|Rev. Charles Harrison|
Here is how it works. Politicians vote to give taxpayer money to the profiteers who then reward the politicians with political contributions, perks, contracts for their friends, and cushy jobs for the politicians when they leave office. While profiteering has increased exponentially during the administration of Republican Mayor Greg Ballard, both local party establishments strongly support the system and will fight tooth and nail anyone who dares advocate for his or constituents against the profiteers. No better example exists than council member Republican Christine Scales who is being targeted for opposing Ballard's never ending tax increases. Where did the GOP establishment find the candidate, Tim Craft, to run against Scales? Not surprisingly, Craft works for CB Richard Ellis (CBRE), a commercial real estate firm which has received millions in contracts from the Ballard administration.
The aforementioned taxpayer giveaways has led to a very surprising right-left coalition. Both conservatives and liberals agree that the city's leaders have terribly skewed priorities that have led to city services being neglected in favor of corporate welfare. When the money for city services comes up short, the answer is always for raise taxes on Indianapolis residents to pay for those services. Then that new tax revenue gets diverted to yet more corporate welfare.
A message against misplaced priorities and corporate welfare could have enormous resonance with the voters. But right now, that political impact of that message exists only in kinetic form, i.e. potential. The average Indianapolis voter still doesn't fully comprehend what their local pols have been doing. Those voters would have to be educated and that's always a difficult thing to do during an election.
An independent candidate would have to be skilled at driving the political debate, using the media, including the newer methods of social media, to make the election about misplaced priorities, corporate welfare and both parties never ending desire to raise taxes. The candidate would have to do all this while opposed by the Indianapolis Star, which as the state's largest newspaper, is not only an enthusiastic supporter of corporate welfare but has also been been a beneficiary of it.
In short, the independent candidate would have to persuade voters that the local Democratic and Republican party organizations are in cahoots to pursue corporate welfare polices that make the rich richer at the expense of working men and women who are struggling to pay their bills. It is that populist message that could unite the conservative and liberal voters in a tenuous coalition. Creating that coalition and keeping it focused on the common ground that joins them, rather than their philosophical differences on policy, would be a challenge.
Could Harrison pull that off as an independent candidate? Possibly. It would be tough, but the potential is there.