New Orleans still carries weight in predominately red state

It is easy for people to look at electoral maps of the United States and see a series of red and blue states that make up one country. This map gets complicated when it gets divided into individual districts and localities. When we look at trends of political ideology across the various districts in the U.S., we can see that states are more ideologically diverse than indicated on a map.

There are blue states with red specks hidden within their state borders and blue districts that reside within red states. In order to get a better understanding of state and local politics, including here in Louisiana, it is imperative that young adults learn about the interactions involving localities and their ideologically diverse states.

In the March issue of The Atlantic, David Graham writes about what it is like for liberal cities that dwell in predominantly conservative states. He explains how difficult it is for cities that fall into this category, such as New Orleans, to pass progressive legislation or resist conservative policies because of how the decentralized power in our federal system lies with the states. This trend has emphasized how large urban areas that tend to lean left on the political spectrum end up disadvantaged by their conservative home states.

New Orleans is a prime example of this phenomenon.

The city has recently adjusted law enforcement policies so that they do not target undocumented immigrants. In return, the state legislature has attempted to pass legislation that would defund areas that could be considered “sanctuary cities” if they do not comply with certain immigration policies.

New Orleans became one of the first cities in the South to decriminalize marijuana last year even though Louisiana has some of the strictest drug laws in the country. The divide is also noticeable in the treatment of LGBTQ+ citizens. Liberal areas like New Orleans likely rejoiced when Governor John Bel Edwards issued an executive order mandating anti-discrimination practices toward LGBTQ+ people. That has not stopped Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, however, from blocking contracts abiding by this executive order, since Louisiana state law allows for discrimination against the LGBTQ+ population. It must be noted that New Orleans voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election over Donald Trump by a large margin, even though all of Louisiana’s electoral votes went to Trump.

It does seem depressing that state law is supreme over local law. That does not mean that liberal cities are out of hope. Large cities often serve as critical swing districts in state and national elections because of the high volume of people that live there. Presidents have won and lost states because of large cities. This means that liberal bastions like New Orleans must keep fighting and advocating for progressive policies.

As Tulane students, we must recognize that we now have the power to help fight as eligible voters. Just because we live in a red state does not mean progress is not possible.

This is an opinion article and does not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.  Daniel is a junior at Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached at [email protected]