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Duke fixation sends parties, candidates off message

One ignorant peon needlessly has managed to interject a lot of anxiety into Louisiana’s U.S. Senate contest, because those involved with it inflate his importance.

The candidate in question, Republican former state Rep. David Duke, got the executive directors of both of the state’s major political parties all bothered when the former Ku Klux Klan official polled just enough for inclusion in next week’s televised debate. Both the GOP’s Jason Doré and Democrat Stephen Handwerk wrung their hands over his earning a place at the dais. “[H]e absolutely should not be given any extra time from anyone,” complained Handwerk, and Doré moaned that “if I were a decision maker … I certainly wouldn’t have him as part of the debate.”

That a Democrat official should wish to censor debate should not surprise. Increasingly over the decades the political left has advocated limits on free speech, most recently most visibly in Louisiana by arguments that public facilities should not host speakers that could offend somebody’s sensibilities and nationally where the Democrat nominee for president Hillary Clinton argues that certain voices need limitation when making arguments about ideas and candidates.


LA early voting initial results favor Republicans

Varying by degree only in whether early voting has matured within the electorate, Republicans initially have received good news from the practice this election cycle in Louisiana.

Now in its eighth year in the state, the last round of statewide elections topped the one-fifth mark for proportion of vote that came prior to election day. After so much experience, to understand how early voting may signal the direction of an election, we must consider whether it has come to approximate final returns, or whether it remains a phenomenon unrepresentative of actual outcomes.

In any given election, the proportion of individuals with certain characteristics in the electorate that end up voting can be to the advantage or disadvantage of parties and candidates. A crude method to determine this begins with the concept of a normal vote, or one where turnout essentially matches the characteristics of the aggregate of registered voters.


LA Senate race reverts to form: advantage Kennedy

Maybe back to the future explains how the state of Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race seemingly has reverted to its position of over a month ago, as campaigns have adjusted to burgeoning interest in the contest to produce the same top two then as now.

Until the middle of September, polling had shown Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy leading the field with around a quarter of the vote, and then several points behind Democrat Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell. Then a couple of polls emerged that saw Kennedy falling back close to other main rivals Republican Reps. Charles Boustany and John Fleming, and Campbell retreat back to his main rival Democrat, former lieutenant governor candidate Caroline Fayard.

The theory went that Kennedy for Republicans and Campbell for Democrats served as placeholders for an electorate minimally engaged, with their familiarity translating to default answers in surveys for people in reality undecided. With the proportion of the undecided still remaining high, it could have been that as some respondents began paying attention they detached from the pair and declared themselves undecided, while others of the undecided broke disproportionately for the other candidates. At the time, Kennedy hardly had any advertisements out and Campbell found Fayard picking up key endorsements from the Landrieu clan. Thus, it could be that Kennedy could win back supporters once he made his campaign more visible and if Campbell could rally his more state-centered campaign to overcome the national party emphasis on Fayard he would regain his edge over her.


Good LA tax reform idea faces daunting odds

Louisiana’s task force instructed to produce fiscal reform has suggested, very wisely, the elimination of the inventory tax. Not only will that need other changes attached, but also a lot of luck to succeed.

At present, Louisiana is only one of a handful of states to tax inventories. Many kinds of goods for sale sitting around the Constitution deems taxable, which creates not only a generally undesirable burden on businesses as a whole, but also specifically creates winners and losers in that certain businesses would have huge liabilities while other kinds little, if any. As such, typically taxation experts frown upon the concept.

To level the playing field, Louisiana refunds to businesses these property taxes levied at the local level. This only compounds the horror of the tax, because it makes the amount paid by state taxpayers completely determined by local authorities in aggregate. It becomes a crazy subsidization scheme where local jurisdictions with a high number of business with a large volume of inventories can jack up rates to suck in money statewide.