Joe Donnelly calls for Mock Convention to ‘fight for America’

The former legislator from Indiana was outwardly anti-Trump in his first session speech


Former Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly (D). Photo by Lilah Kimble.

Brianna Hatch

After Joe Donnelly’s speech during Mock Convention’s first session, the consensus among students and other attendees was clear: they knew very little about the session’s second speaker before his address.

“I’m gonna be totally honest, I’m coming into this completely blind—except for Trevor Noah,” Emma Thai, ‘22, said, and her sentiments were echoed by others. This statement was followed, most often, by optimism and anticipation for every speaker, including those that students didn’t recognize.

“To be perfectly honest, I haven’t had any exposure to him yet,” Collin Frazey, ‘23, said in reference to Donnelly. “But I do know that the lineup of speakers that Mock Con has prepared is very exceptional and I’m excited to see what they bring about.”

For the most part, Donnelly’s speech mirrored the themes displayed on his campaign website, with a focus on healthcare accessibility for all Americans, veterans’ rights and the effort to bridge the divide between urban and rural areas of the country.

“For a long, long time, the Democrats haven’t shown up for rural areas, haven’t shown them they care,” Donnelly said. “And they got their medicine in 2016 because of it.” 

Donnelly, who has represented Indiana in both the House and Senate, called for our responsibility as a nation to “show up”—and tied it to the current administration under the lead of President Donald Trump.

His speech did prompt some shock among audience members, especially in regards to the current president. 

“I was suprised by how outwardly anti-Trump he was,” Annalisa Waddick, ’23, said. On his campaign website, Donnelly is characterized as seeking “bipartisan solutions.”

Donnelly made numerous criticisms about Trump, calling for a new country leader who values truth and the environment, among other issues. 

“We kept our nation safe not with ridiculous tweets and egotistical rallies, but with the men and women of our armed forces,” Donnelly said in another Trump dig. 

Donnelly touched on a plethora of controversies and hot topics in American politics today, from immigration to national debt. While most students agreed his arguments were important and well-spoken, some found the speech hard to follow.

“I thought former senator Joe Donnelly had a lot of good points that we can take away from his speech, [which was] maybe not the most coherent or cohesive, but definitely a lot of good things for us to listen to and consider,” Claire Mackin, ‘20, said.

Donnelly ended his time on stage with a rallying cry to “fight for America” that was greeted with strong applause.

“I think that he was saying a lot of buzz words to try to get a lot of applause,” Lauren Hoagland, ’22, said. “But it was very well-spoken. I thought he had a lot of great things to say, I was just confused as to why he was saying so many of them.”

Donnelly’s speech, while taking on many different topics, centered around his beginning message: “What America is about is every generation does better than the generation before. The world looks at us.”