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Learning from Disaster

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Louisiana Gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards speaks to reporters during a Veterans Day event in Baton Rouge, Louisiana November 11, 2015.  REUTERS/Lee Celano

The GOP suffered a disastrous defeat in Louisiana’s 2015 gubernatorial election and it’s crucial that Republicans learn from the catastrophe. Governor Bobby Jindal won the Bayou State with 66% in 2011, and Mitt Romney crushed Obama in Louisiana by 17 points in 2012. But this year, Republican David Vitter lost to Democrat John Bel Edwards in a 12 point landslide, in an election that had little to do with ideology.

Vitter lost due to character concerns—relating to an eight-year-old prostitution scandal he couldn’t put behind him—and was damaged by divisions left over from a bruising primary. The lessons for 2016 are obvious: if Republicans nominate a candidate for president who raises lingering questions of ethics or temperament, and fails to unite all segments of the party, they will lose an election in which other signs point to likely victory.

Liberals can look beyond character issues, as their unshakable enthusiasm for Hillary indicates. Many conservatives cannot.

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