By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

1. Pence at his crossroads

When Mike and Karen Pence decided to rekindle his political career after watching two redtail hawks drafting above their mountain horseback ride in 1999, they could hardly have conceived that his political legacy might come down to the counting of presidential Electoral College ballots. But at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Vice President Pence will preside over a joint session of Congress to do just that, or, perhaps, watch incalculable damage to the fragile American democracy experience as President Trump attempts to overturn an election. If Pence stays true to his oath to uphold the Constitution from enemies "both foreign and domestic," and declare Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 Electoral College he stands to anger Trump and his 80 million Twitter followers. If caves to Trump, he will forever be identified as the vice president who thwarted the will of 81 million Biden voters.

At a campaign rally in Georgia Monday night, President Trump said, "I hope Mike Pence comes through for us, I have to tell you. Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him quite as much.” Trump added that Pence is “going to have a lot to say about it. And you know one thing with him, you’re going to get straight shots. He’s going to call it straight.” 

Associated Press:Pence has spent hours huddling with the president, staff and the Senate parliamentarian. His office declined to discuss his plans heading into Wednesday’s count. But people close to the vice president stressed his respect for institutions and said they expect him to act in accordance with the law and hew to the Constitution. On the other hand, Ron at CodemonkeyZ writes on the Neon Revolt: "You have a choice, Mr. Vice President. Either you will rise up with courage and become the hero who saved the Republic, or you will spend the rest of your days reviled in ignominy as your children, and your grandchildren, and their descendants end up as little more than chattel on the global plantation. I don’t think I’m exaggerating the stakes. Go with God, Mr. Vice President. Fight for the people on that day. Strike the giants, and cut off all their heads. If you can be entrusted with this immense and Constitutional power – to safeguard the Republic on that day when our enemies would snatch it away from us – we, the people, will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we can trust you in 2024 and beyond."

2. Pence vocalizes

On Monday, USA Today reported that Pence "vocalized" his support for some Republicans’ efforts to keep President Trump in the White House by overturning the Electoral College results. “I promise you, come this Wednesday, we’ll have our day in Congress. We’ll hear the objections. We’ll hear the evidence,” Pence said.

3. Banks, Walorski join the protest

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski tweeted, "The integrity of our elections – and the faith the American people have that their votes are fully and fairly counted – is a cornerstone of our democracy. I share the concerns of many Hoosiers about irregularities in the way some states conducted the 2020 presidential election. That is why I strongly support the creation of an Electoral Commission to conduct an emergency audit of presidential election returns before Inauguration Day." On Sunday, Rep. Jim Banks said on Facebook: "Article II, Section 1, clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states that Presidential Electors must be appointed according to rules established by each state’s legislature," Banks said in his Facebook post. But in the months before the 2020 election, these rules were thwarted in some states not by their legislatures — but by governors, secretaries of state, election officials, judges and/or private parties." He told WANE-TV, “It’s clear at this point that Joe Biden is the President-elect and will likely take office and be inaugurated on January 20th. For my part, I will vote to uphold the Constitution and send a message to states that they must adhere to our founding document’s instructions – so I will vote against certification in disputed states.”

4. March Madness comes home

It took a pandemic to bring a dream home to Indiana. The NCAA announced Monday that the entire March Madness men's basketball tournament will be played exclusively in Indiana: At Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall at IU and Mackey Arena at Purdue University. “There are a number of world-class facilities in a close location and that was critical because you have to run a large number of games simultaneously that you can manage and control,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “There were a number of cities that were very interested in hosting this event, but the immediate opportunity to do this in Indianapolis was pretty self-evident for several reasons. For one, we were already going to be there.” The Final Four was already scheduled for Lucas Oil Stadium. Economic Impact: $100 million, according to Chris Gahl of Visit Indy. And that's with no fans in the stands.

5. Stellantis comes to Indiana

Shareholders of Fiat Chrysler and PSA Peugeot decisively voted Monday to merge the U.S.-Italian and French carmakers to create world's 4th-largest auto company. Fiat Chrysler's largest U.S. industrial complex is located in Kokomo. The new company will be called Stellantis.

Have a great day, folks. It's The Atomic!