by Elliott Stonecipher
Finally. The elections are in the books. It seems I should add some kind of joke to that, but I must be too worn out – none of my picks are very funny. So, laughs or not, I’ll wade in.
In thinking about where these elections have delivered us, here a couple of important topics.
1. Conservative Voters May Have to Hold Their Celebrations for a Bit
I am reading with great interest the many articles, some of them very good, about the “solid Republican South.” Each article points out, one way or another, that the Democratic Party has been more or less neutered down here for the foreseeable future, except in local government, particularly mayoralties in urban centers.
That package of thinking has been very attractively wrapped, but I am not yet a buyer.
Yes, as I wrote about at the end of last week, Senator Mary Landrieu’s defeat is historic. Since 1876, the Democrats had sent at least one of theirs to serve Louisiana in the U. S. Senate, a 138-year run. The reaction in post-Civil War Louisiana to Republicans who took over during Reconstruction was that toxic. Now, the opposite is happening. The majority in Louisiana, as in other states of the South, want nothing to do with the Democrat’s agenda, or “their” President. Epic wave elections against Democrats in 2010 and this year are the period at the end of that sentence.
We will soon begin to see if that sentence is written in disappearing ink.
Many Democrats, perhaps correctly, are responding along these lines: “So what?! There are more of us in America than you, as proven in our election of Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. What exactly do you people think is going to happen in 2016?!” Every such word spoken by Democrats, and every such word written or broadcast by those in the traditional media who do the party’s heavy-lifting, may prove precisely correct.
When election turnout is of the Presidential, rather than the mid-term, variety, Republicans – it is more accurate, actually, to say “conservatives” – are guilty of the obvious charge: they can’t win the big ones. Mitt Romney lost, after all, with some 4,000,000 Republicans sitting that election out.
Our southern states are chock-a-block full of moderate-to-conservative Republican voters who boycott any election not including the Republican they want. Though we cannot yet say, I suspect a lot of November 4th voters for Rob Maness sat Saturday’s election out, as an example.
So, just as there are two distinctly different “election days” in national elections – Presidential and mid-term – there are also two kinds of Republican candidates: ones who can thread the needle of Republican Party’s ideological divisions, and ones who cannot.
While Congressman Cassidy seems one of the former, how would the election have gone without a toxic President Obama to hang around Mary Landrieu’s neck? Cassidy beat her on Saturday by 150,000 or so votes, probably enough to cover that Republican / conservative divide, but not necessarily.
Oh, by the way, presidential race aside for a moment, we can throw into this mix the matter of the Senate elections to be held in two years. Of the seven Republican seats up next time, six are in states President Obama won with 50%-52% of the vote. For Democrats, almost all of their Senate seats are safe, excepting the Colorado seat of Michael Bennet, and Harry Reid’s seat in Nevada.
Personally, I will wait to see who each party nominates for President, and how many of those six seats Republicans hold. Only then will I judge the efficacy of this new-fangled “Solid Republican South” label.
2. “Race, GOT IT?! … It’s About Race! … You Know, Race!
(God and I know I am no racist. Anyone else who cares will just have to figure that out.)
All of us know racists … of all races. The most racist public officials I know in my hometown are not the white ones. How’s that for progress?
I get that the worm turns in every instance of oppression. I get too, however, that amoral political types exploit for votes every such possible instance. Any who doubt the fires of racism are being fanned for the political benefit of a rotten few are missing what is underway. Too many politicians love this hell.
According to the Census Bureau, those in America who are “White Alone, Not Hispanic or Latino” are 62.6% of the population, the “Hispanic or Latino” population is 17.1%, and those “Black or African-American Alone” are 13.2%. The remaining 7.1% are all the rest, Asian, American Indian, mixed or any other race. Those stats speak volumes, and predict any contested outcome in America which is based solely on race.
Among Louisiana voters, 68% are white and 32% are black. Why, then, did Ms. Landrieu so unremittingly campaign as if only for black votes? Why so routinely offend so many whites when basic math showed she would lose doing so? We do not yet know the why, but I believe we will find out.
Regardless, I recognize a soullessness not to be ignored or dodged when self-serving, phony, deeply divisive racial chattering leaves the lips of any candidate. Such only stokes these dangerous fires, and solves nothing. I believe we should aggressively ignore – more like repel – all such candidates with immediate, open, and permanent opposition. They have a right to their nasty dance, but we control the floor.
Race-baiters shoved aside, we can count on ourselves to police all of this. The current examples of events in Ferguson, Missouri, as compared to Staten Island, New York, prove it. Why are good and decent people around the country seemingly so aware of the real difference between the facts in the two cases? Because we who care have the hearts and minds – and upbringing – to know “it” when we see it.
We certainly can’t trust professional political partisans, or their candidates, to decide for us.
‘More topics later …