Search This Blog

20.11.19

Faux conservatives crucial to Edwards win

In the 2019 Louisiana governor elections post-mortems, analysts have made a number of valid points about base activation and campaign quality (or lack thereof) to explain the narrow reelection of Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards. But they miss the most critical aspect of all: how a small cadre of those who call themselves conservatives ended up pulling the lever for an unambiguously liberal politician when presented with a solid, mainstream, and credible alternative in Republican Eddie Rispone decided the contest.

To explain the phenomenon, two case studies suffice. We begin with Rod Dreher, who has pretty good conservative credentials. He’s published in such places of superior conservative analysis as National Review, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, and the Washington Times. But, as he explained in his American Conservative column, he voted for Edwards.

That turns out to be a head-scratcher, to say the least:

19.11.19

Lessons from the 2019 LA governor's race

Louisiana learned some lessons from the conclusion of 2019 state elections, primarily focused on the gubernatorial contest – largely unflattering, but with some hope for the distant future.

Personalism still matters more than issues and ideology. Louisiana’s electorate to a degree not seen elsewhere in the Union places its emphasis on candidate images at the expense of issue preferences in its voting decisions. The state’s history of paternalistic government, its population’s lower levels of educational attainment, and its relative lack of economic development and the insularity that produces all contribute to this being out of step with the nation as a whole and even makes it distinct compared to its regional neighbors.

Louisiana voters, even as this aspect of the political culture continues to erode, disproportionately don’t incorporate and analyze information about candidate records and preferences in making their decisions, preferring to supplanting that with vague perceptions (often influenced by negative advertising that has little to do with reality) about candidates as leaders and providers of things. In essence, the fog created by personalistic appeals obscures the ability of many to vote in their own self-interests (such as this guy, who should know better).

17.11.19

Results reconfirm LA as banana republic

Yesterday, Louisiana proved it’s not yet ready for primetime because, as the state’s junior senator suggested, too many Louisianans are happy with crappy.

Runoffs for 2019 state elections could have resulted in a different story. At their conclusion, had several things happened the erosion of living standards and opportunity for the majority that begun under Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards could have commenced. Tax relief, putting government on a small diet, more efficient use of funds, increased personal responsibility from those receiving government largesse, fiscal reform that rewards initiative rather than encouraging dependency and rent-seeking, and tort reform would have followed had conservative Republicans hit the perfecta.

They almost got it. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will continue to implement education reform based upon accountability and choice as intended under reforms instituted by GOP former Gov. Bobby Jindal, with the election of Republican Ronnie Morris to District 6 that will give that bloc a healthy majority. The Louisiana Supreme Court will retain a majority open to curtailing tort overreach and jackpot justice with the election of Republican Will Crain to District 1.

14.11.19

Day of reckoning here for LA political culture

Saturday's gubernatorial election marks an inflection point for Louisiana’s political culture in two ways, in both products and processes, with a profound impact on the state’s future.

A victory by challenger Republican businessman and novice politician Eddie Rispone would demonstrate a critical mass for evolution of that political culture has occurred. A win for incumbent Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards temporarily extends the life of a dying superstructure.

The Edwards vision emanates squarely from Louisiana’s past, a century-old ideology that divides society into exploiters and the exploited, the favored few and the multitudinous unfortunate, and the rescuers and their charges. It proffers a Manichean view of society with enemies of the state, who have used good luck and dastardly behavior to put them in a position to earn too much and have too much, against everybody else, with only government able to tame the oppressing class through redistribution of power and resources that benefits all (although this process inevitably provides opportunities for the elites overseeing it to acquire power and privilege as their price for aiding the unwashed).

13.11.19

Kennedy impeachment intent doctrine fails

News show favorite Louisiana’s usually perspicacious Republican Sen. John Kennedy as always remained glib but missed the mark when he commented about the partisan impeachment circus currently in Washington, DC.

Appearing on a Sunday morning show, Kennedy argued that Republican Pres. Donald Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelensky where Trump discussed that the Ukraine uphold treaty obligations in assisting on a corruption probe that included the son of Democrat former Vice Pres. Joe Biden – a potential challenger in 2020 – possibly could be an impeachable offense. During the call, Trump never mentioned military aid, which had been negotiated but not yet delivered. Zelensky didn’t even know the aid, which showed up three months later, as of the call had not arrived, nor did he feel like Trump was bargaining with him. In fact, the Ukraine has yet to pursue Trump’s request to provide any investigatory assistance.

Nonetheless, Democrats have declared the episode worthy of impeachment and conviction to remove Trump from office. Kennedy largely disagrees, with one exception:

12.11.19

Early voting small advantage to Edwards

So, early voting statistics for this Saturday’s contest predict a Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards reelection? Not so fast, my readers.

At the conclusion of early voting this weekend, about 115,000 more people voted early than in the general election of Oct. 12. This set an all-time record for early turnout proportion – although history suggests that won’t last long, as early voting for the 2020 elections that features the presidential race should surge past it.

But, significantly, the proportion of blacks in early voting rose from around 25 to 31 percent from the general election to runoff, undoubtedly spurred by efforts of special interest groups to round up and deliver them to early voting locations in larger parishes (typically two locations). As roughly of 90 percent of blacks will vote for Democrats, this gives a boost to Edwards and others of his party running in down-ballot contests (although only a handful of state-level contests went to a runoff featuring major party matchups, and in every case leaving Republicans heavily favored).

11.11.19

Veterans Day, 2019

This column publishes every Monday through Friday around noon U.S. Central Time (maybe even after sundown on busy days, or maybe before noon if things work out, or even sometimes on the weekend if there's big news) except whenever a significant national holiday falls on the Monday through Friday associated with the otherwise-usual publication on the previous day (unless it is Thanksgiving Day, Independence Day, Christmas, or New Year's Day when it is the day on which the holiday is observed by the U.S. government). In my opinion, in addition to these are also Memorial Day and Veterans' Day.

With Monday, Nov. 11 being Veterans' Day, I invite you to explore the links connected to this page.

8.11.19

7.11.19

Worse schools, less likely to support change

Not only do the just-released school and district accountability scores in Louisiana speak to the educational quality and pace of improvement within the state’s elementary and secondary education, these also illuminate how many Louisianans vote against their own self-interests.

The state’s Department of Education announced yesterday the scores, which federal law requires that it computes. Overall, these showed improvement from 2018, particularly among worse-performing schools. Tempering that good news, about 17 percent of schools ended up classified as “struggling,” while 44 percent had at least one student sub-population of interest classified as that.

However, out of all of this comes a fascinating nugget of electoral and political importance. A relationship exists between the quality of a school district and vote in the 2019 gubernatorial general election. Specifically, the worse the schools perform, the more votes for Democrats in that election.