Sunday, November 22, 2015

Voter Apathy Killed Louisiana

I am disgusted by the apathy in yesterday's election here in Louisiana.  As I understand it, the early numbers show about a 39.7% turnout, only slightly higher than the October primary.  As of this writing, official numbers are not yet compiled.

In general, I am disgusted with the outcome.  Louisiana has returned a Democrat to the gubernatorial mansion primarily based on the fact that the Republican candidate was embroiled in the DC Madam scandal in 2007. Republicans I talked to just couldn't vote for Senator Vitter because he committed adultery and they couldn't find it in their Christian hearts to forgive him or to look at his conservative political record.  They either stayed home or voted for the Democrat.

John Bel Edwards won the election by a 56% to 43% margin.  Edwards campaigned as a moderate Democrat; he is an Obama supporter.  One of the first things Governor Edwards will do is to accept the Louisiana Medicaid expansion portion of Obamacare.

Another problem I saw with Edwards is that he is in the pocket of the trial lawyers and would do little to support the tort reform that is contributing to the anti-business climate in this state.  The business climate in this state is dismal...that is unless all you want to come in is more chain restaurants and tattoo parlors.  Not much else is happening here.

Edwards also wants to raise the minimum wage -- another anti-business move.

I also find it unsettling that Edwards seems to have no clear position on whether or not he would accept more Syrian refugees into Louisiana and that he has been obfuscating his earlier positions on this for what is apparently a more popular stance.  The Hayride outlined this word-juggling here.  Initially, Edwards posted on Facebook that he would be an "active participant" in talks with the feds so that "we can be partners in the effort to accommodate refugees...".  Well, if we can forgive Vitter for adultery eight years ago, (as his wife did, by the way), certainly we can forgive Edwards a little verbal nuance, no?  Everyone's entitled to change their mind, except when they lie about it.

Initially, Edwards want to accommodate and assist the Syrian refugees coming into Louisiana.  After his Facebook posts advocating this position, and the grief he took for it in the comments, he changed his mind.  Curious.

Both campaigns manipulated language and positions to enhance themselves; that is the nature of modern politics.  David Vitter was a flawed candidate and it looks like in general, Republicans just opted for the Democrat or else stayed home just to punish the Republican party for such sorry offerings.  The collateral damage of that is that good men like Henry Burns lost their elections.

State Representative Henry Burns was in a run-off with Bossier City attorney Ryan Gatti.  Burns lost that race by less than 100 votes.  That race wasn't in my district and I don't know much about Mr. Gatti; both candidates are Republicans.  I know Henry Burns though, and I know there is no finer, kinder man.  I've witnessed the work he's done for and with veterans and for this area.  He was a small business owner and understands the needs and responsibilities of the working man trying to make a living.  He's had an exemplary record in the House and I've never heard a negative word about him.  The only reason he lost his race is voter apathy.  What a shame.

My district BESE race didn't turn out as I wished either.  We had a choice between an educator and a non-educator in that one.  A choice between a woman who has been in education for 27 years and has been a school principal, who opposed Common Core, and a man that supports Common Core and has never worked in education.  The Tony Davis campaign released a photoshopped picture of his opponent, Mary Harris, with Governor Bobby Jindal in a heart-shaped frame to make the claim that Harris would be a "rubber-stamp" for Gov. Bobby Jindal (who won't be in office after January).  That the Davis campaign took the photo of Harris, which originally was on her Facebook page and was of her with Dr. John Fleming -- not Jindal, and photoshopped it to further their own campaign is just dirty politics.

But that's what Louisiana elected last night.

In the Caddo Parish District Attorney's race, we elected the candidate that accepted the George Soros money.  Judge Stewart may be a fine man and a fair judge, but I couldn't vote for Soros money.

All in all, it's a sad lot of affairs.

Elliot Stonecipher's new article offers a few pinpricks of optimistic light this morning.  We did elect Billy Nungesser as Lt. Governor over the Democrat Kip Holden, and we did elect Jeff Landry as Attorney General.

And by the end of the night, Senator Vitter declared that he won't run for re-election to the Senate which opens that slot up to some excellent candidates such as Rob Maness, Charles Boustany, and John Fleming.  There will be a strong Republican field for that seat.

It was a disappointing night for conservatives in Louisiana, but overall it was the apathy that killed us.  If we don't care about our political leaders any more than 39%, we deserve what we get.  We deserve the Common Core, the Syrian refugees, Obamacare, jacked up minimum wage, anti-business climate, and all of the other liberal dreck that comes with it.


Anonymous said...

Politics aside, shame on you for calling Syrian refugees "dreck". They are people fleeing hell that you can't begin to imagine. Have a little humanity.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, while the ultimate responsibility for the 'final' votes lie with the VOTERS - the La Republican Party is who I believe should be & potentially was 'taken to the woodshed'...
The Citizens of La will be who bears the results, be they positive or negative...
The downside - We'll all suffer a Dem Governorship for the next 4-8 years& probably an ever-increasing Legislative Membership depending on how good/bad Gov-elect Edwards handles things like taxes/ethics/up-coming Washington Presidential politics...

Dale Clary said...

While i share your frustration, i think this has more to do with Vitter-hate than apathy or Edwards-love. Not only did the GOP win the Lt. Gov's race by a significant margin, but a more conservative Republican ousted and incumbent GOP newbie, and ... here's the big one... the Louisiana legislature is now more Republican than it has been since Reconstruction.
So i think the blame here goes to Vitter, not the voters.

Crawdaddy said...

couldn't it be a simple as having a bad candidate that no one wanted to support? Say what you wish, Vitter did himself in by his arrogance at not appearing at debates, sneaking around hiring political spies; and ultimately having to address the 900 pound diaper wearing gorilla in the room. Ultimately what all political campaigns should learn is that there can easily be TOO MUCH going negative. He should have spent the money on GOTV.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it was just Vitter's past prostitution scandal. He alienated many Angelle and Dardenne voters with his negative campaign strategy. Consequently, Vitter could not motivate and unite Republican voters behind him for the run-off election. You are right that trial lawyers will have a big influence on the way Edwards governs this state (e.g., Taylor Townsend on his transition team). It will also be interesting to see if Edwards endorses and campaigns for Hillary Clintton - that will also say a lot about what direction he is going to try and take the state.
Hopefully, the state Republican party learned something from this and will be able to come up with a candidate four years from now to take back the governor's mansion.

Cathy Jacks said...

You said you know of no finer, kinder man that Henry Burns. I know Ryan Gatti. He is a much finer, kinder, more ethical man than Henry Burns. Henry Burns spread lies about Mr. Gatti, Mr. Gatti refused to retaliate. Mr Burns made personal slurs, Mr Gatti laughed them off. He ran a clean, positive campaign. He and his family and supporters spent hours walking neighborhoods, meeting people. His goal was to visit every home in the district. When he met Burns supporters, he was polite but did try to convince them that he would be the better person for the position. Why? Because Ryan Gatti genuinely cares about the people of the 36th District and about this part of the state. He is not a career politician, his livelihood does not depend on winning elections or selling his vote. If he had lost the election, he would have accepted that God had other plans for him. Remember, against the advise of every person on his campaign, he and his wife and two daughters were out of the country on a mission trip to Haiti Thursday, Friday, Election Day and part of the following week. You regret that your friend lost the election, I believe the voters made an excellent choice in electing a man who is delighted that he can make a real difference for all the people of Northwest Louisiana.

Pat Austin said...

Thanks for your words about Mr. Gatti; as I said in my post, I'm sure he's a fine man. I've heard nice things about him. My point was not to speak against Mr. Gatti, but only to lament the fact that voter turnout was so low. I think we can do better than 39%.