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Monday, May 02, 2016
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U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a socialist seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, made his final campaign pitch on Monument Circle under the corporate banners of Anthem and Chase. (HPI Photo by Brian A. Howey)
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a socialist seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, made his final campaign pitch on Monument Circle under the corporate banners of Anthem and Chase. (HPI Photo by Brian A. Howey)
Monday, May 02, 2016 9:08 PM

INDIANAPOLIS - Somewhere in the universe, Eugene Debs was smiling over Monument Circle. There, on a cool, damp election eve, socialist U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke of a revolution before some 10,000 Hoosiers disgusted by the decline of the American middle class. Sanders spoke as the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll showed him trailing Hillary Clinton in the Indiana Democratic presidential primary 50-46%, a race within the margin of error. Sanders insisted that the margin of financial error for millions of Hoosiers and Americans has vanished.

“Hey Indy, are you ready for a revolution?” Sanders said as the statue “Victory” high atop the Soldiers and Sailors Monument rose above him, and yet below the Chase Tower, the Hoosier State's tallest skyscraper. “We have won 17 primaries and caucuses. I have a feeling that with your support we’re going to make it No. 18.” Scanning the crowd filled with young people, Sanders said, “What it means is our ideas are the future of America. Our ideas are the future of the Democratic Party.”

Debs was the Socialist presidential nominee five times between 1900 and 1920. The last time the Terre Haute native ran, he did it from a prison cell, convicted of violating the Sedition Act of 1918. Debs never topped 6% in an American election. On Sunday, Sanders was polling 46%. His campaign has raised close to $100 million in small donations. His Monday night rally capped a wild week with four presidential candidates and one ex-president conducted dozens of campaign events across the Hoosier prairies. Like Republican billionaire Donald Trump, whose campaign has been fueled by a populist uprising over what is widely perceived as a “rigged system,” Sanders took aim at United Technologies, which is moving 2,100 Carrier jobs to Medico where the Vermont senator said they will earn $3 an hour. Sanders surveyed a company with a $7 billion profit in 2015, a retiring CEO with a $172 million retirement package, and the current CEO with a $14 million salary.

“If I am elected president, United Technologies is going to learn a lesson,” Sanders said. “They are going to realize their workers won’t be treated like disposable trash.” Sanders said the United States is the wealthiest nation on earth, with the 1% making as much as 90% of the population. “We are telling the truth,” Sanders said. “This is a corrupt campaign finance system and this is a corrupt economy. Democracy is one person, one vote, not billionaires buying elections. This is a rigged economy proliferated with billionaires and millionaires while we have a high rate of child poverty. That is unacceptable.
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    INDIANAPOLIS - It’s no fluke that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz stopped by Lucchese’s Italian restaurant outside Elkhart on a barnstorming tour of Indiana this past week. The family-owned eatery is a local landmark. Located on a busy county road, it was started more than 30 years ago by a firefighter who'd learned how to cook for his firehouse crew. It's now managed by his son, a Republican county commissioner, and frequented by conservative GOP Congresswoman Jackie Walorksi when she’s in town. Owner Frank Lucchese confessed to being a John Kasich fan in the presidential primary race, but he understood why the Cruz campaign wanted to stop there. A crowd quickly assembled to greet him. “We’re a place everybody knows,” Lucchese said. Same goes for the historic Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor in Columbus, first opened in 1900, where Cruz's young daughters ordered whipped cream-topped sundaes while he shook hands with voters and happily posed for selfies.
    WASHINGTON – Basketball is the closest thing in Indiana to a state religion.  Or, as Phillip M. Hoose wrote in his wonderful look at heartland America, Hoosiers: The Fabulous Basketball Life of Indiana, “Indiana is basketball’s hometown.” So it is not surprising candidates in next Tuesday’s Indiana primary would try to lay claim to the Hoosier state’s hoops tradition. Nonetheless, it has been a bit amusing to watch some out-of-staters fumble the ball. Earlier this week, former Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight returned to Indiana to campaign in Indianapolis with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.  Knight led the Hoosiers to three national championships and arguably could have been elected governor of the state around that time. But Knight is now regarded by many Hoosiers as every bit a bombastic, sexist, and polarizing a figure as Trump. Knight’s introduction of Trump consisted mostly of a nonsensical rant about longhaired teens and predictable complaints about the dearth of great leaders in America. By bringing in Knight, Trump has a speaker who is essentially preaching to the choir rather than expanding his base. But because Indiana is an open primary state, Knight could possibly help attract some voters who would usually stay home on primary election day.
    FORT WAYNE – In this absurdist comedy named the “Republican Farce,” which is being directed and controlled by Donald Trump, nothing is as it seems. Ben Carson is on the ballot, still, but gets some concessions from Trump in return for his support. Classic deal-maker Chris Christie, still on the ballot, becomes “inactive” (i.e. cancels appearances, doesn’t campaign) in return for who knows what. Will Christie be attorney general in a fantasy Trump Presidency?  The Donald knows how to cut deals. You do it in private. As he eloquently states, what you say in public is not what you say in a room of 10 people when you are cutting the deal. The Cruz-Kasich “deal” –  which Trump calls corrupt, collusion, weak, pathetic, and people would go to jail for in the non-government world (all 100% false) – is very public and not collusion. Christie and Carson, who actually made “deals” and did not release specifics (Carson appears to have wanted access and allies given access; Christie likely has a tacitly acknowledged real deal which would be illegal if it was binding), colluded with Trump.  Kasich and Cruz merely agreed to focus on where they were strongest. But the Donald out-maneuvered them once again. Somehow, using the media effectively again, Trump has managed to convince people that Kasich/Cruz cut a private deal while it was Trump who actually did so multiple times. In other words, Trump again is by far the most political while insisting that he is not.
    INDIANAPOLIS – Dis is it. So spoke Jake and Elwood Blues, a declarative statement of where the action is and burnished at the Slippery Noodle Inn, the Hoosier State’s oldest bar. For the past week, tens of thousands of us have gathered, applauded, posed for selfies, taunted the enemy (the press) and have gotten to know Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. We are the Center of the Political Universe, coming in a state that over the past two election cycles has had the nation’s worst voter turnout. Next Tuesday, just like the nascent Hoosier Republicans did in Chicago in 1860 when we helped put Abraham Lincoln over the top, we could be on the verge of anointing the next two presidential nominees.  And it’s been a blast, whether it was watching Trump bloviate like an obnoxious uncle at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, witnessing Cruz press the flesh and order up a pastrami at Shapiro’s Deli, inspiring folks at the Johnson County Fairgounds, or applauding Bernie Sanders at Purdue and IU.
    MUNCIE – In the darkest days of the Great Recession, enrollment at Ivy Tech exploded, allowing perhaps one in three unemployed Hoosiers to pursue an education. The women and men who made that happen in the classroom and administrative offices deserve our thanks. But, in 2016, not all is well in what might be our most important college. Unfortunately, the Ivy Tech system responded to this huge rush of students with an overabundance of construction. Ivy Tech now has more than twice the physical space it could possibly need scattered on more than 110 sites around the state. What started as an ambitious effort to offer a wide course of study turned into an overpromise and underdelivery of services. Sadly, graduation rates are in the single digits, and worse still, the school has struggled to recruit and retain its most important contribution to success, its faculty. This column is not about casting blame. Nearly everyone in Indiana has a stake in Ivy Tech’s success and has shared their opinion. And this economist won’t speak ill of anyone who forecasted poorly through the Great Recession. Still, the time has come for Ivy Tech to embrace a new model.
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  • Pence campaigns with Cruz in Marion, Fort Wayne


    INDIANAPOLIS - After a weekend of criticism over what was roundly described as a tepid and half-hearted endorsement, Gov. Mike Pence hit the campaign trail with Ted Cruz. The two Republicans worked a large crowd at a Marion restaurant mid-day Monday. Asked about the Pence endorsement, Cruz said, “It’s incredibly important. Every year he’s cut taxes and reduced regulation. We need to bring this type of conservatism to Washington.” As the two Republicans wound through the crowd, Pence was asked about his support of Cruz, “I think this is the time for choosing. It’s wonderful people of Indiana have a chance to play a leading role," Pence said. "My choice is Ted Cruz but I’m really looking forward to the polls opening tomorrow and Indiana getting its say.”
    In an interview a short time later with NBC's Hallie Jackson, Pence said, "I am extremely impressed with his knowledge of the Constitution and the liberties enshrined there, the 2nd Amendment and his commitment to the sanctity of life. All of these are reasons why I have chosen to support Ted Cruz. How Hoosiers across the state are in the process of making up their own minds and Hoosiers have a tendency to do that and I respect that. For me, for my part, I want people to know I am supporting Ted Cruz in the Indiana primary."

  • Hillary assails Trump, Cruz in final pitch to Hoosier voters

    INDIANAPOLIS - Hillary Clinton made her closing case for a second Indiana Democratic presidential primary victory at an east side Indianapolis park gym Sunday afternoon, vowing to defend Obamacare, push for gun reforms and policies to spur manufacturing growth. It comes as the former senator and secretary of state is leading Bernie Sanders by just 50 to 46% margin in an NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll released Sunday morning. That poll also showed Republican Donald Trump leading Ted Cruz 49-34%. Clinton poked at her potential Republican rivals, saying that violence at Donald Trump rallies reminded her of a “faraway country,” adding, “Enough! Enough!” She ridiculed Ted Cruz’s plan to patrol Muslim neighborhoods as an anti-terror method, calling it “dangerous talk.” She reminded the crowd of about 500 at Douglass Park that it wasn’t so long ago that 23 million jobs were created, wages were rising and crime was falling. “I remember the 1990s when a Clinton was president,” the former First Lady said as the crowd erupted in cheers. “What happened? Well, one thing that happened was we got a Republican president. We ended up in one of the worst financial crisis.”
  • NBC/WSJ/Marist Poll has Trump up 15% in Indiana


    INDIANAPOLIS - A new NBC/Wall Street Jounrla/Marist Poll shows Donald Trump expanding his lead in Indiana, 49-34% with Ohio Gov. John Kasich comes in at 13%. Trump's lead has expanded since the April 18-21 survey by WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana which had Trump leading 37-31. In the Hoosier State's Democratic contest, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by just four points, 50 to 46%.
    "In Indiana, Trump is positioned to corral all the [state's 57] delegates, which will be a big prize toward winning the nomination outright," Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion told NBC News. "Clinton and Sanders are more likely to divide the delegate pool, which will do little to change the narrative on the Democratic side." Since the WTHR/Howey Poll, Trump has held two massive rallies in Indiana drawing more than 20,000 people with former Indiana University coach Bobby Knight, while Cruz has focused on a classic ground game, cut a deal with Kasich, picked Carl Fiorina for a potential ticket, and received a tepid endorsement from Gov. Mike Pence.

  • WTHR/Howey Poll: Translating prez race to Congressional Districts

    Sabato’s Crystal Ball

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – One could not be blamed for looking at the Republican primary results over the past 10 days and questioning how someone could stop Donald Trump from being the Republican nominee. But a look at the delegate math suggests that the race is not over yet. As we laid out after New York, the roadmap to a Trump delegate majority involved big wins in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states that voted this past Tuesday. To be sure, Trump’s wins were larger than the polling averages suggested, just like the Empire State primary a week earlier: He generally ran several points ahead of his polling in these states and ran slightly ahead of our delegate roadmap.
    But as things stand, all paths to 1,237 delegates for Trump run through Indiana and California. And the Hoosier State primary on May 3 is ground zero for the anti-Trump forces if they want to trip up the real estate mogul and reality TV star. If Trump wins statewide in Indiana, which is winner-take-all statewide and by congressional district, he would remain on pace to cross the majority threshold.

  • Pence to vote for Cruz, Trump camp says Gov risks reelection bid


    NASHVILLE, Ind. - Gov. Mike Pence said he will vote for Sen. Ted Cruz in Tuesday’s presidential primary. “I see Ted Cruz as a principled conservative who has spent his year advocating the Reagan agenda,” Pence said on WIBC’s “Garrison Show” just after noon today. “I really admire the way Ted Cruz has been ready to stand up for taxpayers and against runaway spending.” Still to be determined is whether Pence will hit the campaign trail with Cruz, the way Carly Fiorina has been making appearances with Cruz. Pence said there are discussions to do just that with the Cruz campaign.
    Reaction to the endorsement was described as "tepid" and "less than full-throated." It comes as Pence is is locked in a 49-45% race against Democrat John Gregg in the WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana Poll while his fav/unfav stands at 44/41% and the Indiana right/wrong track is at 44/45%. Trump campaign Indiana vice chairman Tony Samuel, reacted to the Pence nod, telling Howey Politics Indiana, "I don't think this changes a single vote. If anything, it could add votes for Donald Trump. And the only real political impact this will have is that it could hurt the Governor's reelection effort."

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  • Trump stops at Shapiro's Deli (orders a reuben)
    “Indiana’s going to be great. Indiana is very important. We have such popularity here. I love the Bobby Knight endorsement, he’s tough and he knows how to win. We’re having the biggest rallies they’ve ever had.” - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, stopping at Shapiro’s Deli in Indianapolis early Monday afternoon to order a reuben before heading to a rally at Carmel. Trump insisted that Ted Cruz, who ordered a pastrami at Shapiro's last week, and John Kasich "have no path to victory."
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HPI Video Feed
Fiorina tumbles off stage at Cruz rally
Carly Fiorina tumbled off the stage at a Cruz rally in Lafayette. She was unhurt.

Hillary Clinton campaigns in Indy Sunday
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaigned at Douglass Park in Indianapolis on Sunday.

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Who won the Republican U.S. Senate debate?


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