Mary Landrieu Is Abandoned By The Democratic Party Because Politics Isn't About The Individual
If you were ever under the naive misconception that politics is actually about electing the best candidate, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is here to set the record straight — it's not. Now that they've lost the war, the Dems see no point in continuing to fight the battles, and have cancelled campaign advertisements for Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu as she heads into a runoff. And we wonder why we can't get anything done in government.
Landrieu, who fought a tight race against Republican Bill Cassidy, found herself in an overtime play after Tuesday's blowout of a midterm race, with the GOP coming away the uncontested victors of the night. While most Democratic candidates across the nation — like Mark Udall of Colorado and Kay Hagan of North Carolina — are now trying to wash the bitter taste of defeat out of their mouths, Landrieu is dealing with a very different blow — betrayal. Now that the Republicans control at least 52 of the Senate seats, the Democrats have decided that the undecided races in Louisiana and Alaska are no longer worth saving, and despite the fact that Landrieu will face Cassidy head to head in a December runoff, the Democrats have done the equivalent of shrugging and saying "meh," in political actions.
Rather than staunchly supporting their final horse in an already lost race, the Democrats have instead decided to pull at least some of the $2 million in TV ads they originally purchased for Landrieu to run through December 6. Justin Barasky, a spokesman for the DSCC, wrote an email to various news outlets, in which he explained the DSCC's heartless, uh, strategic decision,
Mary Landrieu is a proven run-off winner and we support her 100%. We are going to make ongoing determinations on how best to invest in the race. We made the initial reservation when there were concerns that the rates would skyrocket but they have stabilized, giving us more flexibility to make week-to-week decisions.
The decision is certainly a strange one considering Landrieu actually came away from Tuesday evening as the top vote-puller, winning 42 percent of the vote, ahead of Cassidy who received 41 percent. However, in a one-on-one situation, polls show Cassidy leading Landrieu by a margin of seven points, which makes Democratic spending all the more necessary.
While Democrats have spent the majority of the $14 million or so on the election thus far, the proportions are expected to shift drastically as the GOP pulls out its biggest guns for the runoff. According to Brookings, "Several pro-Republican groups have announced they are waiting for the runoff to spend the millions they have set aside for this race."
Of course, the GOP may also realize that this excess spending would be unnecessary, as the Republicans have control of the Senate with or without Bill Cassidy. But even so, the very idea of a huge influx of red cash should be enough to send the DSCC digging into their pocketbooks. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be the case, and the Democrats have rather unnervingly shown their true colors in one of the most hotly contested races in the country.
While congressional control is no longer on the table, the stakes remain high in Louisiana, and Landrieu's loss would still be a huge blow to the party. If Bill Cassidy wins the runoff, it will be the first time since 1876 that Louisiana is completely without a Democratic presence in a statewide elected office. Louisiana, which hasn’t voted for a Democratic president since 1996 and hasn't had a Democratic governor since 2003, appears to be descending deeper and deeper into the recesses of the Republican stronghold, rivaling Texas for GOP loyalty. And if Landrieu loses this one, Louisiana may be yet another southern state completely lost by the Democrats.
The problem Landrieu faces in a runoff situation is the complete lack of interest that most voters seem to have when it comes to midterms, which will only be compounded if they're forced to trek again to the polls. But considering that Louisiana was, in fact, one of the only 12 states where voter turnout actually increased during the midterms, there may still be some residual interest left in a state that normally only sends about 40 to 45 percent of its populace to voting booths.
Landrieu, who typically polls well with the over-65 crowd, will likely be counting on their vote to send her back to Washington, DC. But in order for her to really win over the state, she'll also need the support of minorities, who are generally no-shows at midterms. Worse yet, millenials, who tend to skew left during voting season, are also known to stay home during the midterms, even though they show up in droves to elect the president every four years. Regardless, Landrieu is a fighter and has won all three of her previously close congressional races. Still, she'll need all the support she can get in order to pull this one off, especially now that she's lost the DSCC.
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