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MUTUALLY ASSURED DEMOCRACY

Red state or rigged state?

Looking at the political makeup of our state government, it would be reasonable to conclude a “supermajority” of Hoosiers identify as Republican. Taking a closer look at the data tells a different story: Indiana has a Republican supermajority because Republicans rigged the system in their favor. Let’s break it down to understand how we got here, how the supermajority works against hard-working Hoosiers, and what we can do to fight back.


Republicans have controlled the Governor’s office and the State Senate since 2005 and the House of Representatives since 2011, giving them a Republican trifecta. Because Republicans held the majority status in the legislature, they controlled the redistricting process in 2011 and again in 2021.


The Indiana statehouse was much more evenly divided prior to the extreme gerrymandering of 2011. According to the nonprofit PlanScore (an organization that scores and publishes redistricting data for all 50 states, in partnership with the Harvard Election Law Clinic), the redistricting maps that Indiana implemented in 1992 and 2002 were “balanced” and showed “no consistent skew . . . in favor of either party.” 


That changed with the plan drawn in 2011, which showed a 12% bias favoring Republicans and notably was more skewed than 93% of other enacted plans analyzed by PlanScore. The plan drawn in 2021 was scored similarly by PlanScore, which showed an 11% Republican bias and was more skewed than 88% of other enacted plans analyzed.  The nonprofit Common Cause graded Indiana a D for its most recent maps, noting a “clear partisan gerrymander.” 


The partisan trends in the Indiana State Senate and Indiana House of Representatives over the last few decades clearly show how this extreme gerrymandering enabled Republicans to lock in a supermajority. 



Attacking our Freedoms

The supermajority is able to work against hard-working Hoosiers because having a supermajority gives them unprecedented power to develop and pass laws, even without the support or presence of a single member of the minority party. They can violate norms and trample the minority party because there is no recourse against them. The supermajority has wielded their power to attack our freedoms and enact extreme laws that are deeply unpopular with a majority of Hoosiers. 


The supermajority enacted one of the most extreme abortion bans in the country in 2022, the first state to do so after the historic Dobbs decision, despite: 

  • 59.1% of Hoosiers think abortion should be legal in most or all cases, compared to 37.5% who think it should be illegal in most or all cases, according to the Ball State University “2023 Hoosier Survey” results.

  • Concerns from the medical community that it would lead to delayed care, increased maternal and infant mortality, and other adverse outcomes.


The supermajority implemented a gender-affirming care ban in 2023 that prevents parents from accessing this healthcare for their trans chIldren, despite: 

  • Being opposed by major medical providers and evidence-based best practices.

  • Contradicting the Republicans’ own platform of privacy and parental rights.


The supermajority added more barriers to voter registration in 2024, despite:

  • Indiana’s voter turnout being among the worst in the country.

  • The fact that widespread voter fraud does not exist.

  • That doing so was likely unconstitutional and would result in expensive litigation for Hoosier taxpayers.


The supermajority has funneled $1B+ of public taxpayer funding to private religious schools and wealthy families via the voucher system, and they plan to take away even more from public schools in 2025, claiming that the public school system is not effective. Yet data show: 

  • Public schools are the preferred choice for more than 90% of Hoosier families.

  • Public schools have a similar graduation rate to private schools.


Every legislative session led by the supermajority means more unpopular and extremist bills are debated, while legislation supported by a majority goes unheard. 


For example, the supermajority has refused to increase minimum wage, even though it would:

  • Lift thousands of families out of poverty

  • Drastically reduce the child poverty rate

  • Improve Indiana’s substandard wage growth.


Yet they have loosened labor protections for working minors as young as age 14, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and unsafe working conditions.


The supermajority has also blocked efforts to enact common-sense gun safety policies that would save lives, money, and heartache, refusing to even allow these bills a hearing, even though Indiana has the 3rd highest number of children hurt or killed in accidental shootings, with the rate increasing since the implementation of permitless carry in 2022.


Even worse, the supermajority faces little accountability at the ballot box. In 2022, one-third of Indiana statehouse races went uncontested. So even if citizens in those districts disagree with their elected officials, they aren’t being given an alternative. 


It is true that looking at the historical voting trends for the state shows an electorate that more often than not elects Republican leaders. But the current skew in favor of Republicans is extreme, undemocratic, and reflective of a dangerous nationwide trend allowing unpopular ideas to be imposed on an electorate whose officials value power and party above people and progress. Hoosiers deserve better. 


Take Action

After 20 years of one-party rule, it’s time for a change. In 2024, their seats will be on the ballot. The most important action you can take is to vote.  Visit indianavoters.com to:

  • View early voting options

  • Find a polling location

  • Apply for absentee (mail-in) ballot, if eligible

  • Preview your ballot


2024 Primary Election Dates

  • 4/8-5/6: Early voting

  • 5/7: Election Day


Beyond voting, you can:

  • Support organizations fighting for fair maps, like Common Cause.

  • Give voters a choice by running candidates for both political parties in every race.

  • Talk to your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers about candidates and issues.

Glossary

A trifecta is when one political party holds the governorship, a majority in the state senate, and a majority in the state house in a state's government.


A supermajority is when one political party holds a 2/3 majority in either or both chambers of the legislature.  


The redistricting process occurs every 10 years to account for changes in the census. It's supposed to ensure that Indiana’s 100 House districts and 50 Senate districts have a similar number of people and are reflective and representative of the electorate.


Gerrymandering is a way that politicians can rig electoral maps to give their party an unfair and unearned advantage. Put another way, it’s a system whereby politicians pick their voters, flying in the face of the American ideal that voters pick their leaders. The term “gerrymander” was coined by combining the last name of the Massachusetts governor who was the first to sign “gerrymandered” districts into law (Elbridge Gerry) and the shape of one of those districts (which resembled a salamander). More than two centuries later, gerrymandering is a widespread practice employed by members of both political parties.


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