President of the Indiana Democratic Party John Zody said Friday that he had no plans to seek another term this week after bruising the ballot box when Hoosier Democrats called for a new direction for the party – from messaging to fundraising.
“I think that’s easier said than done,” said Zody. “People say we need a new direction with a new plan, but show me some details about what you think because my only concern is to change plans and I think we’ve done that over the years . “
Prior to his comments, Democrats lamented what they saw as a lost campaign cycle, including losing statewide races for governor and attorney general, a competitive race in the 5th Congressional District, and a number of state legislative seats.
“There is a lot of blame: candidates like me, historically flawed polls, Trump who is de-oxygenating any nuanced political discourse, and the amazing irrelevance of the Indiana Democratic Party,” he said Chris Chyung, Indiana’s first Asian-American legislature, hailed as an example of the party’s future, representing House District 15 but losing to Republicans Hal Butcher who held the seat from 2012 to 2018.
Dyer’s Chyung attributed some of the party’s poor performance in this week’s election to a lack of relevant news and a perceived bias to the left.
“Even the people who have been approved by the police, like me, have been branded as Defund the Policeers,” Chyung said. “The State party did not have an embassy to bridge the gap between Black Lives Matter and supporters of law enforcement. It’s no wonder so many incumbents went down when the top of the ticket couldn’t get even a third of the damned votes. It is a miracle that no more seats have been lost. We need to focus on important paperback problems, not purity tests. “
Chyung also criticized Zody, who has headed the party since 2013 and whose term of office expires on March 20. “Any party leader who looks back on an election where the top of the ticket couldn’t get even a third of the vote and was expected to break a legislative super-majority but instead lose 4 seats would be a deception to stay in power” said Chyung.
MILWAUKEE, WI – AUGUST 18: In this screenshot from the DNC 2020 Democratic National Convention live stream, delegates from Indiana speak to former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on August 18, 2020 in front of the virtual convention. Congress was once expected to draw 50,000 people to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but is now practically due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by DNCC via Getty Images) (Photo by Handout / DNCC via Getty Images)
Another democratic source – anonymity, to speak freely – also granted Zody the circumstances of the party at his feet. “John Zody led the party into the political wilderness,” said that person. “Two national officials lost, every national election lost, not a single congressional seat won, and all in all went backwards in the legislature. [Gubernatorial nominee] Woody Myers was a poor candidate, but he simply put an exclamation mark on 8 years of Zody’s failure. As if Zody was almost 4-1 ashamed of preparing a popular Senate candidate. The road to rebuilding the party begins with cutting out John Zody. “
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Zody said he took full responsibility for the party’s poor performance and pointed to national headwinds for Democrats with voting results.
“Of course I’m disappointed, especially with our results here in Indiana. I think there’s a national trend that has had an impact on our voting races, “Zody said, pointing to changing battlefields in suburban towns like Carmel and Fishers, which Biden won this week.
Democratic party insiders also argue that a revision of the party’s platform is necessary.
“The platform needs to be improved to appeal to more working class Hoosiers,” said a Democratic strategist from Hoosier, who granted anonymity to provide an open assessment. “The label ‘Democratic’ is so quickly attached to the national image that any democrat who runs is immediately exposed to headwinds and attacks on Pelosi, socialism, the cadre, taxes, the killing of jobs and so on. We need to get our candidates to develop more messaging coordination on topics that may be a little unconventional to Dems, but popular and / or different. “
This person added:
I think the State party needs a clear and coherent strategy that party leaders, elected officials, activists, etc. can leave behind. I don’t know if we had a strategy or one that is easy to articulate. I think we need to adopt a political style that may not be sexy or that you see on MSNBC or Twitter. The two most successful Democratic politicians of the decade were John Gregg and Joe Donnelly. They are all “everyone” – moderate, homely, easy to talk to, strong with people in the middle of the street, personable and not liberal. That may sound out of date, but I think Hoosiers are drawn to this authenticity. Indiana is a direct hit for Donald Trump too. Indiana is whiter and less educated than its Midwestern neighbors. While the donut counties are shifting slightly, the rest of the state, especially the south, is very red – it’s been a long time since the days of Lee Hamilton. Dems need a message that takes these smaller counties from 70-30 to 60-40. Ultimately, the boroughs will be closed again for the next decade. It will be necessary for the Dems to attempt to take over the governorship in order to influence real change across the state and set in motion an apparatus that can wield real power.
Some Democrats say numbers like the former mayor of South Bend Pete Buttigieg– Whose Win the Era PAC supports a number of state and local candidates across the state and advises former Vice President Joe Biden on his transition – the party could revive here, though it is unclear what kind of footprint it will keep in Indiana if it should be tapped for an administrative position. “Pete is a world beater,” said this person. “He would be competitive in Indiana. I’m not sure what degree he would like to graduate here. “
This person also pointed to the Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsettwho has also proven to be a prolific fundraiser, named a potential challenger by Senator Todd Young in 2022 and a candidate for gubernatorial in 2024. “He’s part of the solution if he wants to be,” a senior Hoosier Democrat said.
For his part, on Friday, Zody seemed to have run out of ideas and invited others to find his place if they were interested.
“We just have to go further,” said Zody on Friday. “And that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”