Festering mistrust and resentment between DPNM newcomers and long-time Dems is perfectly understandable. But unless we want Pearce as Governor, and another four years of Trump, we need to heal this breach and quickly. There is a path.
in 1968 the progressive wing of the Democratic Party had a good deal of momentum until Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. Mainstream Democrats resented the young, very liberal new blood in the Party and the 1968 Convention was a disaster. Resentment among young progressive Democrats and the continued war in Viet Nam fueled a progressive takeover of the Party in 1972, Labor abandoned the Party and the result was Nixon. THAT CANNOT HAPPEN AGAIN.
Here in NM in many counties, newcomers swept local Ward, county and state central committee elections and there is considerable resentment among long-time Party activists who feel shunted aside by the new blood. This is entirely understandable, but we absolutely must find ways to heal the breach and form alliances or we will replicate 1972. We can’t afford to do that again.
Retake took a shot at trying to heal the breach in a Santa Fe Town Hall held last month with a panel that included Richard Ellenberg, DPNM Chair, Jon Hendry, Labor Council lead, and me (Paul) representing the new blood. Before we began the panel discussion, we brainstormed a number of key issues or policies and came up with a list that included:
- Universal healthcare
- $15 minimum wage
- 80% renewables by 2035
- expanded early childhood education
- elimination of tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy from Richardson forward
- pay day lending rate limit of 36%
- getting money out of politics
- opposition to Right to Work
There were more, but you get the idea. We then went through each policy and by a show of hands asked who supported each policy and it was very nearly unanimous on every single policy. I am guessing that most all of those reading this post support virtually all of these policies. What divides us is the 2016 primary and general election. But we are at a moment, not just in NM history, but in human history where we simply can’t afford to allow bitterness over the past to prevent achieving our shared goals in the future. Without mainstream Democratic activism, progressives will not win in 2018 or 2020. Without the new blood that has entered the Democratic Party, not just in NM but throughout the country, we will not win. Together, great things are possible.
There is mounting evidence that together we can elect a Democrat as governor of NM, perhaps even elect a Democrat in District 2, and retake the House of Reps in Washington. Consider:
- Colorado Springs, a Tea Party town until this spring when an alliance of moderates and progressives swept the City Council–again, that is moderates and progressives working together;
- Jackson MS, where a very progressive candidate won 93% of the vote and is now Mayor;
- A bit closer, but same results in Birmingham, AL with a very progressive Democrat winning for Mayor;
- The special Senate election in Alabama is very tight, less than 8% difference in a state won by Trump by over 24%;
- Dozens of Working Family Party and Our Revolution candidates are winning in state and local elections across the country and WFP has trained 500 candidates to run in 2018;
- Tim Keller fought off dark money fueled misleading ads, ran a publicly funded campaign on a strongly progressive platform and is poised to become Albuquerque Mayor;
- The 2018 Senate race in Texas with an unabashedly progressive candidate now tied with Ted Cruz who won his 2012 general election by over 16%. Here we are talking about a very progressive Democratic candidate who is publicly proclaiming his support for $15 minimum wage, free college and single payer health care….IN TEXAS and he is tied with Ted Cruz.
Here in NM, we have at least three vital state races: the contest for District 1, District 2 and for Governor. In advance of them we have a chance to elect Tim Keller Mayor of Albuquerque. And if we can focus on issues and set aside resentment, together we can win these races and send the same kind of message we sent in 2016. NM is no longer purple, we are bold blue.
But just as there is evidence that the Democrats could do well in 2018, Despite a State Central Committee meeting that was remarkably free of vitriol, with virtually every vote passing nearly unanimously, and a general feel-good atmosphere, at the social the night before and in conversations outside the meeting, I heard from SCC members from several counties, each saying that the newcomer-long time divide was festering.
I ask all of you to look at the list of policies listed above, take a look at the second set of bullets and the clear evidence that by working together we can win. Then take a look at the headlines from Washington on just about any day of the week and consider what 4 more years of Trump and four more years of the GOP as Governor would mean to our daily lives and to our planet’s future.
In unity there is strength. Let’s do this. Together.
Paul & Roxanne