Election Results For Governor Have Double Meanings
Election Results For Governor Have Double Meanings
The media is ringing a warning bell after the recent gubernatorial election results in Kentucky and Louisiana. Media message: Trump is in trouble!
And they couldn’t be more gleeful about it.
When Kentucky’s Republican governor lost his bid for reelection two weeks ago despite President Trump’s active endorsement, the president and his allies brushed it off by declaring that Trump had nearly dragged an unpopular incumbent across the finish line.”
On Sunday, a day after another Trump-backed GOP gubernatorial candidate fell in Louisiana, the president and his surrogates barely mounted a defense.”
In a barrage of 40 tweets and retweets by Sunday evening, Trump didn’t mention Eddie Rispone’s loss to incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), even though the president had held two campaign rallies in the state in the 10 days before the election aimed at boosting his chances.”
For Trump, however, the back-to-back losses of GOP gubernatorial candidates in red Southern states is more than just a bad look. It’s a warning sign that the president’s strategy of focusing strictly on maintaining the strong support of his conservative base might not be enough to help fellow Republicans or even himself in 2020 amid the House Democrats’ impeachment probe that has imperiled his presidency.”
Well, there are some lessons here, but those lessons cut both ways. So, maybe the Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) ought to examine those results a little more critically before squeeing over their 2020 chances (and which super-stellar candidate are they planning on making their champion? The old fogey socialist, the fake Indian socialist, or the doddering old man whose every fifth word is “Obama”?).
Lesson #1 – Trump turns out the base.
It’s no secret that now-former Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky was highly unpopular and underwater in the polls. That election day in Kentucky ended up so close in that governor’s race is a testament to President Trump’s support. And remember, the rest of the GOP ticket had an absolutely stellar election night in Kentucky. Yes, it would have been nice to see Bevin win re-election. But does his loss signal a sea-change in Kentucky, which Trump ran away with in 2016? Not really. And the same goes for Louisiana, where the Republican candidate, Eddie Rispone, also was underwater in the polls before Trump made election day a close battle.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’s (D) reelection by a narrow margin Saturday did not make President Trump “look bad” after Trump visited the state three times in support of Republican candidate Eddie Rispone.”
“What he said was he’d be made to look bad whether he came in the state or not. Eddie Rispone made up about a 22-point disadvantage over the last month because of President Trump’s involvement. So Eddie Rispone was at about 27 in the primary. He ended up at 49,” Scalise told Fox News’s Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”
“So clearly President Trump’s involvement made a big difference at helping close that massive gap, and, look, the governor’s polling showed he was above 50 before President Trump first started getting involved. That forced a runoff,” Scalise added. Trump did not make an endorsement in the primary, urging supporters to vote for either Rispone or his competitor, Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-La.). No candidate achieved a simple majority, forcing the Nov. 16 runoff election.”
The base came out because President Trump rallied them, but Trump’s name wasn’t on that ballot. Yes, it would have been nice to make a couple of gains in governorships. But it’s amazing how the media never blamed Obama or saw a “red wave” coming while he was in office and Democrats consistently were losing state elections. Shocking, right?
Lesson #2 – the media has selective memory loss.
There was another race for governor that the media has now conveniently forgotten about. That would be in Mississippi. The current GOP lieutenant governor, Tate Reeves, won his election against the Democrat state attorney general, Jim Hood. Both Trump and Pence rallied for Reeves, while Hood was the recipient of an Obama robocall effort on his behalf. This was all happening the same day as Kentucky’s election. Yet only one is being touted by the media as “proof Trump is losing support in red states!” Hmmmm. Trust me, if the GOP had lost in Mississippi, the media crowing would have been deafening. But since the Democrat lost, the entire gubernatorial race is being memory-holed.
Lesson #3 – moderate and pro-life Democrats can win.
Neither incoming Kentucky governor Andrew Beshear or re-elected Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards are “hard-left.” Beshear was very careful to stay as far away from the crazy leftists during the election, and presented himself as a moderate.
Beshear followed a disciplined campaign style focused on what he termed “kitchen table” issues while capitalizing on Bevin’s penchant for making enemies of teachers and other groups. The new governor-elect avoided talking about Trump, impeachment or other polarizing national issues that risked energizing his opponent’s conservative base.”
Governor John Bel Edwards, if you remember, is staunchly pro-life and signed a “heartbeat bill” in Louisiana that earned him the ire of hard-left Democrats on the national stage. Trust me, if the progressive Democrats thought that they could push through a hard-left candidate in a primary to unseat Edwards, they would have tried. And even so, Edwards is the ONLY elected Democrat at the state level in Louisiana, another state Trump won handily in 2016.
Obviously, Republicans need to take each race seriously, and not winning these gubernatorial seats isn’t helpful overall. But if the media is looking for signs of their desired “blue wave,” this isn’t where they should be looking. Will Democrats and the media take these lessons to heart? Of course they won’t.