Brenton’s the real ‘outsider’
WESTVILLE – There were three candidates on the stage during Monday’s U.S. Senate debate, but unless you were there, you might not know it. Libertarian candidate Lucy Brenton was mostly ignored by her opponents – and by the media.
Incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly and Republican challenger Mike Braun busied themselves taking shots at each other during the debate at Purdue University Northwest in Westville – only once did either engage Brenton.
When moderator Anne Ryder asked about climate change, Brenton said, “We need hemp. Why do we need hemp? Because it fixes carbon. Why do we need hemp? Because we don’t need ethanol. That’s just another government boondoggle that pays off (Donnelly’s) cronies.”
Donnelly rebutted, saying, “Look, we’re Indiana, we fight for our farmers. Ethanol is a clean fuel, it’s an extraordinarily good fuel. It’s something that makes money go in the pockets of our farmers instead of the sheikhs in Saudi Arabia or in the Middle East.”
Other than that brief exchange, Donnelly and Braun were dismissive of Brenton, who considers herself the real political outsider in the race.
“I’m the only outsider,” she said in her closing pitch. “I don’t have a $90 million net worth. I’m not part of the 1 percent. So, if you want something that changes in Washington, D.C., if you want somebody that is unabashedly for the Constitution, who demands all of your freedoms all of the time, someone who has never raised taxes on you and never will – that is not in my track record.”
A finance professional from the Indianapolis area, Brenton is making her second run for Senate after losing to Republican Sen. Todd Young in 2016.
“We demand all of our freedoms all of the time,” Brenton said of her Libertarian ideology. “We demand a return to constitutional values and restrictions, because the government is supposed to have a muzzle on it. That is the purpose of the constitution, to allow maximum freedom.”
To clarify, Brenton said, a Libertarian is “fiscally conservative and socially accepting.” Her motto: “Don’t hurt people. Don’t take their stuff. Other than that, you’re good with me.”
One topic Brenton introduced during the debate – that was ignored by the other candidates – was the legalization of marijuana for medicinal and recreational use.
“It’s been studied for about 10,000 years throughout human history,” Brenton said. “And how many people have ever died of a marijuana overdose? It’s the exact same number as have been gored to death by a unicorn – zero.”
After the debate, Brenton elaborated.
“I challenge all of you to look at the issue of our private prisons and how those are kept full by politicians to pay off the builders and the profiteers of those private prisons,” she said. “This is one of the reasons why I’m absolutely for recreational marijuana; and I advocate that all nonviolent people who are in the prisons because of using a substance to change their state of mind be immediately released and their records expunged.”
A self-proclaimed proponent of the right to bear arms, Brenton reminded voters the Second Amendment was written at a time when Americans were fighting a global superpower.
“Should that ever happen, God forbid, in our country, we need to be able to stand against government,” she said.
And initially, she described herself as “pro-life,” but later clarified that she believes the government should not play a role in determining whether a woman chooses to continue or terminate a pregnancy.
“It’s no one’s business but the person whose body it is,” Brenton said. “We must each have absolute control over our own bodies. If we don’t have freedom in our own bodies to accept or reject any medical care, then we don’t have any freedom at all.”
Brenton piggy-backed on that philosophy when the Democratic and Republican candidates were arguing over the best way for the government to address health care.
“This is really about the old parties, whether they wear a red jacket or a blue jacket, trying to force and make you do something that may not be in your own best interests,” she said. “Should we even have a government that is able to use government force – it’s the tip of the government’s gun, which is in your face demanding that you buy health care.”
The funding of post-secondary education is another realm in which Brenton said the government has no business.
Only interested in free market solutions to rising student debt, she said, “Government is currently picking winners and losers in our higher educational system by guaranteeing student loan debt that you can never bankrupt out of. It’s an absolute scam; it’s a ruse; and it’s a big gift to banks that they can be so profitable on the backs of every single one of us.”
Brenton said she’s been helping people to get mortgages since 1996, but finds many young people often do not qualify because of college debt.
She also criticized American payouts to foreign governments, and estimated the U.S. pays Israel $10 million and Palestine $8 million per day.
“How do we even do that when, at home, we have people who are not eating?” she asked. “Food security in our country is absolutely an issue, and we should be talking about feeding our own people first before we start handing out money to foreign governments in the name of peace. It has certainly bought us no peace.”
As for U.S. relations with North Korea, Brenton said she is reminded of the Austin Powers movies when she thinks of presidents Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.
“We have cartoon characters for world leaders,” she said. “I think North Korea can do better. I think we can do better.”