Donnelly, Braun and the ‘none of the above’ election

by | Aug 24, 2018 | Politics/Government, Pop/Life

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Brewster’s Millions is a 1902 novel by George Barr McCutcheon that was adapted into a particularly awful movie in 1985.   It is a story that is one of the most remade movies of all time.

In the 1985 version, it starred two of Hollywood’s all-time great and now deceased funny men, Richard Pryor and John Candy.  Pryor portrayed a failed baseball player name Montgomery Brewster who inherited a huge fortune from a long lost relative.  He gets to keep the big fortune under the condition that he can spend $30 million in 30 days, and in the end, have nothing of value to show for it.

Sound easy?  Actually, it isn’t.

Brewster did a lot of creative things to spend money. My favorite was his mailing of a letter using a rare stamp that was worth a fortune.  But the most productive waste of money for his challenge was running for Mayor of New York on the “none of the above” platform.  The point being to spend a fortune on a political campaign and lose.

That’s what Indiana’s race for U.S. Senate looks like to me.  None of the above is looking pretty good.

On Tuesday, I saw the latest campaign ad for Senator Joe Donnelly.  It advertises the senator’s pro-Trump immigration stances, beginning with his opposition to sanctuary cities.  In the ad, Donnelly goes on to say that “he voted for and supported President Trump’s immigration bill, including the funding for the border wall.”  He has voted for the wall’s funding three times.

Hey, that’s great news for some Republicans and certainly for Trumpers.  But what does that do for me?

These are foundational issues for me and many Democrats this year.  I have written about my opposition to the border wall idea many times and in many ways.  There actually are conservative reasons to oppose it, starting with the colossal waste of taxpayer money it would be.

And sanctuary cities?  For my position, I rely on guidance from a higher authority, and one I thought our senator relied on for guidance as well, the Catholic Church.

The church is at odds with President Trump, and apparently Senator Donnelly regarding sanctuary cities.  They established a position on it before Trump even ran for office, and as is the church’s custom, they are sticking with it.  “The United State Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) opposes ‘enforcement only’ immigration policies and supports comprehensive immigration reform.”  It’s a 2013 policy that is still on their website.

Donnelly’s new immigration policy position didn’t exist before Trump.  That’s because it came from Trump.  If Donnelly wins, I wonder what his immigration position will be when Trump’s one and only term ends, no later than January of 2021.

This is Donnelly’s attempt to appease one part of the electorate while betraying many in his own party.  Sound familiar?  It’s the kind of thing the president would do, except that Trump has a base that agrees with whatever he does.  Donnelly’s base is far more delicate, and this ad is a sign that there will be other betrayals ahead.

As for Mike Braun, I knew him as a thoughtful state legislator before this campaign began.  But he and the two oppenents he faced in the primary in May all made the decision that the most politically expedient strategy was to be the best deputy President Trump ever had.  They embarrassingly attempted to out-Trump one another day after day for months.

I guess they thought the voter who is OK with campaign funds being used to hush a Playboy bunny and a porn star was the key to the Senate.  Or maybe the family separating caucus needed some new blood. It could be the Hoosier farmer who has been exposed to a trade war that is destroying their crop pricing who is the start of a new “Braun base.”

Braun’s primary win makes him the best of the worst in that regard I guess.  But this pro-Trump act is not who he actually was in the Statehouse.  Now, he wouldn’t have any platform at all if he didn’t have Putin’s pal in the White House to emulate.

For many Americans, and clearly I am among them, the 2018 midterm elections are largely about one thing: the congressional check on the power of President Trump.

I voiced my view to the Donnelly campaign that the ad which alienated me was a mistake.  Their dismissive response?  “Thanks for the input!”

Well, here’s some more input.  You’re losing your base voters that helped you win in 2012 with your courtship of Trump voters.  How do I know?  I’m one of them.

Monty Brewster has my vote right now.


  1. Beth A Ruble

    Thank you! For me the last straw will be “will Donnelly vote for the overturning of roe v wade and same-sex marriage by confirming Kavanaugh?” because we all know, Donnelly included, that THAT is exactly what will be next if Kavanaugh is confirmed. Even the latest poll shows that if Donnelly doesn’t vote for Kavanaugh, he tops Braun by 9 points and if he does vote for Kavanaugh, there is only 1 point that separates them, while Braun GAINS only 1 point. The rest would be undecided or not voting. The border wall is just a plain waste of taxpayer money and that money could be well-spent on something else that we all need, not a wall that won’t stop illegal immigration anyway. Until now, I was determined to vote for Donnelly because I believed, when push came to shove, he would at least vote for basic human rights. A vote to confirm Kavanaugh would be a vote to dismantle basic rights for women and the LGBTQ community. It’s a deal breaker for me. You can’t call yourself a democrat and vote against basic human rights.

  2. Russ Brooksbank

    There is a better choice on the ballot. Her name is Lucy Brenton. Why are you ignoring her?

    • Michael Leppert

      I’m not anymore. Thanks for commenting.


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