Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Louisiana Democratic Party: Swept Away (By an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August) V

Well, glory be! The New York Times awakes to the most significant political consequence of the recent Gulf hurricanes: The likely sweeping away of the Louisiana Democratic Party. As noted in prior posts (here and here and here and here). This consequence of the hurricanes has, of course, been the most important factor driving all political maneuvering and even the form of aid relief, in the area for the past month. And such population effects profoundly influence many of the considerations Herr Doktorprofessor Paul Von Krugman fussed about in his last column without ever catching on. (Hint to Herr Doktorprofessor: Louisiana Democrats don't want hurricane victims to have rent vouchers or other aid that can be used out of state.) Now the Times is taking notice of it. Isn't that nice? Here's what the old Gray Lady has to say:
BATON ROUGE, La., Oct. 3 - The two recent gulf hurricanes may result in a significant loss of population for Louisiana, and state officials are now virtually certain that Louisiana will lose a Congressional seat ... after the 2010 census. .... A dependable number will have to wait until the 2010 census. The numbers available now, however, are staggering. About 1.5 million people were initially evacuated from the damaged regions, [and] roughly 1 million have applied for hurricane-related federal aid ....

Many politicians are also keeping a close eye on population movement within the state. .... There are now 21 seats in the [Louisiana State] House and Senate that encompass or touch on Orleans Parish, of 144 total seats statewide. But if the population fails to return to the parish in coming years, New Orleans may be confined to just a few seats in each chamber... That could change the state's racial and partisan balance.

If evacuees from the Ninth Ward in New Orleans - a reliable bloc of 30,000 black voters that is traditionally easy to mobilize - choose suburban or rural areas over their urban roots in coming years, it could be a political blow to Democrats, said Roy Fletcher, a political consultant from Shreveport who helped elect former Gov. Mike Foster, a Republican. .... Barry Erwin, president of a Council for a Better Louisiana, a nonpartisan nonprofit group that monitors the activities of state government, said such a change could forever alter the political landscape. ....
Of course, the Times still hasn't figured out that if the current numbers foreshadow the actual Louisiana population in the near future, Democrats are going to have lots of trouble holding onto the seats of Mary Landrieu in 2008 and Kathleen Babineaux Blanco in 2009. But today's Times story is still progress, even if it evidences only semi-consciousness of the matters it concerns.

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