SOUTH BEND – Blue wave? Not in Indiana. It’s still Trumpiana.

There was a purple tide, with just enough touch of blue, in the key Great Lakes states, the battlegrounds of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, to turn them away from President Donald Trump and to President-elect Joe Biden.

Indiana, with such a decisive outcome that it was the first state declared by TV networks for Trump, didn’t matter. Well, except that it mattered for dispirited and far outnumbered Hoosier Democrats. They had talked about, dreamed about and looked for a blue wave, not seriously expecting the state to register Democratic in the Electoral College, but with hope at least to win some other races and be relevant.

The wave swept through Indiana. It was red. Bright red. President Trump won Indiana again by a landslide, rivaling his 2016 blowout victory. So, ’16 was no fluke, no aberration. A decisive majority of Hoosiers showed they had no regrets about the Trump presidency, that they wanted to send a vote of confidence for four more years of Trump’s style of leadership.

The tide that changed abruptly at the Indiana-Michigan state line – from purple to red as it headed south – was Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb sweeping to an even bigger percentage margin than Trump’s, a record percentage for a candidate for governor in modern times. An important reason was the pitiful campaign by the Democratic nominee. Quick! What’s the name of the Democratic nominee? Don’t feel bad if you can’t quickly come up with the name of Woody Myers. He never gained widespread name recognition. Never got an ad on television until the last weekend of the campaign. Never had support for an effective campaign. Never had a chance.

Another reason Myers had no chance is that Holcomb has been a good governor, a popular governor. Still, enough differences on issues could have been taken to voters in an effective campaign to help save other party candidates on the ballot.

Jonathan Weinzapfel, a credible Democratic nominee for attorney general, was trounced, also with no chance, losing to Republican Todd Rokita. And the Republican super majority in the Indiana House grew even more super.

The Democratic debacle brought this suggestion by Brian Howey of Howey Politics Indiana: “The entire Indiana Democratic Central Committee should resign. The Democratic Party is no longer a credible, major party in this state.”

In the 2nd CD, U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski breezed to victory for a fifth term. Pat Hackett, the Democratic nominee, had no chance despite an extensive TV ad effort. Walorski, who has become popular and entrenched in the 10-county district, wasn’t going to be seriously challenged unless there was a powerful blue wave. When the wave had a different color, neither Hackett nor any other challenger was going to come close.

Usually, even in times of strong Republican tides in the nation and state, St. Joseph County Democrats held on to most county offices. The supposed bastion of Democratic strength lacked strength this time. Republican County Commissioner Deb Fleming, though facing a well-funded, determined Democratic challenger, won reelection. Republican Derek Dieter, who had served as a Democrat on South Bend’s city council, waged a skillful campaign to convince voters in a Democratic-tending area to split tickets, and he won the other commissioner race.

Result: The two Republican winners will join with a holdover Republican member on the Board of Commissioners. That means Republicans will hold all three seats on the board, the county government administrative branch. Let me repeat: Republicans will hold all three commissioner posts in “Democratic” St. Joseph County.

A Republican also defeated the incumbent Democratic coroner. A grave situation.

While Democrats in the county can rejoice about neighboring Michigan voting blue, they can only feel blue about what has happened in Trumpiana. 

Colwell has covered Indiana politics over five decades for the South Bend Tribune.