In a comment on last Sunday’s post, one reader pasted in the Texas GOP party platform below. It is shocking how huge the gulf is between a moderate Dem and a Texas Republican. Mark Ronchetti may not be a Texas Republican, but we all need to be wary of the threat posed by Ronchetti, who in the most recent poll was trailing by just 3%, 47-44%, ESSENTIALLY A STATISTICAL TIE. What’s more, due to redistricting, many previously “safe” legislative districts are now in play, and with legislative races sometimes coming down to 30-40 votes, you can influence those races. Finally, on a national level there is a midterm of monumental import. Today we report on how you can influence these critical elections. But before we dive into election issues, a word from Somos Un Pueblo Unido, illustrating why voting matters.
Somos Announces Start of Paid Sick Leave
It’s a new month and with it comes a new law in New Mexico: paid sick leave. Worker advocates, through Somos and a coalition of other community-based organizations, have been pushing for over 5 years to guarantee workers sick leave on their jobs.
When the pandemic started in 2020, the importance of paid sick leave became magnified. Workers began to make noise, and through their stories demonstrated the importance that paid sick leave had in their lives. Workers organized to get this passed at the 2021 Legislature, and grassroots groups like Olé, Indivisible, and Retake supported those efforts. What’s more, since 2016, election activism created a legislature willing to pass paid sick leave and a Governor eager to sign it. This matters to thousands of NM’s essential workers.
On Friday, the paid sick leave coalition held a virtual press conference where our members along with Legislators who championed the law, came out to announce the start of its implementation. Workers shared their stories of struggle and visions for the future with this new law, while also informing our community of what they should expect to see from their employers. To see video of press conference click here.
A Somos member from Santa Fe said: “The pandemic has been very difficult for me. I tested positive for COVID and was forced to take a leave of absence without pay. On top of this, my parents also contracted COVID and I became their caregiver…Thanks to this new law I will be able to demand my sick leave when I need it.”
“Workers across the state fought hard to make this a reality,” said Yolanda Muñoz, a hotel worker and a member of Somos Lea County who has lived in Hobbs for 17 years and has 2 children. “But in rural communities like Hobbs, we can’t always depend on our local and state government to enforce the law. That means we will work even harder to ensure employers are living up to their responsibility and ensure workers organize and exercise their right to earn paid sick leave.”
On the National Scene
I got the timely note below from Morty Simon & Carol Oppenheimer, friends and long time labor and political activists. A couple years ago, they moved to D.C. to be close to their kids and grandkids, but, if anything, they’ve stepped up their game, volunteering for Working America and its activism focused on influencing important swing elections nationwide. From what I’ve heard from them and local activists Paul Dirdak and Wendy Pomeroy, there is research demonstrating that their approach changes minds and votes. On Wednesday, July 6, you can find out more about Working America and how they organize thousands of volunteers nationwide to win swing elections. From Morty & Carol:
Just when we think it couldn’t get worse… Fortunately, the Working America volunteer program for 2022 kicks off in a week!
Working America is the best way we know to make a difference:
- we change minds and we change votes
- conversations about issues is how we get through to people, signing them up as members is how we become a trusted messenger
- we reach people no one else is talking to, millions of working people of all races who aren’t paying much attention to politics.
Letter writing is easy, and it works! Find out why at our kick-off zoom meeting, Wednesday, July 6 at 7 pm ET. Click Here to RSVP
For those of you who are new to Working America, here is a Volunteer Program FAQ. If you haven’t volunteered before, fill out this form: workam.org/VolunteerWA
Help us reach 1 million people this year in targeted states, and build a progressive working class movement for the long haul too.
Thank you Morty & Carol. And to underscore the importance of engaging in election advocacy, below we provide the platform of the Texas GOP. The bad guys are coming.
The Bad Guys & Their Vision for America
The delegates to a convention of the Texas Republican Party last week approved platform planks that include:
- rejecting “the certified results of the 2020 Presidential election, and [holding] that acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States”; [Really, the entire party bought this?]
- requiring students “to learn about the dignity of the preborn human,” including that life begins at fertilization; [no mention of the dignity of humanity–men or women, gay or straight, black, brown, or white, new immigrant or citizen]
- treating homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle choice”;
- locking the number of Supreme Court justices at 9;
- getting rid of the constitutional power to levy income taxes; [i.e. abolish the safety net, such as it is]
- abolishing the Federal Reserve;
- rejecting the Equal Rights Amendment [cuz what happens if women start to think they have rights!];
- returning Christianity to schools and government;
- ending all gun safety measures;
- abolishing the Department of Education;
- arming teachers;
- requiring colleges to teach “free-market liberty principles”;
- defending capital punishment;
- dictating the ways in which the events at the Alamo are remembered; [no sense relying on facts]
- protecting Confederate monuments;
- ending gay marriage;
- withdrawing from the United Nations and the World Health Organization; and
- calling for a vote “for the people of Texas to determine whether or not the State of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation.” ”
Aside from the last plank, which I’d applaud (good riddance), the rest are a laundry list of horrors. You can bet that Mark Ronchetti and the NM GOP’s vision for NM is not much better. So, come November we must all check every Dem box. Even the most conservative Dem would not abide any of the Texas platform.
But voting is not nearly enough, given the millions of dollars that will be poured into the GOP campaign coffers and into dark money corporate PACs who can produce one slanderous lie after another and jam your TV and mailbox with misinformation.
Those lies won’t fool (m)any of you, but there may be a few friends, neighbors, family members, or members of your community who could be susceptible. So, we all need to make lists of those we know who may be vulnerable and send them a link to this post with a link to our updated Retake Election Central. We can leave no stone unturned. And if this isn’t enough to jolt you into action, from Bernie Sanders:
More than 600 Republican state legislators played a role in paving the way for the January 6th insurrection – some attended the “Stop the Steal” rally, while others supported and spread the Big Lie through advancing anti-democratic legislation, and spouting baseless voter fraud conspiracy theories.
Now that the Jan 6th Committee is directly connecting the insurrection back to Trump and his right-wing cronies through their televised public hearings, we’re focusing on defeating Big Lie Republicans at the state level.
With hundreds of insurrectionists and their enablers on the state-level ballot this November, it’s critical that we step up our efforts to stop them in their tracks.
Trump has spent the past few months parading across the country, hosting rallies to encourage his MAGA base to vote down-ballot for Trumpist Republicans.
Extremist candidates are popping up all over the country – just last week, three candidates with ties to the Proud Boys hate group were on the ballot in Nevada. Our American democracy is at risk, so we must act now – before it’s too late.
Our Plea: We Need Messengers for Democracy
As noted above, we feel we are at a crossroads nationally and at a key decision-point in NM: Do we regress to 2015 with a conservative GOP Governor and a far less blue Roundhouse? Or do we fight hard for the opportunity to continue to improve our state. We’ve come to realize that while there is value in publishing the blog and alerts, being at this crossroad requires more from us…and you.
We realize that 90% of you agree with much of what we write; we are preaching to the choir. The impact of that work would be magnified many times over if the choir sang more often in public in different contexts, but to achieve that will require more from us in organizing tools and a framework to make it easier for more of you to raise your voices.
To initiate this process, we have upgraded our Guide to Writing Letters to the Editor. It provides suggestions for what makes a compelling Letter To the Editor, followed by 4 sample LTEs and a list of virtually every newspaper in the State with guidance for how to submit LTEs or My Views, aka Op-Eds to those papers.
Going forward, each week an alert or blog will feature a “Call to Write,” with content focused on the topic and a sample letter that either Roxanne or I will submit to the ABQ Journal and/or the Santa Fe New Mexican. In the blog/alert, we will also offer writing points, but it will be up to you to shape and personalize your message. If we have letters appearing weekly throughout the state, it will make a big difference. Whenever your letter is published, please send a link to it to RetakeResponse@gmail.com. We will share your success to encourage others to join in.
Today, we introduced LTEs and My Views as a strategy, a strategy we will stress throughout the summer, with some Calls to Write LTEs focused on specific candidates, but with most focused on specific issues. But going forward we will also feature other strategies we can use to message voters — canvassing, calling, letter-writing, and networking with friends to name a few. For that work, we have been reaching out to campaign managers and others with insights into which races are in play and would benefit most from your support.
Too review our 2022 November Election Guide & Endorsements, click here.
If you have other suggestions for how the Retake community can magnify its voice and impact, please offer comments below. We absolutely must find ways to counter the media, social media, and mailers replete with misinformation. We must defend our state.
With some key defeats, we could enter the 2023 Legislative session terrified, but poised to protect the last 6 years of gains and to repel efforts to criminalize abortion and reinstitute the death penalty. But with some key victories in November, we could enter the 2023 Legislative Session with realistic plans to create a public bank, push the Health Security Act to the finish line, and perhaps even achieve Public Power. To a significant degree, which scenario we experience depends on our actions over the next four months. Let the choir sing! Become a messenger for NM progress.
Paul & Roxanne on Why We Need Messengers
We recorded this on June 30; it aired on Saturday, 7-2-22 on KSFR. Enjoy.
In solidarity & hope,
Paul & Roxanne