Friday, December 5, 2014

Can an Independent Candidate Win the Indianapolis' Mayor's Office?

Yesterday, Ten Point Coalition leader Rev. Charles Harrison has filed for an exploratory committee to run for Indianapolis Mayor.   It is still up in the air whether Harrison will run as a Democrat or an independent, but the betting is, if he runs, it will be as an independent.

Rev. Charles Harrison
Can a non-major party candidate win the Mayor's Office in Indianapolis?    Normally I think such candidates are like political Don Quixotes, tilting at windmills.  But having said that, the Indianapolis political climate is open to such a challenge.  Locally we have two parties whose leadership and elected officials are completely dominated by an elite group of political insiders, i.e. attorneys from big law firms, government contractors, and developers.  I call them "profiteers," those who have used political connections to become wealthy from taxpayer dollars.

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.


Anonymous said...

Are you contending that Charles Harrison is NOT a "profiteer?"

Anonymous said...

Come on, Paul. No, he can not win as an independent. It's not about winning. It's about pulling votes from the Democratic candidate. Probably just enough votes so the Republican can win. Rev Harrison has been paid by the Ballard administration to fight crime for several years. Ironically, crime has done nothing but rise. It's pay back time.
Harrison says he's a Democrat but will run as an independent?? Why? If he can't win a primary, he can't win the general.
Look close, kids. this is what bought and paid for looks like.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:54: Go spend a night on the streets with Pastor Harrison & report back. There's more risk of life than public treasury in the work he does.

Anonymous said...

Really Anon 7:26? Who is the "republican" candidate? Does the MCRP produce candidates?

Anonymous said...

Here's a link to candidate Citizen Harrison:

Flogger said...

Paul, you are totally correct in your statement - "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." They are one Party - Republicrat.

For the Voters our choice is like playing Tic Tac Toe. The best possible out come is a draw. The Voters choice is between Labeled selected Candidates by profiteers for the most part, both Party Labels are a sham.

Anonymous said...

Van he win as an independent,,yes the man is black. But Miller will keep him off of the ballot by challenging every signature and Miler wil win, after all he learned from the snake Ed. The only way he can win is if he goes with an established party D,R or L..The Ds will not allow him to run, they know he will split the vote and possibly hand the deal to R

Anonymous said...

Oh come on! Many of us who read, write & participate in these blogs know each, making us a conspiracy in our decision of questionable associations- that's a joke.

This idea that Harrison's life at risk ministry is somehow a cash cow is crazy talk. Check the history of his street ministry & ask how many people you know put themselves on the line as he does.

Let the guy tell us who he is & we can judge for ourselves. Who again is the Republican candidate that Harrison is going to "help?"

MikeC said...

Who was that firefighter (now deceased) that ran against Goldsmith as an independent? He did pretty well, didn't he?

MikeC said...

Besides, he is probably up for sale. He will get something from the GOP if he runs, and from the Dems if he doesn't. Smart guy.