So the 2019 Gubernatorial Election did not turn out quite like the Republicans wanted. The neat thing about the Republican party is that while they may not like the results of an election, they generally accept the results of a fair election. In the meantime, there are a few things about the recent election that will help Louisiana Republicans sleep while keeping Democrats up at night.
It should be established foremost that Gov. John Bel Edwards’ 2019 victory was narrow. Edwards won 51% of the votes to Republican businessman Eddie Rispone’s 49%, with a difference of roughly 40,000 votes, according to the Louisiana Registrar of voters. These statistics reveal a few key points.
The common claims that Rispone had no platform and therefore Edwards’ win was inevitable, is incorrect.
Rispone had a plan, while that plan should have been visible on the website; however, such platform was put across of roughly half of the Louisiana voter base who cast their ballots for Rispone, and the Democratic party should agree with this assumption. Otherwise, to continue to believe Rispone had no agenda would logically ensue that nearly half the state would rather a governor without a platform than to endure another four years of Edwards’ Democratic agenda.
The next thing revealed from the recent election is the Democrats’ best hope is entirely in New Orleans. With roughly 90% of voters going to the ballots, reporting casting 114,812 votes for Edwards, New Orleans is the Democrat stronghold the success of the party depends on. If Democrats manage to lose the overwhelming turnout of Democrat votes from the city, then the Democrats can rest assured that they will be moving out of the Governor’s Mansion for a while.
Most obvious about the past two gubernatorial elections in Louisiana is that Democrats have to walk a very tight rope to win a Governor’s seat in Louisiana. Lest Louisiana forget, the main factor that lead to Edwards’ victory in 2015 is that his Republican rival David Vitter was caught soliciting a prostitute, which was used by Edwards in harsh smear campaign ads. Bible Belt voters tend to not find it easy voting for people who break an entire commandment and commit adultery.
To be reelected, Edwards could not be a mainstream Democrat. Edwards had to be anti-abortion and pro-gun to be reelected, as those tend to be the two deciding factors in many single-issue voters. While it is believable that Edwards is sincere about his commitment to the Second Amendment and Right-to-Life movements, he is a far cry from being the first tide in a southern blue wave. Rather he should serve as a warning to Louisiana Democrats that excluding medicaid and education, the majority of the mainstream Democrat platform has to be excluded in order to be elected in Louisiana, The hype that many Democrats, from college students to senior citizens, are demonstrating about Edwards is nonsense.
The only reason Edwards is receiving so much hype from Democrats is because Edwards was their only choice. While he may have done a better job than what President Donald Trump has accused him of, Edwards’ performance would not not demonstrate a victory for the larger Democrat movement as much as it would demonstrate what Louisiana can do when the governor is actually not out the state most of the time running for president and Louisiana is not getting wrecked by hurricanes and the 2008 recession.
If there were literally any other candidate that were an inch left of Edwards, then Edwards would not get the overwhelming Democrat support that he did, much less the swing vote support, nor would campus activism or New Orleanian voting drives be pushing Edwards’ vote. Moreover, had this past Gubernatorial election been for an open seat, under the conditions of a second, more liberal Democrat candidate in the race, it is unlikely that any Democrat would make it into the runoff.
Ultimately, Edwards is a good person, sincere in his convictions and truly does want what is best for the state. When his next four years as governor are finished, it is fitting that he be thanked for his service to Louisiana. However, the fact is that his governorship is a remarkable case of opportunism and will be a brief moment of glory for the Democratic party that will be met with a nearly certain conservative takeover.
Brett Landry, 21, is a political communications major from Bayou Petit Caillou, Louisiana.