When Americans go to the polls on Nov. 8, they will be choosing between two candidates for U.S. President who have earned the lowest approval ratings in the history of our democracy. Voters from both parties have said they will stay home rather than vote for one of these two candidates. As this ugly election season speeds to a close, it is both easy and tempting to put it in the back of our minds. However, despite the media circus and deeply unpopular presidential candidates, there are down-ballot races that will shape the democracy in important ways.
Even though many believe Hillary Clinton will inevitably win, the race for control of the Senate is as much a nail-biter as we've seen. Democrats, who are only defending 10 Senate seats compared to the Republicans 24, are optimistic they will be able to regain control of the chamber by picking up five seats. Concerns about potential down-ballot effects of Donald Trump's candidacy are being expressed by House members, and once-forsaken Democrats claim to see an opening to re-take the "people's House," or at least make substantial gains and cut into the Republican's near-historic majority.
As much as this election season has put a bad taste in the mouths of some American voters, we urge all IFA members and members of the franchise community to make their voices heard this November, especially when down-ballot congressional races are at stake. Here, we will review several of this cycle's key Senate races to illustrate the stakes of the 2016 election.
INDIANA: REP. TODD YOUNG (R) VS. EVAN BAYH (D)--TOSS UP
This race only moved into the "toss-up" column in mid-July, when former Sen. Evan Bayh announced he would run for his former seat. His decision was a massive recruiting coup for Democrats who benefit from Bayh's name recognition statewide. Not only was he a two-term governor before winning election to the Senate, but his father Birch Bayh was a senator and U.S. Representative for Indiana. However, his time spent as a Washington lobbyist since his 2011 retirement from the Senate could present a campaign issue for the Democratic nominee.
Rep. Todd Young has a reputation in Washington as a reliable conservative and easily defeated fellow Rep. Marlin Stutzman for the GOP nomination. He is serving his third term in the House, where he serves on the powerful tax-writing committee, the Committee on Ways and Means.
The former Marine also serves on the Armed Services Committee.
* Recent polls: Aug. 17...