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LA Democrats whistle in wind to obscure racial strife

As the contest for the 6th Congressional District continues into its next phase, the main question about it isn’t so much whether Democrats can win it, but how much of a rift its outcome will cause within the party.

National Democrats have wanted to assist state Rep. Don Cazayoux because, according to their official story and code word, he is a “moderate.” That isn’t really the case, as the legislative scorecards from the Louisiana Legislature Log shows with Cazayoux scoring (lower scores indicating more liberal/populist leanings) in 2005 a 44, in 2006 a 30, and in 2007 a 10, so he’s definitely a mainstream liberal. What national Democrats really mean is that Cazayoux, unlike his runoff opponent state Rep. Michael Jackson, is white and therefore has the potential to fool enough white voters, typically conservative in that district, into thinking he’s not ideologically liberal.

Once again, this attitude exposes the ugly racist secret of Democrats. If you’re black, they love to have your votes, but you need not apply to hold office unless there are too many black voters in your district to prevent it. This is because, unfortunately, most of the time being a black Democrat candidate makes it impossible to hide the fact you also are a political liberal, and Democrat leaders know they cannot win elections in Louisiana and much of the rest of the country if they are honest about what policies they prefer. So by putting a white face on their candidate and then obscuring his record, they hope to put one over on enough of a district’s voters.

This also explains why the party decided to open its primaries for federal offices to no party (independent) registrants as well whereas Republicans made theirs a true closed primary (only registered Republicans can participate in theirs). Using the 6th District as an example, whites now have only a plurality in registration among Democrats, leading blacks by about 2,000. But among other party registrants (the vast majority of which are independents), whites outnumber blacks three to one. If closed entirely, using the rough standard that white candidates get 80 percent of the white vote, black candidates get 90 percent of the vote, and blacks vote at 90 percent of the rate of whites, black candidates win Democrat nominations in that district, all else held equal. But throw in some portion of independent voters and a white candidate may have the upper hand.

But Louisiana’s black Democrats are getting restless on their party’s plantation. One such indicator came by the challenge by Opelousas Mayor Don Cravins, who felt slighted by the party when he ran competitively for the 7th District seat four years ago, for the state party’s chairmanship this weekend. He lost both times, but in doing so served notice that blacks were not going to want to remain second-class citizens among Democrats. And powerbroker Cleo Fields in the 6th also had made veiled comments that if national Democrats came in trying to assist successfully Cazayoux to the nomination, that his political machine would discourage black participation in the general election.

This strife only can help the chances of presumptive GOP nominee Louis “Woody” Jenkins, regardless of who he faces from the Democrats. So the talk from Democrats that they could win the district actually is more to paper over the turmoil within the party, in the hopes they can jawbone their way to placating blacks and getting their preferred white candidate into the fall election, than a true summary of any Democrat’s chances in that election.

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