Are Republicans storm-profiteers? Did they win in Louisiana because Katrina wiped out the black areas of New Orleans? Did Karl Rove let New Orleans drown so that Republicans could win in Louisiana?
The answer is no, of course not, but I’m still getting emails like this:
[S]urely you must know that many Louisiana Democrats were displaced during Hurricane Katrina. It is one thing to celebrate a well-deserved Jindal victory. It is quite another to casually remark, “Realignment is here, baby” without acknowledging the complicated post-Katrina political reality. Republicans have certainly made gains in Louisiana, and with good reason. But the tone of your statement seemed to indicate the implicit sentiment “thank God the storm made Louisiana a red state!”… at least, that’s how it sounded to me.
Well, you heard wrong then. Democrats I talked to in Louisiana told me that Katrina’s effect on the vote totals would be negligible, as most of those displaced were now in Baton Rouge or elsewhere within the state. They would be a bit harder to organize, I was told, but they were there to vote. Moreover, poor blacks were not the only ones forced to leave New Orleans.
But I expect this line of thinking to be discredited anyway by the parish totals. I can’t find the breakout yet, but I’ll bet anything that Jindal won because he improved his totals upstate. It’s not a question of fewer black votes — in fact, I bet he also substantially improved his 2003 totals among blacks.