I admit, I come into 2019 a bit skeptical.
It is an election year for our state, and already the whisperings and projections that it’s “our year!” have begun. John Bel Edwards will prove to be a one-term governor, you see, and we’ll at last get someone principled and dedicated to advancing conservatism in our deep red state.
All of this talk is nice, of course, and it is a great fantasy to wake up and live through in one’s head. But, the state’s Republican Party hasn’t exactly been great at delivering over the last, I dunno, decade or so?
We were absolutely sure in 2015 that our deep red, Republican state would never be so stupid as to elect a tax-raising, dishonest liberal Democrat to the governor’s mansion. We just knew that a guy with good ideas like David Vitter would win the race and we would become a conservative utopia within a single term.
Then… the actual race happened. The people of Louisiana said “No” to someone with a scandalous past. We as a state were tired of it. Republican voters were tired of defending it, Democratic voters were tired of one of our politicians being in office despite it. Based on some conversations I’ve had since the 2015 election, I suspect that a very real sentiment that exists in not-insignificant numbers is that Vitter was selfish to put his family through that time and again.
Consider also the quality of the rest of the Republican field. Jay Dardenne, so eager for any position of power, sold his soul to Edwards – he offered his endorsement in exchange for the Commissioner of Administration position. Scott Angelle, meanwhile, was all but silent in the latter half of the race, choosing instead to let Vitter appear alone within his own party.
But, we were just so sure he’d pull through, weren’t we? I admit I was.
How many Republicans in the legislature are going to hold on to their seats, despite having voting records more closely aligned with the liberal governor than their conservative voters? How many times are we going to hear about how the budget problems are solved, despite the fact that it was done with tax raises and no significant cuts to an ever-growing state budget?
How many times are we going to put up with John Bel Edwards taking credit for fixing problems that would not have existed but for his insistence that the status quo of growing government and spending must be maintained?
And yet, despite all these things, Republicans seem destined to drop this one, too. There is very little feeling of excitement right now. 2019 started and we have no clear Republican frontrunner, and barely a field at that. Of course, we can thank Senator John Kennedy for that one. After all, the field was cleared by him and the excitement generated for him. When he decided at the last minute to not run, he effectively screwed the Republicans.
But by all means, let’s continue to fall in love with his country-come-to-town soundbites, because that’s what matters in this day and age.
I take issue with the idea that John Bel Edwards is assumed to be a one-term governor. I do not regard him as such. To think of him as one is to invite a loss in this year’s election cycle.
No, I prefer to suspect that it’s Edwards’ race to lose, and I will work that much harder to defeat him. That is a New Year’s Resolution I intend to keep. Hopefully, you all will join me.