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Democrats’ Shrinking Coalition on Full Display in Louisiana Rout

Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2023
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AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Camman

John Bell Edwards and Jeff Landry of Louisiana

On Saturday night, the Republican Party flipped the Louisiana governorship, held since 2015 by Democrat John Bell Edwards. With the popular Edwards retiring, Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry was widely expected to become the next governor, but few expected him to win outright in this weekend’s primary.

In Louisiana local and state elections, every candidate participates in a joint primary contest, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the general election in November – unless one candidate receives 50 percent of the vote in the primary, in which case he or she wins immediately. Accordingly, Landry faced not just Democrat opponents but several other Republicans.

The extent of Landry’s triumph – 52 percent of the overall vote and 66 percent of the GOP vote – came as a surprise. While he was widely expected to be the top vote-getter, few expected him to win outright.

D.C.-based political analysts will be quick to write off Landry’s success as the product of low turnout or an uncompetitive race, but that would be a mistake.

The extent and nature of Landry’s victory, as well as the record 41 percent of the vote the GOP candidate for Lt. Governor received in New Orleans itself, reflects a wider realignment in American politics, already on display in 2022, in which cultural class, not race or income, defines voting habits. Whether rural African American voters stayed home or voted Republican, the fact is that they did not vote for the Democrat candidates last weekend in Louisiana in the same numbers they did previously.

This result has alarming implications for Democrats in other states like North Carolina, where the party relies heavily on working-class minorities to remain competitive at all.

The numbers on Saturday cannot be explained merely by Louisiana’s “Republican Lean.” For starters, the margin by which Landry won far exceeds that which Donald Trump won by in 2020, when the state voted for Trump by 58.46 percent to 39.45 percent. This weekend, Landry defeated his closest competitor, Democrat Shawn Wilson, 52 percent to 26 percent. The Republican candidates overall led the Democrats by a combined margin of 66 percent to 29 percent.

That 29 percent is well below the African American percentage of Louisiana’s population, which stood at 32.6 percent in 2020. The 2020 exit polls showed white voters backing Trump 77 percent to 23 percent, and Black voters backing Biden 88 percent to 10 percent. Saturday’s numbers are not possible without either substantial crossover by African American voters, mass abstention, or more likely a combination of the two.

Democrats will be quick to seize on the relatively low turnout – Landry had the lowest total number of votes for a winning candidate since 1964 – to argue that voters staying home was the reason for his victory. It is easy to see why this is preferable to the other possibility, which is that racial polarization is finally breaking down in the deep south, not with white voters casting ballots for Democrats, but with African Americans casting ballots for Republicans.

However, even the notion that traditional Democrat voters simply stayed home should not be comforting for the party, as it implies that African American voters saw no reason to bother voting for Democrats – even as Democrats are apt to crow about how their post-2020/Dobbs coalition tends toward much higher turnout, giving them a supposed advantage in midterms and special elections.

Democrats should remember that in 2024 they do not need to win a midterm or special election, but rather a presidential election. If actions produce opposite reactions, it is unclear why that will necessarily bring these missing rural African American voters back to the polls, when Democrats will be running on the same platform designed to appeal to white liberal elites. Nor is it obvious they will vote for Democrats.

Why is this happening? Liberals would, after running through the usual litany of voter suppression claims, which appears to only occur in less populated areas without lines at the polls, argue that the election was merely uncontested. There is a chicken and an egg problem here. Why was it uncontested?

Bill Clinton won Louisiana in 1996, and as late as 2004 both U.S. Senators from the state were Democrats. Democrats controlled both houses of the legislature until 2013, while Al Gore and John Kerry received 45 percent and 42 percent of the vote in 2000 and 2004, respectively. Democrats won gubernatorial elections in 2003, 2015, and 2019. A Democrat is still governor.

Why, then, did the Democrat Party not bother even to contest seriously an office they already held? Especially when they are trying to argue in front of the Supreme Court that they are entitled proportionally to a second congressional seat under the Voting Rights Act. If they wanted to make the argument that anything less than two out of six seats designed to elect Democrats disenfranchised African American voters, would it have not helped to actually have an example of African American voters casting ballots for Democrats?

What happened since 2019?

The Dobbs decision, for one thing. Louisiana Democrats were always distinctly more pro-life than their brethren in other states. John Bell Edwards signed a law instituting prison terms for doctors who perform abortions after fetal viability in June 2022 – after the Dobbs draft had already leaked. It is hard to imagine anyone holding that position having a future in the Democrat Party, which may be one reason Edwards has been all-but-erased from national chatter.

It is far from clear that a candidate like John Bell Edwards could have won on Saturday, or even whether Edwards himself could have done so. Nonetheless, Democrats did not even try to find out the answer. Wilson’s positions on the issues were more in line with a Democrat running for office in New York or California, not Louisiana. Democrats made clear they’d rather run a candidate who had no chance of winning than run one who disagreed with the party’s stance on core social issues.

It is not even that the party has moved left. Rather, it is that the party has expelled everyone who disagrees. Instead of a party where 85 percent agree on social issues, it is one where 100 percent must do so, and the party would prefer to not to contest elections in which a majority of the electorate disagrees with the party elites rather than run candidates who might appeal to those voters.

For Louisiana, this meant effectively dissolving the state Democrat Party. John Bell Edwards, far from being out of touch with his party, seems to have represented a substantial segment of it. In 2020, nearly half of Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature voted to place a constitutional amendment stating there was no right to an abortion on the ballot. The amendment then passed by a margin of 63 percent 37 percent, more than Donald Trump’s 58 percent 40 percent. The result is that as social issues became more of a dividing line, voting has started becoming less, not more racially polarized.

Liberals may be apt to dismiss the importance of abandoning Louisiana, though their willingness to do so says a lot about the factors behind Saturday’s result. The problem for them is that Louisiana is not that unique.

A narrative has been built up that Democrats beat expectations in the 2022 midterms, which they did in the Midwest, New England, and Southwest. Largely ignored is the Deep South.

It is true that Democrats did not seriously contest gubernatorial or U.S. House races in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, or Tennessee, but the same was true in 2018. In 2022, Democrat candidates turned in results which resembled those of the Republican Party at the height of one-party rule.

Democrat Senate candidates received 31 percent, 31 percent, and 35 percent of the vote in Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana, respectively, while their candidates for governor managed 29 percent, 35 percent, and 33 percent in Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee, respectively. In every case, they ran substantially behind both past performance and Joe Biden’s in 2020.

Even in Georgia, where Raphael Warnock was reelected to the Senate, it was on the back of suburban ticket-splitters in the Atlanta area. Stacey Abrams received the worst results in rural Georgia of almost any Democrat candidate in history.

Warnock of course won, and that is evidence that the loss of these voters can be countered with gains elsewhere. But while not every state is Louisiana, the same type of voters exists elsewhere. Unlike in Georgia, where Democrats rely on an urban African American vote, in North Carolina it is largely rural, and many of those counties already showed swings to Donald Trump in 2020.

Elections are won on the margins. This is something Barack Obama’s campaign team understood in 2012, even if Democrat strategists took the opposite lessons from that success. If Democrats win African American voters in rural North Carolina by a margin of 73 percent to 24 percent on a 40 percent turnout rather than by 85 percent to 13 percent on a 70 percent turnout, they need to make up that additional margin elsewhere. If they lose rural white voters, or white conservatives 79 percent to 20 percent rather than 72 percent to 27 percent, it is going to be that much harder to do so.

Democrats have built a new coalition which is cohesive, but at the cost of only competing for specific demographics in specific parts of the country. They may be fine with ceding Louisiana or Tennessee, but the types of voters in these states exist everywhere. They should pay attention to Louisiana and consider whether these voters will magically appear elsewhere when they need them if nothing is offered.

Andrew Camman is the pseudonym of a regular writer on current affairs who has taught history at the University level for eight years. He has worked on Capitol Hill and is familiar with the historical development of the American and British political systems.

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mikem
mikem
8 months ago

could the blacks finally be realizing that the dems care nothing about them they only care about their votes.

Garyk
Garyk
8 months ago

Well one can hope that this election is not n outlier and that All Citizens are starting to recognize the marxist democrat party lies ,then takes care of only their own greed for power and money, NOT the interest of the people.
For over 50 years people supported democrats blindly without holding them accountable for their broken promises.
Maybe People are tired of being used and are looking for Real politicians doing their job.

Rik
Rik
8 months ago

Maybe Louisiana citizens are Smarter than what the Mainstream Media wants to Give Them Credit For!

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
8 months ago

Now can we apply to other states too? Awesome

anna hubert
anna hubert
8 months ago

Dismantle the Dominion equipment and see what happens

J. FARLEY
J. FARLEY
8 months ago

They must not have a corrupt voting system, or a lying news media, both would kill off a Republican.
Maybe there is hope!
God Bless America, Long Live Freedom!

Steven
Steven
8 months ago

Voters across the country are now seeing the disaster the Democrat Party has become. The average voter has not benefited from any of their policies but has rather lost ground due to inflation, government imposed mandates and the unacceptable gender agenda being pushed and racial division in the country. Actions have consequences and now the Democrats have to face the reality of their heavy handed policies.

Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
8 months ago

Everyone is growing up and figuring out the democrats are nothing more then lairs, criminals, and hateful people. everything they say will end up being a lie.

as result more and more people are walking away from the sleazy democrats.

Soon even their voter fraud will not keep them in power.

Mario Capparuccini
Mario Capparuccini
8 months ago

The Democratic Party was the party that championed slavery in the 19th century, Jim Crow in the 20th century, and the party that destroyed the black family in the late 20th and 21st century. Why do blacks support them?

Sallo
Sallo
8 months ago

Lulling us into believing that voting isn’t rigged/stolen/cheated when it “really counts”?

Paul S
Paul S
8 months ago

Perhaps the Dems were planning their steal for November as it wasn’t expected anyone would get over 50. That’s the same game they played to get Warnock “elected”

GI RETIRED
GI RETIRED
8 months ago

Pray this happens in every STATE in the USA

Thinking
Thinking
8 months ago

Must be that the democrat voters stayed home if we are to believe the dems reason of low voter turnout. Why is that? They just didn’t care? Didn’t want to vote for a democrat? Were told to stay home? You would think the African American voter would want to go to vote. Since ole Joe and the gang are doing so much for them, or are they? There is more at play here than voters staying home. You woud think in the America of today you would want to vote for a better republic than what we have now. What will this do with the election next year?

David
David
8 months ago

Besides the idiot governor who brought the state from the 45th or 46th worst to the 50th there is only 1 national office that was democrat. Edwards was not popular and won only because the Republicans ran possibly the two worst candidates they could find. Louisiana was a deep blue state until Katrina wipeout the Democratic vote farm in New Orleans. Landry can be a great governor for all the people but the race pimps will be spreading their BS around trying to destroy everything they can as per usual.

Dee
Dee
8 months ago

Glad to see that the new Governor will be a Repub!!!! We need to stem the ridiculous garbage that has been ruining our Country since Biden and his inadequate group took over!!! We need SANE put back in our Country!!!!

Ed J
Ed J
8 months ago

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Democratic Party goes the way of the Whig Party, and becomes little more than a footnote in American history!

James Ring
James Ring
8 months ago

In Louisiana my take on it is that Black voters, especially the ones who live in rural areas and share mostly conservative social values similar to the majority of their White neighbors overall did not come out to vote. A notable percentage of those who did may well have voted for Landry over the Black Democrat candidate, especially among the Black men who are increasingly supportive of Donald Trump.
It is also notable that Landry accomplished such a feat in this “jungle” primary of 13 candidates among which several were also Republicans. If these other Republicans hadn’t been on the ballot Landry’s victory would have been even more spectacular.
Also the media doesn’t give enough credit to Donald Trump’s endorsement of Landry, who has been a royal pain to the Biden administration while he served as Louisiana’s Attorney General. Landry fought hard against Biden’s vaccine mandates.
I would venture that if we do have a Presidential election next fall, what we saw in Landry’s great victory will only increase in a lopsided victory for Donald Trump in Louisiana no matter who the Democrat/communist candidate is.
We’ll just have to see what terrible things the Deep State uni-party has in store next year.

David Millikan
David Millikan
8 months ago

Congratulations Louisiana for electing an American for your Governor. Now your State can get the crime cleaned up that your former Democrat Governor unleashed upon your State.
I wish you Prosperity and success.

Jevam
Jevam
8 months ago

Don’t crow too loudly.
The Republicans aren’t very coalesced. They seem hell bent to give the house back to the Dem’s Harkeem Jeffries.

Steven Alton
Steven Alton
8 months ago

I’ve Met a lot Very Smart well educated Cajun’s and the the people who live in Louisiana and when it comes to political matters they know what’s going on, and the media seems to think that anyone who lives in or near the Gulf of Mexico is dumber than dirt And Bobbie Jindal Would have made a great President. And would have been a hell of a lot better than who is in office now….

Steven Coughlin
Steven Coughlin
8 months ago

To Mr. Columbus.. don’t do drugs.

Jack
Jack
8 months ago

Political analysts are paid big bucks for a reason. And, it doesn’t matter which party you prefer: choose your poison. Wherever there’s a politician, there’s a plan to manipulate. “Who” are they targeting is the main question. And, “how” are they doing it might be a secondary question? The heights of hope at every political rally is just whipped cream topping over some seriously odiferous sewage: political analysts and advisors stink.

As soon as computers entered the world of tabulating election results and providing models to ‘predict’ those results, the threshold to cheat with impunity got lower and lower. And, more expensive (eh, Pelosi?). Who can effectively argue with computer results at the end of a federal election? No one. It happened in 2020 (and before). . . and it’ll happen again in 2024. Don’t be fooled by the latest victory at the racetrack. You didn’t win any money. Plan accordingly.

Secret Service agents rush Donald Trump off the stage.(AP: Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden greets President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, Wednesday, November 15, 2023, at the Filoli Estate in Woodside, California.(Official White House Photo by Carlos Fyfe)
President Joe Biden speaks on the phone with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to discuss his approval of a FEMA disaster declaration in response to the impacts of Hurricane Beryl, Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

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