Friday, July 15, 2016

Why #PenceMustGo Still Matters in Indiana

Image: Gary Varvel of IndyStar.
As I went to sleep last night, there were rumors saying that the VP pick for Pence was not finalized. However, various sources today an offer was made, and Pence accepted. The official announcement, set for 11 AM today, has been postponed due to the latest terrorist attach in Nice, France. But even though it isn't official, I still would like to talk about the impact of Governor Pence leaving the race.

There are all types of names being floated around to possibly replace Pence on the ballot as the GOP gubernatorial nominee. They are essentially a Who's Who in Indiana politics with a mishmash from practically every level, with interested applicants ranging from former Mayor's all the way up to Indiana's US House reps, and everything in between. Rumors are flying that GOP Party Chairman US Senate candidate Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb has secured the necessary votes on the Republican committee that would be in charge of appointing someone to replace Pence on the ballot.

And that leads us to address the #PenceMustGo movement.

The #PenceMustGo movement has always been a loose coalition of disaffected Republicans and active Democratic or liberal supporters looking to get Governor Pence out of the Governor's Mansion. However, it has failed to really settle on a single strategy on getting Pence out. 

At first, it seemed like Governor Pence might face a primary challenge from within the GOP. Former Angie's List CEO Bill Oesterle threatened to fund that hypothetical candidate, But that failed to materialize and Pence ran uncontested in the May 2016 primary. Oesterle did start a PAC called Enterprise Republicans, but it really isn't independent of the Republican Party and they really haven't done much besides a half-assed attempt at making the State GOP platform less horrible. They even staffed the Marion County Republican Party's booth at Indy Pride this year.

For those Republicans in the #PenceMustGo movement, Pence departing from the gubernatorial race seems to have solved their problems. Many of them are declaring "victory". A handful are saying there are certain people they still wouldn't vote for (the socially conservative House Speaker Brian Bosma is usually on that list), but they're almost giddy about Holcomb as a candidate.

To me, that doesn't really solve anything.

As someone who voted for former Governor Mitch Daniels (twice), I've learned that to become the Republican Governor of Indiana, you either have to be a social conservative, or a social conservative who hides it well.

Daniels was thrown to the wolves by social conservatives for his supposed "truce" on social issues (his precise quote, in context, was a truce on campaigning on social issues; it didn't address legislating and governing) but in my analyses, he is every much as conservative as Mike Pence. Daniels signed legislation defunding Planned Parenthood and enacted other restrictions and regulations on abortion rights. He repeatedly supported so-called "traditional" marriage (including support of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage).

To me, this is an attempt by the Indiana Republican Party to slap a new coat of paint on the same policies that they have repeatedly pushed upon Indiana. They think that if they put up what is essentially a blank slate with Holcomb, they can distance themselves from Pence, who despite the advantages of incumbency was still within the margin of error against his Democratic opponent. 

This is on top of what the Republican Party of Donald Trump and Mike Pence now stand for: Judging people based on their ethnicity and their looks, demonizing minorities, and building figurative and literal walls throughout our country and society.

I honestly am not content with this outcome. Pence, and whoever wants to run on his accomplishments, still must go. And I will do what I can to help make sure that happens.

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