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Republican challenger Mike Braun defeated incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly in Indiana’s US Senate race. The race was supposed to be tight, but results from the AP show Senator-elect Braun beating Donnelly by double digits. In other state news, Progressive JD Ford defeated long-time conservative state Senator Mike Delph.

What does this say about the Midterm elections in Indiana? Here are three key takeaways:

1 – Polls Can Not Be Trusted

Every poll covering the Indiana Senate race was wrong. Not just wrong: very, very wrong. This race was considered a tie, or within the margin of error, by every poll since July, 2018, when Trafalgar Group had the race for Donnelly +12. The only poll to say otherwise was a FOX News poll in October, which had Donnelly +7. (Every rational commentator in Indiana, including me, called this poll what it was: nonsense. Not just an outlier, but wrong.)

Every pundit and commentator saw this as a tight race. Based on the polling trend-lines, this was a jump ball. And when the smoke cleared, it was Braun +12.

Which is more likely? That Braun gained 24 points, or that the polls were completely inaccurate?

Maybe pollsters are asking questions to get a desired result. That’s possible, but far too dismissive of professionals pollsters who take their work seriously, and want to get as close to the actual result as possible. What needs to be looked at is whether or not the electorate answers questions in a way that pollsters can work with. Americans are used to personalizing in their lives; music, apps and all types of content are available as they want it, where they want it and when they want it. Polling questions might need to allow for more gradations of answers to accommodate the options that Americans now expect.

2 – JD Ford Victory Is Much More About Mike Delph Than JD Ford

JD Ford will be the first openly gay member of the Indiana General Assembly, but that’s not why he won against incumber Republican State Sen. Mike Delph…though it does prove (once again) that Hoosiers will vote for all types of people. Ford is a Progressive who believes in the “living wage.”  He opposes vouchers and school choice. He favors hate crimes legislation. And none of those are reasons that he defeated Sen. Mike Delph.

Mike Delph lost because of Mike Delph. Rightly or wrongly, he was seen by many as a divisive character. He is seen as more interested in himself than in the state; more ‘in the way’ than ‘helping to find a way.’ His social conservatism bothered some. His attitude bothered some more.

Ford deserves credit for continuing to fight; he lost to Delph four years ago. Ford kept pushing, Ford kept campaiging and Ford benefited from not giving up. But mostly, he benefited from Delph being Delph. That was the key to Ford’s victory. He won’t be so fortunate in 2022, as he’ll run against a different Republican and the Indiana Democratic Party won’t be able to offer any assistance. Why? Well…..

3 – The Indiana Democratic Party Is A Dumpster Fire

The Indiana Democratic Party has not looked this bad since they ran away to Illinois to avoid voting on union issues. They’ve been unable to make a dent in the Republican super-majority in the General Assembly for years. They lost the Governor’s race to current Vice-President Mike Pence in 2012.  They ran the same Democrat, John Gregg, in 2016, giving him a full 5 years of being the candidate. He lost to current Governor Eric Holcomb, who was the Republican nominee for all of three months.

They replaced former Dem. Rep. Baron Hill with former US Senator and Indiana Governor Evan Bayh in 2016 to run for the senate seat vacated by Republican Dan Coats. They lost the seat to current US Senator Todd Young.

They ran Sen. Joe Donnelly for re-election, after he barely won election in 2012 thanks to a massive miscue by Richard Mourdock, by tying him to President Donald Trump at every turn. He lost last night to Republican Senator-elect Mike Braun.

The Indiana Democratic Party is a mess: Poor leadership, a lack of any positive message and, seemingly, an unwillingness to recognize that the electorate does not like both of those things. (They also don’t like it when you lie to their face, like when you paint the candidate as a moderate when he’s not.) They also can not take credit for Ford’s victory. That was all Ford. Well, mostly Delph and some Ford.

A full revamp of the party, and their priorities, is in order. But with their unparalleled expertise in failure, don’t hold your breath.