Sunday, February 27, 2011

Are House Democrats Giving Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard a Path to Re-Election?

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard
I have long said, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has no path to victory, no issues that would allow him to overcome the Democratic base in the county and his own steadfast pursuit of unpopular policies.  The decision by the Ballard campaign to try to run on "job promises" during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, a time when Indy has in fact lost jobs under Ballard's watch, shows how clueless the Ballard people are about how issues work to motivate voters. Same thing with the crime issue.  The Ballard campaign thinks voters will cast a ballot for the Mayor because he brought down violent crime.  The trouble with that issue is that people think crime has actually gotten worse, a perception confirmed by almost daily stories of violence in Indianapolis.

You don't have to have much campaign experience to know that jobs and crime are actually issues Melina Kennedy (assuming she wins the nomination) will use against Ballard.  This is the only time I can think of where a candidate (Ballard) has selected as his primary campaign issues, issues that actually work for his opponent.

Indianapolis Mayoral Candidate
Melina Kennedy
The negative issues against Ballard are virtually limitless: the 100 plus tax and fee increases, the $33.5 million he supported giving the Pacers, the ACS sweetheart 50 year parking meter deal as well as other insider deals, the numerous junkets.  Then you have the anger of fiscal conservative, tea party types who supported Ballard in 2007 and can't wait to go vote against him.

Yep, no path to victory.  But a path is beginning to open up...

The Democrats are on the verge of handing Ballard a major campaign issue.  If the House Democrats walkout ended within a few days, after getting the Right to Work bill pulled, the Democrats would have succeeded in motivating their base without doing long term damage to themselves with ordinary voters.

It doesn't matter the reason, any legislative walkout will be highly unpopular with average voters.  But walkouts are also usually quickly forgotten by the general public...that is unless the walkout continues on for a lengthy period of time.  Then it becomes ingrained in the public's mind as the way the minority party conducts business. Instead of becoming a quickly forgotten issue, it transforms into a "voting issue," an issue that affects the way one votes.

By continuing with the walkout into the second week, the House Democrats are on the verge of handing Ballard a pro-Republican, anti-Democratic voting issue.  If the Ballard campaign people are smart, and there is not much evidence of that thus far, they will have Ballard publicly bashing the walkout while making make Melina Kennedy take a position on it.  Kennedy will be boxed in...she almost has to support her fellow Democrats by supporting the walkout, a highly unpopular position with voters that could be turning into a voting issue in 2011.

Should the walkout continue, the Ballard people would be smart to jettison the jobs and crime issues, which are clear losers for Ballard, and make the walkout the No. 1, 2 and 3 issues.  So far though I haven't even seen Ballard comment publicly on the walkout.  It is a golden opportunity for Ballard to, after three years of pushing highly unpopular policies, to take a popular position for a change.

We will see if the Ballard's campaign realizes there is a ball sitting on the tee.


rohshack147 said...

All the democrats need to do is stay on offense! Ballard can try all he wants but given a choice between a Rino and A Dem voters will pick the Dem!

concern neighbour said...

thank you mayor for bankrupting our city bad luck for our neighborhood

concern neighbour said...

goldsmith and ballard two peas in the same pod cant wait to sell tax payers property

concern neighbour said...

sorry state of afaires when two sports teams can bring down a whole city this is crap

guy77money said...

I'm not that sure the average voter really cares what the legislators are doing at the moment. If we get to the point where there is no budget and the state government has to be shut down then there will be major problems for the Democrats. The next week ought to be very interesting.

Cato said...

I'm not sure a Democratic city is going to hold it against Democrats for standing up to Republicans.

This will be old news by November.

Ben said...


I see it 180. This will breath new life into the party. It has always been a party of disscontent, they thrive on it. I se it being a rally battle cry for them.But....a lot can happen between now and the election

Ben said...

Paul, another note. This evening vote atthe CCC will be a big play for the Dems if it goes through

Downtown Indy said...

So tonight the CCC sides with the Mayor to fund most of the No-So project, on the same day we learn the city's computer system for managing call dispatching is in need of $8-20 million to modernize it.

Public safety is clearly not a priority here.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Ben, I would agree if used correctly it could be a rallying point. The trouble is it's gone on too long. Keeping it going doesn't rally the troops anymore...that's already been done. It ticks off the public.