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Statistics, reality shouldn't reassure Democrat officeholders

If you take a walk with a Democrat elected to a Louisiana state office past a graveyard in the middle of the night, expect to hear a lot of vigorous whistling, if their reactions to assessing the electoral realities of the next two years are any indication.

Much can happen before statewide elections next year, but trends continue to point to Democrat electoral carnage at state-level contests, consisting of three ominous signs for them. First, Hurricane Katrina has disrupted their reliable voting base in New Orleans beyond all repairs. In fact, what might seem to be a positive thing, scarcely declining voting rolls in Orleans, provides no reassurance. As yet, displaced voters have had little reason to switch in their new locations, as they take care of more important matters first and become acclimated to their new political climate. Worse, some may wait to switch just so they can vote to punish current officeholders to exact for themselves a sense of justice, and that will work against Democrats (nobody who stays will delay switching just to vote for an incumbent)
Because, secondly, some segment of the population will wish to visit retribution against those in power for the state’s lack of preparedness to and response after the crisis. The fact is, Democrats now hold all executive offices and still control both chambers of the Legislature so they will disproportionately suffer.

Third, let us not forget that mandated term limits will forcibly sweep some monuments, disproportionately Democrats, out of the way in the Legislature as well (slightly in the favor of the GOP in the Senate, but overwhelmingly so in the House.) Almost twice as many Democrats as Republicans cannot run again (and one such Democrat, populist and defender of the mediocre Tommy Wright, resigned effective today).

Some elected Democrats can’t bring themselves to face, or are incapable of understanding, these ramifications. At best, you’ll get out of them a “pox on all houses” response that argues any incumbent will face difficulty. There is a germ of truth to this – Republicans who are part of the good old boy ethos may well have their hands full with aggressive challengers from their own parties. But the fact is, the hurricane disasters of last fall will favor reform advocates and they disproportionately have run as Republicans as Democrats have favored the liberal/populist agenda of the past. The last real GOP populist in the state was David Duke, and we know what happened to him.

More sensible observers from the left see reality. Even reliable Democrat shill Lanny Kellar can’t turn a blind eye to the trend, one which has sent three members of the state legislature already from the “D” to “R” column in the hopes of warding off the effects of that scarlet letter. At the statewide level, a growing awareness among the population of the bankruptcy of good old boy attitudes fueled by negative perceptions of Katrina’s aftermath could give the GOP the majority of those offices for the first time ever.

If Louisiana Democrats’ (currently lacking a permanent state party chairman) putting on a happy face is a strategy to try to change perceptions, it’s no match for reality. If it’s designed to blunt reality, Democrats are even in bigger trouble as denial will make their response to the dilemma even less effective.


Anonymous said...

Who transcribes your comments from crayon to type? My sympathies go out to that poor soul.

If you're going to attack Lanny Keller, at least spell his name correctly. I knew you didn't have much more than a superficial grasp of Louisiana politics, but the substance of your attack on him displays a shocking ignorance.

Jeff Sadow said...

My apologies to him, or you (or both if you are he). Although, I've gotten use to the misspelling of my last name or, even more interesting, being mistaken for my twin brother.

Regardless, I've encountered his stuff since alighting here in Shreveport when he published in the defunct Shreveport Journal and "Journalpage." He is a solid, if unspectacular, leftist and Democrat, if you care to read his work. And since when is identifying somebody as a liberal, much less one willing to see reality (which most have difficulty doing) as an "attack?" With shoddy reasoning like yours, I wear your comment-as-presumed-criticsm as a badge of honor.