The most important primary is Indiana…until the next one


Today, hundreds of a Hoosiers rushed to social media to share a Nate Cohn article from the New York Times that declared Indiana is the most important state primary election state.

It may sound strange, but when you start gaming out the rest of the primary contest, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that his quest to reach a majority of delegates before the convention could all turn on Indiana.

It was like the whole Indianapolis political bubble dropped its Trapper Keeper in the hallway and the Times stopped to help us pick up the mess.

“Careful there, Indiana,” it said with a wink.

We rushed breathlessly home and called our friends. “You guys! The New York Times KNOWS MY NAME!”

And it’s true the Indiana’s primary is going to be important this year. Candidates from both parties are still slugging it out and likely will be well into the summer. Indiana matters again. It’s our moment. We will take off our nerdy glasses, straighten our hair, put on trendy clothes and be just as cool as all the popular girls. I’ve seen it a million times.

Problem is, the media is a fickle beast, and their M.O. is to sweet talk all the states as they come on line. Don’t believe me? Take a walk with me.

It starts with the endless coverage of Iowa and New Hampshire. But the superlatives were formally kicked off in February when George Will declared South Carolina to be the most important state.

A few weeks later, with Super Tuesday on the horizon, we decided “no state is more crucial than Texas.”

Then it was the second Super Tuesday — or third, I can’t remember — in which Florida was a “make-or-break” state, but Ohio was even more crucial for the very same reasons Indiana’s is today, according to fivethirtyeight.

The importance of this primary to the larger Republican race is difficult to overstate. According to my math…Trump is unlikely to reach a majority of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination if he loses Ohio.

A month ago, Yahoo said Donald Trump is leading in the four most important states left on the primary map. At the time, Indiana didn’t even make the list. Although Arizona did, along with New York, California and Pennsylvania.

Then came Wisconsin, “the prize the two leading Republican presidential candidates can’t afford to lose”. Of course, one of them lost, and has thus far afforded it.

Slate doubled-down on the Pennsylvania contest because of their unbound delegate system. But West Virginia officials made the case that their delegate contest was more critical.

Next, the Huffington Post declared New York to be the most important contest for both parties.

At some point, I’d wager at least half the states were described as the “most important”, “crucial”, “critical”, or “make-or-break”.

This is the nature of the beast. In the world of commentary, whether it’s politics or sports or something else, the next thing is always the biggest. Or greatest. Or worst. Even when Indiana Jones is a bigger deal, according to most people.

Hoosiers, let’s enjoy the Prom. But don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought, or you’ll be crushed when America dumps you for California on May 3.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *