On November 16, Louisiana’s gubernatorial election resulted in Democratic incumbent Governor, John Bel Edwards, narrowly defeating Republican businessman Eddie Rispone. President Trump carried Louisiana by twenty percentage points in 2016. True to the election’s forecast, the victory was decided by a mere 40,000 votes. The incumbent Governor, Edwards, won his seat for another term. Democrats are right to celebrate securing a key victory in a deeply red state. However, no one should view the results of this election as an electoral shift for the 2020 election.
Governor Edwards was already one of the most popular governors in the country (relative to his state’s partisan lean). His net approval rating in a recent poll was in the mid-teens. Edwards is by no means a fiscal conservative. However, his views on social issues align far more with Louisiana Republicans than with Democrats.
For instance, Edwards recently signed a fetal heartbeat bill that prohibits abortion once a heartbeat can be detected at around six weeks. This legislation starkly contrasts the Democratic Party-line position on abortion, which states that, “Choice is a fundamental, constitutional right.” The mere suggestion of such legislation would get booed off stage in the Democratic Party. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been ridiculed for supporting much more lenient positions that would seek to keep abortion “safe, legal, and rare.”
Gabbard and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar are by far the most moderate Democratic presidential candidates on abortion. The rest of her colleagues have endorsed abortion until birth, and even support repealing the Hyde Amendment. Since Louisiana is the most Pro-Life state in the nation, it is safe to say that no Democratic presidential candidate could even have come close to winning Louisiana’s governorship.
No prominent Democrat believes they have any real shot at turning Louisiana blue in 2020. but many of them will use Edwards’ victory as an excuse to double down on their extremism. The simple truth is that Governor Edwards won because he is a moderate, and his opponent lacked name recognition.
Just like the case with incumbent Republican Matt Bevin losing in Kentucky, it is important to note that other factors are at play. These elections both resemble the 2017 Alabama special election race that resulted in Democrat Doug Jones defeating alleged pedophile, Roy Moore. Neither of the elections resemble a forecast for the 2020 election. Unique circumstances surrounded all three of these elections. Bevin was the least popular governor in the country, Moore was an alleged pedophile, and Rispone was a relatively weak and little-known candidate facing a popular incumbent.
More importantly, all three of these elections saw the triumph of a moderate Democrat in Republican strongholds that a far-left Democrat could never dream of winning. These far-left Democrats have seen no major victories in red or purple states. They rarely even get out of primaries, yet their policies are often endorsed by most major presidential candidates.
Since moderate Democrats have a wide appeal, you would think the party would shift more moderate to defeat President Trump. He’s easily unpopular enough for a moderate to beat. However, Democratic candidates have instead decided that their victories in Kentucky and Louisiana are referendums on the president. They believe they can race leftwards and avoid any consequences because of Trump’s unpopularity.
Both former President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are wary of the electoral consequences of shifting left and have called for more moderation. Nevertheless, it seems as if the Democratic Party is set on alienating the median voter and once again leaving Independent Americans to decide between the lesser of two evils. Extremism from Democrats could result in President Trump’s reelection in a race they could easily win with a moderate candidate.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.