Louisiana Primary Is February 9—Facts, History & Links About Louisiana Politics & The Primary
The Louisiana primary will be held for both parties this upcoming Saturday, February 9.
Democrats will award 56 delegates and Republicans will have 20 delegates at stake. (Though some of these Republican delegates have already been spoken for in an earlier caucus.)
For Democrats in the South in 2008, Senator Barack Obama has so far won the Deep South states of South Carolina,( Here is a Texas Liberal history of the South Carolina primary.) Alabama and Georgia. Hillary Clinton has won Arkansas, where she lived for many years, and the border state of Tennessee.
Mrs. Clinton was the winner of the Florida poll, but due to a dispute over the date of the primary, a full campaign was not fought in Florida. ( Here is a Texas Liberal history of the Florida primary.)
Senator Obama does well in states where much of the primary electorate is black.
( Satellite image of New Orleans.)
In November, Louisiana has gone Republican in the past two elections. Going back a bit further, after many years as a “Solid South” one-party Democratic state, Louisiana has mostly voted for Republicans for President beginning with Barry Goldwater in 1964. Southern Democrats Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 were able to carry the state.
Louisiana has not played a large role in the recent history of the presidential nominating process with one positive exception. In 1996 the forces of the far right-wing Texas Senator Phil Gramm arranged for early caucuses in Louisiana to help the Gramm campaign. That was a bad move. Turnout was low and Pat Buchanan won the most delegates.
Indicative of the strength of black voters within the Democratic Party there, Jesse Jackson was the Louisiana Democratic primary winner in both 1984 and 1988.
The Obama campaign must be aware of that fact.
( Photo below of Bald Cypress Swamp in Louisiana.)
Here is an excerpt from the Louisiana entry in the 2008 Almanac of American Politics—-
Louisiana often seems to America’s banana republic, with its charm and inefficiency, its communities interfaced by family ties and its public sector sometimes laced with corruption, with its own indigenous culture and its traditions of fine distinctions of class and caste. It is a state with an economy uncomfortably like that of an underdeveloped country, based on pumping minerals out of soggy ground and shipping grain produced in the vast hinterland drained by its great river, an economy increasingly dependent on businesses typical of picturesque Third World countries—tourism…. and gambling…..Louisiana has a hereditary rich class and a large low-wage working class. It has conservative cultural attitudes….but Louisiana also has a lazy tolerance of rule-breaking.
Louisiana has a lower population today than it did in 2000. This is because, of course, of Hurricane Katrina. The 2000 population was 4.468 million. The 2007 estimate was 4.293 million.
The population of Louisiana is around 30% black. The Hispanic population is much smaller. If it has gone up since Katrina, it is unlikely that many of the Hispanics involved in rebuilding New Orleans are registered to vote. Hispanic voters have been supporting Hillary Clinton so far in the Democratic race.
It was not just New Orleans proper that lost population after Katrina. Strongly Republican Jefferson Parrish in the New Orleans suburbs has also lost people and this fact may offset at least some of the black population decline.
(Does this unique Louisiana cuisine make up for years of poverty and racism?)