From our buddy John Couvillon’s Facebook page come some estimates of Saturday’s electorate…
What this shows is despite all of Elbert Guillory’s efforts at aggressive messaging in the black community and the grassroots effort put on by the Black Conservatives Fund and others, no progress was made in moving the black vote from D to R in this electoral cycle.
Garret Graves didn’t really get anywhere with black voters, either, though he didn’t make a major effort to do so…
We have three thoughts on this…
1. It would have been great if there had been some movement shown between the Republican performance in the black community in the primary and in the runoff, but that might have been overly optimistic. To move the black vote will take multiple election cycles and a sustained effort when elections aren’t going on. It will take conservative groups doing things like opening up offices in black neighborhoods and hiring people to go door-to-door agitating against the Democrat establishment in their communities, plus doing constituent service – if there’s a pothole in the street, be the one who gets it fixed; if there’s a vacant lot turning into an impromptu dump, be the people who clean it up. And it will take a sustained effort to delegitimize and discredit Democrats with the black community, in order to bring the Democrat Party’s esteem among black people down to that of the Republican Party – which the Democrats spend most of their time trying to perpetuate with constant accusations of racism and the spreading of conspiracy theories about the CIA’s involvement with crack and AIDS and so on.
So far nobody has been willing to fund anything like that. In fact, a fundraiser for one of the groups seeking to move the needle in the black community related one rejection to us, namely “You can’t get anywhere with those people.” That’s going to be seen as a racist mentality by some people who read this, but it isn’t. What it reflects is more of a short-term mentality. Republican and conservative donors, or at least most of them, don’t think past the current election cycle, and they generally don’t spend money on changing the culture or the electorate over the long haul. If you can’t show them metrics of success immediately they’re not going to continue spending money on your project. Left-wing donors have a much more long-term view of their political activity.
2. It’s going to be even harder to sell an “outreach” (which is a horrible word and I’d gladly use another if I could think of one) effort in the black community given the fact that Cassidy still pulled off a landslide win even without making any inroads into the black community. The fact is that Republicans don’t need a single black vote to win statewide elections, or even congressional elections outside of Cedric Richmond’s district. So when the folks who want to sustain the effort of Guillory or BCF into next year’s statewide cycle look for resources to do so, they’re going to get a lot of polite refusals.
But that’s entirely the wrong attitude to take, because the GOP can’t afford to abandon the cities in this state. Yesterday, Karen Carter Peterson let it out that she thinks the future of the Louisiana Democrat Party is in local races, meaning that they’re going to retreat to redoubts in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Monroe, Shreveport and Alexandria and attempt to stand in the way of Republican policymaking from those areas. You can say “So be it” if you want, but the problem with that is when Democrats control cities on a one-party basis they turn them very quickly into Detroit, and those cities become a massive drain on the fiscal resources of the state – which ultimately will reflect badly on Republican control at the Capitol. Failure in governance might create more loyal voters if you’re a Democrat, but that doesn’t work so well for Republicans.
3. The results of this cycle mark the end of the old Louisiana Democrat Party. The Mary Landrieu/John Breaux/Edwin Edwards Democrat, who positions himself/herself as a centrist – pro-gun, pro-life, pro-energy and so on, whether their deeds actually match their campaign promises – is finished in Louisiana. When Landrieu couldn’t get more than 22 percent of the white vote statewide and Edwards couldn’t get more than 25 percent in the 6th District, there is no longer a narrative in favor of a white centrist Democrat within that party. The majority of the Democrat voters in Louisiana are black, and white Democrats can no longer appeal to black Democrats on the basis of electability.
So in the future you’re going to see a lot more Jamie Mayos on the ballot and a lot less Mary Landrieus. Mary’s brother Mitch Landrieu might well run for governor next year, and as of right now John Bel Edwards is running, but they’re likely the last white Democrats to make a statewide run. After all, the Democrats’ candidate for Lt. Governor is Kip Holden, who is black, and their candidate for Secretary of State is Chris Tyson, who is black. You’ll see more and more of that as time goes by, particularly when Karen Carter Peterson is in charge of the Democrat Party and bent on maintaining control of ts resources and messaging.
So welcome to the entrenched, polarized Louisiana, where all of the black vote goes to the Democrats and a vast and increasing majority of the white vote goes Republican. And because of the internal dynamics of the two parties, neither has much incentive to change those circumstances or appeal to new voters.