After some election updates and New Mexico news updates, we offer summaries and links to last week’s posts and there are at least two that are definitely worth your time. Onward as we march toward the end of 2020 and just perhaps better times.
November 21, 2020. Retake Conversation with Virginia Nocochea, Executive Director from NM Environmental Law Center and Eric Jantz and long-time staff attorney at NMELC. We focused on different manifestations of environmental justice from the permitting of asphalt plants adjacent to communities of color, the lack of sufficient public health and testing infrastructure in low-income and tribal communities, and the sprawling Santolina development outside ABQ. This was a great conversation centered on communities of color in NM.
NM Legislative Advocacy Update
Tuesday, Dec. 1, 6:30 – 8 pm. Election Debrief and 2021 Legislative Agenda Review with Senate Floor Leader Peter Wirth and Speaker of the House Brian Egolf. We will discuss how the primaries and the general election have altered the Democratic caucuses in the House and Senate and what those changes mean for getting transformational legislation passed in 2021. We will also discuss the national election and what may have been a pretty chaotic November.
Our Challenge May Have Gotten Tougher on Saturday as Democratic Senate Caucus Chooses Pro-Tem. On Saturday, the Democratic Party’s Senate Caucus elected Sen. Mimi Stewart as Senate Pro-Tempore, a key position in the Senate, as the Pro Tem appoints all committee chairs, assigns Senators to commitees and assigns bills to committees. So much rests on the Pro-Tem. Certainly Sen. Stewart will be a massive improvement over Sen. Mary Kay Papen, most progressives were hoping that Sen. Ortiz y Pino would win this. But on the third ballot, Sen. Stewart was chosen.
During that caucus, Senator Wirth was again selected as Senate Floor Leader, Sen. Linda Lopez was elected Senate Whip (replacing Stewart) and in a surprise, Senate-elect Brenda McKenna was picked as Caucus Chair. Generally, the Dems try to avoid a Santa Fe-ABQ overload, but that wasn’t addressed with this vote, as all four are from the Santa Fe-ABQ corridor.
The Pro-Tem selection is not final until a vote by the full Senate, but with Dems holding a 27-15 advantage and with no evidence of a possible DINO-GOP coalition, her election seems pro forma. What will follow immediately will be her appointment of chairs and vice chairs, as well as Senator committee assignments. Should be interesting and we may well develop a plan to weigh in on this with allies. Stay Tuned.
Retake’s 2021 Legislative Advocacy Is Under Way. We want to reassure you that Retake will continue to operate its statewide alert system during the session, but we are also working with allies to create statewide advocacy network with teams for each Democratically held Senate District. Recruitment is underway and we already have coordinators for half of the Democratic Districts. We plan to organize district-specific zoom conversation with constituents and their Senators in December to initiate conversation about bills we know will be introduced.
Retake is asking everyone interested in being part of a Zoom conversation with their State Senator to write to RetakeResponse@gmail.com and provide us your name and Senate District and if you have interest in exploring being a coordinator or assisting a coordinator, let us know that too. If you don’t know your Senate district, you can get it by clicking here. All you need to do is provide your address and in a second you will see a picture of your State Senator smiling at you with his/her name and District Number. We are especially in need of coordinators for southern NM.
During our Zoom last Friday with 25 advocates statewide, we greatly advanced our plan and will publish it later this week. But as part of that plan, expect a survey on our bills by the end of the week. We want your opinion. Let’s do this.
- To review our list of bills we support, click here.
- To review our 2021 Legislative strategy, click here.
We’ve got news on the deadlines by when each state must certify their election results, and based on my calculations, by December 1, barring the incredibly bizarre, Biden will have achieved 270 certified electoral votes, enough for the Electoral College to elect Biden when they convene on Jan. 6. One can only imagine what Trump will have to say then. We also update you on news from Georgia, all good, some flat out incredulous and a snippet on all that Trump is doing behind the scenes to address the national Covid crisis. By necessity that is a brief piece. You don’t have to watch SNL anymore to get your dose of political theatre, just watch the evening news. Read on.
Deadlines for States to Certify Election Results
Despite Trump wondering on Saturday why Biden was preparing a cabinet, when he would not be inaugurated, the certification process has begun and the final shoe may drop today. Yet, Trump continues to Tweet and rant, so very pathetically, that he has won and that the evidence (never shared outside his head) is overwhelming. His legal team has now lost an astonishing 35 suits, winning two very minor ones that have zero impact on the results in any state, let alone the nation.
Below, we provide the dates by which states must certify election results. As you can see, quite a few have already (including NM) and more certifications are looming with absolutely zero evidence that any state will balk at certifying the results. Interestingly, while national Republican leadership has almost universally fallen behind the president with nary a whimper of dissent, state and local Republicans across the country have been telling the president it is time to relent and allow for a transition. Below are the state deadlines for certifying election results with swing states in bold:
- Nov. 5: Delaware
- Nov. 10: Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont
- Nov. 11: Wyoming
- Nov. 16: Virginia
- Nov. 17: Florida
- Nov. 18: Idaho, Missouri, South Carolina
- Nov. 20: Georgia, North Dakota
- Nov. 23: Kentucky, Maine, Utah
- Nov. 24: Washington, D.C. (tentative), Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina
- Nov. 25: Alabama, Alaska (target date)
- Nov. 28: Arkansas
- Nov. 30: Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska (likely but no date specified)
- Dec. 1: Kansas, Nevada (likely but not specified), Wisconsin
- Dec. 2: New Hampshire
- Dec. 3: Louisiana, Mississippi, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia
- Dec. 4: Illinois
- Dec. 5: California
- Dec. 6: Texas
- Dec. 7: New York
- Dec. 8: Maryland, New Jersey
- Dec. 13: Michigan
- Pennsylvania does not have a precriptive date by when it must certify
If, by December 1, all the states that are being contested, have certified votes by December 1. The only two remaining contested states that would have results to certify after Dec 1 would be Pennsylvania and Michigan. Interestingly, even if those states failed to certify, Biden would achieve exactly 270 electoral votes, or enough to win by two electoral votes.
However, as reported by NPR, the two key contested states listed as either not having a clear deadline or having one of Dec. 13, Pennsylvania and Michigan, both have indicated that they plan to meet TODAY to certify the election. Should they do so, and should they do what all reports indicate, certifying the election results, the game is essentially over. There is no path to re-election for Trump without Michigan and Pennsylvania. Certainly he will rant and rave and tweet, as he did last night after midnight, but while the stations to the extreme right of Fox will continue to fan flames, the election will have been decided and we will have reached the point when all the necessary contestedelectoral votes will have been certified to result in Biden being selected by the Electoral College vote on January 6.
Revealing Display of Values from GOP Leadership from Michigan. As revealed in multiple sources, photographs revealed Republican officials from Michigan, fresh from their meeting with The Donald to plot to undermine Michigan results, at Trump’s posh DC hotel. They were captured toasting each other at the Trump hotel, drinking champagne priced at $750-$1500 a bottle. One pundit pondered what the outcry would have been had Michigan Governor Whitmer had been caught toasting others after a meeting with Biden where they had tried to influence the election results. You just can’t make this stuff up. But it gets better.
Georgia on My Mind. I am saving the best, albeit the most demented, news for last, a conspiracy theory that we all should support whole heartedly. In Georgia, a thread on Parler have spread like wildfire. The posts call on Georgia Republicans to boycott the Senate Runoff Election. As reported in Newsweek, the theory of these Trumpsters is that the voting machines are rigged and so by voting you are validating the process. But if Republicans don’t vote, the Supreme Court will invalidate the election. I am thinking we ought to do all we can to fan these flames. Given how close these runoffs might be, a few thousand boycotting Republicans could toss both races to the Dems.
And there was more bad news for the GOP in Georgia, as reported by New York magazine in “David Perdue Hit With More Allegations of Shady Stock Transactions” evidence of more shady stock transactions are being levelled at both Perdue and Loeffler. That’s just what you need going into an election being held during a horrific spike in the pandemic, advancing two candidates with growing evidence that they took advantage of inside info to profit from the pandemic.Couldn’t happen to a nicer crowd.
And Then There Are the Trumps. While all of this is going down in Georgia, Donald Jr. fresh from his positive Covid test, reassured the nation not to worry, he’d just be staying home, cleaning his guns. The apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree. While the G-20 held a remote emergency international strategy session on Covid, Trump hopped on for a minute at the beginning—one can only wonder what he actually said–then left the meeting before the substantive discussions began. Why? Well, just to play his 298th round of golf since becoming president. What this means, is Trump has played golf on average, every four days of his presidency. Meanwhile, Trump has not answered questions from the press since the night of the election, has not met with his Covid team in months, and has not met with McConnell and Congress about a Covid relief package since before the election.
So, if you are keeping score, the conspiracy theorists that Trump has consistently encouraged are now mounting a Republican boycott of the Georgia Senate runoffs while both GOP candidates are plagued by claims of profiteering on Covid and while one Trump plays with his guns and the other with his golf clubs….while the nation is being besieged by Covid and international leaders meet to discuss it. We may just pull off double wins in Georgia.
A Week In Review
I always try to direct readers to the posts from the last week most worthy of reviewing, in case you missed them. Of course, what you pick out should depend upon what you might have missed, but if you are even remotely considering a modest Thanksgiving feast with friends, we hope you will read the post from Saturday at the bottom of this post. Otherwise, quite a few missed the post on the history of the Supreme Court as a servant of the rich. In researching this piece I was surprised by what I didn’t know or had long forgotten and when placed in context with our current Supreme Court and political environment, I found it most illuminating. Read on.
A Look Back at a Most Momentous Week,
Plus a 2021 Legislative Preview & Commentary on Trump
Monday, November 16. Last week’s posts (links & summaries provided) include some very important analysis of where we stand as a nation, divided, relying on different facts, different news and increasingly different realities. We examined the causes and some strategies that could possibly help reduce the schism. In this post, we also began the pivot to the 2021 Legislative Session with several legislator events and a preview of our strategy.
Our 2021 Legislative Strategy & Agenda:
A Slate of 15 Transformational Bills to Fight For
Wednesday, November 18. For months, we’ve been talking with legislators & allies about what is possible in 2021. We’ve identified an array of excellent bills, vetted them with allies, and developed a proactive, targeted advocacy strategy to enable you to advocate from home. Starting now.
We are building coordinated teams of advocates for each Senate district controlled by a Democrat. These teams will focus their advocacy on their NM State Senator and on Senate leadership. And the work begins now. After a few brief announcements and News In Briefs, we laid out our legislative strategy and offered our preliminary lists of 15 Transformative Bills and 27 Priority Bills. We explain why we are focusing on advocacy in the Senate and we outline the roles you can play in advancing these bills. Our lists are preliminary and will be honed with more input from allies, but can be used now to discuss with your Senator. Read on!
Supreme Court a Tool for the Wealthy Since 1785.
How We Can Fix It
Friday, November 20. We used two articles from The Nation and a piece from Heather Cox Richardson to examine how for 250 years the Supreme Court has served the 1% & how this perversion of democracy can be fixed, plus updates from Georgia & NM Legislature.
The strategy proposed could have profound implications for a much broader healing in the US. Read on.
Saturday, November 21. Just last Friday, Dr. Fauci said we are headed toward an exponential growth curve where cases could double in one day, then double again the next. The CDC is saying there is no way to safely celebrate Thanksgiving except within your immediate bubble and that doesn’t include friends and family who claim to have been isolating. The post urges you to stay safe, stay home, and cancel any plans you may have. As the post describes Thursday will have a good deal to say about how many tens of thousands of Americans die in the coming weeks. Before we discussed that very serious subject, we also updated folks on our 2021 Legislative Advocacy Network meeting Friday night. Twenty five advocates from around the state refined plans for legislative advocacy focused on the NM State Senate, where bills have died year after year. We shared how you can get involved.
As I finalize this post Monday morning, I have read of how the airlines are jammed with reservations and parts of the country are heedlessly celebrating masklessly. It occurred to me, that the Saturday post was likely preaching to the converted. I suspect most of you are trusting science and sadly planning Thanksgiving at home. But from one of our readers I was told of an email she received from a good friend, whose comment was, “I just came from a social at a friends and am planning to host Thanksgiving, too. The vaccine is coming; we’ve got this.” As this report makes very, very clear, we have not got this. It has got us and the only way we can avoid a an almost inconceivably disastrous winter, is to stay home this week.
You may understand this, but perhaps you have cousins, friends, or colleagues in other states who are going full steam ahead. Please share this link with them and ask them to cancel their plans.
In solidarity and hope,
Paul & Roxanne