Early voting in Louisiana has commenced and data from the most recent poll of the Senate contest shows the biggest question about it is whether existing elite Democrats can hang onto power in their own party and whether the party stays relevant.
Public Policy Polling, aligned with leftist interests and somewhat notorious for its willingness to push voters but also much less expensive, conducted one in early October. To nobody’s surprise, incumbent Republican Sen. John Kennedy lapped the field, whose 53 percent indicates unsurprisingly he would win without a runoff.
That was the case even with the push question included, which asked about willingness to vote for him upon realizing he voted against the Democrats’ massive special interest-fueled spending bill from this summer. Rather embarrassingly for the pollster, respondents said overall they would become more likely to support Kennedy knowing that. (This can’t be good news for the state’s other GOP senator, Bill Cassidy, who voted for it.)
Kennedy actually likely will do a bit better. The poll of likely voters found most said they certainly would vote, but eight percent said only “probably,” and 12 percent said they weren’t sure of their choice then. Many of that group won’t, and while one dynamic in these contests dictates that the incumbent doesn’t get many of those that will, at the same time none of the Democrats running are popular. Activist Gary Chambers does the best at 10 percent net negative (approval minus disapproval), while pilot Luke Mixon is 12 points underwater and social services administrator Syrita Steib – all official endorsees of the party – is down a whopping 20 points. (Kennedy almost doubles up on favorability at +23.)
The unsure respondents likely are disproportionately independents and the remainder Democrats, but among the former the three fare even worse: Chambers -13, Mixon -24, Steib -29. And given that among Democrats Kennedy runs second with about a quarter of their vote intention just a few points behind Mixon means that undecided vote probably will split fairly evenly among the four.
Kennedy wins without a runoff; so what, that’s been known for almost six years. The real battle will be between establishment white Democrat Mixon and outsider black Democrats Chambers and Steib. The poll shows if white establishment Democrats, who run the state party apparatus and whom overwhelmingly comprise the donor base aren’t worried, they should be.
Their nightmare scenario has Chambers, who they can’t control, finishing second despite their funneling all the money and support behind Mixon. To this point, Mixon has outraised Chambers by a couple of hundred thousand bucks as both approach $2 million raised, but from different sources: Chambers’ donations have been disproportionately smaller and out-of-state than Mixon’s, and he remains a threat to make it come true.
Yet a receding threat, to their relief. Mixon polled 16 percent to just nine for Chambers, and that likely won’t change as living the thug life Chambers has blown through all but about $20,000 through September while Mixon had nearly $600,000 on hand. That’s the good news for the likes of Gov. John Bel Edwards, Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, party Chairwoman Katie Bernhardt, has-been consultant James Carville, and a phalanx of lefty consultants, trial lawyers, union officials, courthouse hangers-on, and lobbyists.
The bad news is, with only around a quarter-million dollars raised and almost all spent, Steib runs just a point behind Chambers, meaning together the insurgent candidates do slightly better than the establishment’s anointed one. She’s just as far left as Chambers, just more presentable and doesn’t make a living off of campaigning. Incredibly, despite that she has the worst approval numbers decisively negative across all of white, blacks, and other races – yes, even proportionally worse than Kennedy among blacks (the only one to be above water with two of the three groups is, guess who, Chambers) – she draws a higher proportion of the vote than the seven percent who approve of her.
For his part, among non-whites Chambers has the highest favorability, yet he barely polls better than Steib, and he does disproportionately well in approval among the younger cohort and almost breaks even with text (as opposed to landline) respondents – the “hip” crowd. But they disproportionately don’t intend to vote for him regardless, because he entertains them as a clown.
Which brings us to the lesson those white establishment Democrats don’t want to hear: even a modestly-funded woke black non-clown will be competitive against, if not outdraw, a well-heeled white of their choice. That lesson really will hit home if, despite his huge monetary advantage down the stretch, Mixon doesn’t surpass the pair in raw vote totals on Nov. 8.
Louisiana Democrats as a political force have hung in so long to have at least some policy-making relevance because they could pretend they weren’t following the radical drift of the national party over the past four decades that not only continues unabated but also has accelerated, by putting up a non-liberal social issue front. Yet increasingly, especially among black elites, a growing portion of activists that historically have supported the party consciously reject this by projecting woke attitudes.
That’s the only way they differ from elites like Edwards, who increasingly make less effort to hide – in part because they can’t with a citizenry better educated, more aware of issues, and with increased access to information who with their elected representatives force transparency – that on social issues as well they are joined at the hip with national Democrats but won’t embrace wokeness because, well, they’re white and/or want to win elections. Because the voting majority in Louisiana is unimpressed with this unrepentant leftism and has experienced their own awakening that these posers are frauds.
It’s why Kennedy will win going away. It’s why white state Democrat activists hope the bad craziness, as opposed to the ordinary kind they peddle, won’t start washing them away starting with this election.