Trump sits out Indiana Senate primary, and his supporters are split

The farm animals on the Henderson farm are pets, not moneymakers, so don't be offended by the barnyard humor.O...

Posted: May 8, 2018 5:18 PM
Updated: May 8, 2018 5:18 PM

The farm animals on the Henderson farm are pets, not moneymakers, so don't be offended by the barnyard humor.

One of the cows, who likes to race alongside Beth Henderson in her John Deere Gator, is named Big Mac.

In the barn, mixing it up with the alpacas, is a solo pig: Kevin Bacon.

There are crops on the property, one reason Beth is having second thoughts about President Donald Trump.

"We are in are involved in an agriculture business, and yeah, tariffs is a big deal," she said in an interview last week.

But it is more than policy.

"Well I think he's working on the security of the country, economics," Henderson says when asked what she likes about the President.

"I don't like his outbursts and his -- inappropriateness -- probably and his scruples. ... His values and just how he's so blas- about some of his behaviors. And it just doesn't bother him."

She's soured on Trump but her politics are still animated by the belief that attracted her to Trump in 2016: Washington is broken, and career politicians are to blame.

Her husband, Terry, briefly joined Indiana's GOP Senate field but dropped out because a businessman with deeper pockets jumped in. The Hendersons now support that businessman, Mike Braun, and Beth says the sentiment driving that support came up a lot during her husband's campaigning.

"Terry would stand up and introduce himself and say 'I'm an outsider, I'm a businessman' and people would say, 'We need that. We really need that. We need something new. We don't need career politicians.' And it was really building, the momentum was building. And you could see there was a true desire to have new blood."

Braun did serve in the state legislature, where his vote for a gas tax hike made him suspect among some conservatives. But Braun says the vote was for a GOP infrastructure plan. In a campaign of gimmicks and insults, he gets attention by traveling with cardboard cutouts of his opponents -- GOP US Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, asking voters if they can tell who's who.

Trump has not endorsed in the primary, so his supporters are found in different camps. To talk to them is to be reminded of the anti-establishment mood that fueled his 2016 race, but also to see, even in ruby red Indiana, some cracks in the Trump 2016 coalition.

Raju Chinthala has no beef with Braun or Messer, but backs Rokita because the congressman also served as secretary of state -- proving he can win statewide.

Chinthala is a geriatric speech pathologist who also has helped the state expand business partnerships with his native India. He shakes his head at all the spending in Washington, and wants all Republicans to remember their promises. Though he initially supported Jeb Bush before backing Trump in 2016, he is solid with the President now.

"National security, I think he is doing a great job. The economy, he's doing a great job."

Every now and then a tweet makes him cringe, but Chinthala overall is in the let-Trump-be-Trump camp.

"I don't really think he cares if it harms or hurts him or hurts his re-election," Chinthala said. "I think people are liking it."

Henderson and Chinthala have no complaints when it comes to the economy. But other Trump voters encountered on a pre-primary visit to Indiana served to remind us a remarkably low unemployment rate doesn't mean everyone who wants a job has one or one that pays the bills -- especially compared to the jobs they've lost that have been shipped out of the country.

Renee Elliott voted for Trump after he, as a candidate, pushed Carrier to drop plans to ship most of its Indiana jobs to Mexico. But once the glare faded, the company did send many of the jobs across the border.

"He got a lot of votes," Elliott said.

"Do you feel burned?"

"Yeah, I feel burned for a number of reasons."

Elliott is still out of work. She had been leaning toward Messer in the Senate primary, but entered the final day undecided because it angered her that the final debate was dominated by pledges of loyalty to a President she believes gave up on her once he got into office.

"He's not Superman. He can't save everybody," she said. "But he could have stopped this. He was so vocal and so adamant."

Carrier is still open, but with fewer jobs. A Rexnord plant that also got candidate Trump's attention is closed, its jobs sent to Mexico.

Brian Bousum worked at the plant with his son, and was 11 weeks short of pension eligibility when it shuttered. He ignored his union and voted for the President, even though he was fairly certain then that his job would soon be gone.

"I voted for President Obama twice but I will say this about President Trump -- at least he brought it to the table."

Bousum makes $9 an hour less now, but is grateful for his new work as a plumber.

When he hears about prospects for a trade dispute with China, Bousum says perhaps the President's talk of tariffs will ultimately bring concessions from other trading partners.

But he sees a downsized Carrier, a closed Rexnord and other industrial strains, and he admits one side effect is less interest in politics.

He is skipping Tuesday's primary. The negative tone was a turnoff, he says, and he has "kind of lost faith" in the idea that it matters who gets sent to Washington.

That doesn't mean he has given up on the President. But he is clearly more skeptical.

"He's a politician now just like the rest of them, as he's saying one thing and doing another," Bousum said. "Today, if you were going to ask me, 'Do you support President Trump?' I would say yes, but I can't tell you that I would tomorrow. It just depends on what he gets done."

"I'll tell you, the first time I ever find out ... he was just kidding about saving American jobs or bringing industry back here, then of course I wouldn't support him."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 113337

Reported Deaths: 3530
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20936761
Lake10334319
Elkhart6438109
St. Joseph6226103
Allen6060200
Hamilton4761109
Vanderburgh349430
Hendricks2681122
Monroe251236
Tippecanoe231213
Johnson2279123
Clark215756
Porter209046
Cass19339
Delaware189561
Vigo178524
Madison161075
LaPorte138239
Floyd132161
Howard129063
Warrick122336
Kosciusko120617
Bartholomew115357
Marshall99424
Dubois95918
Boone95646
Hancock91443
Grant89733
Noble89432
Henry78125
Wayne74714
Jackson7429
Morgan70638
Shelby66629
Daviess65428
Dearborn63928
LaGrange63211
Clinton59513
Harrison56424
Putnam53810
Lawrence50628
Montgomery50521
Knox5039
Gibson4894
White48214
DeKalb46311
Decatur45739
Miami4303
Greene41935
Fayette41813
Jasper3862
Steuben3747
Scott35910
Sullivan33112
Jennings31212
Posey3090
Franklin30325
Clay2985
Orange28624
Ripley2828
Carroll27113
Wabash2628
Washington2611
Whitley2556
Starke2537
Adams2523
Wells2503
Jefferson2443
Fulton2352
Huntington2223
Spencer2223
Tipton22022
Perry21513
Randolph2097
Jay1750
Newton17211
Owen1671
Martin1640
Rush1534
Pike1411
Vermillion1260
Fountain1202
Pulaski1151
Blackford1133
Brown1033
Crawford1030
Parke961
Benton880
Ohio777
Union770
Switzerland690
Warren391
Unassigned0225

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 146753

Reported Deaths: 4687
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin26393606
Cuyahoga17262654
Hamilton12913312
Montgomery7623157
Lucas7205361
Butler5771106
Summit5202250
Marion307547
Mahoning3014280
Warren297848
Stark2790170
Pickaway264144
Lorain229386
Delaware218820
Fairfield205852
Columbiana192380
Licking188362
Trumbull1861131
Clark176439
Wood175272
Clermont166521
Lake159650
Medina144239
Greene139732
Miami139451
Allen139369
Portage111066
Mercer108517
Erie92645
Tuscarawas92020
Wayne91367
Ross86523
Richland81519
Madison79212
Darke78041
Belmont71427
Geauga70948
Hancock67610
Ashtabula65348
Athens6362
Lawrence62722
Shelby59710
Auglaize5769
Putnam56823
Sandusky55820
Huron5387
Union5092
Scioto4826
Ottawa46630
Seneca46414
Preble42515
Muskingum3862
Holmes3787
Jefferson3334
Henry30713
Logan3053
Champaign3003
Perry2929
Defiance28610
Clinton28413
Brown2832
Knox28215
Morrow2552
Washington25523
Hardin25213
Jackson2414
Fulton2391
Coshocton23211
Ashland2314
Crawford2286
Fayette2276
Highland2223
Williams2053
Wyandot20512
Gallia18812
Meigs17410
Pike1740
Hocking1619
Guernsey1608
Carroll1517
Adams1264
Van Wert1143
Monroe11018
Paulding1060
Harrison622
Morgan470
Vinton453
Noble270
Unassigned00
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