Indiana has a primary today and I got my first chance to vote in my home state since college.
I am glad I am not a Republican. The three Republican Senate candidates are apparently competing for biggest hater and most Trumpier-than-Trump. It is not a pretty sight.
Some of my fellow liberals are planning to take a Republican ballot and vote for the Biggest Loser, the one most likely to be defeated in November by our middle-of-the-road Democratic incumbent, Joe Donnelly. I’d say that’s waaay too clever and scheme-y to work. Besides, which one would you choose?
When it came to the key race on the Democratic side, candidates for Congressional District 2 to replace current Tea Partier Jackie Walorski, I found myself a last-minute Undecided. I am never Undecided. But I was influenced by a commercial, of all things.
The Democrats, as usual, are subdividing themselves into distinct groups. There is the mainstream candidate, Mel Hall. He’s the one with the most money, the most commercials, the most yard signs, and the endorsement of the Party. Supposedly he’s the one Most Likely to Defeat Walorski.
Then there is Pat Hackett, the lawyer/educator, more progressive, the Woman. Many liberal, educated women like me will vote for Pat. The main reason, as far as I can tell, that she is thought to be less likely than Hall to defeat Walorski is that Pat is lesbian. Beyond the city limits of South Bend, which has a gay mayor, I suppose that is still a problem. Sigh.
Finally, there is the self-financed Wild Card with a tongue-twisting name, Yatish Joshi, who has quite a following in minority communities but is even less likely than Hackett (according to conventional wisdom) to have a chance against Walorski.
I usually vote my heart, not strategically, so my candidates usually lose. In this case, I wasn’t jumping up and down about anybody—not enough to get out and volunteer—but will certainly do what I can for the General election. It isn’t really lack of enthusiasm; more that all three candidates are just fine and I’d be happy to support any of them. But I was prepared to join my identity group and vote for Pat Hackett.
Then, while I was watching The Voice last night, I saw a very cool commercial for Yatish Joshi. It was sooo cool, in fact, that it made me consider voting for him out of coolness. It was a rap on his name, with all kinds of young, ethnically diverse young people in it, including someone I recognized.
I thought, commercials like that could generate some momentum for a candidate with a funny name and a strong accent. I loved the appeal to younger voters and to communities where the turnout has been low in the past. And I wouldn’t mind doing the unexpected thing and voting for the Wild Card, crossing the lines of identity politics.
So this morning, before I voted, I wanted to watch the commercial again. And I would love to link to it here. But I couldn’t find it. It was not even on the candidate’s website. Whaaaa? So much for generating last-minute momentum. A classic flash-in-the-pan. It was the only commercial I saw for him, ever. It made an impact on me but something more is required.
I voted for Pat. I will no doubt end up working for Mel. Next time, however, I wonder if I shouldn’t put my organizational skills to work early on for an interesting candidate who really needs them.
A young man of my acquaintance has a sensible approach to electoral politics. His mother posted this on Facebook this morning:
Explaining to the three year old the purpose of voting [abridged version]:
Me: So, what kind of person do you want in charge?
E: Um…someone who doesn’t hit.
E: Someone who doesn’t punch.
E: Someone who doesn’t show their underwear or pull-ups.
So, politicians, no hitting—and mind your pull-ups.
Oh wait! My friend Deanna found the Yatish commercial. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xO9YnMXsp0A