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Tuesday, November 19, 2019
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Thursday, November 14, 2019 9:11 AM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS  – A polarized nation watched its executive and legislative branches lurch into a fourth impeachment sequence on Wednesday.

Democratic Judiciary Chairman Adam Schiff portrayed a scheme by President Trump’s White House to have a desperate ally – Ukraine, under invasion from Russian proxy forces – supply political dirt on a potential political rival.

Republicans from Trump himself to his allies on Capitol Hill called the probe a “witch hunt” designed to overturn the 2016 presidential election. “Today, America will see one party try and overturn the constitutional election of a president of the United States of America, a goal since @realDonaldTrump  was elected,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, an ardent defender of Trump.

“The questions presented by this impeachment inquiry are whether President Trump sought to exploit that ally’s vulnerability and invite Ukraine’s interference in our elections?” Schiff said. “Whether President Trump sought to condition official acts, such as a White House meeting or U.S. military assistance, on Ukraine’s willingness to assist with two political investigations that would help his reelection campaign? And if President Trump did either, whether such an abuse of his power is compatible with the office of the presidency? The matter is as simple, and as terrible as that. Our answer to these questions will affect not only the future of this presidency, but the future of the presidency itself, and what kind of conduct or misconduct the American people may come to expect from their commander-in-chief.” 

Republicans sought to portray the proceedings as a partisan farce. Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the top Republican on the Intelligence panel, cited a “three-year-long operation” to “overturn the results of the 2016 election” by congressional Democrats. “This is a carefully orchestrated media smear campaign,” Nunes said, and described the Ukraine controversy as a “low-rent” sequel to the investigation of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians. Republicans argue that the proceedings are an attempt to abrogate the 2016 election that thrust Trump into a shocking upset that gained him the White House.

This fourth impeachment proceedings are expected to yield an indictment of President Trump in the House, and an acquittal in the Senate. The Indiana congressional delegation enters this process along partisan lines, with Democrat Rep. Andre Carson and the retiring Pete Visclosky supporting the impeachment inquiry, while Republican are opposed.
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  • BY: MARK SOUDER
    FORT WAYNE – In a year when introducing yourself as an incumbent mayor in many Hoosier cities was akin to being known as the carrier of a transferable, incurable disease, Mayor Tom Henry romped to a fourth consecutive victory with over 60% against a relatively strong candidate (e.g. smart, organized, very well-funded).  It is the sixth straight Democrat triumph in the Fort Wayne’s mayoral race. In other words, there has not been a Republican mayor in the 21st Century.  The only two Republicans to have won in the last 50 years (since Harold Zeis in 1967) – one-term Robert Armstrong in 1975 and Paul Helmke in 1987 – were greatly aided by legal problems of the incumbent Democrats. Helmke won three times, and only left office in 1999 to seek and win the Republican nomination for the United States Senate. Yet some Republicans continue to peddle the falsehood that Fort Wayne is a Republican city. It is not.
  • By JACK COLWELL
    SOUTH BEND – National politics, usually of little significance in city elections, was an important factor as James Mueller won the mayoral race in South Bend. It was reflected in the totals in these two examples: Mueller, the choice of Mayor Pete Buttigieg to be his successor, won with 63% of the vote, impressive, but short of the 80% by which Mayor Pete won reelection in 2015. Still, Mueller got more votes this time than Mayor Pete did in that reelection landslide. Election night totals showed Mueller, the Democratic nominee, defeating Republican Sean Haas by 9,261 to 5,341. Four years ago, it was Buttigieg over Republican Kelly Jones by 8,515 to 2,074.
  • By LEE HAMILTON
    BLOOMINGTON  – One of the not-so-small gifts of living in a representative democracy is that you can’t accomplish things alone. Whether you’re trying to get a stop sign put up on a dangerous corner or to change U.S. policy on greenhouse gas emissions, you have to reach out to others. And learning how to persuade, motivate, and involve them – learning the skills of active citizenship, in other words – makes this a stronger, more resilient country. So I want to make a case for building and using those skills by tackling the issues right in front of us. We all live in communities that we know better than anyone who doesn’t live there,  including the policy makers who every day make decisions on larger issues that affect our lives there. Who better than those who live in a particular community to step up, identify its problems, and then work to solve them?
  • By MORTON J. MARCUS
    INDIANAPOLIS — The moving van pulls away leaving new people and their strange possessions next door. There is something different about them and the things they own. Something strange that suggests they are not quite like us, long-time residents of this place. Where do those strangers come from? We’re fortunate the U.S. Bureau of the Census has studied that question concerning persons who were one year of age and older in 2018. They found 84.9% of Hoosiers were folks who lived in the same house as they did in 2017. But that’s below the national average of 86%, and we rank 32nd among the 50 states (plus the District of Columbia). Hoosiers are less homebodies than other residents of this nation? Where did those strangers come from? Take heart! Indiana ranks 10th in the nation (12.4%) in terms of persons who moved within the same state in the last year. Those strangers may be from just around the corner, or as far away at Angola, Aurora, Mt. Vernon or Whiting. Thus, they’re not really strangers. Take them a welcoming casserole. Make sure you exchange cell phone numbers and don’t hesitate to give them your email address.
  • By PETE SEAT
    INDIANAPOLIS — It’s that time of year again. With as many as four toss-up contests set to determine which party controls the U.S. Senate come January 2021, another 23 toss-ups poised to crown the next speaker of the House, and the possible impeachment of the president of the United States on the line, it might as well be Christmas for the no-accountability caucus of coastal political pundits and prognosticators who commentate with speculative certainty about too-close-to-call races and issues. But while the Beltway intelligentsia attempts to draw black and white conclusions about what will happen, the data is hardly black and white. In fact, in what I call Margin of Error America, our political future is at best itself a toss-up, giving the pundit class license to write a new chapter of conventional wisdom about what’s to come by the hour and leaving our politics without a clear mandate for moving forward.
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  • Horse Race: Buttigieg rises to top of Iowa poll
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS  — South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has joined former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at the top of the leaderboard in the third Monmouth University Poll of the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses. Buttigieg’s gains since the summer have been across the board, with increasing support coming from nearly every demographic group.  Regardless, less than one-third of likely caucusgoers say that they are firmly set on their choice of candidate and most would not be too disappointed if they had to switch their support.  
  • The Indiana Citizen takes aim at lagging Hoosier civic health
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Next Monday morning, Hoosiers will be getting a biennial report card on civic engagement, presented by Lee Hamilton, Randall Shepard and Greg Zoeller. The state’s social “fabric” will be measured by the “Civic Health Index” and it won’t be pretty. Past reports have come and gone since 2011 without a mechanism to enhance voter participation, voluntary civic and religious assembly. That will change with the establishment of “The Indiana Citizen” website. Created by Bill and Ann Moreau with the support of board members Bob Grand, Jeanne Kelsay, Michael Goldenberg, Russell Cox and Trevor Foughty, this non-partisan, non-profit platform described as “The Crossroads of Civic Engagement” will seek to increase 2020 voter participation by 20%, or 500,000 votes,  next year. “That would move Indiana from the bottom 10 to the top 10,” Moreau told HPI Tuesday as he previewed his Indiana Citizen message. It was recorded on March 15, a day after his former boss and mentor, U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh, died.
  • Horse Race: Mayors Henry, Bennett get four more
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS  – It would be trite to say the 2019 municipal elections were status quo, not with 17 defeated incumbents. But there are solid trendlines: Democrats dominated in the big cities, coasting to wins in Indianapolis by Joe Hogsett and Fort Wayne by Tom Henry and picking up council seats in Evansville without a credible mayoral nominee. Republicans did extremely well in the auto belt, picking up Kokomo, Logansport and Muncie. It helped them forge a historic 70-seat night, which underscores how the Republicans are dominating in the prairies (they hold 80% of county commissioner seats), while Democrats are holding onto the big cities and college towns.

  • Horse Race: Visclosky retirement opens door for McDermott, Mrvan
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS — The dust had barely settled on Tuesday’s mayoral race when U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky dropped a bombshell: The dean of the Indiana congressional delegation won’t seek reelection. It immediately opened the door for Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. to seek the office he was planning to announce for on Dec. 6. North Township Trustee Frank J. Mrvan also jumped in. “On Nov. 6, 35 years ago today I was elected to serve as Indiana’s 1st District U.S. representative,” Visclosky wrote. “Today, I announce that I will not seek reelection. For the past 35 years our office has vigorously advocated on behalf of thousands of constituents for assistance on any number of local, state and federal isues. While we could never guarantee positive results, we could guarantee our hard work and best efforts.”
  • Michigan City Mayor Meer's defeat amidst legal mess
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS  — The mayor is up for reelection within month. His son is arrested on a drug possession charge, making local headline news. In a rational world, a prudent police chief or sheriff would have immediately sought to have the case handed off to the Indiana State Police. If there were to be charges, a prudent prosecutor probably would have opted for a special prosecutor, to ensure there were no signs of impropriety. But none of that happened in Michigan City and LaPorte County this past week. Instead, Democratic Mayor Ron Meer found himself in a showdown with his own police chief, who resigned, along with senior staff following the arrest of his stepson on Oct. 10 by the LaPorte County Drug Task Force.
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  • AG Hill announces for reelection
    “Over the last three years, I have worked to fulfill my pledge to Hoosiers: from cracking down on violent criminals to protecting the most vulnerable in our society. Standing for what’s right is harder than ever, but I do it every day with courage and conviction as Attorney General, and I’m just getting started. That’s why, today, I am announcing my re-election campaign for Attorney General. Indiana needs strength, courage, and bold conservative leadership.” - Attorney General Curtis Hill, announcing he is seeking reelection in 2020. The announcement comes as Hill awaits a decision from the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission weighing potential infractions from the 2018 groping allegations at a sine die party. The Ball State University Hoosier Poll tested Hill for the first time. Large percentages of Hoosiers either have not heard of Hill (11%) or didn’t express an opinion (36%). Only 38% of respondents approved of the attorney general’s job performance; 15% expressed disapproval.
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  • The Foreign Involvement in Elections Act

    Calling on Sens. Young & Braun, and Rep. Banks to author the Foreign Involvement in Elections Act, which would legalize foreign sources to fund and influence American elections. If this is the new norm, if this is OK, then legalize it.

    Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano explained, "The proof is largely undisputed, except by the president himself. It consists of admissions, testimony and documents, which show that President Trump sought to induce the government of Ukraine to become involved in the 2020 presidential election. Specifically, Trump held up $391 million in American military hardware and financial aid to Ukraine until Ukrainian prosecutors commenced a criminal investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. That is a mouthful of facts to swallow in one bite, but the legal implications are straightforward and profound."

    Conservative legal scholar Cass Sunstein laid out a similar narrative a few weeks ago. So with the House passing an official impeachment inquiry on a virtual party line vote, the question for Senate Republicans and the American people is whether their fidelity to the once GOP pillar of the "rule of law" stands, or whether it is consumed by a cult of personality presidency which will profoundly change American politics; where foreign influence will be invited into future elections. It's the ultimate slippery slope for the republic. Will we keep it?  - Brian A. Howey, publisher

     
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