Saturday, May 24, 2014

Largely Ignored New Mexico Gubernatorial Election Highly Important to GOP Plans for 2016

The Chairman of the Democratic Governor's Association, Peter Shumlin (Governor of Vermont),  says that the DGA won't make media buys in New Mexico  in support of the Democratic challenger to Republican Governor Susana Martinez.  This is discouraging and is a decision that fails to understand the national importance of defeating Susana Martinez.  If Susana Martinez is re-elected in November she will be promoted to the top of the list for the national 2016 GOP ticket because it provides something money can’t buy – credibility; credibility that an Hispanic female Republican can win the votes of Democrats, Independents, Women, and Hispanics.  Not only is it morally and politically wrong for national Democrats to not challenge a Republican Governor in a majority Democratic state that elected President Obama in 2008 and 2012, but it insures that thousands of New Mexicans will continue to slip into poverty and that New Mexico’s precious resources will continue to be sold off to the oil and gas boys who care little about spoiling our water, land and air.  

The DGA and the national Democratic Party ought to support the Democratic candidate elected in the June 3rd Primary because New Mexico is a state where the national GOP is investing millions of dollars because they want to use Susana Martinez for propaganda purposes in their 2016 Presidential Election.  In 2012, after the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, the Republicans used PACS to flood New Mexico with political propaganda to promote conservative candidates.  One such shady group headed by Susana Martinez's political director and handler, Jay McCleskeyReform New Mexico Now PAC, attracted a lot of national conservative political interest including Nevada casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson's $250,000 contribution and thousands of dollars from the billionaire Koch brothers.  This year, former Republican VP,  Dick Cheney, NJ Governor Chris Christie, and national GOP politicians are raising millions of dollars for Susana Martinez because they are all looking forward to 2016 where Susana Martinez will be central in their propaganda to win over women and Hispanic voters - key sectors of the national voting population. 

Susana Martinez's public image has been carefully manufactured
to portray a caring Hispanic woman. The reality is that she has failed to improve the lives of most New Mexicans and she is a carefully controlled tool of an ambitious political consultant, the oil and gas industry and the national GOP

The DGA and national Democratic Party organizations are thinking small in not contributing money toward the Democratic gubernatorial race.  So, if New Mexico is to convince the national Democratic donors of the importance of this race, what must it do?  New Mexico has shown (most recently in the 2008, 2010, and 2012 Presidential, Senate and Congressional races) that People trump Big Money if they get involved in the election campaign and get out the vote.  Democrats hold a 52% to 31% advantage in voter registration in New Mexico.  19% of registered voters do not declare a party and cannot vote in the closed June 3rd Primary. There are five Democratic candidates on the ballot for the June 3rd Democratic Primary.  One of them will face Susana Martinez in November and it should be the strongest candidate who can present both the vision and the leadership ability to turn our state around from being at the bottom of almost every socio-economic factor.  The candidate we elect must excite and mobilize the people to vote in November and must win over a significant portion of the 19% of registered voters who are independent.  

Apathy: Enemy of Democracy  The main problem in this election year is "apathy" because 2014 isn't a “Presidential Election” year.  To those voters who seem uninvolved with this year's election, I tell them that a win for Martinez makes 2014 as important as a Presidential Year because it catapults her- undeservedly - to the national ticket in 2016.  A strong Democratic candidate for Governor will help carry to victory the rest of the Democratic ticket. 

Infographic from a Redesigning Democracy Summit
held in North Carolina in December, 2012
“Defeatist thinking” by people who think it won’t make a difference if they vote or not,  or who believe Susana Martinez is “unbeatable,” is a bigger threat to democracy in New Mexico than Big Money.  Big Money is used to generate and enforce defeatist thinking everywhere from negative and false media ads to Fox News.  Every New Mexican who wants to oust Susana Martinez should be volunteering right now for the Democratic candidate(s) they like and they should be giving money (whatever they can afford) to the political campaigns of those candidates.  Even a small amount helps.  But...making those phone calls, canvassing a neighborhood, using your Facebook account and other social media to get people excited about voting, and talking to your neighbors, friends and family are the most important things we can do.  It’s really a simple game of numbers and Democrats have the numbers but we need to be loud and pervasive in our message that Susana Martinez is not a “sweet and caring Hispanic woman” but a tool of the big corporations and a racist and anti-worker political party. By the simple act of voting, people in our small state of New Mexico can defeat the regressive ideology of the Tea Party/Republicans that threaten human rights, democracy, and  well-being of people and their families.

If we want to defeat Susana Martinez without  a lot of money to do it, you need to volunteer to register more Democrats to vote, work for a Democratic candidate,  talk to voters to get them  to vote, and mobilize our grassroots support like we already know how to do.  That’s how you beat Susana Martinez in 2014.

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