Two Conventions, World Olympics and an Upcoming Election: Excitement at all Levels

Recently in Hoosier Banker magazine, I wrote about leap year excitement this summer with the Republican National Convention, Democratic National Convention and Summer Olympics all taking place within a span of five weeks. The first of those events, the Republican National Convention (RNC), wrapped up last week in Cleveland. One year ago, no one would have guessed the outcome: Donald Trump, a celebrity businessman, is the Republican candidate for president, and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is his running mate.

Early in the winnowing process, Donald Trump had been dismissed by political pundits as being incapable of receiving the Republican nomination. Though all agreed that Mr. Trump had name recognition, he was an outsider who had never held public office, challenging a field of 15+ experienced politicians. Yet it was his outsider’s perspective and tell-it-like-it-is commentary that appealed to much of the rank-and-file Republican base, and he is now the GOP candidate for president of the United States.

Watching the RNC last week was particularly exciting for Hoosiers, as we witnessed our own Gov. Pence share the spotlight as Trump’s running mate. Pence’s deep political experience, currently as governor and previously as U.S. representative for 14 years, offers counterbalance to Trump’s newcomer status. Additionally Pence’s personality ‒ gracious and thoughtful ‒ is a counterpoint to Trump’s blunter personal style. Yet another interest point for Hoosiers is that Mr. Pence had to withdraw his name from the running for a second term as governor, in order to accept Trump’s offer as running mate. As a result, yesterday the Indiana Republican State Committee selected Indiana Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb as the new Republican candidate for governor. Congratulations, Mr. Holcomb!

This week, the Democratic National Convention (DNC) is underway. As of today, it is too soon to comment on final outcome or effect on polls, as the event does not conclude until tomorrow. What is certain, though, is that the 2016 DNC represents an historic milestone, with Hillary Clinton standing as the first female candidate for U.S. president named by a major party. Like Trump, Mrs. Clinton has named an experienced politician as her running mate: U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia. While Trump’s running mate is a current governor with prior experience in the U.S. Congress, Mr. Kaine is a current U.S. senator who previously served Virginia as governor.

In a little over a week, with both conventions over, we can mercifully immerse ourselves in the spectacle of the Summer Olympics. This global event will, no doubt, have its own set of challenges, heroes and disappointments, but it will be a nice respite from national politics. It also will be a brief respite, because immediately following will come a barrage of political campaigning, on all levels, that will continue and intensify until Election Day on Nov. 8.

– S. Joe DeHaven

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