How to Turn Louisiana into a Swing State

by Courtney C Horne @FireezDragon

Louisiana? A Swing State?

The state went for Clinton both times. It isn’t just because Arkansas is Louisiana’s ridiculous white trucker hat. Louisiana has a rich history of populism which I think Clinton tapped into. The state can be a swing state. It would take work and organization but it can happen.

Where do you start? With the turn-out. The turn out is pathetic and generally high turn out is better for the democrats and worse for the GOP.

The demographics seem to suggest that a high turn out and a good ground game could make it into a swing state. According to the 2010 US census, the population of Louisiana was White – 62.6% (60.3% non-Hispanic white), Black or African American – 32.0%, Hispanic or Latino (of any race) – 4.2%, Asian – 1.5% (0.6% Vietnamese, 0.2% Chinese, 0.2% Indian, 0.1% Korean, 0.1% Filipino), Native American – 0.7%, and Two or more races – 1.6%.

African American 32%, Hispanic -4.2%… Those groups both lean strongly to the democratic party.

They are also groups that tend to have a low turnout. If the democratic party could fix that turnout problem? They could start gaining traction in the state.

The first step to fixing this problem is to increase early voting days and hours. More early voting means more turnout. Particularly to increase black turn out it would help a lot if there was early voting on the Sunday before election day. Do that and then work closely with the black churches to “bring souls to the polls.”

Once you have a turn-out boost and more traction, you need to address felon disenfranchisement as this disproportionately effects black males in our state. For the same crime, a black guy is more likely to be charged with a felony that a white guy. Making it where they can vote soon after finishing serving time in prison would help reduce the amount of the black population that has been disenfranchised by our school to prison pipeline and “war on drugs.” Felon disenfranchisement is no accident, the GOP uses it to help disenfranchise minority voters.

We also need to address voter ID requirements which are another way the GOP in our state has disenfranchised minorities.

Neither of those two disenfranchisement issues can be addressed without some initial traction which has to come about through a strong ground game and a push for higher turn-out which would be greatly helped by extended early voting.

Once you have a strong minority voting base, you can start to strengthen and broaden your coalition to turn Louisiana blue.

My next step? Getting rid of right to work. Loudly use the phrase “right to work for less with no benefits.”  Aggressively campaign to bring the unions back to our blue collar state. A strong union presence combined with a minority base would make the state into a powerful coalition for the democratic party.

A bonus step? Reform the laws effecting our state workers able to participate in politics.  Currently we have the most restrictive limits for state workers in any state. The state workers are likely to lean a little blue since the GOP likes to demonize government workers. As a result reducing and reforming those restrictions on worker’s speech is likely to be good for the democratic party.

This would all cost money and time, but I think there is a route to blue or swing status in Louisiana’s future.