Eleven years ago, I was writing about the Indianapolis mayoral race. At the time, incumbent Bart Peterson was going for a third term, and very few people thought he would lose. He had millions in the bank, his approval ratings were in the 60s (albeit a very soft 60-percent) and his challenger, Greg Ballard had little money and little name ID. In fact, his only media at the time were two very cheesy YouTube commercials.
Despite all that, the signs were there that something was coming. The perception was that crime was out of control. The property tax crisis was blowing up. There was a poll done earlier in the year that showed only 41 percent of the voters thought Peterson should be re-elected and 64 percent thought the city was on the wrong track. Moreover, in the May primary, which was the most telling sign, looking at the combined vote totals, Peterson only got 46 percent of the vote. Next thing you know, Ballard is running the city for the next eight years.
I bring this up, because for anyone who paid attention the signs were there for an upset, but some folks just chose not to pay attention.
Fast forward eleven years and I am seeing the same signs of a blue wave here in Indiana, and it behooves my Republican friends to take it seriously and not dismiss it. Here are just a few signs…
- Donald Trump’s approval ratings are hovering around 50 percent. This is not good for a President who won the state by more than 20 points over Hillary Clinton.
- Democrats are running candidates in 90 percent of the state offices.
- Democrats have opened offices in Hamilton and Hendricks County. Some of my Republican friends dismiss that, but when you get 40-50 people showing up who are ready, willing and able to knock on doors, make phone calls and hand out literature for the next 50 days you have to take them seriously.
- The donut counties, which are crucial to Republican victories, are sprinkled with more blue than you think.
- Not counting hardcore partisans, Democrat Joe Donnelly is not an unlikeable person and likeability goes a long way to either get people to vote for you or better, not come out and vote against you. In other words, he is not Hillary Clinton.
I could go on, but you get the gist of what I’m saying. Now the good news for Republicans is that they have a very good ground game and have been reaching thousands of voters with their “National Days of Action” events. Also, while I think the red firewall they are building should be enough to save the bottom of the ticket, I’m not convinced yet Democrats won’t manage to get just enough water over the wall that will sweep the top of the ticket into office.
Stay tuned and try to stay dry.
Photo: Indy Politcs