by Abdul-Hakim Shabazz
As of today, we are less than 100 days out until Election Day. So I figured what better time to sit down and do a little political pontificating and handicap the big political races here in Indiana. Now granted, the caveat in all this is the old adage that a day in politics is a lifetime and anything can happen and it usually does; and that has never been more true than in this election cycle. So all my predictions I am making today are based on my knowledge and experience as of today. Ask me these same questions tomorrow (or 30 minutes from now) and you might get a different answer. So with that said, let’s begin, shall we…
- While I think Donald Trump wins Indiana, I think Hillary Clinton wins the White House. I base this on a number of assumptions. First of all a compilation of polling data and voting trends of all 50 states gives Clinton a 73 percent of winning the White House while Donald Trump is at 23 percent. Now with that said Trump’s saving graces are the working class, older, white voters who feel left behind in the economy and they may not tell pollsters that the plan to vote for Trump (i.e. The Bradley Effect). However, if Trump was hoping to appeal to moderates, independents and getting back disenfranchised Republicans, then he might want to reconsider the strategy of attacking Gold Star And just for the record, between Trump’s personality and Clinton’s trust issues, I would not be shocked to see Libertarian Gary Johnson crack double digits.
- After the Governor’s race, this is a classic example of how crazy this political year has been. I originally categorized the race as solid Republican when the match up was Todd Young and Baron Hill. Now that Hill is out and Evan Bayh is in, it has gone to toss up status. A number of my pundit colleagues have labelled it as Leans Democrat, but I base my prediction on two factors, while Bayh does have the name, and more importantly the cash, 2016 is not 2004, the last time he ran. Indiana is more Republican and voters are more cynical and having spent the last six years in Washington getting rich playing lobbyist may not fly too well with some folks. However, having $9 million in the bank goes a long way to mitigating those attacks.
- If you’ve tried to follow the Governor’s race, you will probably need to see a chiropractor to deal with the whiplash. First it was the departure of Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann followed by the replacement of Eric Holcomb, followed by Mike Pence being tapped to run for Vice-President, followed by Holcomb (and Susan Brooks and Todd Rokita) filing to replace him and then State Auditor Suzanne Crouch being picked as Holcomb’s running mate. My neck still hurts. So with that said, how do we call this race? Well, we put it in the “leans Republican” category. In all the earlier polling we always saw a major drop off between Pence and the Republican Presidential nominee. He was also having major issues with Republicans in the donut counties. Despite that, he was still 3-5 points ahead of John Gregg. Take Pence out and put Holcomb in and a lot of that eventually goes away, but it will take time and with less than 100 days to go, the Holcomb-Crouch team doesn’t have a lot of it. Luckily for them, most people who live in the real world don’t start paying attention to this stuff until next month. And I don’t worry about the money issue, trust me Holcomb will have access to the Pence’s $7.5 million war chest, it just won’t be a direct cash transaction. Also, Holcomb is tapping a lot of Mitch Daniels’ 2008 re-election team to run his campaign.
The Other Statewides
- I put the races for Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) in the “toss up” category and Attorney General in the “leans Republican” category. For the SPI race, Glenda Ritz has her army of teachers and union folks, however she doesn’t have the angry suburban Soccer Moms that helped her in 2012, nor does she have Pence on the ballot in 2016. She does have an 8-1 advantage in money over Republican Jennifer McCormick, but so did Tony Bennett four years ago. For the Attorney General’s race, much of that is simply based on the fact Indiana is a Republican leaning state and Republican Curtis Hill is a much better campaigner than Democrat Judge Lorenzo Arrendondo.
Now like I said, these “predictions” are based on today, and we have less than 100 days to go before the election so anything is possible. However, I feel pretty good about them. Of course, you can always check in with me tomorrow, or a couple hours from now, and I may have a different answer for you.
Abdul-Hakim is the editor and publisher of IndyPolitics.Org.