Holiday Shopping Kicks Off Earlier, Crazier
It was a black and blue Friday this past week in more ways than one. “Black Friday” because retailers claim the sales made on this day helps to put their bottom line in the black.
That’s all well and good, especially for the nation’s economy. The problem is that more retailers are now also backing “Black Friday” into Thursday, which is Thanksgiving Day.
So, here’s the deal. It is also “Black and Blue” Friday because those brave souls searching for doorbuster deals usually wind up pushing and shoving their way into the stores and down the aisles. There were several instances of violence around the country at some stores as customers fought over a limited number of doorbuster items on sale.
It was also a “Blue Friday” for employees who work in retail because of “Black Friday” hours being backed into the Thanksgiving holiday.
Some local stores opened as early as 7 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day while others at least waited until their employees could grab a turkey drumstick before reporting to work in the early evening hours.
Then, there were those poor souls who camped out in front of some of the big-box retailers from Wednesday night and all day on Thanksgiving just to be one of the first to get their hands on a good deal.
It’s all good fun for some shoppers who have made this mad dash for goods a family tradition, which encourages stores to now open on Thanksgiving Day.
Lost in the shuffle are the employees, who don’t get a chance to spend Thanksgiving Day and evening with their families. And some store managers are not very sympathetic. The order is come in or be fired.
National surveys indicate that only about 15 percent of the shopping-age population participate in “Black Friday.” So, the question becomes whether it is really necessary for retailers to take away a holiday from their employees?
Some employees are beginning to stand up and say enough is enough. Some of the big-box stores, such as Walmart and Target, were anxious about whether employees would strike. At some stores they did have picket lines. We’ll see what develops for the next “Black Friday,” which now begins on Thursday.
The next big event, of course, is Christmas. Will some of these stores require their employees to work on Christmas Day? That’s likely to happen.
There is no reason for it, quite frankly. These retailers would still make a profit adhering to sensible store hours and allowing their employees to enjoy the holidays with their families and friends.
Louisiana GOP in the loop
Louisiana Republicans say they are poised to play a key role in redirecting the national party following its losses in the November election.
The GOP lost the presidency, two Senate seats, and at least a dozen House seats.
Three key positions in the national party are now held by Louisiana Republicans. They are:
- Gov. Bobby Jindal, elected chairman of the Republican Governors Association. In recent days, he has been critical of the party’s nominee, Mitt Romney, and is advocating a smarter strategy that appeals to 100 percent of Americans.
- U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, elected chairman of the Republican Study Committee. This group has been called the “conservative conscience of the U.S. House.” Scalise represents the 1st Congressional District.
- Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere, elected vice chairman of the Republican National Committee.
LAGOP Executive Director Jason Dore said in a press release: “Louisiana Republicans are proud of Gov. Jindal, Congressman Scalise, and Chairman Villere and look forward to their leadership at the national level.”
He added, “These three conservative, pro-life, anti-tax leaders will help to advance Republican policies without compromising on our principles.”
Money is the root of all evil, so they say. If that is true, then politics have truly become evil. The amount of money spent on getting one elected to a public office is totally out of control.
Let’s take a look at the recent presidential race with receipts and expenditures going through only October 17. So, these are not final figures, but give one an idea of what it cost to be elected president in 2012.
The campaign of President Barack Obama had spent $947,697,831 as of October 17. Keep in mind that the election was not until November 6, so a lot more spending was done up until election day.
Where did the money come from? Individual contributions to the Obama campaign accounted for $540,812,931. Democratic National Party spending was $263,223,785. Outside spending, which included Super PACs, was $143,661,115.
However, the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney trumped the spending of the Obama campaign. As of October 17, the Romney campaign had spent over $1 billion – $1,054,240,480 to be exact.
His campaign had $336,399,297 in spending from individual contributions, the Republican National Party spent $284,156,290, and Outside Spending, which included Super PACS, was $433,684,893.
We’ll pass along the final spending figures once they become available.
More incredible spending
Presidential campaigns are not the only ones that have gotten more expensive. So have Congressional campaigns, where incumbents have an overwhelming advantage in raising money.
Republican 4th District U.S. Rep. John Fleming, over the two-year election cycle, raised $1,669,550. Over the comparable two-year period and for the election in 2012, he spent $1,007,931. The figures are through October 17, 2012.
He still has $546,065 in his campaign coffer, and still has a debt of $248,735.
Fleming won in the primary with 75 percent of the vote over Libertarian candidate Randall Lord, who raised no money and spent none.
Republican 5th District U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, over the two-year election cycle, raised $1,294,966. Over the two-year period and for the election in 2012, he spent $997,813.
He still has $307,175 in his campaign fund and has no debt.
Alexander defeated two opponents in the primary, winning 78 percent of the vote. Opponents Ron Ceasar, an Independent, and Clay Grant, a Libertarian, raised no money and spent none.
The race in the 3rd District in south Louisiana between two incumbent Republicans, forced to run against one another since the state lost a House seat because of the 2010 Census, was an expensive one.
U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, who represented the 3rd District, raised $1,808,659 and spent $1,171,322 as of October 17. He had $638,317 cash on hand.
U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, who represented the 7th District, which was eliminated, raised just shy of $3 million – a total of $2,996,865. As of October 17, he had spent $2,640,582 and had $917,613 cash on hand.
In the primary, Boustany led with 45 percent of the vote to 30 percent for Landry. They are in a runoff on December 8.
Ron Richard, a Democrat, who raised $53,063 and spent $49,005, came in third with 22 percent of the vote. Two other candidates accounted for the rest of the vote.
Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.