July 12, 2016

The UnDemocratic Democratic Party: Hoosier Edition

Somewhat buried in the hype around former Senator and current lobbyist Evan Bayh’s decision to throw his hat into the ring is the deeply undemocratic process by which Hoosier votes have been “single-handedly” overruled by…New York Senator Chuck Schumer.

POLITICO reported:

“This was done single-handedly by Chuck Schumer. I’d like to take a lot of credit for it, but Chuck’s worked on this,” [Senate Minority Leader Harry] Reid said in an interview on Monday afternoon. He called Schumer “the best recruiter. I’ve done OK but I’m in the minor leagues compared to what he does.”

Schumer and Reid’s heavy-handed interference isn’t likely to endear grassroots Democrats who spent a long primary season blistering at a “rigged system” run by an out-of-touch establishment to Bayh, who the left already views as a special interest sellout.

Ironically, this is the second senate election in a row in which Indiana Democrats have been stuck with a nominee they didn’t vote for. When Bayh bowed out in 2010, the Indiana Democratic Party’s central committee selected Rep. Brad Ellsworth as his (unsuccessful) replacement, as the Evansville Courier & Press reported at the time:

U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth will run for Senate, and state Rep. Trent Van Haaften will seek his seat in Congress, multiple Democratic sources said Thursday morning… 

…The Indiana Democratic Party’s 32-member central committee will determine Bayh’s replacement. Anthony Long, the party’s 8th Congressional District chairman, said he expected a Ellsworth’s decision this morning.

At least 32 Hoosiers got to vote that time.