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Fayard candidacy invites LA Democrat crackup

On cue, here comes the crackup of Louisiana Democrats.

Former lieutenant governor candidate Democrat Caroline Fayard announced she would enter the U.S. Senate race contested this fall. She already joins three quality Republicans, in the form of Reps. Charles Boustany and John Fleming and Treasurer John Kennedy, and two others that would be competitive only in the absence of these from the GOP, former Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao and former Senate candidate Rob Maness.

To reiterate what has appeared in this space, Fayard’s social liberalism, association with prominent liberal Democrat elected officials past and present, her trial lawyer background and backing, questions surrounding her previous campaign’s financing, and the case of athlete’s mouth she contracted then when she infamously declared that she “hates” Republicans that will resurface in ads again and again over the next nine months, make her unelectable against any of the top shelf Republicans running, if not all running. But if she were the only quality Democrat running, given the electorate’s dynamics due to the size of the Republican field she would make the runoff subsequently to lose to the highest GOP receiver of votes.

Her entry helps the most conservative of the upper tier Republicans, Fleming, as she will pull more votes from Boustany and Kennedy compared to the very few she would steal from him. All things equal, it draws Fleming closer to Kennedy making it almost certain one of that pair makes the runoff with her, while Boustany finds himself less likely now to advance.

But things may not remain equal. Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards has stated he would like to see run Democrat Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, who for his part says he leans heavily towards announcing a run in the next two weeks. Campbell, who endorsed Edwards in his race, probably also would find assistance from Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, who relentlessly informed voters of Fayard’s political allies and views in his campaign to defeat her resoundingly in the 2010 special election.

Unfortunately for Democrats, Campbell’s undiluted liberal populism, although with him more socially conservative and a more skilled campaigner, makes him not much more electable than Fayard. And if he does enter, that splitting of the Democrat field creates the distinct possibility that neither would make the runoff and thereby discourage Democrat turnout for down ballot races in the runoff. Alternatively, if one did slip into it then probably he or she would face and lose to, relative to their party, the least desirable Republican in terms of ideology, Fleming.

If Democrats had thought of the long term success of their party, they either would have discouraged any quality candidate from running, in order to allow their voters the opportunity to pick the least objectionable quality Republican (not Fleming; this is known as the “Landrieu/Peterson strategy”), or would have thrown their support behind a less liberal quality candidate in the hopes that perhaps lightning would strike twice to win as did Edwards, even in far less favorable circumstances for a victory. Instead, it has become an anti-strategic free-for-all, with Democrat delusions that all you have to do is say you oppose abortion and enough of the center-right electorate – which in Louisiana has sent Democrats to 20 defeats out of 22 contests for federal office since 2008 – magically decides other issue preferences become insignificant and votes Democrat to produce another miraculous conquest.

The lesson remains unlearned by state Democrats: especially after two terms of Pres. Barack Obama that has demonstrated the folly of liberalism, in Louisiana in order to win a Senate contest (or, as a presidential candidate its electoral votes) you must eschew putting forward leftists whose ideology you can’t obscure and instead head to the center to have a chance to win. And if at least you don’t want to damage your party and its other candidates further in contesting for that seat, you don’t engage in an internecine feud between the party’s only statewide elected official (at the top, no less) and one of its biggest donating families.

The model validated by the Edwards fluke win is to run the most credible centrist-appearing candidate and hope to face off against a flawed Republican in a contest where GOP candidates voluntarily downplay ideology. Democrats using any other rubric thinking they can triumph indicates self-deception.

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