Let the Yard Signs Bloom — A friend no longer gives to Indiana political campaigns. To be more specific, he no longer gives to the reelection campaigns of House Republicans stamped with party approval. The reasoning is logical, not ideological, and conforms to the realpolitik of a supermajority:
- His representative doesn’t need the money, having already been assured by the House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC) of enough to fend off a primary challenge.
- Analysis of voting records of the last six years shows that the representative isn’t listening to him or his neighbors but rather to the Statehouse leadership and whomever pulls those strings.
- Even in the case where his legislator happens to vote in line with our friend’s interests that would be the case without the donation (see No. 1 and 2 above).
There are still reasons to give but they fall into the soft psycho-socio categories, i.e., the satisfaction of being with a winner, the sporting excitement of an election campaign or the simple obligation to help a friend in politics. Not everyone, however, can afford such luxuries.
In recent years the state GOP in choosing which candidates to help has abandoned political tactics for an ideological test. The party is known to withhold support from certain Republican candidates even though those candidates mount credible challenges to Democrats. The libertarian-leaning need not apply and Trump supporters are suspect.
And constitutional rights? The leadership is ambivalent. This foundation had to sue them to get the prohibition against multi-issue legislation addressed. Questioning the Indiana Collective Bargaining Act is verboten. Want to throw out your party chairman? You will watch as the purposefully vacant precinct chairs are filled with his supporters.
So, what happened?
What always happens, those who became established rigged the system. It doesn’t necessarily mean the end of democracy, though, it’s just a continuation of the chess game. We need to devise a new strategy.
Only we aren’t. We are abiding the fraud pretending this is representative democracy. The late Jude Waninksi of the Wall Street Journal described our situation as going into the voting booth hoping to choose a promised chicken but finding on the ballot only a rattle snake and a turkey vulture. We are forced to choose the vulture as being more like a chicken than a snake.
We thus suffer a political agnosia. We have the wrong focus. Critical issues go unaddressed. Indiana falls behind in the competition between the states, not the least of which involves first defining and then maintaining moral order.
A new strategy, if it forms, will see donors taking money that otherwise would be ineffectively absorbed by the HRCC and using it to directly challenge the wayward in primaries, including and especially those in leadership.
Until now, an incurious if not complicit media has made it difficult to sort this out. There are alternative informational tools, however, to fill in the coverage gaps and track voting records. As a result, recalcitrant positions may attract well-funded opposition across the full range of issues, throwing a few out of office and sharpening the populist senses of the rest.
We shall see, if not in this cycle perhaps in the next. — tcl