Karen Celestino-Horseman: Candidates should be judged by company they keep

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Karen Celestino-HorsemanIndiana is Trump country, according to Indiana congressman Jim Banks, who is running for Indiana Sen. Mike Braun’s spot as Braun has announced his intention to run for governor. Braun has also announced that he supports Donald Trump for president, as has Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita and Indiana congresswoman Erin Houchin. The common factor among these individuals is that they are running for office in 2024.

One must ask why these people are supporting Trump. I mean, do they truly believe that Trump—with his constant stoking of the flames of division, his refusal to ask the rioters of Jan. 6 to back down until it was too late, and his sharing of government documents with persons who lack the proper security clearance—to be the best man to lead America? Or are they offering their endorsements because Trump has, in turn, endorsed them, and they believe a Trump endorsement clears the path to their personal victory?

If it is the former, we must question their vision for Indiana and America. If it is the latter, they have shown a deep commitment to self-service.

Let’s look at this from another angle. How many of these candidates do you think have gone to schools and encouraged young people to emulate Trump? How many have told their own children to aspire to become just like Trump? Do they understand that being president is more than just focusing on the border? Can they even imagine the nightmare of Trump attempting to negotiate a temporary truce between Hamas and Israel?

Congressman Banks drinks the same Kool-Aid as Trump, and his X (formerly known as Twitter) feed is filled with screeds about leftists, the evil of being “woke” and how diversity, equity and inclusion should be stricken from our schools. The thought of giving him the larger, senatorial bully pulpit makes my head hurt.

Sen. Braun’s X feed (why Elon Musk thought it was good business to change from the established and well-known name of Twitter to X is beyond me) is constantly bemoaning the border situation with Mexico. Obviously, he thinks it sells to the voters in the heartland who live hundreds of miles from the border. If he cares so much about immigration, he should focus on immigration reform, which people on both sides of the issue agree is needed. But then again, reform cannot be easily condensed into a 30-second sound bite.

The bottom line is this: We are judged by the company we keep. If these candidates want to keep company with Trump, they are free to do so. But as voters, we are free to judge them for attempting to sell us a future with him.

We have time before the 2024 elections to examine and vet the candidates. Listen to and read their words carefully and ask yourself, “If this person is committed to following Trump, where will they take us?”

If you intend to vote for Trump, then voting for these candidates is right up your alley. If you do not want to vote for Trump, think twice about voting for these candidates because it appears Trump will continue to live on through them, regardless of whether he is in office.•

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Celestino-Horseman is an Indianapolis attorney. Send comments to ibjedit@ibj.com.


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