We have so many challenges and a common enemy that is destroying all that is precious. How about an olive branch and an offer to agree to disagree while working to advance all on which we agree. An invitation to finding a common road forward.
Retake Our Democracy Potluck Community Conversation: Discuss & Prioritize Our 24 Policy People’s Platform: A Path to Equity in Santa Fe. Thursday April 5, 5:30-7:30pm at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, 555 Camino de la Familia, Santa Fe, NM 87501. Enter from the backside (not facing the railroad tracks. In Leadership Team yesterday we discussed how some might be challenged to get from work to a potluck at 5:30, bringing a dish and utensils, so we are going to shore up the food with some pizza and other nibbles. So even if you can’t bring food to share, please join us. Click here to RSVP via Facebook or write to me at Paul@RetakeOurDemocracy.org.
Let’s Pull Together
Many months ago I met with Peter DeBenedittis about his plan to run for Governor. I told him that the most important thing he could do was to shift the public debate and to legitimize key issues related to healthcare, the environment, economic justice, etc. Mission accomplished. We have three remaining Democratic candidates for Governor:
- Senator Joe Cervantes, has endorsed the entire Democratic Party Platform, a document that strongly advocates for specific policies to advance social, racial, climate and economic justice;
- Jeff Apodaca has endorsed key provisions of Peter D’s platform including the universal healthcare, a $15 minimum wage and legalized marijuana;
- Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham has developed a thoughtful plan for jump starting the state’s economy and only recently has published a remarkable energy plan that includes an 80% renewable portfolio by 2040 and very specific steps on how to get there, including support for Community Choice Aggregation. For details on how CCA can transform our energy future and allow jurisdiction to purchase its own energy from the grid to create 80-100% renewable portfolios very quickly, click here. I will profile Lujan Grisham’s Energy Plan in a separate post soon. It is worth a full blog post.
At the same time that our Democratic candidates are moving perceptively left in their campaign commitments and rhetoric (our job to hold the winner to those commitments), the Democratic Party’s Platform and Resolutions Committee toured the state to develop what is one of the most progressive state platform in the nation. While the recent State Democratic Convention had its moments of controversy and division, it also was by far the most attended Convention in history and it passed the platform with over 90% of the vote.
But Democrats have a habit of consuming themselves, especially during primaries where often progressives and more moderate Democrats conduct campaigns that are highly negative and leave candidate supporters bitter and the Party divided and weakened. Certainly the 2016 presidential primary is one such primary. Just the other day, a working group of committed Democrats held a conference call and the debate over who should support whom in the CD-1 primary got heated and personal. Retake has been hit with harsh criticism for welcoming challengers to Democratic incumbents in State House Districts 41 and 46. We have to find a different way. We have to find a way to discuss and differ without demonizing those with whom we disagree.
Let’s start by pleading guilty. During the 2016 primary, before Retake was formed, Roxanne and I ran the SantaFe4Bernie campaign and in that context I wrote many, many posts outlining my concerns about Clinton. On the other side, equally well-intentioned Democrats, for their own reasons, were as bitterly critical of Bernie’s candidacy. For my part, I tried to stick to issues, but when someone is persistently pointing out your candidates’ perceived shortcomings, it can feel personal. The wounds linger. And while after the Democratic National Convention, many New Mexicans felt (and still feel those wounds), we were able to unify enough to Retake the Roundhouse, flip the state blue, and secure a Clinton win in NM. In other states, however, the schism between Clinton and Sanders supporters likely caused those states to elect Trump. We have to learn from this; we have an ailing planet that simply is not going to wait for us to stop squabbling before we unify to solve our energy problems, not to mention the myriad economic, social and racial justice issues with solutions waiting for a unified force to press for them.
Over 90% of the Democrats attending the convention voted for a remarkable platform. Click here to review this document. It calls for a livable wage, single payer healthcare, a strong commitment to the transition to renewables, increasing Permanent Fund funding for pre-k education and much more. It is not just a platform; it is a tool for conversation and education and something we can use to hold our elected representatives accountable.
The 1300 delegates present at the Convention, 90% of whom approved this platform, came from all over the state and are among the most active Democrats in the state. They go to Ward meetings, they make calls, they canvass, they talk politics with friends and family. If they can take our platform and use it to educate a broader base, to inspire more folks to get on board, to register, to become more active, and to vote, we can elect a Democratic governor, we can strengthen our hold on Roundhouse and with Retake’s swiftly growing statewide Rapid Response Network, we can lobby effectively in 2019 to make sure that good bills are signed, passed and become good laws, laws that create improved living conditions for all New Mexicans.
We can do this if we agree to disagree on some things while recognizing the critical importance of all those things upon which we agree. To advance this effort, Retake leadership is going to begin reaching out to people in the Party who represent the more moderate (or at least less liberal) wing of our Party. We want to meet over coffee and talk, to try to find ways that we can ensure that the primary process is a dignified debate that does not leave us shattered and angry.
There are too many poor, hungry children, too much leaking methane, too many seniors choosing between heat and life sustaining medications, too many people lingering in jails and prisons because their addictions are punished instead of treated, and too many Indigenous People waiting for the state and nation to respect their lands, cultures and rights. We have too much to do to address these issues and frankly too many Trump/GOP supporters who just don’t care at all about any of this. We have to work together to Retake Our Democracy.
I welcome your comments.
Paul & Roxanne
P.S. There will be some Democrats who will say that all this is well and good, this talk about how we must pull together, but that Retake persists in criticizing some Democrats, Rep. Lujan and the DCCC for example. This is another example of where agreeing to disagree is important. I am not alone in being critical of the DCCC. Google it. It is all over the internet. But in my criticism I really try to stick to the facts and also to do so in a respectful manner. Rep. Lujan is a strong representative and has served NM well. But he is also a Party leader with tremendous influence and for reasons laid out in past posts, we are concerned about the DCCC’s intervening in primaries. We think undermining progressive candidates prevents voters from participating in a fair debate and that progressives have demonstrated an ability to galvanize sufficient support to win (See Wisconsin Supreme Court election this week).
But here, too, there are two sides. From the DCCC’s perspective, with Trump in office any Democrat is better than another GOP representative who will support his agenda and in some districts (they would say many more than I would), only a moderate can win. So we debate. We just need to find a way to debate without demonizing and when the debate is over, to unify. We have a planet to save.