While there’s been some uncertainty for much of Saturday over Donald Trump’s physical health, with an inexplicable visit to Walter Reed, the deteriorating health of Trump’s Republican Party isn’t much of a secret – it’s on full display in reliably red Louisiana. The election season humiliation Trump’s party suffered continued right into Saturday night, as Democrat John Bel Edwards won re-election to a second term. This is a bit different from the legislative races Republicans lost in Virginia or Kentucky where they narrowly lost the governorship, for a few reasons.
One is that this was not a regularly scheduled election where the turnout is typically smaller than what you see on Election Day, and typically doesn’t have very reliable polling, yet the election results were pretty accurate in depicting what would ultimately be a very close race. However, special elections are pretty good at indicating which party is building momentum – it doesn’t necessarily matter whether their candidate wins or loses the race, but whether they outperform the partisan lean of their state or district. This was a slight win for Democrats in a state that Trump took by 20 points in 2016, suggesting that Democrats are energized.
The other difference is that Edwards’ Republican challenger, Eddie Rispone, was relatively unknown in the state and was forced to rely heavily on Donald Trump’s popularity in the state. Rispone tried to parrot Trump’s policies wherever he could, and touted his credentials as a businessman to explain why he would be the best candidate. Meanwhile, Edwards used this against him – rightfully criticizing Rispone for looking to Washington instead of focusing on how to improve his state. This is also why it was imperative for Donald Trump to visit the state which he did two days before the election and pleaded with his followers to deliver him a big win.
We’re seeing the same pattern we saw just before Election Day in Kentucky. Trump’s rallies, already harmful to minorities, women and even the municipal governments that host them, are now proving to be harmful to Republican politicians too.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making