The Gret Stet of Louisiana dodged a bullet last Saturday when Governor John Bel Edwards defeated know-nothing nitwit Eddie Rispone. The latter proved that you need more than TV and internet ads to win a statewide race. The incumbent proved that you can overcome primary overconfidence and win if you mobilize the Democratic base instead of depressing it. That’s what happened in the first round. As you can tell, I’m simultaneously relieved and underwhelmed. Team Edwards should have won this in the primary. That should not be overlooked.
It’s been forgotten that six months ago, Louisiana Republicans could not find an A-list candidate to take on Edwards. Senator John Neely Kennedy preferred going on TV to spout Neelyisms in defense of President* Pennwyise and nobody else of any stature was willing to run against the conservative Democratic Governor. That’s how they ended up with two nobodies like Doc Abraham and Eddie Rispone as their standard bearers.
As always for any Democrat in any state, the key to Edwards’ win was turnout. In the primary their GOTV operation was lousy, let’s crunch the Goober race numbers.
Repeat after me: TURNOUT, TURNOUT, TURNOUT.
I see the footprints of the Trump effect in those vote totals. The Trump rallies during the runoff seem to have backfired. Note that the GOP vote only increased by 38K whereas Edwards’ total went up by 138K; much of that in Orleans Parish. New Orleans saved John Bel Edwards’ ass, let’s hope he shows some gratitude.
In other Trump effect news, Edwards carried heavily Republican Jefferson Parish next door to New Orleans 57% to 43%. It’s jam packed with the sort of educated suburban voters who Trump repulses nationwide. Edwards even got 40% of the vote across the lake in St. Tammany Parish; one of the richest and most Republican parishes in the Gret Stet.
I should pause to thank Rispone and Trump for my most seen tweet ever:
Rispone got 1% of the African American vote. Even Vitter got 5 or 6%. Black folks know a racist when they see one.
— Shecky (@Adrastosno) November 17, 2019
Those were the voters mobilized by Trump’s rallies. This is the kind of backlash I could get used to, y’all. In my own 13th Ward precinct it was Edwards 217 Rispone 11.
One of the best quotes about the Trump effect came from anti-Trump GOP strategist Tim Miller in the Failing New York Times:
“If you had any doubt that Trump was a human repellent spray for suburban voters who have a conservative disposition, Republicans getting wiped out in the suburbs of New Orleans, Louisville and Lexington should remove it.”
Let’s move on from the Insult Comedian.
This tweeted graphic by New Orleans native and Larry Sabato right-hand man Miles Coleman shows the shifting voting patterns in Louisiana:
Overall, Edwards' margin last night was similar to the late Gov. Kathleen Blanco's (D) #LAGov win 2003 — but looking back at that race shows you how much the state changed. JBE improved in the between New Orleans/Baton Rouge metros, as most everything else got more R. #lalege pic.twitter.com/Xs6hjbSB4u
— J. Miles Coleman (@JMilesColeman) November 17, 2019
Acadiana aka Cajun Country in Western Louisiana *used* to be the Gret Stet’s swing region. That’s no longer true. Rural and oil patch voters seem to like Trump, which means they supported his hand puppet Rispone. I suspect this is as permanent a shift as anything in politics. Of course, a Democratic candidate of the caliber of Acadiana natives Edwin Edwards, John Breaux, or Kathleen Blanco could change that in a heartbeat.
Is there any national message in the 2019 Gret Stet Goober race? It was largely decided on Gret Stet issues, but the key was TURNOUT, TURNOUT, TURNOUT. Plus, there’s gold in them thar suburbs. It’s refreshing to know that there are still conservative leaning voters who think POTUS should be presidential instead of an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head.
I’m just glad it’s over and that my Eddie Rispone impression is now moot. No more TV ads from sleazy PACs supporting Rispone and slandering his opponent. Huzzah.
The last word goes to Frank Zappa and the Mothers: