Thomas Frank published a book in 2004 entitled What's The Matter With Kansas? The book is a native son's look back at the political and social revolution in his home state, and his attempt to unravel the question: Why do so many Americans vote against their economic and social interests? Why do poor farmers and factory workers vote for movement conservatives whose objective is to consolidate all the small farms and send factory jobs overseas? Who do the poor vote for those who favor the rich? And the answer, while complex in its strategy and implementation, is actually quite simple. They were conned. They were conned into voting emotionally, not rationally, for voting based on their fears and prejudices, and not on what is sound policy for the future security of their families.
With changes of names and places, the book could just as well be entitled: What's the Matter with Louisiana? Or, to be more precise, with Louisiana's First Congressional District (LA01). For a superb analysis of the political demographics of LA01, and "how it came to be that way", read the 3-part series by YatPundit published on January 14th - 16th. Click here: YatPundit. While not in complete agreement with his views on the "physical" rebuilding of Western St. Tammany, the observations on the political mind-set are right on the mark. When I moved to Mandeville from New Orleans 10 years ago, a neighbor suggested right off that I remove my FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS VOTE REPUBLICAN bumper sticker. It is noticeably worse today. There is absolutely an unearned and undeserved GOPer arrogance on the Northshore.
Today is MARDI GRAS, and while we in south Louisiana will spend the day playing and drinking and getting ready for the beginning of Lent tomorrow, the rest of America is participating in the SuperduperTuesday extravaganza. By late tonight, squeezed in between the final parades and the mounted police sweep of Bourbon Street, and the televised meeting of the Courts of Comus and Rex, we'll be told who won, who lost, who lost but really won and who's still in or out; and we'll be bored senseless by the talking heads. By that time, I'll be asleep.
Saturday is the presidential primary for Louisiana, not today. We may or may not still have any voice in the ultimate choices of candidates by then, but I hope folks here still take it seriously and get out to vote. According to the sample ballot from the Secretary of State's office, there is still a full spectrum of both Democrat and Republican candidates, including the drop-outs, so there are choices to be made. Click here: Louisiana Secretary of State--Precinct Ballot Data Inquiry That is unless some are scratched beforehand.
And, while most Louisiana political wiseguys view LA01 as a safe GOPer paradise, that may not be the case since Hurricane Katrina. Again, according to the Secretary of State's records, there are: 167,336 registered Democrats; 160,438 registered Republicans; and 105, 146 registered other party. I'll vote Saturday in the Democratic primary, but that's not what I'll be watching.
I'll be looking at the numbers in the Republican Primary, and trying to make some sense of them; and I hope other Democrats will do likewise. How do the Republican voters break-down, from uber-right, to right, to moderate, etc.
For the GOPers, Saturday is just a prelude to their closed primary on March 8th for their presumed safe-seat in Congress. I'm looking forward to watching Scalasi, Burns & Morris battle it out scratching for the wingnut vote. And then I'm looking forward to Gilda Reed taking back LA01 for the Democrats in May.