Saturday, December 06, 2008
I got to give credit to local Republicans. This was a once in a generation opportunity, and they took advantage of it. They actually mobilized, quickly, FOR a candidate in a low turnout election (instead of inventing some triple bankshot, strategic, mindfreak reason to vote for the worse Democrat [read: Nagin, Jefferson] with the hope of some unlikely future scenario playing out in their favor.)
Congratulations to Professor Cao, who demonstrated that any election is winnable.
Update: Credit goes to Jefferson Parish voters, who made the difference. (Dollar Bill won comfortably in Orleans Parish.)
Also, be sure to read E's reflections, analysis and future outlook.
In the NYT, Adam Nossiter covers the story without noticing any racial angles. (Just kidding. Predictably, Noz begins with the racial stuff in sentence two and continues on from there.)
CNN accurately describes Cao as a "community organizer". Heh. Yes, let's make sure the GOP doesn't forget that fact.
Sadly, my man Shawn Barney lost the State Senate contest in District 3. But his campaign fought hard to make it 45-55%... and I'm sure he'll be back again soon.
Even worse, Fleming beat Carmouche in LA -04 by 356 votes. Uggh. That one hurt.
Holy Cao. Congratulations, I hope the Democratic Establishment is duly embarrassed by their refusal to weed out corruption in their midst.
I think that's a much bigger theme - the death of the local Democratic establishment and larger progressive nelect of the city.
Cao's totals were not really all that impressive. 33k votes in this town is horseshit - much more indicative of mass disillusionment than a generational mobilization.
voted for cao and morrel.
it's a gentilly thang.
looking for barney to break out of the pack in the future .
this time it was about who can stroke my hurting hood the most which borders on the east.
thanks jeff parish.
it is going to be interesting to see the results of how this all goes down in the next two years..
thank you oyster for your input on your blog and emails for this election and hopefully future elections..
i mean this most sincerely.
there is a real lack of info on these lever pullers in the local media and your voice makes my choice a little easier .
I'm sorry if you take this the wrong way because i didn't vote for your guy but i really mean the thank you.
The New Orleans Blogs are thankfully out here to give more perspectives and voices and choices , thanks man.
Down town in gentilly and a major fan.
GYA: thanks for the kind words
E: I bet Republican turnout in this election was significantly higher than Dem turnout. It was a rare (once in a generation) political opportunity. I didn't term this a "generational mobilization", nor did I say Cao's vote totals were impressive. I acknowledged that this was a low turnout election, but those are precisely the elections that present the greatest opportunities for upsets and surprises. This election is an example that the politically-motivated progressive elements in this town should study.
But I agree that the final nail in the coffin of the Jefferson machine is the big story.
Your point isn't inaccurate, it's just not what I'd personally prefer to emphasize about what happened here.
My argument is not that the big story is the final nail in the coffin of the Jefferson Machine, it's that his downfall underscores the larger local leadership vacuum and widespread popular disillusionment with civic authority.
I don't think the local Democratic leadership is gone. They'll be back. They're just not willing to turn on anyone no matter how corrupt.
Can't disagree with that. There's a leadership vacuum, not a politician vacuum.
26% turnout in majority caucasian precincts in this race speaks volumes. 12% turnout for african american dominated precincts.
By 1:41 AM, at
To a large extent Jefferson's machine helped create and perpetuate the current leadership vacuum. Sure, there's a larger local leadership vacuum beyond Jefferson (read: Nagin), and if you want to emphasize that that's fine, but I think this election was more about Dollar Bill than the other local jokers we can be disillusioned about. As much as I'd like it to be in some ways, it wasn't an election that should be considered a useful signpost regarding larger local trends. This is a political template of the potential opportunities in low turnout special elections against a vulnerable candidate.
In other words, I don't think that Cao voters were voting against a generic "local leadership vacuum". Many were voting FOR Cao and many more perhaps were voting FOR someone who wasn't specifically Dollar Bill. There certainly exists widespread dillusion with local leadership above and beyond the widespread disillusion over Dollar Bill, but I don't think that these particular election results speak to that as much as you contend they do.
Otherwise, for example, you have to explain how this "widespread disillusion" manifested itself in the Dem runoff a month ago. Or in the State Senate race tonight.
Nice call on this race! I guess it's the Yang to the Yin of your FSU pick last week. House Republicans have no power whatsoever apart from what Speaker Pelosi chooses to give them so hopefully Cao is right about some stuff for NOLA and can give the always in vogue bipartisan cover to things the many Dems (Clyburn) want to do anyway for the region.
By 5:16 AM, at
Well the Dem runoff a month also featured the Presidential race. I think a much better comparison is the primary in October, when turnout was again uninspiring.
You noticed Nossiter's BS also?
Nossiter makes me see red.
Also, white, black, yellow, tan, whatever.
The guy is a walking stereotype himself and therefore sees everyone else that way too.
A couple of thoughts:
Was there an anti-Obama effect here? How many voters still basking the the glow of November asked themselves why they now had to go vote for that tired ass piece of crap. I mean, what a let down.
I think the "death/dearth" of leadership meme is an important one to get and keep out there. Our dynastic and tribal political elites are down, but not necessarily out. They weren't there for Jefferson because Bill has nothing left to bring to the table in terms of helping their candidates, which was seen in the broad range of opposition he had in the first primary. They're just keeping their powder dry for next time. I would hope that this present some transformative opportunity to move past the "leadership" that gave us Nagin and Jefferson. Morrell's victory tells us it can still work at the district level. I just hope it's played itself out at the mayoral/congressional level.
Finally, was it really necessary for Head and Clarkson to be up there? There is a delicate line between the need to dump Jefferson and to avoid antagonizing voters along racial lines.
I just hope the story remains a rejection of corruption and the old style of politics and does not devolve along racial lines, with Head the poster child for the monied and white side.
What you mean "we", Kimosabe?
"Finally, was it really necessary for Head and Clarkson to be up there? There is a delicate line between the need to dump Jefferson and to avoid antagonizing voters along racial lines.
I just hope the story remains a rejection of corruption and the old style of politics and does not devolve along racial lines, with Head the poster child for the monied and white side."
Jesus Mark. Are you seriously implying that a white politician in New Orleans can't show his or her support for a Vietnamese candidate who just beat an indicted, crooked black politician?
Sometimes it amazes me how fucked up this city is.
By 1:00 PM, at
This is a story about the rebirth of the voters in Orleans Parish on so many levels. The story here is that the disenfranchised white, hispanic, vietnamese, and educated african american population has begun showing up en masse to vote in Orleans against the politically established mafia and their uneductated followers. The voters who demand good government have totally revolted against the inept system that has plagued this city since 1960. In 1960 this city had 70 Fortune 500 companies based here now we have 1. This has energized the voters who want change more than you can even imagine--whether that change be democratic or republican or independent or whatever.
Factor in the areas of the city that didn't vote (Lakeview, parts of Carrolton & Uptown, & parts of the Westbank) and you will see that Orleans Parish has moved away from its Pre-K political roots.
As for Mark Folse's comments--sure Jackie is an idiot but Stacy Head is one of those good government politicians who should have been up on that stage with Cao because she brings transparency to the citizens which in turn has mobilized them into voting out the crooks. I see from your comments though that you don't want transparency in Orleans Parish because you want to make everything a racial issue which is sad.
By 1:45 PM, at
- In the NYT, Adam Nossiter covers the story without noticing any racial angles.
HAH! that was rich.
I don't think Nossiter is capable of writing an article that is race neutral. The NYT certainly gave him an opportunistic beat.
Anonymous, you have a higher opinion of Stacey Head than I do. If you think Cao's election means we don't live in a dangerous racial mine field politically, well, you go first and I'll follow you.
While I applaud Head's willingness to challenge the administration over the clearly corrupt sanitation contracts, her demeanor in handling the trailer deadline and demolitions aggravates the situation
All I worry about is people who chose to throw fuel on the fire, and Head is as bad as Nagin in that regard.
Head's ugly cheerleading up there behind Cao was pure awful. Was she drunk?
@Anonymous: "In 1960 this city had 70 Fortune 500 companies based here now we have 1." Really? 70 Fortune 500 co.'s based in NOLA? Name, say, ten or fifteen of them.
"Factor in the areas of the city that didn't vote (Lakeview, parts of Carrolton & Uptown, & parts of the Westbank)..." These majority white areas didn't vote because they have been gerrymandered out of the 2nd CD into Steve Scalise's lily-white, far-right 1st. Look for the redistricting battle from Hell to follow the 2010 census, unless we can get more people to return to the city in the next year and a half than we have in the previous three.
By 3:24 PM, at
"I would hope that this present some transformative opportunity to move past the "leadership" that gave us Nagin and Jefferson. Morrell's victory tells us it can still work at the district level."
Why is it so hard for people not living in his House district to believe that maybe--just maybe--in spite of his lineage, that Gentilly voters might just actually approve of Morrell's representation of them? No...we just THINK that's why we supported him. It's really because we blindly listen to whatever a political "machine" tells us to do....
By 3:46 PM, at
By the way...spotted a "Recall Stacey Head" sign at Claiborne and MLK on Saturday....
By 3:47 PM, at
Did you catch Saturday's T-P politics column? Head is hinting at not running for re-election.
So in the end, we traded the Jefferson political machine for the Republican Party power brokers who propelled Cao into office.
Sounds like we traded one kind of anti-democracy for another.
I'll be keeping an eye on Mr. Cao.
I saw that little tidbit about Head saying she "might only be around for three more months".
I have to say that while I find her periodically "testy", shall we say, I dare say that I myself would be "testy" on a fairly regular basis were I working every day with the City Hall crowd. Hell, I'm chronically dyspeptic working here with the refinery crowd. I can't say I see the nefarious ulterior motives that others seem to see so clearly where Head is concerned...but then that's an Uptown thing, and Uptown's always been like a whole 'nother city to most of us Gentilly types.
By 7:23 AM, at