Louisiana’s incumbent Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, won reelection last night … in a State that President Trump won by 20 percentage points in 2016. Edwards is pro-life and pro-2nd Amendment. But that’s just the beginning of the story because so was his opponent.
The lesson to be drawn from Louisiana and it’s a lesson that applies to New Hampshire despite the vast political differences between the two States is that not even Trump can always boost a bad GOP candidate over a good Democrat candidate.
The GOP candidate in Louisiana was a 70-year old political novice, a lazy campaigner who essentially tried to use his personal fortune to buy the election and eschewed traditional shoe-leather campaigning. The message of his campaign was essentially that (1) Edwards was a wild-eyed liberal and (2) that he would cut taxes.
The first was ludicrous: Edwards, a U.S. Military Academy graduate and former Army Ranger, opposes gun restrictions, signed one of the nation’s strictest abortion bans and dismissed the ongoing impeachment inquiry against the president as a distraction. Fortunately for the New Hampshire GOP, the records of incumbent Democrat State Reps and State Senators position them well to the left of New Hampshire’s electorate.
But that only helps the GOP if its candidates are willing to do the hard work of researching the Democrats’ voting records and have the resources to educate the electorate. This admonition especially applies to GOP candidates for State Rep as the State Party’s contribution to State Rep races essentially consists of a cheap, untimely, generic post-card that says something along the lines of “Vote for the GOP Team for State Rep … Rah-Rah-Sis-Boom-Bah”.
Recruiting State Rep candidates is something that should be done at the local … City and Town Committee … level. Unfortunately, the N.H. GOP are for the most part totally outclassed by the N.H. Democrats in this regard. The Democrats have a large, thriving network of local committees throughout the State … even in “Red” municipalities. The GOP appears moribund in contrast … even in “Red” municipalities.
Another lesson to be drawn from Louisiana is that tax cuts are not the magic carpet the GOP Establishment thinks they are. Specifically to New Hampshire, voters don’t get anywhere near as giddy over “business tax cuts” as the GOP Establishment does. They are much more concerned about the cost of and access to healthcare, getting their kids a good education and … like it or not … Paid Family Leave. Droning on about “business tax cuts” … while it may be music to the ears of the Koch network … makes the GOP sound out-of-touch to voters.
GOP candidates need to convince voters that they care about issues like healthcare, education, Family-Leave etc. … that they have plans to improve these areas … and that the Democrats’ proposals would actually make things worse.
At this point, it appears that Governor Sununu’s reelection is a lock because both Democrat candidates are hard-Left extremists. But the lesson of Louisiana is that all politics has the potential of becoming local. It is not going to be enough for down-the-ballot candidates … especially State Rep candidates … to put wrap themselves in Trump and Sununu and scream NO INCOME TAX. Those days are gone forever.