In the Indiana governor’s race, Eric Holcomb’s reelection chances have gone from good to bad. April polling had Holcomb ahead of Democratic nominee Dr. Woody Myers by 20 points, but now the lead is just six.
Where Holcomb has lost, the Libertarian candidate Donald Rainwater has risen. One third of voters who plan to vote for President Donal Trump also plan to vote for Rainwater in November. Voters should shy away from Rainwater as his views will lead to a lack of action in government.
Rainwater’s Libertarian ideology means he believes in leaving decisions up to the individual. This idea may sound appealing on the surface, but the reality is not at all good. Rainwater preaches on behalf of no mask mandates and restricting a governor from ever shutting down the economy again.
Rainwater’s belief that masks shouldn’t be mandated should raise major concerns with voters. Since Holcomb made the order, Indiana’s seven day positivity rate of 6.4% on July 27 has dropped to 3.9% as of Sept. 16.
Rainwater’s commitment to preventing a governor from ever being able to shut down the economy again is another cause for concern. Rainwater said he is upset with the amount of people filing for unemployment, but that ignores the initial reasoning for shutting down the economy. During the pandemic, the economy had to be shut down to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Holcomb, when deciding to temporarily close certain businesses, was simply following the lead of nearly every other state. The truth is governors have limited options to deal with a pandemic and this was among the most effective.
Voters are turning to Rainwater because they are upset with Holcomb's pandemic response. However, it wasn't too different from Trump’s as they both agreed shutting the economy down was the right thing to do. Trump, though, was more determined to open the economy sooner as clashes with health experts and other politicians ensued.
Some voters’ preference for Rainwater may be a result of the differences in Holcomb and Trump’s leadership style. Holcomb is a much more subdued leader than Trump overall.
Rainwater’s supporters could be looking for a leader that is much more aggressive in being a fighter for the people. This has been Trump’s pitch, and it appears Rainwater is trying to do the same when he advocates for “letting the people decide.” Voters who have fallen behind Rainwater for this reason neglect to look at the policy differences between Rainwater and Trump.
Trump Republicans-turned-Rainwater supporters also forget how Holcomb has managed to appease both sides during the pandemic. Holcomb extended the mask order through Oct. 17, while making plans to move onto stage 5. For some Republicans, that’s not enough, but Holcomb has gained some support among those planning to vote for former Vice President Joe Biden.
The polls have shown 16% of those who plan to vote for Biden are also supporters of Holcomb. The governor has done things to earn approval from Democrats, and people should be more appreciative of his attempts to appeal to those on both sides of the aisle.
Voters must remember that Rainwater is still a Libertarian. He believes in positions such as the decriminalization of marijuana unlike Trump. Rainwater’s supporters are backing him without realizing him and Trump disagree on several issues.
Another major issue with Rainwater is his stance on taxes. Rainwater wants to abolish personal income taxes, as well as residential property taxes. Abolishing these taxes would make Indiana’s government very weak and operate with a lot less funding.
Voting for Rainwater is a vote to jeopardize Indiana’s public health and stability. His goals cannot be expected to improve the state. When you take all of his positions into account, it would be a mistake to grant Rainwater your vote simply over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Armando Bracco (he/him) is a freshman studying journalism. He is interested in politics and political reporting.