With a statutory change since its last elections, New Orleans now has these in the fall previous to the year in which terms end. The final numbers reveal a depressing acquiescence to greater government control and collectivism, placing redistribution ahead of wealth creation: of the 48 candidates for mayor and City Council, 37 ran as Democrats with just one Republican. Needless to say, the next mayor and seven councilors all will be Democrats spanning the ideological scale from moderate liberal to very liberal.
The mayoral candidates that went into a runoff, City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and former judge Desiree Charbonnet, of the serious contestants ran the furthest left ideologically. Their platforms of items such as supporting a “living wage,” using government fiat to control housing provision, promising greater expenditures without realistic plans to pay for these other than tax increases, diversion of city contracting money based upon race and sex of contractors along with other appeals to identity politics, and committing the city to expensive, economic development-unfriendly and unnecessary environmental schemes barely distinguish themselves from each other.
Regardless of who wins, their rhetoric suggests they will manage enthusiastically New Orleans’ further decline. Their only real difference comes from Cantrell’s alliance with newer elements of the city’s political power, while Charbonnet springs from alliances with politicians of longer standing on the political scene.
That division also appeared in the one contest in Jefferson, for the open seat on the Parish Council after former occupant Ben Zahn took the reins as Kenner mayor. This contest featured Kenner City Councilman Dominick Impastato against state Sen. Danny Martiny, both Republicans. Martiny has held elective office of some kind since 1994, when Impastato was in high school. Here, new school beat old school with Impastato’s convincing victory.
Martiny’s legislative career frequently lapsed into the pattern often seen in Jefferson, best epitomized by GOP Sen. Pres. JohnAlario, signaling a conservative of convenience, espousing the rhetoric of that ideology but always willing to abandon it when given a chance to expand government with an eye towards steering money to favored constituencies. His continued dalliance with Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ agenda of growing government despite his official title of Chairman of the Senate Republican Delegation underscores this fecklessness.
The rather non-ideological nature of the campaign, which concentrated mostly on who knew who and who backed who, gives little idea whether Impastato will govern with more fidelity to conservatism than has Martiny, but at least its signals a rejection of the business-as-usual represented by Martiny, a member of good standing in the old Jefferson school of politicians. It also signals an end to his political career as he faces terms limits on his Senate seat, which will bring few tears from genuine conservatives and those interested in moving Jefferson away from the redistributive politics of the past (even as Edwards tries to forestall this) that have hampered Louisiana as a whole.