Bil Browing lives in Indiana. He knows Indiana politics. And, he’s not happy that the the Indiana Democratic Party’s 32-member Central Committee might appoint Rep. Brad Ellsworth as the party’s nominee for Evan Bayh’s open seat. And, there’s good reason for concern. In 2010, the Democrats need their base to vote. Yet, Ellsworth has spent the past few years working against the base:
Ellsworth is following along a path that will virtually guarantee that all of these groups will stay home in 2010. Why would they vote for him? Besides all the reasons I listed above, he’s a demagogue on immigration issues, which Latino voters care deeply about. As I pointed out, he’s horrible on LGBT issues. That may work in his House district, but even in Indiana, you can’t throw your entire base- Latinos, LGBT people, pro-choice advocates, African-Americans, environmentalists, low-income folks, young people, unmarried women- under the bus and expect to be elected statewide.
That’s okay, some might say, he’s got cross-over appeal as a conservative Democrat. I don’t buy it. Not in Indiana, a hotbed of teabagger conservatism, and not in 2010, when you’ve got a Washington Congressman as your candidate while polling shows Congressional disapproval is at a historic high and fewer than 1 in 10 Americans say members of Congress deserve re-election. Not exactly the most brilliant strategy.
Ellsworth has a base problem, and in 2010, more than ever, Democrats need their base to turn out. Demoralized Democrats stayed home in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts when their candidates didn’t even have a record in Congress. If the State Central Committee chooses Ellsworth, a candidate from Washington with a voting record, it will prove to be the same story.
Democrats have an uncanny ability to repeat history. Ellsworth is the wrong candidate at the wrong time.
The base needs to be inspired. And, Ellsworth won’t do it. The powers that be at the DSCC and the the Indiana Democratic Party’s 32-member Central Committee better figure that out.