So, say you're a solid conservative state Senator, with a record of voting along party lines; and say you're running for Mayor of the state's largest city.
What wouldn't you do for votes?
Jim Merritt plans to walk in the Indianapolis Pride Parade this weekend. The parade organizers, pointing to his voting record in the legislature, aren't happy about it. Unwilling to find themselves branded as exclusionist, a compromise has been reached, in which he will be marching as a private citizen and not as a mayoral candidate.
Look, I'm not going to offer up any broad value judgements here, other than to note that the local rainbow types tend to avoid the sort of debauchery reportedly found in coastal metropolii when they have their parade and picnic; it's a sedate enough event that the local office-holders usually make an appearance, Democrat and Republican alike. It's not my party but if they wanna go tromping down the street, waving banners and whooping it up, fine; they're Americans; they can do that.
On the other hand , if you're a state Senator with a serious social conservative voting record, it's pretty much flat-out pandering to show up and stick a rainbow ribbon in your lapel. All it does is alienate your base and make people who'd never heard of you go look up how you voted. I'm sure there will be Republican voters in the Pride Parade crowd -- this is Indiana, after all -- but it's a demographic uniquely positioned to be disinclined to forgive his RFRA vote.
It makes you wonder if he'd bite the head off a live chicken if he thought it would get him that cushy office high up in the City-County Building. I'm pretty sure his party can find a better candidate.
The debate about civil rights for a long-despised minority vs. religious practice is one worth having -- not in my comments section, but at a societal level -- and it's ongoing. Many people have deeply-held feelings about their positions on these issues.
From the evidence, state Senator Merritt isn't one of them. You have to wonder what else he'd be flexible on. Possibly everything.
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