By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS  — Democracy. Republic. Sedition. Treason. Secession. Obstruction. Inflation. Stagflation. Recession. These are the terms that are driving the mid-term sequence political divide.

After Indiana Republicans struck the word “democracy” from their platform last weekend, replacing it with “republic,” I thought it would be altogether appropriate to review the definitions of these words in the context of today’s troubled waters.

Democracy (noun): Definition of democracy 1a: government by the people, especially: rule of the majority. b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically-held free elections. 2: a Political unit that has a democratic government (Merriam-Webster).

Republic (noun): Definition of republic (1): a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who in modern times is usually a president; (2): a political unit (such as a nation) having such a form of government; b (1): a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law; (2): a political unit (such as a nation) having such a form of government; c: a usually specified republican government of a political unit; the French Fourth Republic. 2: a body of persons freely engaged in a specified activity the republic of letters (Merriam-Webster).

What’s the difference between a “democracy” and a “republic?”

Jay Cost, writing for the American Enterprise Institute, observes: “‘The United States is a republic, not a democracy.’ This is one of those oft-repeated expressions that one hears in civil discourse whose meaning nevertheless remains somewhat fuzzy. After all, the word “republic” — deriving from the Latin phrase res publica, or “the people’s concern” — suggests a measure of popular involvement in government. And the authors of the Constitution were radically republican, at least for their age, believing that the only legitimate form of government was one in which public authority derived entirely from the people. Our system is republican in that the Founders understood that the public is the only legitimate sovereign of government. But it is not wholly democratic, in that they feared the abuse of that authority by the people and designed an instrument of government intended to keep temporary, imprudent, and intemperate outbursts of public opinion from dominating the body politic. Their primary method of doing this was the separation of power across three branches of government. The public retains control over each branch, but the link between the people and each branch is conditioned by different factors.

Seditious conspiracy (U.S. Code): If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both (Cornell Law School).

Rebellion or insurrection (U.S. Code): Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States (Cornell Law).

Advocating overthrow of Government (U.S. Code): Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so (Cornell Law).

Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees (U.S. Code): Whoever, with intent to avoid, evade, prevent, or obstruct compliance, in whole or in part, with any civil investigative demand duly and properly made under the Antitrust Civil Process Act, willfully withholds, misrepresents, removes from any place, conceals, covers up, destroys, mutilates, alters, or by other means falsifies any documentary material, answers to written interrogatories, or oral testimony, which is the subject of such demand; or attempts to do so or solicits another to do so; or Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of the law under which any pending proceeding is being had before any department or agency of the United States, or the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress (Cornell Law).

Treason (noun): The crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government; the action of betraying someone or something (Oxford).

Recession (noun): A recession is a significant decline in economic activity that lasts for months or even years. Experts declare a recession when a nation’s economy experiences negative gross domestic product (GDP), rising levels of unemployment, falling retail sales, and contracting measures of income and manufacturing for an extended period of time. Recessions are considered an unavoidable part of the business cycle – or the regular cadence of expansion and contraction that occurs in a nation’s economy (Forbes).

Stagflation (Noun): Stagflation is a combination of the words stagnation and inflation. It describes an economic condition characterized by slow growth and high unemployment (economic stagnation) mixed with rising prices (inflation) (Business Insider).

Stagflation vs. inflation (Business Insider): Stagflation and inflation are related, but they shouldn’t be confused. The term inflation refers to a sustained increase in the average price level of all goods and services, not just a few of them, in an economy over time. Inflation happens when the money supply grows at a faster rate than the economy can produce goods and services.


Carville calls for ‘real solutions’

Democratic consultant James Carville urged Indiana Democrats Friday night to seek “real solutions” in what is shaping up to be a harrowing political sequence for the party. “The way to win as Democrats is to talk directly with voters, not in code,” Carville, who coined the 1992 phrase “It’s the economy, stupid,” told the party. “We have got to be the party that talks about real people and real problems and even real solutions. Don’t wait for orders from the DNC or anybody else. You understand what people want. They want leadership that is responsive to their lives and their hopes and their dreams. And if you want to do all of that, it is real simple. Elect more Democrats. Republicans are trying to make Indiana the Mississippi of the Midwest.” Carville met with with Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., Friday night at the Indiana Convention Center. McDermott is challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Todd Young. 

Elliott touted 2018 marriage plank

Indiana Republican Party delegates also chose their nominee for state treasurer by the narrowest state convention margin in memory. Just three votes out of 1,429 cast were the difference as Morgan County GOP Chair Daniel Elliott edged out a victory over Boone County Council President Elise Nieshalla at Saturday’s convention (Chapman, Indiana Public Media). Elliott touted his local government experience in his pitch to delegates, saying he is a “man from the country, not the country club.” He also noted the prominent role he played in the 2018 GOP convention floor fight over the marriage plank. He’s served on the county council and is currently president of the Morgan County Redevelopment Commission. “I am the only person running for this office who’s ever built a road, built a park or brought rural broadband to Indiana,” Elliott said.

Green presses Mrvan

First CD Republican nominee Jennifer-Ruth Green continues to see a groundswell of support pouring in from all over Indiana’s First Congressional District as she is poised to make history by upsetting a long-held congressional seat held by Democrats for over 90 years. “Rep. Frank Mrvan has lost all situational awareness of the kitchen-table issues plaguing Northwest Indiana as he rubber-stamps the extreme agenda of Biden, Pelosi and radical DC Democrats. Hoosiers throughout Indiana’s 1st Congressional District are extremely motivated to eject Rep. Frank Mrvan out of this congressional seat in November,” Green campaign manager Ashleigh Presnar said. “To borrow a portion of a line from the new Top Gun movie, ‘The end is inevitable, Mrvan. You’re headed for defeat this November.’’’

Mayors

Fort Wayne: Henry to seek fifth term

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry on Wednesday declared his intention to seek an unprecedented fifth term in office, setting the stage for a November showdown with Republican City Council member Tom Didier (WPTA-TV). It ends months of speculation that have kept other potential candidates on the sidelines. “I’m proud of the progress we’ve made to showcase Fort Wayne as the country’s best mid-sized city by nearly every measure,” Henry said. “But now is not the time to slow down. We still have work to do. I’m energized by the momentum felt throughout the city and want to see through completion the exciting economic initiatives we’ve begun, while also concentrating on quality of life issues that have made Fort Wayne a sought-after destination to live, work and play.” Didier declared his intentions early on.  “The people of Fort Wayne should get ready for a good -- hopefully well thought-out -- campaign,” he said.

Indianapolis: Hogsett on future

Inside the Indiana Convention Center on Friday evening a rumor circulated that Indianapolis Mayor Joe  Hogsett would make some kind of news (Wren, Importantville). “My name is Joe Hogsett. I’m an English and political science major. And I’m also the – [pause] – well, I’m the mayor of this town. Oh, I’m just getting started.”

Evansville: Winnecke mum on reelection

In accepting the Rotary Club of Evansville’s Civic Award on Tuesday, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke didn’t tip his hand on the question many in the room surely were curious to know. Winnecke didn’t say if his current term will be his last, or if he will sign up in 2023 to seek the office a fourth time (Martin, Evansville Courier & Press). Winnecke said after the presentation he’ll decide by “middle of July” whether to pursue reelection.

New Albany: Turner eyes mayoral run

Republican Josh Turner filed paperwork Friday to establish an exploratory committee for the 2023 New Albany mayor’s race (Suddeath, News & Tribune). Turner is the District 5 New Albany City Council representative.  “I think I bring new energy to the city. I’m not a political type of person. I’m a people person. I believe in accountability and transparency, and I believe that elected officials especially locally should go out of their way to serve the people who put us in office.”

Logansport: Doran to run for mayor

Logansport resident Terry Doran announced his intention to run for mayor next year and said he plans to knock on 6,000 doors before the election. “I’ve wanted to be the mayor for a couple decades, and everybody knows it,” he said (Adair, Logansport Pharos-Tribune). Doran formerly served on the Logansport Common Council and the Logansport Parks Board as both a member and president.  “I have about 800 people under me that expect me to know what they’re up to and what I can do to make their jobs better,” he said about his position as a committeeman. Doran previously ran for mayor in 2019, but confusion about the number of voter signatures required for candidacy resulted in his removal from the ballot. Even though he described himself as a “life-long Democrat,” Doran ran as an Independent in 2019 so he could choose Republican Teresa Popejoy as his runningmate.

Presidential 2024

58% want Trump prosecuted

More Americans say former President Trump should face criminal charges in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to a new poll. The ABC News/Ipsos survey published on Sunday found that 58% of respondents said that Trump should be criminally charged, while 40% of respondents said that Trump should not face charges; 46% of respondents said that they believe Trump has a great deal of responsibility for the Capitol attack, and 12% of those surveyed said that the former president had a good amount of involvement.

Trump trashes Pence at Christian confab

The day after the latest U.S. congressional hearings on the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol by Donald Trump’s supporters, the former president criticized Mike Pence’s actions that day, saying that his vice president had lacked courage (Reuters). “Mike Pence had a chance to be great. He had a chance to be, frankly, historic,” Trump told an audience of Christian conservatives in Nashville on Friday. “Mike, and I say it sadly because I like him, but Mike did not have the courage to act,” Trump added. Republican Trump repeated his false claims that his defeat to Democrat Joe Biden was the result of widespread fraud, assertions that were rejected by multiple courts, state election officials and members of his own administration.

Pence comments on Biden ‘falsehoods’

Mike Pence said Monday he “will not allow the Democrats” to use January 6 to “distract attention from their failed agenda” and praised former President Trump’s record, while indicating, though, that his decision on whether to run for the White House in 2024 will not be impacted by Trump’s own reelection plans. During a sit-down interview with Fox News Digital on the sidelines of a speech on economic policy at the University Club in Chicago, Pence reflected on the current state of the nation under the Biden administration, telling Fox News that President Biden is “embracing the politics of the radical left. The issues that are bearing upon the American people are, as is often the case, not what Washington is focused on. January 6 was a tragic day, and I know we did our duty, but I will always be proud of our record. And I am not going to allow the Democrats to use that tragic day to distract attention from their failed agenda or to demean the intentions of 74 million Americans who rallied behind our cause.”

DeSantis leads Trump in NH; Pence at 9%

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) edges past former President Trump in a poll of likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters (The Hill). The new University of New Hampshire Granite State Poll released on Wednesday found DeSantis receiving 39% support from likely Republican primary voters compared to 37%  for Trump. Former Vice President Pence received 9% support in the new poll, while former U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley received 6%. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) all received 1%.

Biden approval at 36%

President Biden’s approval rating hit 36%, tied for an all-time low, in the latest Reuters/Ipsos polling.