WHY JOHN BEL EDWARDS WINS

First Things | 2/9/2008 | Charles C. Camosy
stefaniastefania (Posted by) Level 3
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Given our nation’s polarized abortion politics, it is hard to believe that a governor who dramatically expanded Medicaid in his state also signed a bill banning abortion after a heartbeat can be detected. Yet that’s precisely what Democrat John Bel Edwards of Louisiana did. And this weekend, Edwards won a reelection race against Eddie Rispone—a Republican who got strong support from Trump, including two personal visits in the final two weeks of the campaign.

How did Edwards manage to win the governorship of a deep-red state in which the president has a +12 approval rating? Simply put, he could never have won in such a state if he were not pro-life. His traditional values in this area reflect both his deep commitment to Catholicism and the views of Louisiana voters—especially Democratic voters of color.

Run-up - Election - Justice - Activist - Organizations

In the run-up to the election, both racial justice activist organizations and Edwards’s campaign itself made a dramatic increase in African American voter turnout a major priority. And with good results—according to preliminary indications, voters of color put Edwards over the top, especially when it came to early voting.

It would be interesting to know what white, progressive, highly educated Democrats think of all this. After all, they have been primarily responsible for the party's turn to the kind of abortion extremism that would have doomed an orthodox Democrat in a race like this one. Mother Jones ran a piece a few days before the election with the headline, “Is There Still Room for an Anti-Abortion Hardliner in the Democratic Party?” The answer in the party platform—which claims that abortion should be unrestricted, that it should be paid for by pro-lifers’ tax dollars, and that it is “core to women’s, men’s, and young people’s health and wellbeing”—is obviously in the negative.

Prospect

But when faced with the prospect of a Trump-supported...
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