By State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Portage)
Yes, for any of you nerds out there, it is a math joke. But that is appropriate, because this missive is about math.
It’s about the true math of Indiana’s demographics and the false math of the legislative district maps. In the two elections following the Republican-drawn maps, both the House and the Senate have lost seats. In the Senate, we Democrats are now down to 10 seats out of 50 – that is 20%. The House is not much better, in the area of 30%.
Late on Tuesday night, as the Republicans gleefully celebrated their victories, some were asking whether the Senate Dems are now irrelevant; do we really have anything to say to justify our existence in such a small minority?
So, I invite you to look at the other math. In the last Governor’s race, Mike Pence won his desk by a margin of about 49.6% to 46.4%. In other words, somewhere in Indiana, there is a near-half of the state who does not support the relatively far right-wing politics of this very red Statehouse.
Indiana’s non-right-wing, whether Dems or middle Republicans, have been packed into a few neat and tidy fairly safe seats. Those of us left standing should be grateful. Some of us have a 90% support base. But this leaves many other districts with Republican-safe majorities, while the other “just less than half” of the people have no voice.
Those 47% deserve representation. Ten voices. They have ten voices in the Indiana Senate. Not so many. And certainly not proportional to 46.4%. Not so many. But we are strong. Those of us left standing come now from those “safe” districts, and can afford to be strong and loud. That has now become our mission. But more than that, it is now our obligation. Nearly half of this state may find that their opinions and thoughts are not appropriately represented by those 40 red voices.
In January, we will soon find out just how far away these 40 red voices have moved from the mainstream. And when The Ten find that the 40 have moved just too far, those Ten Voices will be heard. We will speak loud, for we speak for many.