Despite what my friends on the right may think, Louisiana will be competitive in the 2008 Presidential General Election. I offer the following observations:

According to the latest (2006) statewide Census population estimate, Louisiana’s population has decreased by 4.1% since the year 2000. There are circumstantial reasons to believe that our State’s population has increased by as much as 2% during the past two years, including numerous reports regarding the population of the New Orleans Metropolitan Statistical Area.

– As I stated in a previous post, some on the right have created this myth of a massive diaspora of Democratically-leaning African-Americans. Regardless, Louisiana, as of 2006, had a population of 1,359,223 African-Americans, or 31.7% of the entire population. These are post-storm estimates; Louisiana still has the second-highest per capita population of African-Americans in the United States. All told, Louisiana lost only eight tenths of a percent of its African-American population after the storm. And that’s based on 2006 numbers.

– Louisiana Republicans did not support John McCain during the Republican Presidential primary. They supported Mike Huckabee. The vote broke down like this:

McCain’s victories are in dark red; Huckabee’s are in magenta.

– As this map illustrates, McCain’s victories were in the New Orleans area, Baton Rouge, and parts of Cajun Country. He failed to pick up a single parish in Northern Louisiana and only two in Central Louisiana. Huckabee carried Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria, and Lake Charles.

– It’s worth noting: Alexandria has a Democratic mayor, Jacques Roy, who was elected with 76% of the vote. Monroe has an African-American Democratic mayor, Jamie Mayo. Shreveport has an African-American Democratic mayor, Cedric Glover. Lake Charles has a popular Democratic mayor, Randy Roach. (By the way, even though McCain carried Baton Rouge and New Orleans, it’s also worth noting: both have African-American Democratic mayors, Kip Holden and Ray Nagin).

– Republican turn-out paled in comparison to Democratic turn-out.

Democrats: 384,348


Republicans: 161,319

– Compare that to a map of Obama’s and Clinton’s victories:

Hillary Clinton’s victories are in blue; Barack Obama’s are in cyan.

– This map obviously works in Obama’s favor, which is why he carried Louisiana. Obama won New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Shreveport, and Monroe– every major metropolitan area in the State in every corner of the State.

– Every one of these cities, with the exception of Lafayette, has a Democratic mayor. Stated another way: every one of these cities, with the exception of Lafayette, has recently elected a Democrat to its highest office.

– Every one of these cities has a high population of African-Americans.

– Obama won fifteen of the eighteen parishes carried by McCain, with the exception of Avoyelles, St. Tammany, and St. Bernard. He was also able to win an additional twenty-nine parishes carried by Huckabee.

– All told, Obama won 44 parishes compared to Clinton’s 20. And Clinton still carried more parishes than McCain did.

As Mike Stagg points out, there are more than 2.8 million registered voters in the State of Louisiana, more than half of whom (1.5 million) are Democrats. Borrowing Mike’s tables:

– Mike says it better than I can:

Obama’s victory in the nomination process has been built on a broad multi-ethnic coalition that has inspired African Americans and whites to reach out to each other again in an effort to try to get this nation to deliver on the promise of equality and fairness that it has offered but never fully delivered. That broad coalition, combined with a powerful yearning for change among large segments of the populace, helped produce the record turnout in primary elections across the country during this cycle.

According to the most recent numbers from the Louisiana Secretary of State, there are approximately 720,287 registered Republicans, less than half of the number of registered Democrats (1,512,083).

– Proportionally, more Democrats turned out to vote in the primaries than did Republicans.

– Obviously, the swing vote will be what matters, and if the electoral primary map is any indication, John McCain has some serious problems, particularly if he is going to build his general election campaign around a theme of change from George Bush, an attempt to fashion himself as outside of the Republican base. Huckabee won the Republican base in Louisiana, and in the parallel Democratic primary, Obama won many of the same parishes as Huckabee. All told, Huckabee won only 17 parishes that were not won by Obama, the vast majority of which are rural.

– Higher voter-turnout due to the historic nature of this election (as well as the empirical trend of higher turn-out during Presidential elections) can only help Obama.

– We can change. We must change. And we will change.

Kudos to WeCouldBeFamous for posting this video and for the subsequent analysis:

Ultimately, there were three Katrina investigations, one each by the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Presidency. That which was produced by the House was boycotted by Democrats. That which was produced was the President was intended to be toilet paper. The Senate investigation was what the Democrats were left with after the independent commission was rejected in a vote down party lines.

This Senate investigation was launched on September 15th, 2005.

Thus, it was not “fully underway” when John McCain voted against the independent investigation on September 14th, 2005. is still demanding a real investigation of federal levee failures today.

Has McCain now flip-flopped to support an independent commission? Or is he just confused about where his “maverick” image ends and his vote to protect the Bush administration from being held accountable for the Katrina response begins?

Somebody should ask him.

Does Stephanie Grace of the Times-Picayune still think Katrina is “risk-free” for John McCain?

– On a related note, in this morning’s edition of The Town Talk, local Republican activist Wayne Ryan claims that Barack Obama has not authored or co-sponsored any bills since arriving at the United States Senate. I am not sure why the paper allowed this to go to print, considering it is a blatant lie and misrepresentation of the facts.

Wayne Ryan, president of the Rapides Parish Republican Executive Committee, said of Obama’s selection, “In the presidential race, I think it greatly increases our chances because they’ve chosen a candidate with almost no experience in government.”

To emphasize his point, Ryan said, “He’s in his first term in the Senate, and he’s spent the last 18 months running for president.”

He said Obama has authored no legislation nor co-sponsored any bills since coming to the U.S. Senate.

And the changes in foreign policy Obama talks about would return the country to the 1960s era when the Cold War was at its height, he said.

“I don’t think we need that,” Ryan said.

Mr. Ryan and the newspaper need only perform a routine Internet search in order to locate the bills Mr. Obama has both authored and co-sponsored.

Mr. Ryan and The Town Talk would find that during his first two years in the United States Senate, Mr. Obama authored 152 different bills on a wide range of issues. Senator Clinton, on the other hand, had only authored 20 bills in 6 years. Mr. Obama has co-sponsored even more.

One more thing: Does anyone else find it ironic that John McCain used a completely staged “town hall meeting” to announce the sudden need for similar meetings with Mr. Obama? (H/t to David Brignac, who actually attended McCain’s Baton Rouge “town hall” meeting for giving us the full details. This is certainly a must-read).

21 thoughts

  1. Lamar is not it racist to assume that all 31 percent of the African American voters are going to vote obama simply based on skin color. I thought we as voters are supposed to make an “informed” decision based upon a candidate’s record and position on important issues.

  2. Concerned voter, it’s just the way the election is shaping up, and given the historic nature of having an African-American on the ticket, I don’t think it’s a hasty generalization or racist in any way; I never state any assumption. I am only pointing out the facts.

    According to the most recent numbers from the Secretary of State, there are only 26,462 African-Americans registered as Republicans (a little bit more than one percent of all voters); compare that to the 691,176 who are registered as Democrats.

    By the way “concerned voter,” your IP address leaves a trace on every comment you make, no matter what you change your name to.

  3. Lamar,

    What’s up with Rodney Alexander’s seat? Any chance of getting a democratic candidate to challenge him?

    Perhaps you could analyze the political demographics of the 5th district similar to what you’ve done on this topic?

  4. I love Huckabee, but I read a very interesting Article talking about how many of Huckabees supporters are crossing Party lines to vote for Bob Barr because they feel left out by the GOP. If you want to read the article here is the link. I am one of the supporters that is considering casting a vote for Barr. If Huckabee isnt the VP pick I will be voting libertarian. Never thought id say that. Here is the link. The article is at the bottom of the page.

  5. RealClearPolitics averages of polls in Louisiana have McCain leading Obama by a margin of 51.7 to 38.3 that’s an advantage of McCain +13.4.

    You’ve got a lot of ground to make up buddy.

    I’m afraid you just spend a long, long time assembling a case for something that will never come to pass. Your time could have been better put to use by doing something productive, like washing dishes, pulling crabgrass, or taking a dump.

  6. I need only remind you that the poll you cite also mentions that President Clinton won Louisiana by 12.1 points in 1996. Such a shift is not unfounded.

    Moreover, look at the trends:

    RCP Average 02/26 – 05/28 — 51.7 38.3 McCain +13.4
    Rasmussen 05/28 – 05/28 500 LV 50 41 McCain +9.0
    Southern Media & Opinion Research 03/26 – 04/09 600 LV 51 35 McCain +16.0
    SurveyUSA 02/26 – 02/28 599 RV 54 39 McCain +15.0

    McCain was leading in the polls by double digits through the beginning of April. Obama is closing the gap. According to the most recent poll by Rasmussen, Obama is within single digits of McCain.

    It’s worth noting: These are all polls that were conducted prior to Senator Obama securing the nomination. Clinton was still a factor.

    Either way, RealClearPolitics’s poll of polls also shows Barack Obama beating John McCain in the General (also conducted prior to Clinton’s concession).

    This is what RealClearPolitics said about Obama’s chances of winning the Louisiana primary:

    The third state that votes on Saturday has promise for Obama as well. In 2004, non-whites made up about 29% of the Louisiana electorate, and while many, particularly African Americans, fled the state after Hurricane Katrina, the Census Bureau still estimates that nearly 32% of the population is black. On Tuesday, Obama repeated the dominating performance he had in South Carolina, winning African Americans in some states by as much as a six-to-one margin. While Clinton has been able to make up some of that gap with strong support among Latinos, just 3% of Louisiana will be Hispanic voters.

    African Americans have dominated Democratic politics in New Orleans and some other major urban areas around the state. If blacks play a major role in Louisiana, as they have in other Southern states, odds are that Obama will sweep clean the Saturday states. Add in Maine, which holds another caucus, which benefits Obama, on Sunday, and Clinton could have a very bad weekend.

    Sorry to burst your bubble, Jermemiah, but this will be competitive.

    Chronos, I have heard there are Democratic challengers who will be lining up. No news yet. I’ll get more in depth as we come closer to the election.

  7. I have had a negative attitude, believing that the ‘swfitboaters’ will hang Obama out to dry with Fr Pfleger and Rev Wright. That attitude was changed at lunch today.
    I was eating with a friend who is the quintessential ‘Bubba’. He is nuts over guns, shoots competetively, spent all night Saturday running trotlines – you know the type. He is a Republican and voted twice for Bush.
    Today at lunch he told me he’s going to vote for Obama because he believes that he can really bring change.
    Yes, it is a competitive race.

  8. dlc, like it or not, Obama does have cross-over appeal.

    That said, Jim, there will be swiftboaters in this election. People must be prepared to challenge their assumptions and call on others to inform themselves. Take, for instance, the as-yet-uncorrected story in today’s Town Talk– the notion that Obama hasn’t authored or co-sponsored a bill.

    They will attempt to challenge him as an unpatriotic, wild, inexperienced, radical person, someone whose loyalties should be questioned. Heck, they already are. The comment thread on the Town Talk today reveals those talking points, most of which are borne out of a series of smear e-mails disseminated by local Republicans. Of course, nothing is fact-checked. Nothing is sourced. Photographs and statements are purposely taken completely out of context.

    The irony is that these same people believe that only “ignorant” people will vote for Obama, yet they can’t even bring themselves to challenge their own assumptions and research the facts.

  9. My bad Lamar…you’re right. Relying on how a state voted in 1996 is a perfect guage of how they will vote more than a decade later.

    Why didn’t I think of such obvious facts?

    I think even you are realizing how hokey of an argument this is. At first, you were saying how great of a chance Obama has of winning Louisiana, and now you’re saying it can be “competitive.” Well hell, losing by single digits doesn’t accomplish anything.

  10. Lamar,

    can explain what the “Friends of New Orleans” Charity is doing bailing out the DNC event in Denver. Since obama has rasied all of this cash couldnt his campaign do it?

  11. “Hillary Clinton’s victories are in blue; Barack Obama’s are in cyan.”
    umm… to me it looks like CLinton won New Orleans, or i am color blind ??
    Looks like New Orleans is in Blue, but shreveport is in Cyan ?

    I do think Obama has a great chance in La.
    Though i do beleive that we will have to work hard to get voters registered and out to vote.
    If that happens, its a win-win for Obama

  12. Brad, I apologize if it appears imprecise, but Clinton carried St. Bernard and Obama carried Orleans (by a huge margin).

    DLC, give me a break: no one is “bailing out the DNC event.” They’re holding an event called New Orleans Jam-Balaya on the night before the convention begins in order to raise awareness for the City of New Orleans. From the Friends of New Orleans website:

    The Denver Post article “Host Committee Slashes DNC Party Venues,” inaccurately portrays Friends of New Orleans (FONO) as being a financial sponsor of the Delegate Party planned for the Democratic National Convention. Friends of New Orleans, a private, non-profit, non-partisan, membership organization for people in the U.S. and abroad who care about the region, is not now and never was a financial sponsor of the event. The event, which is being held at the Colorado Convention Center on Sunday, August 24 in Denver, Colorado, is being sponsored by the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee. Acknowledging the inaccuracy, The Denver Post updated its article at 12:31 p.m. MDT. In addition, the Democratic National Convention Committee issued a statement clarifying its financial commitment for the event.

    Since its inception in 2006, FONO has been instrumental in keeping the focus on rebuilding New Orleans and its surrounding parishes. To keep New Orleans and its issues post-hurricanes top-of-mind in an election year, FONO has planned benefit events at each of the two national conventions in Denver and St. Paul on August 24 and September 1 respectively. The purpose of these events is to highlight the local organizations working tirelessly to rebuild their homes and communities.

    Jeremiah, I think Obama can win our Great State, and I challenge you to produce some real analysis for your candidate, Mr. McCain. Please explain his ground strategy and how he will attempt to curb the voter turn-out strategy of Mr. Obama. Something more substantive than an attempt at parsing my words.

  13. LamarMon, you are solid and anyone who misses that is a forkin’icehole.
    I really like your set’up. Given the way you nailed the primaries live, I’d even put money on your call here.
    But, can you like get on da’horn to Barack and get him and Michelle and da’kids down to New Orleans fo’da National Conference of Black Mayors?
    Keep it up,
    you on’da Ladder,

  14. There’s not really any need to make a case for something that is obvious. It’s only with ridiculous fairy tale dreams like you have that need defending.

    McCain has spent far more time in Louisiana than Obama has, and Obama had to come here during the primaries to campaign, whereas McCain already had his primary wrapped up by the time Louisiana voted. That seems to suggest that McCain came here on his own free will, whereas Obama has been prancing around the country making proud declarations about how people who live in places like Louisiana are “bitter” and “cling to their guns and religion.”

    There’s not been one poll released by ANYONE that shows Obama leading this state or really anywhere close. So until there’s any evidence to the contrary, what case needs to be made for McCain? That would be like me asking you to explain how in the hell do you think Obama is going to win Vermont…it really doesn’t merit much of a reaction.

  15. Jeremiah: A tautological argument that relies on the premise that Louisiana is a deep red state. Republicans have been trying to push this notion (this fairy tale) down our throats for the past four or five years.

    The Louisiana House and the Senate are both majority Democrat. As I said previously, most of Louisiana’s largest cities have recently-elected Democratic mayors.

    Republican turn-out in the primaries was abysmal, and John McCain was not a total lock before the Louisiana primary, which Huckabee WON. By the way, Republican primary turn-out was terrible from the very beginning. The far-right can’t stand McCain, and many may be tempted to sit this one out– or cast their vote in protest for someone lke Bob Barr.

    And do you really think McCain– a man who has voted AGAINST several major recovery bills– cares MORE about Louisiana than Obama? Compare their records. (Which I will also do in a subsequent post). Staged town hall meetings and $2300 a plate fundraisers in Louisiana do, technically, require McCain to be in Louisiana, but I’m not sure how his mere presence indicates committment.

    Even if you believe that the poll data is accurate this far out from the election, Obama appears to be closing the gap. A week before he secured the nomination, he was within single digits.

    And one more thing: Obama admitted that his words came out poorly, but he was attempting to express a profound truth about a large swath of Americans. Many people are disenchanted, upset, and embittered by the way this country is being run. Politics is a blood sport. The Bush Administration led this country into war with Iraq on a series of deceptions and blatant lies, exchanging the goodwill of the American people for the ability to pre-emptively strike and subsequently occupy and control an entire nation of people thousands of miles away. Instead of being engaged in the process, many people are put off by it. In troubling economic times, many people will seek guidance and support from their religion. In our culture- due, in part, to the specter of terrorism and the immediate threat of random violence, some will even become overly-worried about their personal security.

    There is no judgment in this observation. I don’t think it indends harm or insult to anyone; it’s just a reflection on the way many believe in today’s America.

    Sure, his word choice was terrible. But give his quote some context:

    You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

    I don’t know where you’re living, Jeremiah, but I encounter people who explain their frustrations through issues like immigration or trade (both of which are absoloutely legitimate issues that Americans SHOULD be frustrated about, as, by the way, is the price of gasoline). Personally, I think the observation is hurt by the word “clings.” This is what Mr. Obama said:

    “So I said, well, you know when you’re bitter, you turn to what you can count on,” he added. “So people, they vote about guns, or they take comfort from their faith and their family and their community.”

    From the New York Times:

    J. Richard Gray, the mayor of Lancaster and an Obama supporter, said this was not what Mr. Obama meant. Mr. Obama was trying to say, Mr. Gray argued, that Republicans take emotional issues like guns and religion and try to use them to divide people.

    “I don’t think he’s demeaning religion or guns,” Mr. Gray said. “He’s saying the use of those issues as wedge issues plays on the bitterness that people have and diverts attention from the real economic issues, like the disparity between the wage earner and the rich.”

    Mr. Gray also said Mr. Obama was right that voters were bitter, although he said he would have used the word angry. He pointed to a recent poll that found 81 percent of voters believed the country was on the wrong track. He said Mrs. Clinton sounded like “a Pollyanna” in saying that workers were optimistic.

    Heck, there are many people here- both on the right and the left- who agree that some voters are bitter (again, 81% of people believe the country is on the wrong track) and vote on wedge issues. And Republicans HAVE been pushing wedge issues (and idiotic stuff like questioning the “patriotism” of the Democratic nominee for the Presidency) in small-town America as a way of “diverting attention” and getting many people to vote against their own economic best interests (i.e. a tax plan that primarily benefits multi-millionairies). For an in-depth explanation of this, I highly and enthusiastically recommend the book What’s the Matter With Kansas?

    Update: In researching Obama’s record on Louisiana, I came across this post from Think on These Things (a site I have linked to in the past). Click on this link to view the entire post, which is well-sourced and documented.

    It is nice that everyone is giving speeches and putting out ten-point plans to commemorate Hurricane Katrina. However, I’m more interested in knowing what people have been doing when the cameras were off. What is your record on this issue?

    Here is Barack Obama’s record on rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina.

    * Sept. 2, 2005: Obama holds press conference urging Illinoisans to contribute to the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
    * Sept. 5, 2005: Obama goes to Houston to visit evacuees with Presidents Clinton and Bush.
    * Sept. 7, 2005: Obama introduces bill to create a national emergency family locator system
    * Sept. 8, 2005: Obama introduces bill to create a National Emergency Volunteers Corps.
    * Sept. 8, 2005: Obama co-sponsors the Katrina Emergency Relief Act of 2005 introduced by Senator Harry Reid
    * Sept. 8, 2005: Obama co-sponsors the Hurricane Katrina Bankruptcy Relief and Community Protection Act of 2005 introduced by Senator Russ Feingold
    * Sept. 12, 2005: Obama introduces legislation requiring states to create an emergency evacuation plan for society’s most vulnerable
    * Sept. 15, 2005: Obama issues public response to President Bush’s speech about Gulf Coast rebuilding.
    * Sept. 21, 2005: Obama co-sponsors bill to establish a Katrina commission to investigate response to the disaster introduced by Hillary Clinton
    * Sept. 21, 2005: Obama appears on NPR to discuss the role of poverty in Hurricane Katrina.
    * Sept. 22, 2005: Obama and Coburn’s Hurricane Katrina financial oversight bill unanimously passes Senate committee.
    * Sept. 22, 2005: Obama’s amendment requiring evacuation plans unanimously passes Senate committee.
    * Sept. 28, 2005: Obama and Coburn issue statement about the need for a Chief Financial Officer to oversee the financial mismanagement and suspicious contracts occurring in the reconstruction process
    * Sept. 29, 2005: Obama and Coburn investigate possible FEMA refusal of free cruise ship offer
    * Oct. 6, 2005: Obama and Coburn issue statement on FEMA Decision to re-bid Katrina contracts
    * Oct. 6, 2005: Obama co-sponsors Gulf Coast Infrastructure Redevelopment and Recovery Act of 2005.
    * Oct. 21, 2005: Obama releases statement decrying the extension of FEMA director, Michael “Brownie” Brown’s contract. Obama calls Brown’s contract extension, “unconscionable.”
    * Nov. 17, 2005: Obama and Coburn introduce legislation asking FEMA to immediately re-bid all Katrina reconstruction contracts.
    * Feb. 1, 2006: Obama gives Senate floor speech on his legislation to help children affected by Hurricane Katrina
    * Feb. 2, 2006: Obama introduces legislation to help low-income children affected by Hurricane Katrina
    * Feb. 23, 2006: Obama issues statement responding to a White House report on Hurricane Katrina. Obama noted that the top two recommendations that the report had for the federal government were initiatives he had been working on since immediately after the storm hit. Obama called the administration’s response “delinquent.”
    * May 2, 2006: Obama gives speech about no-bid contracts in Hurricane Katrina reconstruction
    * May 4, 2006: Obama’s legislation to end no-bid contracts for Hurricane Katrina reconstruction passed the Senate.
    * June 15, 2006: Obama and Coburn announce legislation to require amendment to create competitive bidding for Hurricane Katrina reconstruction for federal contracts over $500,000. Although it passed previously, the language was stripped in conference.
    * June 15, 2006: Obama releases podcast about his pending Katrina reconstruction legislation in the Senate.
    * June 16, 2006: Obama and Coburn get no-bid Hurricane Katrina reconstruction amendment into Department of Defense authorization bill.
    * July 14, 2006: Obama and Coburn’s legislation to end abuse of no-bid contracts passes senate as amendment to Department of Defense authorization bill.
    * August 11, 2006: Obama visits Xavier University in New Orleans to give Commencement address
    * August 14, 2006: Obama and Coburn ask FEMA to address ballooning no-bid contracts for Gulf Coast reconstruction
    * Sept. 29, 2006: Obama and Coburn legislation to prevent abuse of no-bid contracts in the wake of disaster passes Senate to be sent to President’s desk to become law.
    * Feb. 2007-Present: As Obama begins his Presidential campaign he references Katrina as a part of his stump speech as he travels around the country in his familiar line, “That we are not a country which preaches compassion and justice to others while we allow bodies to float down the streets of a major American city. That is not who we are.”
    * June 20, 2007: Obama co-sponsors Gulf Coast Housing Recovery Act of 2007 introduced by Senator Chris Dodd.
    * July 27, 2007: Obama and colleagues get a measure in the Homeland Security bill that will investigate FEMA trailers that may contain the toxic chemical, formaldehyde.
    * Aug. 26, 2007: Obama outlines a detailed Hurricane Katrina recovery plan.
    * December 18, 2007: Obama calls on President Bush to protect affordable housing in New Orleans
    * February 16, 2008: Obama releases statement on toxic Gulf Coast trailers

    PS: To my friend at the New Orleans News Ladder, thanks EditallaMon.

  16. I’m late to the discussion – but we are hours away from voting and there is a possibility of an Obama surprise in Louisiana.

  17. One of our local High Schools did their mock vote today and Obama won. This may not be significant to you but since this school opened its doors in the 70’s it has always held a mock Presidential election and EVERY single time it has been the candidate that took the state of Louisiana. Could be?

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