Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Worst Enemy for Pence Re-Election: The Man in the Mirror

This is a counterpoint to Ogden On Politics column on "The Pence Re-Election Dilemma: "What About Donald?". Paul believes that Governor Mike Pence (R) and his re-election campaign have a challenge with presumptive Republican POTUS nominee Donald Trump.

Paul believes that Donald Trump is beloved by the Republican base, particularly those who describe themselves as Tea Party. On that, we agree. Donald Trump has become successful with Republicans in spite of a lot of establishment forces against him. His voters in primaries often crossed economic, social, political (moderate and conservative), and (to what extent they exist in Republican primaries and caucuses) racial lines. I would say that Donald Trump is also attractive to a part of the Republican base that many don't like to bring up. Within Indiana, a lot of those "Lugar Republicans" have convinced themselves that Donald Trump has just been lying about the xenophobia and racism throughout the primary, and that may well be true since he told The New York Times in an off the record interview that "Everything is negotiable." If Pence does have try to distance himself from Trump (which I don't think is guaranteed), that could cause some extreme backlash against a Tea Party and evangelical base that perceives Pence to have betrayed them even though he's practically done their bidding over the past four years.

But I'd like to point out that Indiana is still, ultimately, a Republican state. Any election that happens state-wide will favor Republicans. The poll sponsored by Enterprise Republicans shows this.

General election match ups right now are as follows:
POTUS: Trump 40%-Clinton 31%-
US Senate: Young 36%-Hill 22%
Gov: Pence 40%-Gregg 36%

The numbers within the poll are even worse. A full third strongly disapprove of his job performance. And a plurality of undecided voters 42% disapprove as well. Some of those undecides are likely those Doughnut County Lugar Republicans  who will gladly vote GOP the whole way but for one reason or another aren't ready to back Governor Pence.

In fact, in the doughnut counties, Pence only has a 48% approval rating. Six in ten of independents and nearly as many women under 45 are looking for a new Governor.

More than once, I've heard that Governor Pence couldn't muster 50% of the vote in 2012 because of US Senate candidate Richard Mourdock and his comments on rape. That didn't explain why other Republicans further up or down the ballot didn't suffer the same fate. And this year, Mourdock isn't on the ballot.

Anecdotal, but I've talked to a lot of hard core Republicans. Many of these Republicans will engage in mild birtherism and use words like "Killary" to describe presumptive Democratic POTUS nominee Hillary Clinton. And more than a few of these Republicans, particularly women, are hesitant to support Governor Pence.

So what's the explanation for Pence's numbers being under water?

I'd suggest the Governor look in the mirror and the policies he's championed while in office.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Trumped Up Election Predictions

Election predictions are a dime a dozen, and by the time this is actually posted on Tuesday, may be worth even less than that. Regardless, here are my predictions:

United States POTUS:

On the Democratic side, I can't say anyone will be surprised when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wins Indiana's primary on Tuesday. Senator Bernie Sanders has done a lot of events in Indiana, so I suspect it will be closer than the polls predicted. But Clinton has a lot of ties to the Democratic establishment, and a lot (not all) of Indiana Democrats are loyal to the Clintons. So I'm going with Hillary Clinton with a 53-54% of the vote.

Over with the GOP, I don't think there's any doubt that Donald J Trump will walk away with the vast majority of Indiana delegates on Tuesday. One of the amazing things about the Trump campaign is that, in states where Trump wins, he wins across several demographics. So I don't think a state with a lot of evangelicals, or a state with a lot of college degrees, is necessarily going to hurt Trump as it has in some other primaries or caucuses. Notice that most of Trump's events have been in the urban areas of Indiana (Indianapolis, Carmel, South Bend, Terre Haute, Evansville). Those areas are spread out throughout the state that I think it'll be difficult for a Senator Ted Cruz to even win a single Congressional district. I think Trump will get 59% of the vote statewide and easily carry all Congressional districts.

US Senate (GOP)

The handful of Todd Young ads I've heard have largely been positive. All of the PAC and campaign ads I've seen and heard from Congressman Marlin Stutzman have been negative in tone. I think the limited polling done in this race is within the ballpark of the internal polls the Stutzman campaign is looking at. I don't think this race will be close at all. I'm giving Young a 60-40% edge.

US Congress (District 9) (GOP)

This is an all out brawl between State Senator Erin Houchins and Tennessee Indiana businessman Trey Hollingsworth. Several other candidates, including Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, are in this race as well but seem to be gaining little traction. There have been no real public polling done on a district level, but the cynic in me is giving the edge to Hollingsworth with 45% of the vote with Houchings coming in at 25%.

Tomorrow, I hope to share with you some insight on the winners and losers.

RIP Gary Welsh

Gary Welsh, author of the Indiana based blog Advance Indiana, died over this past weekend according to The Indianapolis Star.

Before I sat down to write this post, I reflected a long time on Gary Welsh, the man, and Gary Welsh, the public persona.

More than a few people think the handful of Indianapolis (and honestly, not much more if you expand to Indiana) bloggers are closely connected. In truth, most of us know of each other in passing. A few bloggers are also attorneys and may have some professional overlap due to their day jobs. But in reality, some of us have never met. Others may only run into each other at public events.

Gary and I did meet, mostly on the Civil Discourse Now podcast. Gary was often a panelist we relied on if someone we scheduled canceled, or if we needed someone at the last minute. In one show, we had Gary on the panel and our guest was a fortune teller. While much of the panel and production crew were skeptical but respectful towards our guest, Gary really seemed to take the fortune to heart. I wouldn't call Gary religious, but he did seem to have some type of faith. It might be a faith or spirituality that was only known and made sense to him, but I think he had it.

Gary's blog was one of the most prolific Indiana based blogs, and perhaps the longest running. More than just a repository for his personal opinions, he often planted seeds that mainstream media could then turn into stories. More than a few times, he broke news himself. Much of Indiana media and Indiana politicos checked Advance Indiana regularly, even if they didn't want to admit it.

Paired with the passing of WTLC-AM's Amos Brown, the loss of Gary Welsh is a loss for Indiana's political scene. Many times, these two men were the critical voices. Some times, they were the voices critical even people on their "side" (Amos was a Democratic pundit, Gary a Republican) wanted them to shut up. But that often didn't happen. More than a loss of critical voices, both men had institutional knowledge that will be incredibly difficult to replicate.

Jon Easter at Indy Democrat also wrote an excellent piece on suicide prevention.

If there are any comments, please be respectful. I typically do not censor for content. But due to the death being so recent, I want to be respectful to the friends and family that may inadvertently stumble upon this blog.