Monday, October 31, 2011

The Tea Party, the Occupy Crowd, and the Indianapolis Mayor's Race

With a complete lack of independent polling, both campaigns are pointing to results showing their candidate ahead.  Mayor Greg Ballard claims to be in the lead by 12 points in a GOP poll and Melina Kennedy by 2 points in a Democratic poll.  While both campaigns say the polling is recent, the poll results sound exactly like those the parties were touting some five weeks ago. 

Frankly, I don't buy either camp's claim.   Most likely the campaigns at this point are just doing tracking polling which, while good at showing how candidates are trending, are not good at predicting the result on election day.   I would guess though that the race is likely to be very close.   The irony is that it did not have to be.

As we count down to the election, we are witness to tea party and occupy movements all across the country.  While seemingly different, they are are both rooted in a growing populist movement which gains more influence in the major parties every day.  People on the left and right are tired of elected officials using the tools of government to make their rich friends richer.

Ballard may well have been the first tea party candidate.  But having won in 2007, Ballard immediately rejected his populist roots and became the consummate insider or at least someone willing to take orders, without question, from insiders. His opponent, Melina Kennedy, has been willing to stick a proverbial toe in the populist political pool, but little more than that.

Both Ballard and Kennedy seem oblivious to the growing anger working men and women have toward their government officials and the fortunes being amassed by those in the private sector at the expense of taxpayers.  Ballard could have spent his time in office tapping into that populist angst, leading a movement against the establishment policies of his predecessors.  If Ballard would have taken that course, he would face only token opposition in next week's election instead of an extremely well-funded, high profile opponent.

With Ballard absenting himself from the populist movement, the field was wide open for a Democrat  to swoop in and take advantage of the populist angst as reflected in the tea party and occupy movements.   If Kennedy would have ran as a populist, Ballard's chances of a second term would have been slim and none.  But Kennedy's roots and inclinations are also with the establishment. 

Thus, in the race for Mayor we are left with two establishment candidates who do not appear to understand the angst of the average Indianapolis voter who see their tax dollars continually handed out to the downtown elites and corporate insiders, money that liberal populists would like to see go to schools, libraries, public transportation, etc. while conservative populists would like to see remain in the pockets of the taxpayers.

Yes, next week's election will probably be close. But it didn't have to be.


Nicolas Martin said...

Their concerns do not include "the average voter," but the power brokers who keep them in power, and who depend on the politicians to reciprocate with money and opportunities for status. This "average voter" nonsense is no more rational than was the divine right of kings.

M Theory said...

We had a democrat (Brian Williams) that I was really excited about.

He got ground up by the COMBINE!