Letter: Are GOP moderates on verge of extinction?

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I enjoy reading IBJ and the various voices in the Forefront section. I am writing after reading Nate Feltman’s column [Engage in difficult conversation, Sept. 11] and that of Brad Rateike [Holcomb is a no-drama governor getting things done, Forefront, Sept. 11]. I agree with their assessment that Gov. Holcomb has done a commendable job under very trying circumstances and without the drama.

And I agree with them that the governor is likely to easily win a second term. However, from my vantage point in southern Indiana I sense that the GOP is changing and that moderates such as Holcomb are in danger of becoming extinct in our state. Most county officials in southern Indiana as well as non-urban legislators are Republicans. But those Republicans are not like the Republicans of the past. In my observation, those that call themselves conservative or GOP are actually supporters of President Trump and his force of personality. He is popular in rural southern Indiana and often not because of his policies but his style of leadership.

On social media and general conversations I find that many who support Mr. Trump are very upset with Gov. Holcomb and in fact many are leaning to the idea of voting for [Libertarian candidate Donald] Rainwater. It seems that the mask mandate and other personal restrictions have not set well with them. Whether Trump wins or loses in November, this energetic base will still exist and will find other candidates to become attached to. Is this something unique to southern Indiana or is it occurring elsewhere?

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Jim Exline

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