Tag Archives: Jennifer McCormick

A Clear Choice

Indiana’s Democrats may finally be wising up.

As lines firm up for Indiana’s 2024 election, the Democrats are putting together a slate of impressive candidates for statewide office. Destiny Wells has announced she is joining Jennifer McCormick and Marc Carmichael on that statewide ballot. That makes three absolutely first-rate candidates who will take on Indiana’s MAGA culture warriors.

You may remember that Destiny Wells was expected to defeat disgraced Diego Morales for Secretary of State a couple of years ago, even though that contest was down-ballot and would have required a significant amount of ticket splitting in Red Indiana. She failed to pull that off, but garnered wide praise for her intellect and demeanor. She is now taking on one of Indiana’s most reviled politicians, Attorney General Todd Rokita.

I have previously written about Jennifer McCormick, former Secretary of Education, who is running for Governor, and about Marc Carmichael, running for U.S.Senate. You can expect additional posts about Marc and his positions when I return from our trip to Australia and New Zealand–I am all in on his campaign, and not simply because Marc is running against Jim Banks, Indiana’s version of Marjorie Taylor Green. Marc is a great guy– the real deal; furthermore, he has outlined his policy priorities and I agree with every single one of them. 

I have also posted–a number of times–about the candidates they are running against. (If you type Rokita in this blog’s search bar, you’ll find numerous negative posts beginning when he was in Congress, and extending through this, his first–and hopefully only– term as AG, during which he has “distinguished” himself by repeatedly attacking the doctor who aborted a raped ten-year-old, by joining other GOP AG’s in efforts to obtain the medical records of women leaving the state for reproductive services, and by grandstanding whenever a camera is near. Rokita was recently reprimanded by the state’s Supreme Court, and is generally an embarrassment to the legal profession.

Republican Senate candidate Jim Banks is currently a member of the Wrecking Ball Congress–an anti-government, anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ culture warrior married to a woman who heads up a several-state “pro-life” organization. He voted to overturn the 2020 election and to shut down the government, and supported loudmouth empty suit Jim Jordan for Speaker. 

We don’t yet know who the Republicans will nominate for Governor, but the likeliest is rich, self-important Mike Braun, who is leaving the Senate (where he signaled his disinterest in governing, and routinely voted for MAGA priorities). All five primary candidates seem to be promising tax cuts and vying for the Christian Nationalist vote.

There is absolutely no comparison between the quality of the Democratic candidates and the clown car that is the GOP ticket. If the Democrats can get their message out, I am confident they can win.

My only concern is funding. 

About the money: the Democrats don’t need to match the Club for Growth or the other far-right funders supporting GOP candidates, but they do need enough to get their message out– to let voters know who they are, where they stand, and how their positions differ from those of the MAGA culture warriors.

The data I’ve seen confirms that most Hoosiers agree with the Democrats’ message–especially on abortion and gun safety. But voters need to hear from these candidates, and that takes money. Hoosiers need to donate enough for a repeat of 2008 –when Barack Obama won Indiana– by funding this slate of outstanding Democrats.

The cartoonish Republicans on the ballot can’t defeat the Democratic ticket, but “savvy” political observers with a defeatist attitude about Indiana politics can. As I’ve said before, that defeatist attitude is far and away the biggest barrier to Democratic victories in this state. It prevents otherwise intelligent observers from recognizing–and funding– opportunities when they present themselves. 

Is Indiana a hard state for Democrats to win? Yes. Does this year offer unusual openings? Absolutely– especially in open, state-wide races where the GOP’s extreme gerrymandering is irrelevant.

They just need the resources to mount effective campaigns.

Next year, Hoosier Democrats will offer voters an absolutely sterling set of statewide candidates. These aren’t performative, “look at me I wanna be important” figures–they are serious, experienced, talented–and ethical. They believe in democracy. In Marc Carmichael’s words, they want to actually do the jobs. And unlike their opponents, they understand what those jobs entail, and are capable of fulfilling the duties of the offices involved.

And a bonus: in addition to getting good officeholders, Hoosiers can join the other states–including a number of Red ones– that have voted for reproductive rights and genuine religious liberty. 

We need to dig deep and send them money. It’s important!

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.



When I read the June 2d issue of the Indiana Business Journal, I fumed.

An editorial by current Lt. Governor and  2024 gubernatorial candidate Suzanne Crouch was titled “Why I support Universal School Choice for Hoosier Families.” Of course, “school choice” sounds way nicer than “Why I support destroying Indiana’s public schools,” or “Why I support school vouchers despite overwhelming evidence that they don’t deliver educational benefits, are socially divisive, and are a huge taxpayer subsidy to religious institutions.”

If you doubt the accuracy of that last statement, the IBJ helpfully included lists of Indiana’s largest private primary and secondary schools. Only four of the 25 primary schools listed were not religious–Park Tudor, Orchard, Sycamore and the International School.  Park Tudor–a very expensive private school ($25,930 a year!)– doesn’t accept vouchers. Sycamore limits enrollment to gifted and talented children, and the International School also appeals to a specialized constituency.

All of the other schools on a list headed by the Oaks Academy and Heritage Christian School are either Catholic, or conservative or fundamentalist Christian.

When it comes to the 19 secondary schools, only three–Park Tudor, University High School and the International School–are secular.

I have posted numerous times about the myriad ways in which advocates of “privatization” and “choice” in education have contributed to the hollowing out of America’s civic structure. (If you type “vouchers” into the search bar at the top right of this blog,  you”ll get more data than you probably want to absorb…)

I’ve linked to studies showing that fundamentalist Christian schools are teaching creationism rather than science, and whitewashing history. Science denial and bogus history are unlikely to prepare students for life in contemporary American society.

I’ve linked to various lawsuits challenging religious discrimination practiced by religious “academies.” Significant numbers of those schools refuse to enroll gay children, or children of gay parents.

I have pointed out that vouchers shortchange rural residents and those in small towns, where there aren’t enough students to support alternative, private schools, and Indiana’s voucher program deprives their public schools of desperately needed funds.

I have echoed knowledgable others, like Doug Masson, who points out that pious rhetoric about giving options to poor minority children “trapped” in those terrible public schools is nothing more than a scam.

Back in 2019, Indiana’s voucher program cost taxpayers $161.4 million; by 2025 it will cost  $600 million. And forget “poor children.” Indiana’s voucher program disproportionately serves upper-middle-class white children, a majority of whom are clearly not “escaping failing schools” because–despite lawmakers’ original promises– they never attended public school.

As Doug Masson wrote about that 2019 report:

This reinforces my view that the real intention of voucher supporters was and is: 1) hurt teacher’s unions; 2) subsidize religious education; and 3) redirect public education money to friends and well-wishers of voucher supporters. Also, a reminder: vouchers do not improve educational outcomes. I get so worked up about this because the traditional public school is an important part of what ties a community together — part of what turns a collection of individuals into a community. And community feels a little tough to come by these days. We shouldn’t be actively eroding it.

No kidding!

“Choice” sounds great. Providing citizens with a wide freedom of choice–of religion, politics, lifestyle– is a quintessentially American goal. But voucher programs are evidence that institutionalized choices can also promote division and undermine civic cohesion.

In far too many communities today, the “educational choice” being offered is the opportunity to shield one’s children from intellectual and cultural diversity. Vouchers provide parents with tax dollars that allow them to insulate their children from  one of the very few remaining “street corners” left in contemporary American society. Whatever their original intent, vouchers today are mechanisms allowing parents to remove their children from public school classrooms and classmates that may be conveying information incompatible with those parents’ beliefs and prejudices.

That an otherwise credible candidate for Indiana Governor wants to make support for increased tribalism “universal” is appalling. At best, it tells me that Crouch is totally unfamiliar with the educational and social science research; at worst, it’s a sign that she is competing for the Christian Nationalist vote that is so large a component of today’s GOP.

It goes without saying that if Mike Braun emerges as the Republican nominee for Governor, he will double down on Crouch’s position.

Speaking of “choice”– Hoosiers have one next year.

One of the many reasons I have been so impressed with Jennifer McCormick, the Democrat running for Governor, is that–after trying to protect Indiana’s public schools as a Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction– she left a political party intent upon destroying public education.

Every schoolteacher in Indiana–and every citizen who understands the importance of America’s public schools–should choose to vote McCormick.




The news isn’t all depressing, and it’s important to note the positive as well as the negative.

For example, every once in a while we get a reminder that there are a lot of admirable, authentic Christians out there, and they’re very different from the political posturers who use religion in service of something very different. In the run-up to Texas’ passage of a (clearly unconstitutional) bill requiring public school classrooms to post the Ten Commandments, one of those genuine Christians took issue with the performatively pious legislator sponsoring the measure.

He began by pointing to multiple ways in which the Texas legislature failed to live up to the dictates of those same Commandments, and concluded:

I know you’re a devout Christian, and so am I. This bill to me is not only unconstitutional, it’s not only un-American; I think it is also deeply un-Christian.

And I say that because I believe this bill is idolatrous. I believe it is exclusionary and I believe it is arrogant. And those three things in my reading of the Gospel are diametrically opposed to the teachings of Jesus. You probably know Matthew 6:5 when Jesus says, “Don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners. When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your father who is in secret.”

A religion that has to force people to put up a poster to prove its legitimacy is a dead religion. And it’s not one that I want to be a part of. It’s not one that I think I am a part of.

You know that in Scripture, it says faith without works is what? Is dead. My concern is instead of bringing a bill that will feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, we instead mandate that people put up a poster and we both follow a teacher, a rabbi who said, “Don’t let the law get in the way of loving your neighbor.”

Loving your neighbor is the most important law. It is the summation of all the law and all the prophets. I would submit to you that our neighbor also includes the Hindu student who sits in a classroom, the Buddhist student who sits in a classroom, and an atheist student who sits in a classroom. And my question to you is, does this bill truly love those students?

It was Texas, so the bill passed anyway.

Speaking of public school classrooms, the recent announcement by Jennifer McCormick that she is running for governor of Indiana was another bit of very good news.

McCormick first won statewide office as a Republican, serving as Superintendent of Public Instruction. As Republican legislators became more and more divorced from sanity and unrepresentative of their constituents, especially with respect to public education, McCormick left the GOP. 

In her announcement, McCormick “tells it like it is.”

“I’m running for governor because our political leaders have lost sight of the challenges they were elected to solve. They are defunding and politicizing our schools, burdening us with the nation’s highest gas tax, taking our rights away, and standing by as we pay the highest health care costs in the nation.  It’s time for a leader who will put Hoosiers first. Together, we can restore common sense and put an end to the divisiveness that’s pulling our state backward,”

 “I know we can move our state forward by fighting for our public schools, making health care accessible and affordable, and bringing good paying jobs to main streets across Indiana. I loved serving our state and look forward to the opportunity to continue meeting with Hoosiers who believe it’s time for change.”

The Indiana Capital Chronicle also quoted McCormick

“I’m running because it’s time Hoosiers are put first, protecting our rights and our freedoms. It’s time Hoosiers have a voice, and a leader who believes in empowering them to make their own decisions,” she said, also emphasizing Indiana’s need for “a champion for a high quality education system.”

That means increased access to childcare, universal pre-K, better K-12 funding and “beyond high school training and education.” She also vowed to expand “accessible and affordable health care,” and to focus on “safe streets” and “safe neighborhoods.”

As Superintendent, McCormick pushed back against the GOP super-majority as it persisted in attacking public education. She had the spine  to leave what the Republican party had become. She would be an awesome governor–and she deserves the votes of every teacher, every woman who wants to control her own body, everyone who has an LGBTQ+  friend or family member…the list goes on.

If enough genuine Christians and actual conservatives refuse to support what the GOP has become, America might begin the long trip back to sanity and responsible governance.