. I have twice volunteered recently in response to phone calls to work for Democratic candidates. I never heard back.
    I did work for Dan Canon a few years ago. Since then, Democratic efforts have been as limp as a wet noodle.
    It is infuriating that Democrats can’t figure out how to blow their own horn on the monumental things the Biden administration is doing for our economy.
    But you are right, Sheila, that Democrats in Indiana could have a chance if we would fight for it.

  19. I live in a rural area of northern Indiana that is about as rural as can be in this state and I must agree with Sheila’s son.

    Democrat candidates for both state and local offices have worked hard and ran excellent campaigns only to lose elections by large margins in my county. Republican candidates for local and state offices don’t need to even bother to campaign in my county because they are guaranteed to win by 70% to 30% or 75% to 25%. These percents are from recent elections where Dem candidates showed up to meet people and R candidates didn’t bother to lift a finger to campaign here.

    As long as republicans in rural Indiana continue to exclusively watch and believe the lies that Fox and Newsmax churn out 24/7 the Dem party candidates really don’t have a chance. We’ve seen Dem candidates in the past three election cycles work ridiculously hard to meet as many voters as possible in both parties only to be beaten badly by R candidates who were completely unqualified to hold any public office at all.

    Jim Banks made it to DC only because club for growth swooped in late in the campaign cycle to rescue him because he was losing to the much more qualified and intelligent R candidate, Kip Tom, that would not have allowed PACs to control him.

    Banks is the epitome of evil and the thought of him being in the Senate truly makes me physically ill.

  20. All the blather here again is assuming voters want to vote for a Party. There is a reason that the largest percentage of voters is neither GOP nor DEM. They are sick of Party over country. They, IMHO, would get excited and vote for a person who talked about what s/he would do for their everyday lives and barely, if at all, talked about PARTY.

  21. Voter turnout and fundraising are distinct issues. While GOTV activities can help candidates win in their district, the impact they make after being elected is unclear. How many “incredible wins” are needed to take back the majority in this state of despair? Teresa’s experience is valuable in this scenario. It’s best to let your son invest where it’s needed, as Indiana is unlikely to change.

    Money is a concern because if a Democrat sees a competitive inflow, Mike Braun could easily fund their opponent. In such cases, one of the dark network’s ATMs could also hand the opponent cash. If the media were clever, it would advocate for the underdog party or Hoosier Democrats because tight races mean more money going toward the advertisement. However, our media is backward.

  22. The IN state Democrat Party chooses not to financially support rural D candidates. Why? Because they choose to spend their funds only on D candidates that have a very good chance to win an election. The state party wants rural Democrats to donate money to the state party coffers, but not a single penny will be spent on any rural candidates that desperately need support from the state party much more than the candidates that are in safe.
    D districts.

  23. Sheila is correct. Marc Carmichael does have a chance to win this US Senate race.

    McDermott in 2022 received some 300,000 less votes than Donnelly did in 2018. Where did these voters go? We must reach out and get them back.

    If you go all the way back to the early 1960’s there have been 21 Senate terms. Yes, while 12 of them have been won by Republicans nine of them have been won by Democrats.

    It’s an open seat and Banks will have to spend time in Washington DC while Marc Carmichael can devote his full-time efforts to the voters in Indiana.

    I would label Banks the “Marjorie Taylor Greene” of Indiana… even too right-wing for some Republican voters in this state.

    Marc Carmichael agrees with the majority of Hoosiers on two major issues.

    1. He will vote to codify Roe vs. Wade. In a 2020 survey by SurveyUSA 58% of Hoosier voters said Roe vs Wade should remain the law of the land.

    2. Marc Carmichael will vote to ban the sale of military style assault weapons. It is a small majority but 52% of Hoosiers were for banning assault weapons while 59% of Republicans were against it according to a Ball State survey in 2919. We must get a high percentage of those 52% out to vote.

    Marc Carmichael beat the sitting Speaker of the Indiana House in a huge upset several years ago and has a chance for an upset win again for US Senate.

    I have joined the Marc Carmichael campaign and would encourage each of you to donate and do the same.

    The campaign website will be up early this week and you will be hearing more and more about Marc Carmichael in the days ahead. Stay tuned!!!

  24. As I recall, Barack Obama and his organization were everywhere in 2007 2008 2009. He pulled off some upsets. Unfortunately, nothing was actually learned from his success. It’s not so much he had the best ideas in the world, but he and his organization actually talked to people. They knocked on doors, they were engaging, and sometimes people will say, well, I liked that kid I talked to or I liked that person handing out flyers, or I liked those speaking on particular advertisements. Of course there were restraints on the contribution element of politics during that time, but people do appreciate a kind word.

    It isn’t everyone that will appreciate that kind word, but enough will! Too bad no one can see the forest because the trees are in the way. Everyone wants to reinvent the wheel, hey, the wheel was a pretty good invention! Why reinvent it?

    And, let’s face it, people are lazy! Maybe not because they aren’t industrious, but so many are weighed down by there problems, whether it’s family, whether it’s financial, whether it’s political or physical maladies, most are trying to survive, not live a good life but just survive in any way shape or form.

    That’s about as far from the American dream as one could get! And just existing is something that should be considered abhorrent. Folks look at this mess on both sides, and they don’t see a great life, they see a long struggle.

    Is there anyone that can really offer something any better than a long struggle for survival? Well, I haven’t seen it yet. So people stick with what they feel they know. Remember the old saying, “deal with the devil you know?”

    You can’t win hearts and minds by calling people stupid or implying that they’re simple-minded, because there’s no monopoly on simpletons from one side or the other.

    Vote blue no matter who? How about vote true no matter who!

    If a person is a student of scripture, whether you believe it or not, Jesus Christ was extremely liberal-minded. Especially compared to the Pharisees and Sadducees of the Sanhedrin. And him expressing those views ended up getting him killed. I think engaging individuals who really believe in Scripture, even though they probably don’t read their Bibles. The preachers are the ones who do the thinking and of course extorting. A rational discussion will make a huge difference if the case is made and the appropriate manner.

    But, those who use religion as a battering ram to force beliefs down someone’s throat, can always scream the “us versus them” mantra! That’s the devil they know.

    Just the other day, I was talking to a person who was noticing how beautiful the sky was. And how they were just going to sit in their lounger and look at the clouds.

    I said well you know the scriptures tell us about watching the sky. They seemed surprised. I said that people will watch the sky and say that they can’t do this or they can’t do that because something might happen, it might rain, there might be storms, or what have you. I said the thought behind that is, if, a person is preoccupied with watching the skies, they’re not going to plant their seeds or repair their roof or put off work that needs to be done because of what they perceive might happen.

    At the end of the day, it never stormed and it never rained, and they lost that time that could have been put to good use. Ecclesiastes 11: 4 – 6.

    If you apply yourself and do what you need to do, respect everyone, love your neighbor, love your enemy, you’ll get much more out of it than watching the sky looking for a reason not to. (Procrastination)

  25. Lester Levine is right. Independents are tired of hearing the same musical refrain year after year.

    Since the PMC has become the base of the Democratic Party,there has been nothing coming forth except platitudes,rhetoric and hubris.

    What does a Democrat hate more than a Republican?

    A working-class Democrat.

  26. Hi John,

    I’ve noticed that my level of calmness is linked to my expectations. Problem solvers tend to prepare for the worst and appreciate positive outcomes. Procrastination is often driven by fear and perfectionism, leading to thoughts like “Why start if I can’t do it perfectly?”

    It all comes down to fear of failure. Sheila’s son has adopted the problem solver’s approach, whereas Sheila herself seems to be stuck in wishful thinking. 😉

  27. While I appreciate Sheila’s view, there some are realities:

    It’s expensive to run a campaign – even if it’s just to fill a slot so that the opponent isn’t unopposed. It also takes considerable time and effort. Lastly, you really only get about 3 shots at it before “loser” is permanently attached to your name.
    You must have a track record of winning elections to gain real funding. Nobody wants to waste their money when there are winnable seats out there looking for funds.

    Dems need to target more local races: school boards (non-partisan), local councils, mayors, etc. in order to build experience, name recognition, and a history of winning elections. I don’t know if there is an Indiana “seed fund” for local races (Say, $500 limit per candidate) but there should be. BTW: That’s not the Indiana Democratic Party – they don’t have that. It would need to be a PAC. Combine it with training on how to run for office as a pre-req for getting the funding.

    None of that’s going to help with the Senate race – but it’s reasonable to send some money to Dem senate candidates, even if their chances aren’t good, in order to keep them in the game.

  28. Responding to some of those who responded to Sheila’s effort today > Yes, Mayor Pete (who my daughter campaigned for and who calls me dad) moved to Traverse City, Michigan, and perhaps his presence there helped Whitmer engineer a trifecta after forty years of political famine. If he moves back to Indiana some day perhaps there is a Mayor Pete/Whitmer ticket in our national future. I have maxed out for a Ninth District of Indiana Democratic candidate (who lost) and have heavily contributed to two senatorial candidates from Georgia who not only won but whose wins cemented Democratic control of the Senate and a blow to the dictates of McConnell and his judge-naming of Federalist Society candidates, some to the right of Attila the Hun. The latter was the best result I have ever enjoyed and money well spent.

    As for the cure for the gerrymandering and despair among organizational Democrats, let’s take a hard look at Obama’s 2008 Playbook, recruit good candidates, give money, ask Big Gretch how she did it, and take no prisoners on the issues.

  29. RE Marc’s “priorities” – from outside IN…pathetic for winning.R…LIB leaning “Prog” in IN????

    #1 (really?) is restoring Roe v/s Wade – far down list for most voters. Will certainly turn out the MAGAs to vote against him.
    #2 (really?) is national assault weapons ban – on no biggest concerns list; national red flags ???

    Further down “medicare for all” – Bernie comes to IN

    Chance of winning? Ice cube in Hell….

  30. Sheila,

    I’m right with you. I ran last cycle for IL State Senate, District 26 against the incumbent minority leader. The district was +9 in favor of Republicans. Many people had the same thoughts of your son. Getting major support was challenging, but regardless – I knocked and knocked and knocked on doors. The winds of choice and gun violence also propelled people to vote for me because many were not going back to pre-Roe and many are tired of hearing about another mass shooting.

    I did lose that race, by 385 votes, less than 1/2%. My race made my opponent lose his leadership position of his caucus.

    My race turned a lot of heads, and continues to do so as I now get ready to run for IL House District 52. One of the two House districts within IL Senate District 26.

    Proof is in the work!

  31. While the Dems using abortion as a fundraising and an organizational tool is a great idea, using it as a top issue in the general election is likely to get their nominee labeled as a leftist and end up hurting that person’s chances.

  32. Thanks Paul! Reality check…,.BTW the cost of gas/groceries/housing is NOWHERE on his priorities.

  33. If a Democrat comes across as a liberal, he or she isn’t going to win the governorship. Got to come across as a moderate.

  34. I worked for and contributed to a local Dem who spent personal funds and incredible hours of time at all kinds of events and knocking on thousand of doors to no avail.

    To the men who think of the Roe decision as only affecting women, think again. DNA testing make it very possible that paternal identity will no longer be a question. Long term financial support for offspring, no matte how casual the encounter that produced it, will be the reality. The possible loss of a life partner forced to give birth, especially when there are other children affected, will result in financial and mental crises for all concerned.

    The murders and suicides by guns in Indiana are not insignificant, no matter where they occur.
    From Indiana Capital Chronicle:
    “In 2022, 49,369 lives were lost to suicide, with the highest number of gun-related suicides on record nationwide.
    Indiana hasn’t been immune to this increase, according to the health care policy organization KFF. Between 2011 and 2021, the age-adjusted suicide death rate per 100,000 residents jumped 22% in the Hoosier State, from 13.5 deaths to 16.4 deaths.”

    To listen to those in power, the only issues they routinely address are business promotion related or culture war lies about minorities with little or no power to push back. The rural counties are losing population for a very good reason. Young people leave as soon as they can as there are few prospects for a decent quality of life for them. When young people realize the lie that higher education is all about a good job as they pay off loans for that good job training for the rest of their lives, maybe things will change.

  35. If I’m running for statewide office as a D in Indiana, I’d focus on the importance of supporting public schools, educating our youth and supporting the right of women to make their own decisions on health care. Portray culture war Rs as seeking to return us to a time when women, Blacks and other minorities were second class citizens. Everyone deserves opportunity and a seat at the table. We’ve given Rs their opportunity to govern and they’ve failed.

  36. Time for me to weigh in –
    First, thank you, Peggy. I have been battling about the party name among Democrats for a long time.
    Second, while I missed French Lick this year (had to work), every year I have been there, I have heard the same complaint from rural county Democrats – “Where are you? Why don’t you come help us?”. This is most important in a state-wide race where narrowing a Republican margin can add up.
    Third, Obama won Indiana in 2008 and lost it in 2012. There were boots on the ground in both years – I was in the middle of it. More on that in a bit.

    So, sorry, but while Sheila is right about what needs to be done, there are two related problems. Who are these people? There is no name recognition. It is hard to drum that up in one year. Without that, there is little chance of enthusiasm. That is the second ingredient required for a Democratic victory.

    That is why I knew Obama would win in 2008 — and that he would lose Indiana in 2012. For all of the volunteers and staff, the voters weren’t as excited. Democrats not only have to push hard in “red” and marginal areas, they have to maximize their margin in Marion County. They don’t always do that.

    Two more thoughts – Pete fans – if he wants to run for office, he should stay in his cabinet post as more projects come online. He will have much more to brag about in a few more years.

    Paul – You are correct that Indiana Democrats have to “sound moderate”, but being pro-gun and anti-abortion won’t work anymore. Any Republican will outdo a Democrat in that area now. Also, but more important, as someone still on Rep. Spartz’s mailing list, I can attest that anyone to the right of her is a “radical, socialist, leftist” — especially anyone with a “D” after their name. We all know about that communist organization, Kiwanis, that proved Christina Hale was a radical socialist.

  37. After college, I wanted to make a difference and I started volunteering in political campaigns. I was raised in a Republican home and my father held political office for 20 years. I went door to door for him for years and he earned my vote several times. I always told him it wasn’t automatic, he had to earn it. I volunteered for Governor O’Bannon and it was one of the greatest experiences of my young life. He was kind and appreciative of every volunteer on his campaign. I was just a low level volunteer, but every time I saw him, he thanked me. It invigorated me to do more, after all, don’t we want our leaders to kind above all things? Democrats can win, even in Indiana. We all just have to mobilize around incredible candidates. I worked for Jennifer McCormick and she was one of the best bosses I have ever had. She hired smart people, smarter than her that would push her to be better. She too was kind at her core.
    I have given to her campaign and will help in any way I can. Have my walking shoes ready. I think she could win if we mobilize young voters. We have an intern in our office and I tell her all the time that her generation can truly change the world. The have access to information and resources (social media) that are limitless. Gun violence and reproductive freedom can and will motivate them to get involved if the right candidate(s) reach out to them. We need to show up like the moms in Tennessee are showing up to address gun violence. I am team Sheila. I have hope and I am ready to have a Democrat in the Governor’s Office.

  38. Kelly, I love the attitude and hope you are right (and that I am wrong)! I don’t see it outside Indianapolis and a few other places in the state — and so will give to candidates in other marginal (but closer) cases in places where it might matter/impact more, but I do not disagree with your (and my mom’s) point that the efforts you are describing are necessary. I would love to wake up in Nov. 24 and see that McCormick and Carmichael have won their races! To me, it’s just a matter of where to allocate limited resources when Democracy is on the line in SO many places.

    Keep telling that intern that she — and her generation — can change the world! I agree with that!

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