Well, we just wrapped another Indiana Democratic State Convention. And as anyone who was there will tell you Democrats left their convention on fire and ready to do their best to fire incumbent Governor Mike Pence in the fall, I thought it was only fair that we provided you with some additional perspective that you can’t get anywhere else. And there’s probably good reason for it. So here are my five big takeaways from this weekend’s activities…
- John Gregg is a great speaker, but. Despite our policy differences I will never take away Gregg’s energy, charm and dynamic personality. He really can get a crowd worked up. Now with that said, he can also lose focus and get too caught up in the moment like when he told the Indiana Democratic African-American Caucus that Pence was no friend of Black people. I thought it was a bit much and it implied that Pence was a bigot. With all due respect to the gentleman from Sandborn, I’ve never met many bigots who expanded education opportunities for poor black children through school choice and vouchers. In fact, if one really wanted to go out on a limb, one could argue that taking money away from those poor black children that would be used for vouchers so middle, upper and wealthy white families can get subsidized pre-K might better fit that definition. Just a thought. So next time John, stay focused.
- Bernie’s people are nuts. What’s the difference between a Bernie Sanders supporter and a die hard attendee at Indy Popcon? One spends a lot of time in fantasy land, entertaining ideas and concepts that don’t work in reality and when you tell them it’s time to get get back to the real world they get mad at you. The other wears a costume. I told that joke while standing in the Convention Hall and got into an argument with a Sanders supporter who mistook me for a delegate. He told me that Sanders won Indiana and the people spoke. I told him people can do some crazy things, just look at the Republican who won Indiana. And don’t even get me started on how the Berniebots spent 30 minutes trying to get failed resolutions concerning superdelegates read into the convention record. Ugh!
- Viva la Latino Vote. Indiana Democrats can thank Donald Trump for this one. Democrats think Trump’s remarks regarding Judge Gonzalo Curiel gives them new ammunition to engage their Latino and Hispanic constituents, as well as those who aren’t necessarily political, but aren’t crazy about the guy who wants to build a wall to keep their relatives out of the country. This was also hinted at in the convention speeches delivered by Lt. Governor candidate Christina Hale and Attorney General candidate, former Lake County Judge Lorenzo Addendo. Which by the way, someone needs to get Judge Addendo some caffeine. I am sure he is a nice guy, but listening to him talk was like listening to a slower Paul Harvey and you did not want to stick around to find out the rest of the story.
- Who’s down with LGBT? (Sorry “Naughty by Nature”). If someone was selling a can of alphabet soup at the State Convention they would have made a killing if those were the only four letters in the can. In just about every speech, the speaker either mentioned LGBT rights or the catch phrase “who you love”. The LGBT issue even got a better reception than the “J-O-B” issue. (However if I was dealing with five percent unemployment rate, I’d play down the jobs issue too.) Now as you all know, I am all for equal rights and I only believe in discrimination based on merit, however I do wonder how much this issue will resonate geographically and demographically? Of course LGBT rights are a big deal here in Central Indiana, but as you get away from the center of the state, we all know it becomes less of an issue in some smaller places where still a good chunk of Indiana lives. I also noticed while the younger, more progressive Democrats were on fire about the issue, a lot of the older folks either did the polite golf applause or just kind of sat there.
- Hoosier Democrats love Hillary. Hillary Clinton may have a 55-percent unfavorable rating, but I can tell you where a good chunk of the other 44-percent were this weekend. Berniebots notwithstanding, Clinton’s recorded address, as stiff and mechanical as came across, was a hit with the delegates. And unlike when Donald Trump addressed the Republicans last week, there wasn’t the very loud audible gasp in the audience as if you’re drunk uncle just took the microphone at your wedding and was about to do a toast regarding your new interracial spouse and family. Of course at one point while watching the video I couldn’t help but think Clinton was going to say, “It is of no concern. Soon the rebellion will be crushed and Sanders will be one of us.”