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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments


Be careful what you wish for:

INDIANAPOLIS —  Indiana Republicans hope to solidify their grip on the Statehouse in next month's elections, but the GOP's goal of winning enough House seats to essentially render Democrats irrelevant could prove an elusive target.

House Republicans won a resounding a victory in 2010, picking up 12 seats and control of the chamber. That gave them the numbers needed to pass Republican priorities like divisive right-to-work legislation and create an expansive school voucher program.

But Democrats held on to just enough seats to deny Republicans the quorum they needed to conduct business. They exercised that clout as they walked out for five weeks last year and boycotted sporadically earlier this year in attempts to block the GOP agenda.

The new goal for Republicans is 67, the number of seats needed for a "supermajority," which would allow them to conduct business without the Democrats.

Mike Pence is strongly favored to win the governor's office, and Senate Republicans aren't likely to lose their supermajority. If House Republicans achieve that status, too, then Democrats will be irrelevant, and that possibility is something to be at least a little nervous about. I'm generally more sympathetic to the Republican agenda than the Democratic one, but it's dangerous when any group has absolute power. Legislators who feel like they don't need to pay attention to any voice of dissent -- or any input at all for that matter -- are liable to do some pretty stupid things. I've even talked to a couple of Republican legislators who aren't sure they want to operate with no checks at all in place.