Thursday, January 5th
IT’S CRUNCH TIME FOR JOHN BEL EDWARDS!
The honeymoon may be just beginning for President-Elect
Donald Trump, but any such love fest has come to an abrupt end for Louisiana
Governor John Bel Edwards.
2016 was a
year the new governor would like to forget, but things don’t look a lot better
In fact, it could become a lot
Edwards had barely been sworn into office when the downhill
He was the first Louisiana
governor in memory who was not able to name his Speaker of the House, as
Republican legislators firmly rejected the governor’s handpicked choice.
Then Edwards was faced with a budget deficit,
created by overspending by the previous Jindal administration, of over one billion
A massive tax increase was not
the way he wanted to begin his new administration.
His problems continued to mount in his first year with
catastrophes over shootings by the police and of the police in the Baton Rouge
area, followed by massive flooding in 20 parishes throughout central and south
The new governor just
couldn’t get a break.
And he now enters
a new year facing an additional $313 million budget hole.
Besides the mounting problems at home, John Bel faced the
difficulty of being the only Democratic governor in the deep South, and leading
a state made up of an overwhelming number of Republican elected officials.
And he received scant support from the
national Democratic Party. Clinton went down in defeat for President. The
Governor had to all but deny his democratic lineage, as he tried not to be
tagged by a national party that appeared to be more concerned as to where some
people go to the bathroom than in offering solutions to the economic crisis
faced by millions of blue collar Americans.
The Governor is being naive if he thinks he will not face
strong and well-financed Republican opposition in 2019.
The state Republican Party chairman began the
new year by blasting Edwards for failing to offer a plan required by the
federal government as to how some one billion dollars in federal flood aid will
be spent by the state.
Republican attacks will continue.
Edwards is aggressively raising campaign dollars, which is
But so far, he has
failed to show any interest in building a campaign organization through the
present Democratic Party.
Democratic leadership seems almost in slumber mold, showing virtually no
presence outside of New Orleans, and rarely challenging actions by Republicans
working against the Governor. After the governor was attacked on the flood
relief issue a few days ago, there was nary a peep from the state Democratic
Perhaps you can’t blame the Governor from being a bit leery
of the state party leadership.
all, stare party chairman Karen Petersen and former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu
tried their best to talk Edwards out of running in the first place.
Their clandestine efforts are all outlined in
the new book, “Long Shot,
by The Lisburn Press.
The Governor is stuck with being a Democrat, so he ought
to maximize what could be an opportunity.
Yes, the party is stagnant and has done little grassroots organization
throughout the state.
But he still is
the top dog in the party and could quickly take it over, make some heads roll,
raise campaign dollars to support his efforts, and have a coordinate backup
machine for both his legislative and political agendas.
Past governors have shied away from asserting control over
their respective party apparatus.
2019 will present a different scenario.
Edwards will not have numerous Republican candidates beating each other
up and scandals he can point to as he did to get elected.
He will have to run on what he will have
accomplished facing an obstinate Republican opposition, and probably one
well-financed Republican opponent.
If the governor waits until 2018, he will be too
It takes time to put together a
viable grassroots organization.
coming year will be crunch time for John Bel Edwards. It’s anybody’s guess as
to how he will respond.
When did the future switch from being a promise to being a
threat?” ― Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout
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and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com. You can also hear Jim’s
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