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Chambers ' haul to trigger LA Democrat panic

Courtesy of a blunt instrument, Louisiana Democrats now face an existential crisis as a relevant political party.

No sooner had former congressional candidate Gary Chambers made an unexpected declaration he would take on incumbent Republican Sen. John Kennedy did he puff on a dirigible-sized doobie posted to social media and money from the woke left rained down onto his campaign. That pull of the arm came up three bars as, by his own estimation, he cleared nearly $600,000 on bicoastal campaign jaunts.

Significantly, that exceeded the entirety of his campaign last year in the special election, where he ran a strong third in a district designed to elect a minority candidate like him. Combined with this follow-through, this has become state Democrats’ worst nightmare.

Over the past 15 years, power has shifted away from Democrats stunningly swiftly. They hold only one statewide office, only even come close to controlling one elective institution (the Public Service Commission), and hold at all any leverage to affect policy only because of Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards.

And Edwards got into office only because of a fluke, and stayed there only because of luck. Fratricide among Republicans meant Edwards, despite having one of the most liberal voting records in the Legislature, combined with a field empty of other quality – especially of black – Democrat, could have a candidacy unscathed until too late in 2015. In 2019, despite increasing taxes and government, he eked out a win on the back of the economic boon prompted by GOP Pres. Donald Trump’s tax- and regulation-cutting agenda, just before the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic short-circuited a likely Trump reelection that would have taken down Edwards as well has the state’s election calendar been different.

Louisiana Democrats enjoyed that result, and hoped for the same in 2023, because of the state’s peculiar blanket primary system. With political dynamics as they are, and especially because national Democrats continue to engage in a sprint to the left, under a genuine open or closed primary system which produces single nominees for each party who would advance to the general election, a Republican, absent crazy circumstances, would win. No Democrat can win national office in the state unless running in a congressional district overloaded with their voters because the national party is so extremist, and partisan labels which have a strong influence over the low information elections for statewide offices below governor give GOP candidates a big boost.

Even for the governor’s race where national factors and party identification matter less, Democrats recognize that their brand has become so damaged among the state’s majority and their bench so short that the lightning that struck in 2015 – Republicans beating themselves up to send a damaged candidate into a runoff shortly after the general election, unlike in other states with actual party primaries where much lengthier gaps between elections allow time to regroup and concentrate fire on the other major party nominee – likely won’t come in 2023. While some hope they can find a potentially electable candidate, others will settle on the least objectionable Republican, who at this point looks to be GOP Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser.

Democrats recognize that Nungesser won’t support most of their agenda, but he would be more sympathetic to keeping oversized government and greater redistributive policy than would conservatives of the likes of Republicans Treas. John Schroder and Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry. Democrat elites worry about Schroder and absolutely fear Landry, the latter because even as the two don’t differ much in their degree of conservatism he brings an unabashedly ideological prism to governance that constantly would keep the left on the defensive.

The left’s game plan involves getting their Democrat or Nungesser into a runoff with either announced candidate Schroder and all-but-announced candidate Landry, figuring one would take enough from the other to let in the Democrats’ choice, and then hope either for a repeat of 2015 – which seems much less likely given the brand poisoning that has occurred since, hence the interest in the least-objectionable Nungesser who also seems certain to become a candidate – or Nungesser with Democrat support attracts just enough non-Democrats to win. Making Nungesser even more acceptable, he has voiced opposition to changing the electoral system that props up Democrats in allowing for precisely this strategy.

But the strategy works only if the woke and black voters don’t have a viable woke and/or black candidate with the resources to go around party channels and fellow-traveling special interests. If they do, that guy sucks much of the support away from a less-liberal Democrat and probably makes a runoff against a staunch conservative who proceeds to blow out that kind of candidate.

That will happen in the Senate contest, but Democrats never have expected they could defeat Kennedy. However, the cling to the hope of keeping an open governor’s office. And their nightmare is that Chambers will pull an early 1990s David Duke – leverage a failed Senate run into a runoff-grabbing gubernatorial race.

Because Chambers doesn’t care what they want and he won’t leave things alone the establishment wants out of the limelight that drives away voters. He has his own woke agenda, squarely in line with national Democrat elites. He runs for the cause, obviously preferring to win but even if losing he believes the publicity turns into future leverage on the left’s agenda, making losing efforts worthwhile.

Louisiana Democrat elites are scared to death Chambers will have an entire 2022 to build statewide name recognition, then ease right into a gubernatorial campaign. Already he has proven he can grab a significant portion of Democrats’ votes and can draw enough resources theoretically to establish viability that would surpass the vote tally of any competitor on the left. He would prevent any other non-woke Democrat from making the runoff and would become more likely to make a runoff than Nungesser.

Thereby putting Landry or Schroder into the Governor’s Mansion, whereupon they would sign any bill ending the blanket primary system, thus ensuring future election results that would cut out the left completely from any policy-making influence for a generation. And, of course, government would start shrinking and the end of social policy experimentation would follow.

This is why Chambers’ demonstrated fundraising prowess is so consequential, signaling him as the candidate the existing Democrat power structure in the state never wanted to appear on the scene. If he parlays his Senate run into one for governor, Louisiana Democrats have a desperate 21 months ahead of them.


Congress map only likely veto from Edwards

According to his most recent comments, Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards and his party will go all in, to the exclusion of anything else, on cultivating a court case to create two majority-minority congressional districts in Louisiana, thereby permitting Republicans to reapportion everything else to their liking and giving the state a congressional map with only one M/M district for fall elections.

Earlier this week, in a news conference Edwards stated that, while his actions always are contingent on the exact wording of bills, he really thought the GOP-controlled Legislature should pursue a two M/M district scheme – almost certainly allowing his minority party to pick up a seat – and for that bill and others dealing with House, Senate, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, Public Service Commission, and Supreme Court, he would issue potential vetoes weighing the support behind them thus the chances of a successful override. While Republicans have more than a supermajority in the Senate, they fall two votes shy in the House although to stop an override if House Republicans mirror the solidarity of their Senate counterparts Democrats then would need to capture at least two of three votes from no party representatives.

With a state black population of just about a third, Democrats have argued that proportion should be reflected in the six congressional seats, 39 state Senate seats, 105 House seats, 8 elected BESE seats, and 7 Supreme Court seats. Republicans have advanced plans for one M/M district for Congress, 11 for the Senate, 29 for the House, 2 for BESE, and 1 for the Court. Both the House and Senate would see an increase of one M/M seat over present boundaries.


Edwards clinging to ineffective virus policies

And still, despite the science even more forcefully negating the core assumptions behind his orders, Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards won’t let his people go.

Earlier this week, Edwards announced he would continue what has become a maddeningly-routine extension every 28 days of emergency proclamations related to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. These has become whittled down over the just-about two years now, but still provide that school students must wear face coverings unless the district or school in question has an isolation and quarantine policy, state agency heads may order the same in their environs, and local governments may exceed these requirements and some have, such as in New Orleans where masking is required indoors for commercial establishments, anybody age 5 and up must demonstrate vaccination or recent negative testing to patronize certain businesses, and gathering restrictions even if outside remain in place.

He signaled that the Department of Health would revise guidelines on school policies to make these less intrusive, which subsequently elaborated it would continue isolation and quarantining protocols. However, it also presented as alternatives less of each with more masking and testing, acknowledging the difficulty that schools and day care establishments had in following the strict 5-day/10-day Centers for Disease Control guidelines.


Worse follows bad week for two LA Democrats

A couple of Louisiana Democrats under pressure looking for a bounce back after a tough week found out last week the bottom goes deeper.

Amid a burst of criminal activity in New Orleans, Democrat District Atty. Jason Williams caught heat from a news story revealing his office let expire chances for prosecution of arrestees or ability to hold the accused under bail arrangements numbering close to 1,000 in 2021, an increase of more than ten times trends of the preceding few years. Williams, who ran as a “progressive” prosecutor who pledged to prosecute cases more selectively, claimed this failure to review on time came from more intense scrutiny of cases and that only a relatively small portion – 52 out of 885 – involved violent cases.

However, the reporters involved from television station WVUE suspected recordkeeping practices understated the actual number, and upon further review released new figures. The number of suspects let go without consequences instead was 1,524, or nearly 60 percent of all felony arrests last year. Worst of all, that proportion rose to over 60 percent with violent felonies – even with basically two months to charge jailed suspects and five months to decide whether to bring charges for those people out on bail.


Odds for Edwards CD map veto, override increase

Louisiana might be headed to the courts sooner rather than later given a key House of Representatives vote last week on its congressional reapportionment plan, and leaves Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards with a gamble – with the choice he makes potentially rewriting election law, even as it retains a map similar to the present for the near future.

With the numbers against them because elections have consequences, Democrats angling for the creation of a second majority-minority for Congress out of the state’s six have prepared themselves for a judicial Hail Mary attempt. With the Republican-controlled Legislature poised to approve a map with one such district, even as almost a third of the state’s population is black, Democrats understand only through judicial intervention can they get their desired end.

Those odds aren’t good. Not only do the GOP plans – SB 5 in the Senate that has gone to the House, and the almost-identical HB 1 heading to the Senate – follow judicial guidelines, alternatives offered appear on their face unconstitutional because they draw boundaries predominantly on the basis of race, subordinating all other criteria. A U.S. Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of that strategy appears certain to occur within the next 16 months, but not prior to fall, 2022 elections.