by Abdul-Hakim Shabazz
In politics, a day is like a lifetime, so making predictions can be a little tricky. However, with that said, I think we can all agree that by looking at recent elections across the country that, it’s fair to say that something is coming, it just depends on how prepared Indiana Republicans and Democrats are ready to deal with it.
In this past week’s special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, which Donald Trump won by 20 points and the Republican who previously held the seat ran unopposed in the last couple of elections, Democrat Conor Lamb beat Republican Rick Saccone by less than 700 votes. A narrow victory, yes. But it’s also one expert say should have never have occurred. According to The Hill, since Donald Trump got elected President, there were 100 special elections, Democrats flipped seats in 18 of them, the biggest being Doug Jones in Alabama. Republicans took three spots they did not have before.
But can that happen here in Indiana, where Trump won by 20 points over Hillary Clinton? The answer, it depends on who you ask.
“The money raised by Democratic candidates in the 3rd and 9th shows some momentum for Democrats in Indiana, “ said Andy Downs of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics. “ Victories by the Democrats likely will require new alliances; bringing some moderate to conservative voters back or over to the Democratic side; and activating many new voters, volunteers, and workers.”
A new Cook political report shows that Republicans could be vulnerable in several Congressional Districts based on the results of the Pennsylvania special elections. PA 18 was ranked as the 124th most partisan district in the nation. According to that same report, there are 6th Indiana congressional districts that are less partisan, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 9th. This has added fuel for the Democrats that based on the current political climate; they may have a chance at recapturing a seat or two.
Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer was quick to dismiss any notion of a blue wave hitting the political shores of Indiana. “The ‘blue wave’ is a media-driven myth. While it might rise a few tides in already Democrat-controlled coastal states, any ripples will be met with a firewall in Indiana. The reason? We field better candidates with superior ideas, and we consistently deliver positive results that improve the lives of Hoosiers. Democrat hopes to the contrary are pure fantasy. They should stop watching MSNBC.”
Downs noted that despite that talk of a wave, Indiana Democrats still have a lot of work to do. “While the races in Alabama and Pennsylvania have shown that Democrats could be in for good years, I think it is important to remember the size of the efforts that had to be put into those races. It probably is not realistic to think that the Democrats can put that sort of effort into every race that looks competitive in 2018. This brings up the question of whether or not the Democrats in the 3rd and 9th can move up enough in the viability rankings to receive the support.”
One thing both sides seem to agree on, is the U.S. Senate race will be the dominant factor driving November, and both sides took shots at each other.
“The “GOP’s nastiest Senate primary” is still little more than a laughable series of boasts, as career politician Congressman Rokita preens about non-existent outsider credentials, Rep. Braun crows about his business record while profiting off Chinese parts, and noted Virginian Congressman Messer touts his ties to Indiana, said Mike Feldman of the Indiana Democratic Party. “With less than two months to go until the primary, all three men continue to prove that they’re deeply flawed candidates better at throwing mud at each other then they are discussing issues that actually matter to voters. No one knows who the winner will be in May, but we know what he’ll look like: bruised, broke, out-of-touch and unacceptable to the majority of Hoosiers.”
“Every indication suggests that Hoosiers are not happy with Senator Donnelly, a do-nothing Senator who’s spent over a decade in Washington without passing a single bill, “ said Michael Joyce, RNC Spokesman. “Donnelly has obstructed every major legislative priority of the Trump-Pence agenda, and recent polling shows that Hoosiers approve of the tax cuts and President Trump’s economy. Every state and election is unique, but Indiana clearly wants a new Senator who will do more than simply obstruct and resist at the request of Chuck Schumer.”
“As the Democrats continue to prioritize their spending throughout the campaign season, how quickly will they pull support and throw it behind other candidates? This question will be incredibly important to Democratic candidates in Indiana, “ Downs said.
Abdul is the editor and publisher of IndyPolitics.Org. He is also an attorney with the Indianapolis law firm of Lewis and Wilkins LLP.