Thursday, August 11, 2016

Young Running Right Into Bayh's Message

Evan Bayh
Todd Young hopes to ride his negative campaign back to Washington as a member of the United States Senate.  The problem is that it plays right into the trap set by Evan Bayh for him.

While both campaigns have lobbed negative volleys at each other so far in this campaign and have had negative ads aired on their behalf by outside groups, Evan Bayh's brand has always been about him staying above the fray and appealing to the center right voters in the state.

As a Congressman, Todd Young rode the Tea Party's wave of anger into office in 2010.  By 2012, he had a nice safe district drawn for him.  He's never really had to play to independents and soft Republicans.  There are
not enough hardcore red Republicans for him to win the state.

Todd Young
The soft R's love some Evan Bayh.  They always have.  Bayh essentially has been a blue dog conservative Democrat since he joined the Senate in 1999.  He's never been in a close election after his first runs for office.

Bayh's problem is the opposite of Young's.  He can't get hardcore left Democrats to trust him to represent their causes.  Often, the far left Dems in Indiana have grudgingly voted for Bayh or have left their ballots blank in that race in protest.  The good news is that Indiana is full of centrist Democrats, centrist Republicans and independent-thinkers.  That's why Mike Pence was in so much trouble.

The negative campaigning and trying to portray Evan Bayh as an ultra-partisan hack simply won't work against him.  Democrats know it's not true, and Bayh's voters on both sides of center understand what he's about.  He can play to the center so much more effectively than a Congressman who has rarely had to play outside his base.

With about three months left in this race, Young had better come up with another narrative because the one he has only reinforces Bayh's anti-partisanship bickering message or he's not going to beat the most successful Democratic politician in modern Indiana history.

No comments: