This past weekend, I met with Wendy Winkle, a long-time Hoosier Republican strategist. This is my recollection of our conversation.
Wendy told me, “I’m worried that Donald Trump will take the party down in Indiana. I don’t know about the nation, but this state could turn blue.
“There is a way, however, for Mike Pence to save Indiana and even the nation for my party. It’s simple and could return many traditional Republican voters to the party. Pence needs to come home and show that Indiana is a state that works for all its citizens.”
“You’d have him stop campaigning across the country for Trump?” I asked.
“Exactly,” she said. “Trump can only say what he would do if elected president. Mike can show what he can do as the elected chief executive. Trump can then say that Mike is applying their jointly held values and beliefs.”
“What do you think Pence should do?” I inquired.
“First,” she said, “cease campaigning and come home. Second, go to East Chicago and inspect the lead-polluted housing project that the state and federal governments have neglected for years. He should take Eric Holcomb with him to increase Eric’s visibility.
“Third, the two of them should return to Indianapolis and have an immediate meeting with all the involved state and federal agencies to address the lead issue. Simultaneously, Mike should announce a detailed, independent investigation of how this tragedy for over 600 children was allowed to occur in a state that works for all its citizens.
“Fourth, he should bring the presidents of the state’s research universities together to address two major issues brought up so clearly by the national press coverage of the East Chicago pollution and the resultant expulsion of the residents.”
“Two issues?” I asked.
“Yes,” Wendy answered. “Clearly America, and particularly industrial Indiana, needs lower cost air, land and water pollution remedies. What are IU, Purdue, and Notre Dame and Rose-Hulman doing to get those costs down? Those schools have some of the finest scientists and students in the world. Let’s get them working to make Indiana the Clean State that Works.
“Hoosiers complain we don’t have mountains or seashores to lure workers. Let’s focus attention on our rejuvenated cities with their air and land scrubbed clean from the industrial pollution of the past, with their healthy waterways, and tree-lined streets and forested parklands, all connected by hundreds of miles of tree-lined bike and walking paths.”
“And the second issue?” I prompted.
“Impoverished single moms with multiple children,” she said. “Again, a national issue, but one Hoosier colleges and universities, with their social science and communications experts, must address.
“Fifth,” Wendy continued, “Mike should have his administration step in to stop the federal government from colluding with Crown Hill cemetery in Indianapolis to cut down trees that are over 400 years old. It’s one of many on-going outrages that denude the urban landscape and destroy state forests.
“That’s an ambitious program,” I said.
“That,” she concluded, “is a positive Republican program!”
Morton Marcus is an economist, writer and speaker who may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.