The Stakes

It may not be 2024 yet, but here in Indiana,  Republican candidates for governor have already been blanketing the airwaves with introductory campaign spots. Someone named Doden tells viewers that he will be a champion of small town and rural “values,” identifies himself as the “grandson of a minister” and shows himself exiting a church; Mike Braun, who is leaving the U.S. Senate (where he failed to distinguish himself, to put it mildly) says he’ll “stop China” and make Hoosiers safe (safe from China?? He doesn’t identify the threat from which he’ll protect us, or explain why stopping China is the job of a governor.) Brad Chambers, who identifies as an “outsider,” also focuses on antagonism to China.

All of them–as well as the GOP gubernatorial contenders who aren’t on TV– are making a play for the GOP’s MAGA base and tying themselves tightly to Trump. (So is the likely GOP Senate candidate, odious culture warrior Jim Banks.)

Heather Cox Richardson, as usual, has described in detail just what that fidelity means. These Republican candidates, and those in other states who are lining up with Trump, are explicitly endorsing the agenda that Trump himself has been articulating.

The once-grand Republican Party has been captured by the right wing. It has lined up behind former president Donald Trump and his cronies, who have vowed to replace the nonpartisan civil service with loyalists and to weaponize the Department of Justice and the military against those they perceive as enemies. They have promised to incarcerate and deport millions of immigrants and children of immigrants, send federal troops into Democratic cities, ban Muslims, silence LGBTQ+ Americans, prosecute journalists, and end abortion across the country. They will put in place an autocracy in which a powerful leader and his chosen loyalists make the rules under which the rest of us must live.

Will we permit the destruction of American democracy on our watch?

I’ve now forgotten who said “When someone tells you who they are, believe them,” but I want to strenuously echo that sentiment.

Trump has been very clear about the kind of government he wants to install. Let me be equally clear about the sort of government want.

I want a civil service filled with people whose loyalty is to the Constitution and Bill of Rights–not to any individual politician or any political party. I want a legal system dedicated to the pursuit of justice and constrained by the rule of law, a system populated with dispassionate, fair-minded lawyers who would refuse to engage in a frivolous pursuit of anyone’s political enemies. I definitely don’t want a military willing to intrude into issues of civilian governance, or a military that throws its (armed) power behind a particular politician or political party.

I am absolutely furious about the bigotry that prompted the Muslim ban that the Trumpers want to reinstate, the racism that clearly motivates the animus toward immigration and immigrants, and the homophobia that permeates Trumper rhetoric. 

And don’t get me started on the anti-woman motivations behind GOP efforts to ban abortion. (If they prevail, the most rabid culture warriors have already indicated their intent to come for birth control next. And I thought the Handmaid’s Tale was “out there” science fiction!!)

Republicans running for office in Indiana who have tied themselves to Donald Trump–and that’s most of them–have explicitly and enthusiastically signed onto the agenda that Richardson has accurately outlined. Those like Banks and Braun, who proudly point to  Trump’s endorsement of their candidacies, are telling voters exactly who they are and what sort of world-view will animate their activities if and when they are elected.

Even in very Red Indiana, data confirms that there are more people who want to retain democracy and our individual liberties than people who want to dismantle democracy and curtail our rights. The only question is: will they vote?

It has never been more important to Get Out The Vote.


  1. Sadly many likely trump voters refuse to see the threat trump poses, believing the accusations of right wing pols leveled against Biden and the democrats. Accusations that, as usual, are admissions of what republicans themselves will or want to do.

  2. The comment of “when they tell you who they are believe them the first time”. Is Maya Angelou.

  3. I’ve been getting a laugh out of the GOP tv ads run by Brad Chambers, Eric Doden and Braun. And you are right Shelia, none of them seems to know what he is running for and the limits of that job. Each avoids blaming the problems of the state of Indiana on their own party’s lack of governance; instead they mostly blame the Chinese for, well, everything.
    And Chambers lies like a rug with his “outsider” claim….he was the Secretary of Commerce for the State until August of this year. Some outsider!
    But for sheer terror you cannot beat the Braun ad depicting the Armageddon of Indiana via China.
    I guess that if you ain’t got nothing to offer, you plate up a serving of fear, bigotry, and/or homespun religion. In Indiana it works every time.

  4. China has not invaded any of its neighbors. China is one of biggest suppliers of cheap labor for over-priced products like cell phones and automobile computer chips.

    What are small-town values as opposed to cities’ or villages’ or hamlets’ values? Why are they more important in small towns?

    Republicans have NO idea about governing. It’s all about money and power and they will turn themselves into monsters if it means scaring people into voting for them. Weird, huh? But here we are.

    Here’s a quote from Rick Wilson that supplements the “believe them when they tell you who they are”: EVERYTHING REPUBLICANS TOUCH DIES. Voting for more MAGA Republicans is a vote for your own personal freedoms being destroyed. Go get ’em…

  5. I was a Republican until the party left me. When I was one, they were a very legitimate US political party.

    Then someone invented the term “conservative” and people who prefer the past to the future Believed.

    This is an ancient human tendency, though now enhanced by mass media. It is the creation story behind all religions.

    It is a grave danger to our Constitutional Liberal Democracy.

    However, there is no evidence that believers are apt to change their minds about who they are.

    So those who prefer what the country had since our founding need to defend it as intended with democracy. We need to continue to outvote Republicans.

    Unfortunately, the compromises built into the Constitution to protect slave states are still there. We did not remove them when we could have. They allow local majorities to overrule national majorities in local elections and to blunt federal decisions. This must be solved for local jurisdictions’ long-term and state, national, and global well-being.

    It creates the same problem for locales in the US that many global sites have suffered forever. Many people happen to be born in the wrong place or the wrong times. They have to migrate to better areas in their times.

    There’s much written now about climate refugees and refugees from political turmoil, and more in the past about political refugees.

    More people fleeing oppression of all kinds will be the hallmark of this century.

  6. China has occupied Tibet and has slowly but surely bought Nepal. With the second largest population in the world and a huge imbalance in gender due to the “One Child” policy, colonization and economic dominance remain likely avenues for territorial expansion. Like Russia has done in the Baltic states and eastern Ukraine, putting cultural/language populations in place in those areas excuses “protecting” them from being assimilated into the general populations of those countries when they decide to expand their power and influence. All of it is about acquiring the resources and space they want. It is a strategy as old as time.

  7. Sheila’s comment about Braun failing to distinguish himself in the US Senate is an understatement. I don’t think he authored a single piece of legislation that passed out of conference. And let’s not forget, he voted to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election, violating his oath of office.

    Chambers was the head of Indiana Economic Development which is responsible for the development in Boone County that has already spent hundreds of millions and are trying to steal water from another county to support it. This will only get uglier.

    Doden presents his religious upbringing and his commitment to “small town values” as his qualifications for the highest elected office in the state.

    Is the Republican party in trouble in Indiana?

  8. I lived in a southern Indiana small town (pop. 2,500) before moving to Indianapolis. The dog-whistle “small town values” these candidates are referencing are misogyny, racism, intolerance, White Christian Nationalism, and a repeal of the Bill of Rights and Constitution. Those were not the values I experienced when living there. Neighbors looked out for one another, offered help when needed without expectation of return, held teachers in high esteem, elected reasonable and responsible representatives (e.g., Lee Hamilton), and promoted the quiet enjoyment of one’s life. I can get behind a candidate supporting those values.

  9. I can tell you exactly why all three of these men are running for the office of Governor – they all have their sights set on running in the future for the office of US President. One to two terms as a state governor has served as a good stepping stone to the highest office in our country for others. None of them cares one bit about actually serving their potential constituents – all three of them are self-serving and hungry for more power.

    We all know Braun is a wealthy business man, but Doden is even far more wealthy. Google him to find out about his private equity background and his businesses in Bahrain and the US. He is very scary! Lastly, Chambers abused the power he was given at the IEDC and has literally burned through $1 Billion of state tax dollars to purchase farm ground at astronomically inflated prices. He purchased the ground without researching everything that would be needed to successfully create the Boone County LEAP project. There were absolutely no rules in place to require any accountability for the money he spent.

  10. The church Doden exits has a lovely little “Rocky Horror Picture Show “ vibe, doesn’t it?

  11. Poorly educated working people struggling with fake news, high prices, crazy technology and a crude/lewd culture seek “something else, something ‘strong'” to change their world. DEMs ignore the “big” things that could look like real change: taxing the wealthy, regulating corporate power, tackling mental illness/addiction, etc. No wonder the MAGAs are getting all the attention.

  12. The stakes are about as high as can be at this point in time. Assuming that Democrats and Independents can ouster the MAGA crowd of GOPIGGIES, it is perhaps good that they are telling us who they are, so we can keeeeeeeep them out of elective, and other office, indefinitely.

  13. I don’t have tremendous faith in the Indiana electorate to remember that Fox, OANN, NewsMax, etc. are definitely lying, propaganda outlets. Pretty sure we’re getting Braun and Banks. When non-lunatics get crushed at the polls every single year, it’s awfully hard to get people to keep showing up.

    I hate to say it, but I would have bet the farm on Banks/Braun/Trump/etc. winning in Indiana the day Diego Morales handily won SOS. He was/is wildly incompetent – and everyone knew it, yet still won by a landslide. The writing is pretty firmly on the wall here. Sorry to be a Debbie/Danny downer!

  14. Lester, DEM aren’t ignoring all of those issues. The REP are the party of NO and government sabotage and have been doing a wonderful job of blocking almost anything the other party supports.

    I saw a political cartoon in the IBJ with a voter facing Biden asking what she doesn’t like. Behind Biden is a Dinosaur sized monster labeled “Policies”. That is the difference between the parties right now. One has policies and the other just has things they’re against. Even the fake stand on “border security” that’s holding up Ukraine money is just a straw man. There is no real interest in defining an acceptable border policy. The REP’s never fixed it when they had control of the house, Senate, and the Presidency, because chaos at the border is their best propaganda point, even when they’re the ones in charge.

    The more anarchy, chaos, and turmoil, is just more fuel to jump and down and say “See This!”. The stakes are high!

  15. Dan – WADR, the DEM party (along with the GOP) is $-fueled by MIC, Big Pharma, Big Tech and the wealthy. Open your eyes, man…. MAGA distracts the masses by blaming immigrants, the poor and identity politics…direct/hot contact with fear.

  16. The need to get the message out to those who don’t comment on this blog seems pretty evident. Are the Indiana dems up to the challenge?

  17. Voltaire: Anyone who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities!
    The MAGA absurdities will surely lead to (disastrous) atrocities!

  18. Peggy, as Dirk_Gently mentioned – the Dems keep backing more intelligent and much better qualified candidates for office from the county level all the way to the IN legislature and state government offices while the republican party backs mindless idiots and culture warriors. This state is full of Fox and Newsmax fans that are repeatedly lied to and told to vote straight ticket. So they obey the tv opinion heads’ commands and vote straight ticket without even spending one second of their time to make sure they are voting for someone who is actually qualified for the office.

    We Dems are on the edge of complete burnout after years of working very hard for extremely qualified candidates only to see them receive 25-30% of the votes. It seems like the only way to escape this Hell is to move to a blue state.

  19. I hear that Laura Alerding that was causing problems on the Hamilton County library board is now running for state representative in the 29th district. Apparently she didn’t get enough scorn by being removed for trying to ban books.

    This combination of religion and nationalism is really scary because it’s created a cult.

    Honestly, if things start to get really bad I just hope I can leave either to a blue state or convince my family to leave the U.S. for good.

    I don’t see this getting any better… in fact it seems to be getting worse.

  20. I was planning to mention Margaret Atwood’s “the Handmaid’s Tale” even before it occurred in Sheila’s post. It was going to be in the context of how your issues were all the fault of my country (Canada) via a complete misunderstanding of Atwood’s book. It gets harder to be light-hearted about it, though, when one contemplates the actual and real number of people down there that think its dystopian society is the utopia to which America should aspire.

    Really, I’m gobsmacked by the number of people terrified of and rebelling against modernity. This is why affirmative action is so critical. Bigotries–racism, misogyny, homophobia, antisemitism, ageism, etc.– are extremely persistent. It’s hard to get rid of them even when working at it. If you won’t work at it (which is what affirmative action does), then they won’t just “go away” on the their own. Anyone who espouses otherwise is making their inner thoughts clear; as clear as someone sporting an ’88’ tattoo or a confederate flag belt buckle.

  21. Just remember when you go to the polls in November to vote “Blue” no matter who they are or if they want to be dog catcher. I learned my lesson a few years ago! Right now the idiots in the House of Representatives are voting on the Biden impeachment inquiry instead of working for we the people. They are worthless! And our tax dollars are being wasted on 212 of them!

Comments are closed.