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2 Hoosiers walk into Sunday shows—Buttigieg to South Carolina—Young splits with Trump
What's happening—and what's next—at the intersection of Indiana politics and business?
Days until Indiana General Assembly Sine Die: 41
Days until the 2019 election: 232
Days until the 2020 election: 596
THE BIG PICTURE: Two Hoosiers took star turns on Sunday shows this weekend, and both turned up in unexpected places: Rep. Jim Banks on Fake News CNN and Democrat Pete Buttigieg doing State T.V. Fox News.
Here’s why that matters: “Jim Banks, the 3rd District Republican Congressman from Columbia City who deployed in the Navy Reserves to Afghanistan seven months after Buttigieg did, told me his party dodged a bullet when Buttigieg lost his 2017 bid to become chair of the Democratic National Committee (Buttigieg and Banks are friends and exchanged emails leading up to Banks’s deployment). Banks says Buttigieg’s brilliance comes in the way he frames progressive policy goals in a language that doesn’t scare off red-state voters. “We couldn’t be anymore different when it comes to politics, but I have a lot of admiration for him, and believe that the Democratic party would be wise to look to leaders like him and believe that he has a lot to offer,” Banks says. “I’ve seen him portray himself as mayor in more of a moderate approach, but now that he’s talking about national politics, it’s more ideological, further to the left.”
EACH SENT A SUBTLE MESSAGE WITH THEIR CHOICE OF SHOWS: Banks appeared on a network his party’s president has derided; Buttigieg on a network his party has banned from hosting a presidential debate. Buttigieg, in fact, is now the only 2020 Democrat to do Fox News Sunday this year.
WHAT THEY SAID:
ON THE TERRORIST ATTACK IN NEW ZEALAND: “The president condemned white nationalism and the actions that happened in New Zealand,” Banks said to Jake Tapper. “There’s no question about it. None of us can be emphatic [crosstalk] none of us can be emphatic enough in our condemnation of hate in all of its forms. That’s why we have to take a step back and take a minute to talk about what we can do about it. And I'll give you an example: When white nationalism reared its ugly head in the House of Representatives, the Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, stripped Steve King of his committee assignments. Today, as we sit here, Rep. Omar still sits on the Foreign Affairs committee after her anti-Semitic comments because Democrats and Nancy Pelosi refuse to do anything about it.”
ON BRINGING JOBS BACK TO THE MIDWEST: “Coming from a former auto manufacturing town in the northern part of Indiana, this is my home, and I understand why our party largely lost touch. But I don’t think it’s just about Donald Trump, as a matter of fact I think in many ways he’s a symptom rather than a cause. Where I come from, there are a lot of people – and I think there are a lot of viewers of this network – who are under no illusions about the character of the president but voted this way in order to make a statement. Some people I think voted to burn the house down, because they’d seen how for years Democratic and Republican presidencies produced economic, and social, and political results that let them down.”
ON HOW HE MATCHES UP WITH BETO: “I think I was born to make myself useful. I'm not combatting anybody. There are going to be competitors more than opponents among the Democrats, and I think that's a good thing. I'm not like the others. I belong to a different generation than most of the others. You know, mine was the generation in high school when most of the school shootings started to be the norm. We're the generation that's going to be on the business end of climate change. We're also the generation that's on track to be the first in American history to make less than our parents if nothing is done to change the trajectory of our economy. I think having a voice for that generation, having a voice with executive leadership, and I'm going to tell you, I know I'm the youngest voice in this conversation, but not only do I have more years of government experience under my belt than the president, but I've got more years of executive government experience under my belt than the Vice President. And I think coming from the Industrial Midwest, a place where unfortunately my party lost touch with a lot of voters especially in 2016, it's a combination of attributes, not to mention the military service that I bring to the table, that is simply different than the others, and I'm looking forward to competing.”
GOP RESPONSE: After the appearance, GOP Spox Mike Joyce criticized Buttigieg’s pothole situation in South Bend. Is Pothole Pete going to be a thing?
Good Monday afternoon, and welcome to Importantville. The Today Show eulogized the late Sen. Birch Bayh on Sunday. The Indiana House and Senate began session at 1:30 p.m.
WHERE’S VEEP? He had lunch with the president at 12:30 p.m.
WHERE’S ERIC? He does a question-and-answer session with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce - TecNation Indianapolis on the Ohana Floor at Salesforce tomorrow at 9 a.m.
WHERE’S JOE? He has back-to-back press conferences tomorrow—a 1 p.m. with the Indiana Black Expo at Crossroads Bible College; and a 2 p.m. Ford City of Tomorrow Challenge Announcement at the Julia Carson Transit Center.
THE BUTTIGIEG BEAT
Late last year, Beto O’Rourke’s possible entrance into the 2020 Democratic primary was an event that worried Pete Buttigieg’s campaign advisers. His prowess at small-dollar fundraising—his lightning-in-a-bottle national star—would be tough to contend with, they told me.
With O’Rourke’s entrance and a more than $6 million fundraising haul in 24 hours, those worries are about to be tested.
EXTRA, EXTRA: Buttigieg is staffing up, according to The Washington Post.
He plans to double his campaign staff from 20 to 40 “in a matter of days,” and his team is narrowing down options for a bigger South Bend headquarters — perhaps an entire floor of a downtown high rise.
WHAT’S NEXT: Buttigieg makes his first trip of his exploratory committee to South Carolina on Saturday, with stops in Greenville, Columbia and Rock Hill.
IMPORTANTVILLE THOUGHT BUBBLE: Buttigieg often talks about his ability to win over Red State voters, but when he thought about doing that statewide in Indiana last fall, he told me there was no path—answers that are in tension with each other. If he can’t win Indiana running statewide, how will he fare next May, if he makes it until our state’s primary?
FUN CAMPAIGN PIECE: Could a 2020 candidate visit every U.S. county? by Jay Kenworthy, Indiana Explained:
But the reminder about Beto’s campaign made us wonder if he — or any candidate, because we’re really tired of typing “Beto” — could possibly visit every county in the United States during a run for president?
We here at Indiana explained did the math so you don’t have to.
GAUGING BAYH’S LEGACY: “Mr. Bayh goes to Indianapolis,” by Trevor Foughty, Howey Politics:
In the week since his death, much has been written about Birch Bayh’s time in the U.S. Senate, and his place in the pantheon of American history. This is all rightfully so, and Bayh's impact rivals that of any Hoosier to serve in our nation's capital in any capacity.
But before he was serving Hoosiers in Washington, he was a farm boy from Vigo County serving Hoosiers in Indianapolis over four terms as a State Representative. None of the obituaries give this time at the State House more than a passing mention, and only then because because he served for a term as the Speaker of the House.
Kaitlin Lange, The Indianapolis Star: Indiana's Sen. Todd Young distances himself from Trump in pivotal week for Republicans
In early February, there was a nonbinding rebuke of President Donald Trump’s announcement that U.S. forces would be withdrawn from Afghanistan and Syria.
Last Wednesday, it was a vote in defiance of Trump to end military aid to Saudi Arabia for its controversial war in Yemen.
Also last week, more than a dozen Republicans introduced a bill that would give Congress a bigger say on a president’s ability to declare national emergencies.
Indiana’s Todd Young was one of two Senate Republicans to have taken all three actions — each at least initially opposed by the Trump administration — even as he joined all but a dozen Senate GOP colleagues to support the president's emergency declaration for a border wall.
Chelsea Janes and Michael Scherer, The Washington Post Pete Buttigieg, the young and openly gay Midwest mayor, finds a voice in crowded Democratic presidential field
Pete Buttigieg — the mayor of South Bend, Ind., who is running for president — won’t wear his dress jacket, not when he appears on national television for a town hall meeting, not for photo shoots, not even at a fundraiser here in a Russian-themed bar where he’s mingling with such celebrities as comedian Billy Eichner and Olympic diver Greg Louganis.
“There’s a side controversy over that question,” Buttigieg said in an interview. No less a figure than David Axelrod, the top strategist for the past two winning Democratic presidential campaigns, has been privately urging the 37-year-old to look more grown-up by wearing a jacket on the campaign trail.
“I don’t know,” Buttigieg said, hesitating as if embarrassed by how contrived his next thought might sound. “I just feel more comfortable with my sleeves rolled up.”
Katie Rogers and Annie Karni, “Good Cop or Good Soldier? Mike Pence Is a Tempting Target for 2020 Democrats”
Vice President Mike Pence was doing just fine in the background. Then a Democrat called him “decent.”
In their search to present themselves as the antidote to the Trump administration, a raft of Democratic presidential hopefuls are targeting Mr. Pence, an evangelical Christian and comparatively sedate figure who has showcased President Trump’s hard-line policies to the rest of world with a smile.
That’s all for today. Thanks for reading. Have a good week. Did a friend forward you this? Click below to subscribe.