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Libertarian Lucy Brenton Polling at 8 Percent in Toss-up Indiana Senate Race

This time the Libertarian Party seems to be hurting the Democrat, who's trying to run out the clock on confirming Brett Kavanaugh.

Heeeeere's Lucy! ||| IndyPolitics.orgIndyPolitics.orgAccording to the very useful Wikipedia page on 2018's U.S. Senate elections, exactly four races are currently deemed by all nine campaign forecasters as tossups: Arizona, Florida, Missouri, and Indiana. As we saw last week, the Libertarian Party's Japheth Campbell is pulling a respectable 6 percent in Missouri, and his inclusion in the one poll so far appears to be bumping the race from a dead heat to a four-point lead for incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill.

Something closer to the opposite appears to be happening in Indiana.

In an August 26–29 Marist College survey of 576 likely Indiana voters, Libertarian Lucy Brenton, who received 5.5 percent of the vote running for Senate in 2016, polled at 8 percent, compared to incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly's 44 percent and Republican Mike Braun's 41 ("other" was 1 percent, "undecided" 6). What happens when you take Brenton's name off the poll? It's 48–42 for Donnelly, with other at 2 percent and undecided at 9.

At a glance—and one should always be careful about extrapolating too much from a single poll—it would seem that Brenton is pulling support from people who are not inclined to vote Republican. This is not what I would have predicted a few months ago, given Brenton's pro-life emphasis in this Trump +19 state. But a closer look suggests some possible explanations.

For one, Donnelly himself is anti-abortion, making him one of the last such Democrats on Capitol Hill. Relatedly, the senator, like other red-state Dems, is busy tying himself up in knots over the confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. "Donnelly faces pressure from both sides on Kavanaugh vote," ran a recent headline in the Indianapolis Star.

The longer that pro-choice Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Vermont keep playing Hamlet, the longer Donnelly twists in the wind, to the great irritation of motivated Democratic activists. You can see the sweat beads appear on liberal foreheads when the pages of both The New York Times and New York magazine fill up with people trying to talk progressives out of punishing red-state Democrats for their future pro-Kavanaugh votes.

But let's not sleep on the other half of Brenton support, which appears to be coming from the other/undecided camp. Indiana is just a good state for the Libertarian Party—Gary Johnson received 4.9 percent of the vote there in 2016, and Donnelly's race in 2012 saw Libertarian Andy Horning receive 5.7 percent. Brenton will also participate in both Senate debates next month.

Perhaps the more that "Libertarian" hardens as a political identity, the less those voters will be tempted to vote for the other two parties. That theory will certainly be tested seven weeks from now.

EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT: I will be interviewing Lucy Brenton, along with Libertarian Party National Chair (and Phoenix mayoral candidate) Nicholas Sarwark, as well as Texas gubernatorial candidate Mark Tippetts, at the Texas Tribune Festival September 28. Details at this link.

Photo Credit: IndyPolitics.org

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  • Just Say'n||

    "For one, Donnelly himself is anti-abortion"

    It's interesting how you use "pro-choice" for the alternative in this article rather than being consistent and labeling them pro-abortion, but you are newly woke

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    I've always had problems with this argument. It's a false dichotomy. You can be for the choice of people to make decisions that you otherwise abhor. Equating pro-choice with pro-abortion is an oversimplification of the issue. I think abortion is morally wrong. However, I think people have the right to choose a different set of morals than I have.

    An analogy... I'm all for your right to make the choice to use drugs like heroin, but I wouldn't consider myself pro-heroin.

  • Just Say'n||

    Sure, but then you are assuming that all pro-life candidates are just anti-abortion. When in fact, most pro-life candidates and activists are more opposed to our permissive abortion laws than seeking to outlaw the practice in its entirety (even Donnelly who is questionably pro-life makes exceptions for rape and incest).

    Additionally, labeling pro-life activists and politicians as simply anti-abortion ignores the fact that these activists are also opposed to the death penalty and euthanasia. It was the modern eugenics movement of the early 20th Century that birthed the pro-life movement.

    So, your argument basically boils down to "it's not OK to falsely label one, but the other is different", which doesn't make a whole lot of sense

  • Zeb||

    There are plenty of politicians and activists who call themselves "pro-life" on abortion but don't oppose the death penalty or unnecessary wars.

    As for the labeling, I'm not a fan of pro-life/pro-choice because for most people it just means abortion. If you (general "you", not you in particular) are talking about a specific issue, say what you believe about that particular issue. And if you want to call yourself "pro-life" or "pro-choice", take a look at all your beliefs and make sure it extends beyond the abortion question.

  • Just Say'n||

    "There are plenty of politicians and activists who call themselves "pro-life" on abortion but don't oppose the death penalty or unnecessary wars."

    And there are plenty of pro-choice politicians who don't believe in a choice of whether or not your money should fund abortions and don't believe people should have choice on anything beyond abortion.

    Are you serious right now?

  • Zeb||

    What do pro-choice (supposedly) politicians have to do with what I said? I was just responding to:

    labeling pro-life activists and politicians as simply anti-abortion ignores the fact that these activists are also opposed to the death penalty and euthanasia

    Many people calling themselves both pro-life and pro-choice are full of shit. Do I always have to do both sides? As someone who is pro-choice on abortion and pretty much everything else, I spend plenty of time criticizing the "pro-choice" crowd.

  • Just Say'n||

    "Do I always have to do both sides?"

    No, you don't. But, you seem to have a problem when someone else does. All I stated was that the same contradiction could be applied to the label "pro-choice", after you pointed out the hypocrisy of the label "pro-life".

    I'm actually for legalized abortions, but I definitely don't like pro-choice people and so avoid those labels, because they are far more disingenuous in this argument. And your aggravation with me pointing out the hypocrisy in the pro-choice label after you pointed out the hypocrisy in the pro-life label demonstrates that point

  • Zeb||

    I wasn't aggravated, just in sort of a pedantic mood today. I think we pretty much agree here.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    It's almost as if we shouldn't categorize large groups of people with a label that implies some sort of uniform set of beliefs or attributes.

  • LynchPin1477||

    As for the labeling, I'm not a fan of pro-life/pro-choice because for most people it just means abortion. If you (general "you", not you in particular) are talking about a specific issue, say what you believe about that particular issue

    I'm an a-government-that- claims-to-protect-the-rights- of-its-citizens- needs-to-have-some-definition- of-when-one-becomes-a-citizen- but-we-don't-understand- consciousness- and-intelligence- and-other-characteristics- typically-associated-with-being- a-person- develop-on-a-spectrum- so-there-is-no- specific-moment- that-can-be-identified- for-when-an-embryo- becomes-a-"person"- and-the-only-clear-dividing-line- I-can-see-is-conception- so-I-oppose-abortion- except-to-protect-the-life- and-well-being-of-the-mother- because-it-is-analogous- to-self-defense

    -atarian

    There - a label that is also specific!

    (Also, did you know there is a 50-character per word limit for comments?)

  • BALONEY TONEY MAHONEY||

    It really is quite simple!

    "When life begins is a scientific, not a philosophic or theological, question: Life begins when the chromosomes of the sperm fuse with those of the ovum, forming a distinctive DNA complex that controls the new organism's growth. This growth process continues unless a natural accident interrupts it or it is ended by the sort of deliberate violence Planned Parenthood sells."

    -George Will, Atheist & Conservative Pundit, 2013

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    I think any way you slice it in terms of pro- or anti- is a false dichotomy fallacy. The issue is just too complex to be termed that way. Like most things in life, there is a wide spectrum on this issue that doesn't fit nicely into a binary definition of pro- or anti- anything. I find people who use these terms are generally either trying to euphemistically describe their own position or disparagingly trying to attack those against their own position.

    You can be pro-choice (for elective abortion) in the first trimester but against later-term and partial-birth abortions. Versus some people who would allow abortion up to the point of delivery.

    You can be pro-life (against elective abortions) but allow abortions in extreme cases of rape and incest. Or you can be so pro-life that you would outlaw the morning after pill or even birth control in general.

    By the way... I didn't assume anything as you accuse me of doing. You assumed my position is that "all pro-life candidates are just anti-abortion." I never once tried to characterize that side of the debate in my response. Which just furthers my point that a person's specific position on the issue tends to cloud the way they use and accept usage of the pro/anti terminology that we oversimplify the issue with.

  • Just Say'n||

    I agree it is a false dichotomy. That's why I was only noting that it is ridiculous to label one "pro-choice" and the other "anti-abortion".

    "By the way... I didn't assume anything as you accuse me of doing. You assumed my position is that "all pro-life candidates are just anti-abortion." I never once tried to characterize that side of the debate in my response."

    No, you didn't. Instead you took issue with my use of the term "pro-abortion" and then explained why that was a false characterization while ignoring the false characterization that I was pointing out. Which is why I correctly stated: "So, your argument basically boils down to "it's not OK to falsely label one, but the other is different", which doesn't make a whole lot of sense".

  • Just Say'n||

    And for the record, I actually favor abortion remaining legal, although I'm fine with restrictions being imposed post-viability.

    But, I find the pro-choice side to be the more disingenuous side in the argument

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    But, I find the pro-choice side to be the more disingenuous side in the argument

    Really? You don't think it's because the pro-choice side is associated with the left and you profoundly hate the left? I think there is plenty of disingenuity going around on both sides.

  • Brian||

    I'm very pro-choice. It's definitely the way to go.

    Now, if only people would consider it for places other than vajayjay...

  • ||

    Look, a libertarian is polling at 8% in a state full of deplorables that was in the bag for Trump. He's trying to walk a fine line between hating deplorables and not spoiling the moment. Again.

  • Just Say'n||

    If it's a libertarian supported by Reason he's probably not much of an alternative to the other two parties to begin with, if we're being honest here

  • Zeb||

    Who is "he"?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Like a woman would be a Libertarian.

  • Zeb||

    And she doesn't like abortion, so she really isn't much of a Reason libertarian (except Stephanie Slade).

  • ||

    Who is "he"?

    I was referring to Welch tiptoeing around pro-choice/anti-abortion.

  • Zeb||

    Susan Collins isn't from Vermont.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    Vermont, Maine... what's the difference to a professional fake libertarian in Brooklyn?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Do these would-be Democrat voters understand we're in a very literal fight for our very lives in this the most important election in history? As admirable as it would be to throw your vote away on a spoiler who is thankfully not a cis male, Donald Trump wants to put our very uteri in chains.

  • Red Tony||

    Uteri in chains? That's my fetish!

  • Untermensch||

    I live in Indiana and got a call from a pollster the other day about my preferences in the Senate election. It started out normally enough, but it became clear about half way through that it was funded by the Braun campaign and was an excuse to try out the effectiveness of various attack ads on Donnelly. The ad text I was supposed to evaluate consisted mostly of various ways to call Donnelly "No Show Joe" and were so absurd that the pollster couldn't read them without laughing. They sounded like something that the henchmen of a cartoon villain would propose only for the master villain to dismiss: In other words, cartoonishly bad ideas.

    This wasn't one that was in the poll I had, but sounds good by comparison:

    When Sleepin' Joe Donnelly spends the night lying on his Siesta Mattress, he can spend the day lying to Hoosiers about his weak stance on immigration & sending jobs to Mexico.

    So if Braun loses, I think at least part of will be due to treating voters here like they are six years old. His campaign where I live has been essentially non-existent where I live, but to the extent that it is visible, it consists mostly of "Trump, hell yeah!" I don't doubt that will appeal to some, but I haven't heard anything about what he stands for other than "not Donnelly".

  • Just Say'n||

    "but to the extent that it is visible, it consists mostly of "Trump, hell yeah!"

    It's hilarious watching Republicans piss away easy Senate pick-ups because they don't know what they believe outside of what the president just Tweeted about. Braun deserves to lose

  • Dillinger||

    Lucy the Lab and Lucy the Libertarian ... who's next?

  • Shirley Knott||

    Steigerwald?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Did you just talk about Lucy?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Did anyone notice that at the end of the article Matt states he will interview BUCS soon? Now is your chance to tell BUCS what you would like him to bring up to Matt when they meet.

  • Red Tony||

    He should bring his erection up.

    He should bring it up and out.

    And film it.

    For our enjoyment.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Supposedly, BUCS will be plugging his new autobiography "Once Is Not Enough." The title does not reference, contrary to what you might guess, his double circumcision, but rather his philosophy about his adventures exploring the world of obscure porn subgenres.

  • Aloysious||

    Anal bleaching parties. They're the future of wokiness.

  • sarcasmic||

    N
    S
    T
    A
    A
    L
    W
    !

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    I'm sure that means something.... among anarchists.

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