Tag Archives: Christina Hale

Blue In Red Indiana

This will be a crassly political post. (As if most aren’t…)

“Blue No Matter Who” is an easy slogan, and I endorse it for reasons I have repeatedly recited. That slogan does, however, have one unfortunate implication: “no matter who” makes it sound as if we should vote for the Democratic candidate no matter how unsatisfactory we find that candidate. I actually endorse that sentiment, too; however, in the vast majority of contests I follow, the Democratic candidate is genuinely admirable–certainly not a “best we can get under the circumstances” choice–and infinitely superior to his/her Republican opponent.

Take Indiana’s Fifth Congressional District–a district that abuts the 7th, where I live (and am blissfully happy with my own Congressman, Andre Carson.) The 5th is an open district, thanks to the retirement of the incumbent and major disappointment, Susan Brooks. It has been reliably Republican pretty much forever, but it is populated with educated suburbanites and has been showing some purplish–even bluish–tendencies. Brooks ran as a moderate and voted like an alt-Right puppet (98% support for Trump) and her constituents had noticed.

The Republican primary for the open seat was an ugly free-for-all, with several candidates contending to see who could most strenuously support Donald Trump. The victor–one Victoria Spartz–was notable for her “pro life” and “pro gun” emphases (a bit of cognitive dissonance there?) and for putting a lot of her own money into the campaign. Her TV spots and website are notable for their lack of specificity and candor. (She’s a mother and she’s “not a career politician.”)

Her website is, however, unintentionally revealing.

Spartz lists each of her “issues” in two to three sentence paragraphs, none of which identify specific bills or initiatives she would support. She’s “for” the Constitution, but mentions only the 2d Amendment. She wants to balance the budget (!) by cutting spending on welfare (no mention of corporate welfare, just the social safety net variety.) She’s an immigrant, but wants to “build the wall.” She wants to spend whatever it takes to keep the military strong, and she favors “consumer choice” in healthcare (code for “if you can afford it you can have it.”) The only thing she says about education is that she favors “flexibility” for the states (code for vouchers), and–surprise!–she wants to further limit the regulation of business.

There is no mention of either COVID or the environment. I guess those aren’t problems.

If you feel I am being unfair, please visit her site and double-check.

Now, in the interests of transparency, I will admit that I worked a bit with Victoria’s Democratic opponent, Christina Hale, when she was in the Indiana Statehouse, and I was impressed with her. She was a serious legislator, and absolutely passionate about protecting children. Her website is here.

Not only does Christina address COVID and the Environment, along with other issues, but you will immediately notice that she doesn’t just identify issues with generalities and ambiguous language. Under “healthcare” she lists–and explains– her support for a public option, her opposition to attempts to allow insurance companies to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, and her support for requiring drug companies to negotiate for lower drug prices. Under “environment,” she underscores her support for clean energy infrastructure and technology, the creation of jobs to reduce carbon emissions, and improving Indiana’s water infrastructure.

There’s a lot more, but my point is that people in the 5th District who vote for Christina will do so knowing what sort of policy agenda she will pursue. (In all fairness, it’s pretty clear what sort of policy agenda Victoria will pursue, too–but that clarity sure isn’t a result of forthright labeling.) When I went to VoteSmart, I saw that during her single term in the legislature, Spartz voted against regulations for pesticides, and for allowing firearms on school grounds, among other interesting items…

This is one Congressional race among hundreds, and I’m not prepared to assume that the differences are this stark in every single one of them. Every political party has its losers (to appropriate one of Trump’s favorite terms), and I’m sure there are jerks out there with a D after their names. But the GOP has devolved into something approximating a  scary religious cult, and you can rest assured that virtually all Republican Senate and Congressional candidates are ideologues cut from the same cloth as Spartz– impervious to science and fact, suspicious of the government they want to join, and dismissive of climate change, COVID and people who can’t afford health insurance.

That’s why we need to vote Blue up and down the ballot, and in numbers sufficient to make the outcomes obvious on Election Night.

 

 

My Endorsement

This post is mostly for readers who live in Indiana’s 5th District–or anyone who has friends and/or families who vote in Indiana’s Fifth. The primary election, which was postponed until June 2d, is approaching. (If you haven’t done so, be sure to apply for your absentee ballot by May 21st!)

As Hoosiers know, the district’s incumbent Representative is Susan Brooks, who (wisely) decided not to run again. To say that Brooks has been a huge disappointment to those of us who thought we knew her and expected her to be at least reasonably moderate would be an understatement. (To be a Republican these days is evidently to be a devoted Trump sycophant…)

Christina Hale is one of five Democrats running for the Fifth District seat, and in my admittedly biased opinion, she should be the slam-dunk choice. (There are fourteen candidates in the GOP primary, and– with the exception of Mark Small, who is valiantly trying to save the party from itself– they all seem to be emphasizing how Trumpy they will be if elected.)

I met Christina when she served in the Indiana legislature, where she was a highly effective advocate for women and girls  and small businesses, among other things. (Of the five Democrats running, Christina is the only one with legislative experience.) She’s a Latina  who put herself through school while she was a single mom, and she brings that same determination and capacity for hard work to her campaigns and legislative work.

When Christina ran for the Indiana State House in 2012, she defeated a 20 year Republican incumbent–flipping the seat from red to blue– and when she got to Indiana’s Republican-dominated statehouse, she got things done: during her legislative career, she had over 60 bills passed with bipartisan support.

I got to see more of Christina when she was John Gregg’s running mate in 2016, and I was further impressed with her campaign skills and her ability to communicate what is very clearly her passion for good government.

Can she win in the fall? Yes.

So far in this campaign, and despite the weirdness of running for office during a pandemic, Christina has outraised all of the other candidates– Democrats and Republicans–in every single quarter.  The reason that matters is because no matter which Republican emerges from that primary, you can be sure that person will be very well funded. But it also matters because those donations reflect donors’ excitement for Christina’s candidacy, and their belief that she can win.

I’m not the only person enthusiastic about Christina; so far, she’s been endorsed by Planned Parenthood, Latino Victory Fund, and a number of unions, including United Steelworkers, Sheet Metal Workers, IBEW, AFSCME and, most recently, the Serve America PAC.

You needn’t take my word for any of this. You can read about Christina at the campaign website.

I’m writing about Christina’s campaign because I can’t help her by voting for her–I live in Indiana’s 7th Congressional District, where I have a Congressperson with whom I am supremely happy, Andre Carson. (Andre is effective, intelligent, and responsive, and in our blue city, he is highly likely to be re-elected. He doesn’t need my help.)

The 5th District used to be solidly red, but it includes a significant number of educated professionals and solid, middle-class voters who have given evidence of re-thinking their allegiance to the GOP under Trump. In 2018, for the first time in forever, three Democrats were elected to municipal offices, and the incumbent Democratic Senator– who lost statewide– carried the district.

If the 5th District is ready to turn light blue–and I think it is–a candidate of Christina’s caliber and demonstrable bipartisan skills has the best shot of keeping it that color.

Anyway, that’s my two cents worth. But no matter who, VOTE. And VOTE BLUE.