I Don’t Understand (And I’m Not Sure That I Want to Understand)
In yesterday’s Democratic primary for Indiana’s 5th Congressional District, Tim Crawford defeated Dr. Nasser Hanna. The vote totals weren’t even close; Crawford received 61% of the 16,000+ votes cast. Well, you might say, that’s democracy in action. But is it? Let’s take a closer look.
The first thing to note is that in Indiana, candidates are listed on the ballot in alphabetical order. Thus, Crawford appeared on the ballot before Hanna. I’d be curious to see if there are any studies on whether candidates who appear first on a ballot are more likely to get elected. If so, then it seems that alphabetical order might not be the best way to determine ballot placement (but I’ll leave that discussion for another day).
More importantly, I’d like to compare the two candidates. First, let’s look at some of the biographic information that they each provided to The Indianapolis Star for the paper’s voter guide. Both men are Christian (Hanna is Catholic). Crawford is single; Hanna is married with children. Crawford is 29; Hanna is 41. Crawford has lived in Hamilton County since he was 4; Hanna moved to Hamilton County 11 years ago. With those vital statistics out of the way, let’s look at their respective educations:
I graduated Core 40 from Carmel High School in 1999. From 1999 to 2001 I attended Vincennes University, majoring in general studies and liberal arts. In 2001 I chose to leave college to join the American workforce. I enjoyed college but found I'd rather have an income rather than an outcome. I do believe degrees are important but there are other forms of education that are just as effective i.e. real life, workplace, and business mentors.
University of Missouri School of Medicine (MD); St. Louis University (BA Biology).
Now I don’t know about you, but I’m much more impressed with a doctor who earned a degree from a well-respected university than I am with a man who dropped out of Vincennes University. And for those who don’t know, “Core 40” is the State of Indiana’s base requirement for a high school diploma. However, as I understand it, Core 40 wasn’t adopted until 2007, so I’m not sure how Crawford graduated “Core 40” in 1999.
What about their respective employment?
I am currently working for Southern Retail Construction as senior estimator and general manager. We are a small business trying to diversify and maintain.
Oncologist at the IU School of Medicine.
Again, I find Hanna’s credentials to be vastly superior to Crawford’s. In fact, the comparison is beginning to remind me a bit of the comparisons of Barack Obama to Sarah Palin.
Let’s look at a few more bits and pieces. The Star’s voter guide includes information about civic involvement:
Founder, Cancer-Free Lungs (2004-present): nonprofit organization that serves school children throughout Indiana; Professional Advisory Board, Wellness Community, 2002-present; Member of 1st class Leadership Development Program, American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2009-2010;
Previous civic involvement/accomplishment highlights: Chairman of the Board, Hoosier Oncology Group (2007-2010): nonprofit cancer research organization; IU Trustee's Teaching Award, 2009; Recipient of a 40 under 40 award (Indianapolis Business Journal), 2008; IU Simon Cancer Center Torchbearer Award, 2007; Recipient RTV-6/Sagamore Leadership Award, 2006; Recipient Healing Spirit Award, Wellness Community, 2006; Outstanding Young Clinician Award, Indiana University, 2005.
I presume that Crawford either has no civic involvement or didn’t respond because no civic involvement is listed. None.
What about endorsements?
Reality, logic, and free trade.
State Democratic Party.
District 5 Democratic Committee
Keith Clock - District 5 Democratic Party Chairman
Hancock County Democratic Club
Michael Adkins - Hancock County Democratic Committee Chairman
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Glen Jordan - Brown Township Trustee in Hancock County
Riley Lemmons - Noble Township Trustee in Shelby County
John Ripberger - County Councilman in Tipton County
Ken Ziegler - County Commissioner for Tipton County
Mary Boswell - Richland Township Trustee in Miami County
Frank Fritch - Sheriff for Tipton County
Linda Williams - Adams Township Trustee in Hamilton County
Daniel Brock - County Councilman in Grant County
As for money, again looking at the Star’s voter guide, Hanna had raised approximately $85,000; Crawford: $0.
To finish the comparison between the two candidates from the Star’s voter guide, let’s just look at their responses to the question “What specific background or experience makes you the best candidate?”
The number one issue facing Americans today is the decay of their rights. A large majority of politicians around the nation are reading between the lines of the United States Constitution and not the lines themselves. Their deceptions are revoking our rights as individuals and as citizens of the states in which we reside. The federal government was designed to grant the greatest extent of freedoms, while regulating righteously to provide safety and fairness for residents. Under these circumstances the health care bill needs to be removed from our government and everyone should have the right to keep and bear arms.
I will remind the politicians and the American people of the fundamental ideas of our forefathers. I will vote against any bill I deem to be unconstitutional and find to be revolved around a socialist ideology.
There are many issues we face in our district and country. We know that a change in one has impacts on many others. We can’t always simplify the issues into black and white solutions. We must address complex issues with thoughtful, creative actions and solutions. Standing still and doing the same thing over and over again will never solve a problem.
I believe that there is a health care crisis and that we must address the crisis in a meaningful way. As I answer this question, our current congress is making what seems like hourly changes to the health care bill. I don’t know what will come from that bill, but I do strongly support immediate action. As a doctor, I know the state of today’s health care and the impact of rising costs, denial of coverage and lack of insurance have on the people of the 5th District. Health care costs today also have a major negative impact on an individual finances and our state and national budgets and the deficit. We must recognize that our current health care system works for some people but ignores or devastates many others. I know that the cost of health care limits our ability to address issues in Education, Job Creation, Homeland Security and many other important activities. Health care costs affect every budget discussion that an individual, a state or the Federal government has. It is the most important issue we face today. We must move forward without petty name calling, bickering and unfounded fear tactics. With the support of the people of the 5th District we can bring reform to health care.
Now on the basis of that information, who would you be supporting (presuming that you’re a Democrat voting in the Democratic primary)?
I also want to look briefly at a few other items. First, take a few minutes and go look at Crawford’s campaign website and then look at Hanna’s campaign website. Does one of those websites suggest a serious, knowledgeable, viable candidate more than the other? Then compare the issues pages of Crawford’s and Hanna’s respective sites. Again, does one of those issue pages suggest that one candidate is a more serious, knowledgeable, viable candidate than the other? And finally, take a few minutes to read Crawford’s issue page. If you didn’t know his party affiliation, would you guess that Crawford was a Democrat or a Republican (or even a Tea Party supporter)?
Finally, just a few days before the primary, the Chair of the Hamilton County Democratic Party sent the following email:
I write to you today to urge you to not just vote on Election Day this Tuesday, but to vote in the Democratic Party primary. This may sound like a no-brainer for most of you, however to some Democrats this isn't second nature. There have been some good Democrats in the past that have voted in the Republican primary to vote against Dan Burton or to have a voice in some local elections. For those Democrats who ask for a Republican ballot, I ask for you to NOT do that this election.
In past elections, the Democratic Party candidate for Congress has not fared well in competing against Rep. Burton and his power of incumbency. However, this year is different. This year we have the opportunity to nominate and elect a viable candidate who we can all be proud of. This election, Democrats have an excellent candidate in Dr. Nasser Hanna. He is a very impressive and energetic individual who we can all be proud to call our Congressman from the fifth district. He has managed to garner a record amount of financial support for a Democrat running in the fifth district and gain key party endorsements. Nasser has been endorsed not only by the Fifth District Central Committee but also by the Indiana Democratic Party. You can read more about Nasser and his positive agenda on his website at http://www.hannaforcongress.com/about/.
The most important element about voting in the Democratic Party primary is due to Dr. Hanna having an opponent. Although this individual is running as a Democrat against Dr. Hanna, his opponent is NOT a Democrat. He is an admitted Republican who says we are living in a Socialist nation. His issues are not what any Democrat could support and are not good for our nation as a whole. Our district has a history of embarrassing candidates in our primary and this opponent is no exception. I urge you to leave the Republican primary up to the Republicans and support a great Democrat in our primary who deserves to be on the ballot in November.
Thanks so much for your support for Nasser. Again, visit Nasser's website at www.hannaforcongress.com for more info and to learn how to support his campaign.
Keith Clock, Chair
Hamilton County Democratic Party
And yet Crawford beat Hanna 61% to 39%. How is that possible?
I already mentioned the fact that Crawford’s name came before Hanna’s on the ballot. So that may have accounted for some of the difference. But let me offer two other things that I believe factored heavily into the decision that voters in the 5th Congressional District may have made. First, compare the names:
- Tim Crawford: A nice, safe, suburban, American name.
- Nasser Hanna: That “Nasser” bit sounds almost as scary as Hussein (as in Barack Hussein Obama). Hey, maybe he’s really another one of them scary sekrit Muslims!
And then compare their photos:
Can you guess which candidate is Crawford and which candidate is Hanna? Hmm. How were you able to guess?
Thus, while I’d prefer not to presume that voters in Indiana’s 5th Congressional District voted against Dr. Nasser Hanna because of his ethnic name and appearance, I have a very hard time trying to come up with any reason that 61% of the voters would have chosen to vote for Tim Crawford.
As the title of this post suggests, I don’t understand and I’m not sure that I want to understand. What I do know is that Rep. Dan Burton is going to be reelected to Congress in November and the voters of Indiana’s 5th Congressional District have lost their chance to support a knowledgeable, viable opponent.