The focus today is on several crucial state and national races with thoughts on the increasingly polarized, stratified and calcified America and how it points to basically ignoring most Republicans. Don’t bother talking to them. Talk to Democrats who don’t vote and let’s outvote the GOP. Read on.
Tomorrow’s special blog will provide recommendations on both Constitutional Amendments and the Supreme Court, Appellate Court Judges, Santa Fe County Judicial races, the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Judges and other Santa Fe County races. If there are other less high profile races for which people would like guidance, please let me know. After my commentary on a Nation Split in Two, I’ve included contact info for races where you can canvass in Santa Fe or ABQ or call from home to phone bank.
A quick note and something you might want to keep in your toolkit if / when you are talking with more conservative folks. Trump is calling the immigrant caravan “an onslaught” because 7500 people are so desperate to escape their homeland terror that they are willing to walk over 1000 miles in the blistering heat knowing there is only a very small chance they will get into the US. Another way to look at this is that in 2016, Germany took 10 times this many refugees into its country EVERY MONTH OF THE YEAR. And another way to look at it might be: we capped refugees at 40,000 for this year and have only taken in 20,000, so we have plenty of space. Poor, desperate people are not ‘really bad people,’ they are people who are out of options and looking to us for help. Kind of a character check….and not of them, but of us.
A Nation Split in Half. Actually Not In Half & That Is the Good News
There aren’t a ton of issues and narrative today, just names of candidates and contact info so you can help with canvassing or calling for a handful of key races. But first I want to comment on the state of our Nation, the graphic at left and Roxanne’s and my encounter with an arch conservative when canvassing in Roswell for Xochitl.
The chart at left tells a chilling tale, a tale of two Americas where not only do these two Americas disagree on how to solve national problems, they can’t even agree on what the problems actually are. The chart at left shows Republicans who basically don’t feel that there are racial issues in America, that climate change actually exists, that the gap between the rich and the poor is a problem, or that we should be concerned about gun violence. Clearly some of America feeds off of Fox News, the de facto media for the US regime while the rest of America watches mainstream news outlets and can more often wrestle with facts and use logic. I don’t mean to characterize all Republicans as unthinking stooges, but there is certainly a significant segment where their reliance upon Trump tweets and Koch-funded distortions that an exchange of ideas seems unproductive. .
Take for example, our experience canvassing in Roswell. Nice day, two unthreatening folks approach bearing clipboards. The man is in his driveway working on his truck. We ask if he has a moment to talk about the election and we reveal that we are canvassing for Xochitl Torres Small and ask if he has heard of her. “Yep and she is the lapdog for Nancy Pelosi,” essentially and unthinkingly parroting the hit ads we’ve all seen over and over again. And then without skipping a beat, “And you’re the ones who want to take my guns, And you can take them, but you’ll take them bullets first.” Roxanne correctly concluded that this was not going to go anywhere and commented “good luck with that,” as he scowled at us. Feeling less charitable than Roxanne, I wanted to press him on his assumptions and where he got his information, but then remembered his bullets and decided it best to retreat.
But I also concluded that there are a ton of folks out there who unthinkingly buy whatever Fox, Trump and Koch-funded ads say to fuel their fears and insecurities and talking with them is an utter waste of time. There is only one solution: we need to outvote them. Big time. And so I have reluctantly concluded that it is time to give up being nice or trying to talk sense, facts or ethics to people who will believe that among those 5000 Honduran refugees there are a bunch of Middle Easterners (egads!), MS 13 gang members, and other really bad people just because Trump tweeted and Fox repeated it. Endlessly.
The world of alt-facts and pseudo-science are a world owned by the oligarchy. Some very smart people are using Trump and using Fox and using a lot of angry, frustrated and all too gullible and ignorant people and we are wasting our time trying to change their minds. They are set in stone. But what we must do is outvote them, outvote them into irrelevance. And we have the numbers to do it, endlessly.
There are far too many people of color who, not really trusting the system to ever do anything for them, don’t vote. There are far too many young people who feel our generation has so utterly failed them, that the game is over and they don’t vote. As reported in the New Mexican last week, New Mexico has the lowest voter participation of all 50 states and Washington, D.C. with tens of thousands of young people, Hispanics and Indigenous people having given up on electoral politics. This disaffection is common across the nation. It would certainly help if we had a more inspiring Democratic Party as an alternative. But make no mistake about it, the least inspiring Democrat is at least not a sycophant of Donald Trump’s racist, nationalist rhetoric. We need to engage more people and vote the GOP not just out of office, but out of existence. And then we can turn our attention to the Democratic Party and not just reform it by gaining small condescending concessions, but transforming it into a vibrant advocate not just for “working families” (their politically correct term), but for the poor, the addicted, the unemployed and the under-employed.
Having said that, I can’t stress enough that we now have less than two weeks to shift things a bit, to restore NM fully to the Democratic Party, to send a message to Trump and the Nation. And there are things we can do most any evening from home and most any weekend on the sidewalks to send that message and since so much of America doesn’t seem to give a rats ass about our future, it is up to those who do to redouble their efforts. So below I present Retake Our Democracy’s top picks for opportunities to flex your muscles and retake a small piece of our democracy.
For years I’ve criticized the New Mexico Democratic Party for being timid in advancing progressive principles and for organizing an utterly uninspiring and poorly organized Party apparatus when it comes to campaign season. But while I still do not see a party leadership stridently advocating for progressive policies, the Party does seem very well organized and marshalling a well organized campaign. I spoke with Lynne Fischer today about how well organized the operation is at Democrats for All, the Party hub for canvassing and phone banking. Click here for the Democrats for All events page of ways you can support the campaign here in Santa Fe.
What You Can Do
No detail provided. By now you know the drill and why it is so important. Today I am just providing how you can support races nearby or from home. There are links for how to call from home in support of Beto O’Rourke, Xochitl Torres Small, Abbas Akhil and others. For a complete action guide for a far wider range of campaigns, click here for the 2018 Voters Action Guide. And on Friday or Saturday, look for a complete set of recommendations on all races local and state, including judges, constitutional amendments and local Santa Fe City and County races, including recommendations on the two Santa Fe City Charter Amendments on the ballot.
Santa Fe Activity. The Democratic Party of Santa Fe is sponsoring a range of phone banking and canvassing activities pretty much every day, click here to get to their events page. The Democratic Party is also hosting phone banking most every day all day at its adjunct office at 2006 Botulph, suite 2 in Santa Fe. Click here for times, dates and actions (canvass/phone banking). The site provides times for a range of local campaign efforts including those for statewide candidates and for nearby State House races like Matthew McQueen HD 20, Christine Chandler HD 43 and Andrea Romero, HD 46.
Virtual Phone Banking for Xochitl Torres Small from home. Click here. It is very easy and very important.
We strongly recommend that you support Stephanie Garcia Richards. She is locked in a virtual tie with Lyons, a truly heinous candidate who is lauded for having experience, but that experience has been to consistently shill for PNM, gas and oil interests at the expense of our land. He should not be entrusted with this position. In a shamefully misguided endorsement, the Santa Fe New Mexican endorsed Pat Lyons and now he has just received $2 million from Chevron to fuel his hit ads against Garcia Richards. Click here to find out how you can support Garcia Richard. The best way to support her campaign is to canvass or call on behalf of the entire DP ticket or to look for events sponsored by SFDP. Click here for times, dates and actions (canvass/phone banking).
Aside from the Governor’s race, we feel that the Public Regulation Commission, Dist. 5 race is the single most important race in the state. In Roundhouse races, the choice between one candidate or the other represents one of seventy House Representatives. At the PRC this election is for one of five seats and, as constituted’ two PRC commissioners are strong environmentalists and three are consistent supporters of the extractive industries and nuclear energy. Click here to get in touch with Fischmann’s campaign. I am trying to get info on how you can phone bank from home.
Canvass for Abbas Akhil NM House District 20 (Eastside of ABQ). Canvassing on Saturdays and Sundays. October 20, 21, 27, 28, and Nov 3 and 4. On Saturdays we will canvass from 12-3pm and on Sundays we will canvass from 1-4pm and then join Roxanne and I for beer and brewpub food. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You need to RSVP for this. Website: https://abbasfornm.com/aboutabbas/ It has been confirmed that you can phone bank from home in this race and possibly other NM House races. I am hunting down that process and a link. This page will be updated when this information is found..
Beto O’Rourke. Texas Senate. While the focus of Swing Left is on the Congress, there are a few races outside NM that are really resonating nationally: Beto O’Rourke in his neck and neck battle with Ted Cruz comes first to mind. While polls show a 6-8% deficit, this does not capture the nearly 1.5 million voters who have registered in just the past few weeks. And they didn’t register to vote for Cruz. A win by O’Rourke would send shock waves through the GOP, but despite a huge infusion of dark money, O’Rourke remains within a point or two. Click here for a link to sign up to phone bank from home.
Andrew Gillum, Florida Governor. Running an unabashedly progressive campaign, Gillum stunned the pollsters winning the Democratic Party nomination for Governor. The GOP did him a favor and chose Ron DeSantis as their pick. An unapologetic, over the top Trump supporter, he may be too conservative even for Florida. But neo-Nazis have begun robo calls attacking Gillum and you can bet that Trump will step up his tweets, as well. This is another national race that could send a clear message AND make progressive change possible in Florida. Click here for information on Gillum and his campaign. I am trying to find out if you can phone bank in support of Andrew’s campaign, but have not gotten that info yet. I will keep you posted.
Stacy Abrams, Georgia Governor. It is almost inconceivable that in three solid red southern states, strong progressive Democrats could win huge races and initiate a transformation not only of Southern politics but of national politics. If you want to learn more about this race, click here. If you want information about how you can support her campaign, click here. I am trying to find out if you can phone bank in support of Stacy’s campaign, but have not gotten that info yet. I will keep you posted.
Swing Left. If you are interested in being involved in key campaigns outside New Mexico, you can do no better than to work through Swing Left.org. Swing Left is a very sophisticated web-based system of support with a national scope. You plug in your zip code and it will tell you where the closest swing district is, provide you info on the candidate and the race, and help you get involved in that campaign. Swing Left claims that 75% of voters live within 50 miles of a swing district. This is a great site to share with friends in other states. At the bottom of this post is a short video describing the remarkable impact that Swing Left is having. Click here for more information on Swing Left.
Roxanne and Paul