Brief Recap of Indiana Senate Debate

Lizzy Hosty, Entertainment Editor

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On October 8th, 2018, Incumbent Joe Donnelly (D), Mike Braun (R), and Lucy Brenton (L) met at Purdue University Northwest in Westville, IN, and here are my thoughts:


To begin, neither member of the two major political party impressed me. This shouldn’t have been as much of a surprise to me, but it was definitely a letdown. Both Donnelly and Braun had an overly-rehearsed platform, despite this supposedly being an unscripted debate based on their stances. Braun consistently touted his Trump-ian platform, making claims that by saying he was an outsider compared to Donnelly, who he called a “career politician”. Donnelly, on the other hand, seemed to spew statements that were close to what his commercials discussed. This made it seem that he was struggling to come up with things to discuss off the top of his head. Both Donnelly and Braun used up their 60 seconds allotted for the questions asked to tear down each other – instead of answering the question. It left the viewers confused on what the two truly supported, for the debate seemed to be a meager competition of who could bring up the most disparaging comments about the other. Brenton, however, also managed to dodge a question or two of her own, such as the case of whether or not there should be increased restrictions on guns in respect to keeping firearms out of children’s reach—to which she gave no clear response.

Speaking of Brenton, a member of the Libertarian party, she impressed me the most. She actually answered the questions with what her and her party truly believed in. She demonstrated through her actions, not her words like Braun, that she truly was an outsider; she’s not a member of the two historic political parties, has never held a public office, and, if elected, would be the first woman Indiana senator. But she’s a Libertarian… and I’m sure most of you have never even heard her name before a couple days ago.

Additionally, Donnelly is officially the least effective Democratic senator in the U.S., which is proven by his terrible attempts at advancing agenda items toward becoming law. Donnelly claims his way is a rudimentary means to measure effectiveness, as more “points” are awarded to those in the majority party and those who hold leadership positions, and Donnelly is neither of those things. However, Donnelly, as he prides himself on, has sided with President Trump 62% of the time – an astounding number for a Democrat. Perhaps this is because he is attempting to hold onto his precarious office in a very red state, or maybe it’s because he wants to prove he is truly a moderate Democrat, and does not need to listen to his party’s head all the time. Or maybe he’s secretly a Republican.

Moving onto Braun, Braun impressed me the least. After watching the debate, I only know that he is basically running his campaign like Donald Trump: as in, minimally. The only things he brought up were that he is not a career politician, he worked in the insurance field so that makes him qualified for tackling Obamacare and health care in general, and that he is better than Donnelly. Maybe this is just me, but I don’t understand how someone who worked in insurance could decide we need to repeal Obamacare without having a plan ready to replace it with. Isn’t that basic insurance protocol to ensure the consumer always has an insurance plan? And his total lack of issues that he supports? Well, I suppose I could always search for his campaign website to find this out, but I (foolishly) assumed the whole point of this debate was for him to spell it out for me.

All in all, I’m more confused on who to vote for than before I watched it. I kind of want to vote for Brenton just for the drama of it all, but maybe that’s “throwing my vote away” since a Libertarian has never held a major public office in Indiana.