Thursday, November 4, 2010
No, Unfortunately, We Can't Stop Them
Indiana Democrats, the political weatherman has spoken. Hunker down, it's going to be a long storm.
The Republican statewide hurricane that swept a man accused of voter fraud into the Office of Secretary of State and a Washington lobbyist into the U.S. Senate has also swept in a huge Republican Indiana House majority and has shrunk the Democratic caucus in the Indiana Senate so much that now Democrats are not needed to do business at all in the Senate.
All of this means that lame duck Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels can pretty much run roughshod over anyone that has opposed him over the last six years. Fit him for his crown. He's now Napoleon.
Sure to be in his sights are the House Democratic caucus, public school teachers and administrators, organized labor, and minority groups. If you don't think he will, just wait.
Expect the Indiana General Assembly to end collective bargaining and make this state a “right to work” state. Expect the Indiana General Assembly to try to pass Arizona-like immigration legislation that will be discriminatory to minorities. Expect the Indiana General Assembly to do everything in its power to dissolve the Indiana State Teachers Association and to make public schools suffer so that more people go the private school direction. Expect the consolidation of local government so that townships no longer exist and small school districts are forced to consolidate with larger ones.
The voices of dissent will be there, and they will be strong, but there’s now nothing stopping Governor Daniels. For all intents and purposes, if it comes out of his mouth, and he wants it done, it will be law.
Even more insidious is what Governor Daniels can now do in redistricting. In many years, if reforms didn’t work, the opposing party could be ready to gain back the seats it lost in the next election. This time, Republicans will be drawing the Indiana House maps and the Indiana Senate maps. There will be no control of the General Assembly for Democrats in the foreseeable future if those maps are drawn correctly. Forget all this talk about fair redistricting. That’s done.
Indiana’s Republicans already had the right to draw the Indiana Congressional Districts. It looks like reapportionment will not take any seats from the state, but it does look like districts like the 2nd District and the 9th District can be redrawn in a way that Democrats will never control them. Republicans can also play defense in the 8th District where it looks like Brad Ellsworth could conceivably give it a go in 2012 against the newly-elected Larry Buschon.
The best Democrats can hope for in 2012 is that a strong candidate for Governor emerges. I’m not so sure that candidate is Evan Bayh. Bayh’s blueprint of a Blue Dog caucus in Indiana is not producing results anymore. Voters have strongly rejected it.
It’s time for a reboot at the state level, and it’s going to require a new mold to figure out things. The same old same old same old with the same old characters leading the way won’t work. I have a feeling the growing pains aren’t going to be pretty as old guard vestiges hang on for dear life. Voters already handed control of every state office and the General Assembly to Mitch Daniels. You can’t get much worse than that.