This post is a plea to my Indiana readers.
When those of you who haven’t already voted go to the polls, vote for Joe Donnelly.
Am I enthusiastic about Donnelly? No. His television ads are insulting (although not quite as despicable as the spots supporting his opponent, Braun.) Those ads repel rather than motivate the Democratic base and they infuriate even moderate Democrats. His support for Trump’s wall is an obvious play for the sizable and embarrassing contingent of Hoosiers who oppose immigration and fear immigrants.(News flash, wall enthusiasts: the great majority of “illegal” immigrants fly to the U.S. and then overstay a visa. A wall–even if building it on the border were feasible–would do exactly nothing to deter them. But don’t let logic interfere with your bigotry.)
There’s more, but it’s all irrelevant, because a vote for Donnelly is a vote against Mitch McConnell. And that makes it really, really important.
In a review of a book on the rise of Hitler that drew parallels between the 30s in Germany and the contemporary U.S., ( the book title is The Suffocation of Democracy), the New York Review of Books included a perfect characterization of McConnell:
If the US has someone whom historians will look back on as the gravedigger of American democracy, it is Mitch McConnell. He stoked the hyperpolarization of American politics to make the Obama presidency as dysfunctional and paralyzed as he possibly could. As with parliamentary gridlock in Weimar, congressional gridlock in the US has diminished respect for democratic norms, allowing McConnell to trample them even more.
As one of my sons noted, in a Facebook exchange with a Democrat unhappy with Donnelly,
As most of us (sadly) recognize, we don’t have a choice on the ballot between “perfect”and not perfect; we only have a choice between “decent” (Donnelly) and “horrible” (Braun/McConnell). Let’s go for decent.
Donnelly will vote for Democratic priorities about half of the time. Braun will vote for right-wing Republican priorities and continue to demonstrate his fidelity to Trump and Trumpism all of the time.
A Republican friend has come to the same conclusion. Commenting on the Donnelly/Braun race, he wrote that Braun, in his view, had violated one of Indiana’s most important values by running explicitly as a “Christian.”
Does that not make it appropriate to ask which biblical verses he adheres to and which he does not? Which he elevates and which he dismisses? Perhaps candidates will need on a scale of 1 to 10 to rate their conviction in various tenets of Christian faith, so we know who to trust.
How are these questions not appropriate if Braun runs as if Christianity is a qualification for office, when in Indiana, it explicitly is not.
I’m not being clever. Braun’s kind of campaigning is so outrageous that our Ancestors here saw through it…. Recognized the danger and the nonsense…and banned religion as a qualification for government. I don’t think anybody who doesn’t understand that has any business near the levers of power.
I agree. But even if Braun weren’t so obviously an eager participant in the Trumpist assault on American and Hoosier values, even if he wasn’t touting his Christian credentials at a time when Trump is demonizing immigrants and engaging in rhetoric that encouraged a rightwing fanatic to mow down eleven Jews, a vote for Donnelly would still be important.
Why? Because Donnelly’s first vote will be against Mitch McConnell, and McConnell–aka the most evil man in America–is the gravedigger of American Democracy. And a vote for Donnelly–warts and all– is an opportunity to cast a vote against Mitch McConnell.
And any vote against Mitch McConnell is a vote to be proud of.