Thank You, Nikki Kelly!

I have vented several times about the political advertisements being run by candidates vying for their parties’ nominations in Indiana’s upcoming primaries. (Actually “parties’ nomination” is inaccurate: all of the ads I’ve seen have been for Republicans –Democrats have fewer primary battles and are presumably saving their dollars for the general election.)

It’s bad enough that the GOP combatants have engaged in out-and-out racism and claimed ridiculous “outsider” status; virtually all of the candidates for Governor have ignored the issues that a governor actually faces in favor of culture-war appeals. A governor has zero authority over America’s southern border, for example, but these Republicans clearly believe that an appeal to anti-immigrant sentiment (those people are brown!) coupled with wild accusations that immigration is the source of illicit drugs (it isn’t), will win the cold hearts of their primary voters.

The ads are offensive to anyone who has the slightest understanding of the difference between federal and state jurisdiction. I can only assume they are evidence of one of two things: either the candidates themselves are ignorant of basic legal and constitutional boundaries, or–more probably–they believe their likely voters are uneducated and unaware of how government works.

Obviously, I’m not the only one who has come to that conclusion. Nikki Kelly, of the Capital Chronicle has addressed the issue. 

Up until now, the GOP gubernatorial candidates have mostly fallen back on national talking points. But that does a disservice to Hoosier voters who want their next governor to be focused on Indiana issues.

And despite what many of their ads say, that’s not China or the southern border or even online safety — which are largely federal issues.

Kelly has a surprising ally in her quest for a discussion of legitimately local issues: Indiana’s incumbent Republican Governor, Eric Holcomb. Holcomb has thus far withheld an endorsement of any of the candidates.

It appears that even Gov. Eric Holcomb is getting impatient. Though he has declined to endorse any candidates, he recently had some interesting comments about the race.

“My thought process is: there are a lot of folks who approach me that are undecided because they’re uninformed about where (the candidates) stand on issues that a governor has to address on a day in day out basis.

“We can repeat words. And (in) most of those words I see broad agreement within the candidates,” he said. “But there are items that come across the governor’s desk and what the Legislature grapples with that aren’t being discussed that I think should be more in detail.”

The Governor mentioned several of the issues where voters deserve to know the candidate’s positions: economic development strategies, infrastructure financing, the state’s mental health challenges, the extension of broadband, and a sustainable Medicaid program. Those are, after all, issues with which the next administration will have to contend.

Kelly adds to that list. How will the next governor approach taxation–especially given the GOP’s fixation on reducing the “tax burden”? If taxes are cut, where will the state get the funds to maintain–let alone repair and/or expand–infrastructure and essential services?

What about support for Indiana’s death penalty? The state can no longer get the drugs used in executions. “Do candidates support eliminating the death penalty and saving money on court battles? Or, would they move to other execution methods? And how does their position square with their anti-abortion rhetoric?”

Where do these culture warriors stand on education? As Kelly notes, Republicans have controlled Hoosier education for over 20 years, yet we have seen no improvement. Test scores and graduation rates have stagnated while the state continues to rob public schools of critically-needed resources in order to fund vouchers for private–overwhelmingly religious–schools.

And what about abortion, and the numerous other issues involved in health care? As Kelly says,

When a candidate can answer these questions with depth and specifics they will earn my vote. And I don’t necessarily have to agree with them philosophically on every matter — they just have to be willing to speak beyond slogans and political dog whistles.

Well, these candidates are certainly going beyond dog whistles, but not in a direction either Kelly or I would endorse.

Nothing I’ve seen in these ugly political spots gives me any confidence that any of them are interested in tackling the real work of governing. I used to mentally divide political candidates into two groups: those who want to do something–improve governance–and those who want to be someone. Someone important.

I’d put all the candidates running these deplorable ads in the latter category.


  1. The old Middle East saying, “keep the camels nose out of your tent” once the camel gets its nose in the tent, he’ll eventually end up in that tent in it’s entirety. The owner of the tent will be the one outside. No truer words have been spoken. Possession is 9/10 of the law. At least, that’s what they say. So who’s the smart one?

    So how do you expel a miscreant? A carpet bagger? A con artist? A liar? A fanatic?They have no shame, you can’t shame a liar! Nor can you shame a miscreant!

    You have to shame those that support these interlopers. Why do they support them? Of what benefit do those they support offer? Or do they just support someone because of a mental disorder? That does have a ring of truth to it. After all, why do people resort to self immolation to make some sort of point in support of an opinion or belief? Fanaticists on any level are not rational. Irrationality is one of the most prevalent disorders, and possibly the most, in a dysfunctional society.

    How do you rationalize with anyone who lives in their own reality bubble? Whether it’s a politician, or a private citizen who happens to be an irrational lemming, There is no way to reason or rationalize with a fantasy. Amputation is the only way to eradicate the rot and disease from the body. The body politic is gangrenous. The body politic is infected with religious viruses that cause paralytic rot. Untraditional and radical treatment must be embraced before the body=society dies! Political and religious sepsis is already in its final stages.

  2. Once again, I am grateful that I don’t watch television here in Hoosier Land. I am missing all the commercials, and none of the candidates advertise on X, which makes me happy. On social media, you can target anybody from Indiana.

    I get attacked a lot for my comments on X from what I’d consider the right-wing element. Never do they bring any substance to the conversation. It’s always ad hominem attacks or doxxing my address to their followers. They either believe the way you think, or they attack you personally.

    I suppose the Republican candidates work with marketing companies and consultants to tell them what they must express in their ads. What does the public want to hear? I imagine that polls have been conducted to see what is “important” to Hoosiers, and then they tailor their comments accordingly. They are addressing low-IQ voters who want to hear Trump-like claims. The more they can sound like Trump, the better off they are in Indiana.

    And as John said, “it’s in the final stages of political sepsis.”

  3. One of Braun’s ads promises to fire liberal prosecutors. But local prosecutors are elected. How on earth does Braun think he can “fire” a prosecutor duly elected by the voters the prosecutor serves?

  4. I’m wondering if the people understand what the state legislature is. Do they understand the difference between that and the Congress? I’m guessing they don’t.

  5. In the work of my organization over the last 7 years, we have been struck by both versions of this issue, Federal candidates talking about issues only states can deal with and vice-versa. Looks like the need for “civic literacy” is involved here. How about a test for candidates to get on the ballot regarding the legal scope of the office they are running for?

  6. The huge amounts of money spent on these ads goes right into the pockets of media moguls. They laugh all the way to the bank. If there are any true journalists in their employ, they have compromised their ethics or are true believers, even more disturbing.
    I refuse to listen or watch the lies and hate. I mute it or turn it off completely. The accusations of “outsider” are so hypocritical it astonishes me how anyone can be taken in by them.
    How very sad that Indiana voters are so deeply indoctrinated and easily manipulated. Gerrymander causes a lot but hated of the other and self-interest are a much larger part, IMO. Leaders cannot do it by themselves. They must have followers who carry out the orders, no matter how inhumane/deadly.

  7. Lester, Todd, Vernon,
    I appreciate being able to interact with folks who might not have the same opinion but recognize, not the elephant, or the 800 lb gorilla, But the irrational, self congratulating, spiteful, delusional, ignorant, maleficent, “Black Hole” in the room!

    The most powerful force known in the universe, has the ability to attract wayward matter, from billions of miles away. And then, it destroys it! It’s spaghettified and it’s basic elements reduced to subatomic leftovers! Leftovers that are not recognizable whatsoever of what they used to be.

    One thing I’ve noticed, COVID was actually gasoline on the fire. Not because of the anti-vaxxers, but because people had the time to dwell on the lunatic Fringe that offered perceived explanations on why things are like they are. Hey, there must be a reason, right? That black hole, the alternate reality of it, just sucked those who were susceptible, right into its gravitational well. Where whatever little gray matter on the atomic level was left, was immediately dismantled and sucked clean leaving nothing but the bassist elements. Compassion, empathy, love, respect, concern, rationality, comprehension, gone! Leaving nothing but an empty rotting shell of delusional ignorance!

    How does anyone or anything come back all of this? It’s daunting, it would take unfathomable amounts of work, intuitive construct and rational implementation going against this unrelenting force. The willpower really isn’t there for that, so, words suffice, like trying to put out a forest fire with it thimble full of water. What a shame.

  8. Go to a gas station in a white, middle class or lower class area in Indiana, grab a cup of coffee, and strike up conversations with people. You will find the levels of ignorance to be appalling. You are more likely to hear about the eclipse being the second coming, aliens, or a plot by Hollywood weirdos, than anything approaching a clear understanding of how our governments work.

    It’s always been like this, but now Orange Cheezus exists, they mainline propaganda through cable and the internet, and the olds dominate the population. The IQs of Hoosiers seem to drop by the day.

  9. Over it – if I recall correctly (and I don’t always), IQ is the “potential” for learning, not the learning itself. Those Hoosiers you are referring to are “benefiting” from the explosive combo of failing to teaching civics combined with abandoning the teaching of critical thinking (and all its current “spinoffs” – media literacy, data literacy, visual literacy.

  10. These inane ads might have a purpose. Here is my theory. Everyone in the middle tunes them out to the point where we no longer even want to hear about this garbage. Come election day all of those voters in middle have decided it’s hopeless and stay home. Only the die hard base voters go out to vote and MAGA right have perfected the policy of keeping some of the people fooled all of the time, and they win.

    I certainly hope that once we’re past the right wing dog fight in the primary, that we start to see some sane political ads that do focus on policy that really matters at the state level. I also hope the garbage that has been slung around in the republican primary comes back to coat whatever candidate does win that side of things. You can’t fool all of the people all of time.

  11. I opt for the concept that the politicos know that the voting public is, in large way, simply ignorant. The politicos know that they can say virtually anything, that we need to go and rescue the seamen on the damaged battleship Maine, for instance, and crowds of volunteers will form aching to be chosen for the task.
    Why do you think that the Republicans have long longed for the day that they can shut down the Dep’t of Education? The last thing they want is an educated and involved public!

  12. Remember, as a result of the 2016 election campaigns there were people wearing tee shirts labelling them selves as “PROUD DEPLORABLE!” people.

  13. Dan,

    “These inane ads might have a purpose. Here is my theory. Everyone in the middle tunes them out to the point where we no longer even want to hear about this garbage. Come election day all of those voters in middle have decided it’s hopeless and stay home. Only the die hard base voters go out to vote and MAGA right have perfected the policy of keeping some of the people fooled all of the time, and they win.” More and more looking likely….

  14. Paula, DeFascist pulled off firing a locally elected prosecutor (a Democrat, of course) in Florida who didn’t measure up to his fascist view of how the law should be interpreted in a particular case, so it can be done. Trump also disparages, defames, intimidates and threatens prosecutors, judges, their relatives and employees, prospective jury members, trial witnesses and anyone else who dares oppose his views of how laws are to be interpreted. Rule of law? We are witnessing the fascist means of destruction of our democracy’s underlying institutions, and what are we doing about it? Not much. We are playing the “Good Germans” of the past century, asleep at the switch etc., all clinging to the old adage of “this, too, shall pass.” I have news for the “Good Americans” > It won’t. Rule of law? Whut’s thet?

    So, as applied to Hoosier Land, we are witnessing policies designed to keep the dumb dumb and politically malleable by taking tax monies away from public schools where civic education might be taught and giving such monies to largely religious schools where students learn a lot about a religious event of some two thousand years ago but little to nothing of state/federal jurisdiction, budgeting and taxation, the rationale for NATO and other real world governing issues.

    To do? Overwhelmingly elect those this fall who live in the real world of real issues to be solved rather than manufactured ones while applying and enforcing the rule of law against those who would rather burn the house of democracy down in their pursuit of power than live by its principles.

  15. Just a small note of agreement and caution. Don’t focus on the fall elections. Vote in the primary election on or before May 7. A strong turnout, a record turnout will send a signal to state and national funders than Indiana is not asleep and we might actually get more funds to contest the Red Tide.

  16. Happy Easter!
    And Transparency of transgenderism Day or something like that.
    The one day that celebrates the resurrection of Christ? Seriously who is off base here? Jesus right? He should have known that we would want this day.
    Bu Happy Easter anyway to those who love and adhere to His resurrection power in their lives, from addicts, to failed marriages, to the poor of spirit, downtrodden individuals.
    The Graham family who has served many Presidents made a public comment that the Biden administration is willingly walking over Christianity… so sad!
    “This once again shows how little respect the Biden administration has for God”

  17. This may sound like a little off-topic but I pay good money in order to pre-record my TV viewing shows so that I don’t have to be subjected to these political commercials. It’s shocking how many commercials are on live TV therefore, we refuse to watch it ‘LIVE’. We contacted our cable company and asked for the package that had DVR capabilities. It stores the show on the cloud and you can view it anytime you want. I watch them as they play back and fast-forward (SKIP) over the commercials. We were in the states last month and I barely watched TV in the hotel because of this missing feature in hotels. You can’t go back an hour or two (even days) and view a program commercial free. I don’t need to watch Live TV unless there’s a moon landing or something as important to see. Carry on.

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