by Marion Marks
The chemistry in Louisiana “Finals” election Saturday has all new components that have not previously been seen around our here. The targeted – and well-planned – primary marketing in state-wide races allowed for some unexpected results. The finals winners will be those who kept a keen focus on their target voters, allied themselves with enemies of their run-off opponents and understood the concepts of Machiavellian politics. No better script could be written than what some political strategists did with less resources and yet a well-organized base. This year’s contests will be studied for years to come!
Jeremy Alford calls it “… silly and ridiculous one moment, then downright political and cutting the next.” But the key was always understanding what the comedians call the “magic moment.” Serious citizens were never really comfortable, but we survived each potential “magic moment.”
No witnesses could ever call it boring or quiet, if you understood the totality of the climate in the state and something about the general ineptitude of some of the campaigns and their candidates. Vitter never really left his Washington platform until just before the October primary, when the chips were really down to see if he could squeak into the runoff.
And, now that the finish line is close at hand, Vitter is trying to make up ground with a slash and burn at any cost to try to keep his career intact. No respectable observer could say Vitter has any respect left in the Republican party faithful, even though they are trying hard to “keep a stiff upper lip.”
Baton Rouge Mayor, Kip Holden, demonstrated how his profile and spending the minimum of money ($35,000 versus millions by those who didn’t make the runoff) in just his local market could get him into the runoff. The secret now is to reveal the weaknesses of long-time political professional Billy Nungesser that may bare vulnerabilities that could get voters to actually understand facts that should be important.
Whatever the outcome Saturday night, the most important long-term issue for future planning will be the ability to get voters to actually cast a ballot. NOTHING I have seen is more frustrating than the failure of citizens to engage with the ballot. Lots of loud noise and then, still NO reaction. How much sadder could it be for good public servants who have dedicated themselves to make a difference in the system, and then not be able to communicate well enough with voters to get them to actually carry through with a vote?
“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”
― Benjamin Franklin