A 60 ft (18 m) tall monument to Confederate General Robert E. Lee towers over a traffic circle in New Orleans, Louisiana June 24, 2015. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Wednesday morning called for the replacement of the statue. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman)
Democrats are looking to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to oppose President Donald Trump in 2020 after he removed Confederate monuments from the city in May.
Party staffers think that Landrieu illustrates the perfect combination of DC-outsider status and national appeal in order to adequately combat the president’s steadfast support among his base.
“I find him to be an incredibly fascinating political figure,” DC-based Democrat Jamal Simmons told The Hill. “When you think ‘Who are the non-Washington figures in the left that ought to have a say in where we go?’ I think a lot of people would point to him.”
The mayor’s expected appeal could also work to bridge the gap between the party’s establishment and progressive wings. Party operatives point to his experience winning a strong majority in a statewide election, as well as the fact that he won two mayoral races in a minority-majority city as proof that he has universal appeal.
“Having won statewide in a deep red state and citywide among a predominantly black, Democratic electorate, he has some track record in bridging these divides,” strategist Adam Sharp told The Hill.”There may be more paths open for him nationally than there are statewide right now.”
He won in a strong statewide race for lieutenant governor in 2003 with 53 percent of the vote, but the office has a long tradition of going to a Democrat. From 1877 to 2010, only one Republican held the seat, and that was former Mayor Paul Hardy who served from 1988 through 1992. His election to the office of mayor was largely unchallenged, and no Republican ran in the 2014 re-election bid.
It’s fair to mention that Louisiana voted for a Republican presidential candidate every year since George W. Bush won in 2000, making the state a statistical “red state.”
No Democrat has expressed outright interest in running for office to date, but former Vice President Joe Biden is currently leading in the first steps toward announcing a presidential bid, according to an analysis from statistics site 538.
Landrieu officially removed four Confederate monuments throughout the city in response to a nationwide movement to purge “celebrations” of the Confederacy during the spring. Several monuments in other states like Virginia were also removed by local politicians.
“To literally put the Confederacy on a pedestal in our most prominent places of honor is an inaccurate recitation of our full past, it is an affront to our present, and it is a bad prescription for our future,” Landrieu said in May after ordering the removals.
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