The Outstater

May 11, 2022

SETTING ASIDE what the Indianapolis Star copy desk might think is “far right,” a reader of the newspaper’s May 6 headline (above) could assume that Republican voters in last week’s primary election were following the narrative being spit out by our journalism schools, to wit, that wokism is winning.

Don’t bet on it.

There is another explanation. It is that the Supermajority has held together long enough now to mark the cards in favor of Statehouse power and control rather than any preference of everyday Republicans. Power tends to corrupt, Lord Acton taught us more than a century ago, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. 

The missed story, then, the man-bites-dog story, was that the primary defeat of two incumbent conservative legislators who bucked the Statehouse leadership was the result of impossible disadvantages both in redistricting and funding — disadvantages that were engineered by the Republican leadership independent of the particular district’s constituency. 

The message was meant not for ad hoc first-time candidates but for veteran Republican legislators: “Cross us and we will bury you.” It will be easier to keep the GOP caucus in line this next session, and wokeness will have nothing to do with it.

Once but not any more, seasoned Statehouse reporters and grizzled publishers spoiled this game by reminding voters of the role democracy plays in a constitutional republic. Citizens are primarily responsible for keeping themselves informed on issues and policy positions, political parties playing only a secondary if not corrupting role.

The rule should be that the candidate with the most yard signs is not necessarily the best representative of your viewpoint. And the corollary is that whatever today’s corporate newspaper tells you need not be taken all that seriously.

You are on your own. — tcl


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