Senate campaigns are not inspiring


(Portland) Commercial Review

“Me too” isn’t much of a campaign platform.

Then again, neither is “Not me.”

Yet that seems to be what the U.S. Senate race in Indiana is going to boil down to in 2018.

Six candidates are running at the moment on the “Me too” platform. That would be Rep. Luke Messer, Rep. Todd Rokita, trucking company owner Mike Braun, Kokomo attorney Mark Hurt, farmer-entrepreneur Terry Henderson and someone named Andrew Takami from Floyds Knobs.

That’s a crowded field, although there are rumors that one or two of the Republican candidates may drop out in the next several weeks.

And it’s a field that is all campaigning to be the closest in the voters’ minds with Donald Trump. All of the candidates are jockeying to be Trumpier than the next guy in hopes of being the Trumpiest choice for the GOP field.

No wonder they all seem to blend together.

But it’s remarkable when one looks back as little as two years ago to see how much the presidency of Donald Trump has transformed — some would say hijacked — the Republican Party.

Philosophical differences, qualms about character and any other doubts have been jettisoned. Now it’s all about being as much in Trump’s quarter as possible.

Meanwhile, incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly seems to be basing his entire candidacy on “Not me.” Whatever else he is, he’s not a Trump guy.

He may be a liberal pretending to be a centrist in order to win re-election. He may simply be a moderate by nature and by political philosophy. It could be either one; that doesn’t matter. What matters is that he is presenting himself as the candidate who is ready to act as a counterweight to Donald Trump rather than as a cheerleader.

That, for Hoosier voters, is what the choice is going to come down to: “Not me” or one of the half-dozen “Me too” hopefuls.

If you’re looking for great moments in democracy or the 21st century equivalent to the Lincoln-Douglas debates, it appears you’re going to have to look elsewhere.

This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association. Send comments to [email protected].

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