Democratic Party

Evan Bayh To Retire

This was a little unexpected:

Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh will not seek re-election this year, a decision that hands Republicans a prime pickup opportunity in the middle of the country.

"After all these years, my passion for service to my fellow citizens is undiminished, but my desire to do so by serving in Congress has waned," Bayh will say.

This of course raises numerous questions and thoughts. My first thought was: I wonder if the Republican who will probably win this seat will support progressive bills and vote for cloture. Obviously not. Likewise, I wonder if the progressive movement can come up with a viable candidate to run for the Democratic nomination, and would they ever have a chance of winning in November?

The point being, as much as we disapprove of senators like Evan Bayh (and I've absolutely had my fair share of rants against him), reality indicates that a centrist Democrat who, nevertheless, mostly votes with the Democratic caucus is the best we can hope for (for now) in states like Indiana. Therefore, it's often better to hold onto Evan Bayh types than to boot them out, because booting them out invariably leads to a Republican replacement, if not, in the best case, someone equally as centrist as Bayh.

So the real red state strategy ought to be about changing hearts and minds on the ground. Door to door. Convince voters that progressive policies are better. Once we do that, then a progressive candidate has a better shot at winning.

Either way, we have to give it shot in Indiana. We have no choice.