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The 2012 Lesson

If there’s one thing we can take away from the 2012 Election in Indiana, is that there are 12 things we can take away from the 2012 Election in Indiana.

  1. Primaries and General Elections are two totally different creatures.  Although Richard Mourdock won his primary handily over outgoing Senator Richard Lugar by a 60-40 margin, his campaign never made the transition to appeal to a broader general electorate.  Thus, it was easy for Joe Donnelly to occupy the middle.
  2. Make peace with your party.  If you win a primary by a 90-10, 80-20, 70-30 vote you can afford to blow off the people who didn’t vote for you.  Not so much when it’s 60-40.
  3. Stay on message.   A lot of credit goes to Governor-elect Mike Pence’s campaign staff for staying on message.  Democrat John Gregg wanted to make it about Pence’s positions on social issues, but Pence stayed on the economy and job creation; which by the way, are social issues.
  4. Leave the crazies where you found them.  Although this is another column for another forum, the Tea Party did nothing to help Mourdock but spew hatred and nonsense.
  5. Don’t underestimate social media.  When Mourdock made his comments regarding rape, abortion and God, the social media universe exploded.  Tony Bennett, who had a well-funded and well-organized campaign, fell victim to an underground social media campaign by teachers who didn’t like the reforms he was bringing to Indiana education.
  6. Get organized and stay organized.  Pence and Joe Donnelly ran well-executed campaigns that stayed on message and even when they were thrown a curve ball or two, managed to stay on message.
  7. Never underestimate moderate voters.  As both parties tend to nominate candidate further to the right and left of the general electorate, remember, most Hoosiers while conservative are practical and don’t take too kind to crazy.  And for those of you who don’t like “RINOs” try winning without them.
  8. Supermajorities can be dangerous.  It looks like Republicans will supermajorities in both the Indiana House and Senate.  They make a lot of people’s lives miserable and do it without overreaching.  For example passing legislation that prohibits school districts from collecting union dues.  Hint! Hint!
  9. The Governor’s Office still matters.  Although Democrats are joyful, and rightly so, of having captured Dick Lugar’s Senate seat, all things being equal, a Governor has a lot more appointments and more control over where a lot of money goes than a U.S. Senator.
  10. Margins matter.  If you’re a Republican and running statewide, you need to win the donut counties by about 65-70% to beat the Democratic turnout in Marion and Lake counties.  If you can’t hit that mark, we have a problem.  As we write this Mourdock failed to get more than 60% of the vote in any donut county.
  11. Politics is about addition.  America is changing.  It is a lot more black and brown and less white.  And if you don’t get people on the ticket who look like America, you are going to have problems.
  12. Rape.  If you’re a man and you get asked this question, say it’s bad and shut up! And if you say something stupid about it, don’t get mad if your friends throw you under the bus.

  • Shemaryahu Chanoch

    Some thoughts.
    The country is still split 50-50. It is going to be hard to heal. And the comments that Gregg and Donnelly made slamming values conservatives, especially evangelicals, is not going to be forgotten. Donnelly will spend the next six years looking over his sholder.
    I commented before the election in 2008 that Obama had allowed people to write their expectations on him. With great expectations comes great disappointment. I did expect him to win this year but I stated then that I believe that by 2016 Obama will be more hated than George Bush. Especially within the democrats.

  • Steve

    Maybe the republicans will come to believe that it is the middle, not the extreme that will win the election. I split my ticket as I have done every year since 1972. Sorry for the whacko’s on both extremes that neither extreme can win without us in middle. One side is not right 100% of the time. Keep knocking RHINO’s, keep losing elections. Going to get worse and worse till the leaders wake up.

    Good call Abdul on your final count, how did you do that one?

  • Indgop

    Wow Abdul. I’ve always thought you were terrible analyzing federal and statewide races (although good at municipal and local races) but I think your post pretty much hitting everything on the spot

  • Jedna Vira

    “Keep knocking RHINO”s, keep losing elections.” If I’m not mistaken more RHINO’s lost their bid for the Senate than true conservatives. I’m sick and tired of the mythical “moderate” necessity floated by the Republican establishment. Look where “moderation” has gotten us. We have 60 million people that care more about “free stuff” than the truth. You can have your RHINO Republican party and you can forget about any support from Christian conservatives. But I tell you what…when our nation falls off the financial cliff and our immoral chickens come home to roost, I will gladly help pick up the pieces even though I’m some extreme whack-job. For now…I’m done with moderates and liberals; therefore I’m done with the Republican Party. Have fun winning elections.

  • indyernie

    Abdul what happened to Rupert’s double digits??? Looks like you and Chris blew that one. I won’t say I told you so because I stated that Mourdock would squeak by. Politics 101 “men need to keep their mouths shut concerning women’s issues period”….even if the woman agrees with your position, they don’t want to hear it from a man. I hope this is a lesson learned by my party in the years to come.

  • pascal

    I think is is accurate to say that the rinos tossed a couple of would be Senators under their bus and counted on the social conservatives to not notice. Lugar Republicans, whatever they are, seem to have voted for the Democrat while the people ignored them and swept value oriented candidates into the Statehouse. The rinos didn’t build that.

  • Jedna Vira

    Wish I could agree with you, but no matter how bad it gets over the next 4 years, I don’t think the Dems will hate Obama more than Bush. This election proves that “economics” doesn’t matter. We need politicians that speak the truth and leave the results up to God.

  • Steve

    I guess since over 50% of the country voted for Obama and since 47% of the people get free rides the republicans better work on getting the 3% that don’t get free rides from the democrats. Having paid over $21,000.00 in Federal taxes alone I am one of the 3% that doesn’t get a hand out. I state for the record that someone like Murdoch will never get my vote, so go as right as you want, you will continue to lose elections. Give me a Lugar, Ballard Hudnut, Bush 1, Nixon, Regan one time and you will my vote. I do not want someone that represents me voting along party lines 99.6% of the time and it seems that there are a lot that feel the same way. New flash, the country isn’t all pissed of white guys.

  • G Square

    I must have missed those comments. Can you supply some examples along with source references? I’d genuinely be interested in checking them out.

  • CircleCityScribe

    Steve has a good point. Bill O’Reilly said it best:

    “People are not going to vote against Santa
    Claus, especially if the alternative is being your own Santa Claus.”

    Ignorance has led many to believe that they
    are entitled to free handouts from the Federal Government. Ignorance is why they voted for O. They just don’t understand that their “free” handouts are paid for by somebody else, they are not free! Sooner or later Democrats are going to run out of other people’s money to redistribute.

  • AWB

    #3: Too bad not enough politicians can do this.

    #9: It was a loss on paper only.
    #11: And how do you suggest we do that when 93% of Blacks vote democrat regardless of the candidate. As I told my wife the other day, democrats can run a sock puppet for office and 93% of Blacks will vote for it just because of its party affiliation.