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Dec 5, 2023

I was watching the IU men’s team play its first Big Ten game against Maryland with a friend on Friday night when I saw it. During the game’s first time out, Mike Braun’s newest commercial in his campaign for Governor of Indiana ran.

When it was done, we turned and looked at each other for a silent moment before my pal broke the silence, asking, “What the hell is he running for?” My question exactly.

Back in October, I evaluated a couple of ads by two other gubernatorial candidates, Brad Chambers and Eric Doden. The theme of that critique was that their first ads were void of the reason, or the “why,” Indiana would be better with either of them in its highest office. Yea, they were the introduction ads, strategically designed to play on Hoosier sensibilities while they politely shake voters’ hands in a digitally manufactured way.

Their task at hand was clear to them both. My disagreement with the strategy was that neither of them made clear what issue, what challenge, what commitment would define their campaigns. Is it taxes? Is it healthcare? Is it education? In those ads, the strategy apparently was, “you can trust me because I am one of you.” Neither of them has run for office before, so, the strategy has merit, even though the lack of any stated policy position made both ads deficient to me.

Braun’s new ad, on the other hand, is offensive.

The ad is titled, “Safer,” but it’s not about how he can make Indiana safer at all.


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