Indeed, the upcoming weeks and months could be one of the most exhilarating political moments for the state in years. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, is term limited and is already packed for his presidential tour. Most legislators are looking at their reelection bids. Other statewide officers are either trying to maintain their own political turfs or are looking towards greener election pastures.
With this political landscape in mind, I asked pollster and political analyst Bernie Pinsonat of Southern Media and Opinion Research (SMOR) his opinions about various relevant issues.
Below are questions and his responses regarding the future of the Louisiana Democratic Party. In a separate article, Pinsonat responded to a question regarding a possible legislative veto override of a potential Jindal veto of the state budget.
Tomorrow, in part three, Pinsonat discusses the controversies related to the same-sex marriage, religious freedom issues compared to that of the highly-emotional discourse over Common Core.
Democratic Party in Louisiana, obviously, has seen its better days. However, due to the GOP-controlled legislature and the GOP-controlled administration, the state has the $1.6B budget deficit with more deficits reportedly on the way. Your recent poll indicates that whites are voting on national issues, Louisiana likely voters prefer republicans over democrats to run state government and generally (and lately) democrats cannot exceed more than 23 percent of the white vote in a statewide election. But, are there signs, with the legislative session, that the tide is turning against the republican domination? What might the democrats need to do to make them more competitive this year?
Democrats are enjoying better than normal results this legislative session only because raising revenue is the number one priority caused by the $1.6 billion state operating budget deficit. Without democrats supporting these revenue raising bills –it is unlikely republicans could pass most of these income hikes. As of today – the Black Caucus could end up getting new revenue for lots of programs that are important to the folks back home. When this legislative session ends however, I seriously doubt democrats can expect to see lots of legislative races suddenly become winnable.
The overwhelmingly majority of small businesses in Louisiana fund only republican legislative candidates. After Mary Landrieu’s defeat last year, the state democratic party for the first time has no statewide elected official available to help raise money. This was a huge loss for the State Democratic Party which will hinder fund-raising efforts for years. Maybe the National Democratic Party will help – after turning their back on Mary Landrieu in her hour of need, forget that happening.
Some republicans are hoping and scheming the current disarray of the Democratic party might allow the unthinkable (for democrats) to occur – the runoff for governor not including a democrat. If this potential scenario occurs – turn out the lights, this party is dead for a long long time!