There Was an Election
And another, and one after that
What followed has been a dissembling of the cultural advances, societal safeguards and general progress that this nation made under its former leader, a stoic, intellectual fellow, a progressive centrist named Barack Obama.
Fortunately, however, the followers of Obama—the progressives who now bear the brunt of the ass-backwards policies being blithely enacted by a president who continues to pander to an ass-backwards base of ignorant, reactionary and anti-democratic citizens—soldier on, working diligently to restore reality to a system run amok.
As the rest of this nation’s voters advance past the latest autumnal round of municipal, state and federal elections, it has become clear that resistance to Trumpism has borne fruit. As the US heads toward the 2018 mid-term congressional elections, a new storm is forming on the horizon, one that may very likely help topple the executive branch travesty that has been visited upon our otherwise decent country.
Anti-Trump momentum seems to be the common thread in elections held on Nov. 7. Gubernatorial races held in Virginia and New Jersey finished with conclusive wins by Democrats. Also in Virginia, transgender Danica Roem soundly defeated a 13-term Republican legislative delegate who openly touted his homophobic views while telling voters that Roem was out of touch with suburban voters for playing in a heavy metal band.
Other advances were made at the city and state level. Andrea Jenkins, a trans woman of color, was elected to the Minneapolis City Council. In Charlotte, N.C., Democrat Vi Lyles was elected to be the first female, African-American mayor of the city.
Closer to home, here in New Mexico, the backlash against Trumpian politics was clearly noted in the municipal elections held in Las Cruces. Followers of la politica may recall that following violent clashes in Charlottesville, Va. this past summer—and the death of an innocent observer at the hands of an alt-right, neo-Nazi symathizer—Doña Ana County GOP chairman Roman Jimenez made angry social media posts that blamed leftist protesters for the violence.
A few months later, the local daily down south trumpeted the inevitable outcome of such outrageous claims, proclaiming that progressive candidates for that city’s governing council swept council races and concluding that “The Las Cruces City Council will be progressive heading into 2018, after the three more liberal candidates all won their races by double digits.”
All of the phenomenon reported on and analyzed above points to the mayoral election that was held in Albuquerque on Tuesday, Nov. 14.
Here is a perfect example of how Trumpian Ideology—trickle down economics buoyed by starkly antiquated social conservatism all wrapped up in apocalyptic costumes designed to frighten voters into accepting a strongman politician or one of his benighted representatives—may fail to garner further advances.
Dan Lewis, for all of his genteel demeanor, represents the worst this city, state and nation have to offer. Backed by a local pastor whose church is quick to note its anti-civil rights stance on marriage and supported by greedy, out-of-town developers hellbent on forcing an ecologically disastrous development on Bernalillo County residents, Lewis’ campaign has been a dark and stark reminder, not only of what is at stake for Burqueños, but also what the true nature of Trumpism really is.
It is abundantly clear that if Tim Keller is elected mayor of Albuquerque—and he should be, despite the last minute machinations of the city bureaucracy—he has a huge task ahead of him. Undoing the damage done by a dangerously out-of-touch Republican mayor is going to take more than vision; it will require sustained and committed action—as well as a productive relationship with Albuquerque’s City Council—to accomplish what the man has said he would work diligently to attain.
In the final mayoral debate, Keller claimed that the city has money in its budget to immediately hire 100 new police officers. Accomplishing this goal in short order would bolster his claim to progressive leadership and is an important initial step in making our city safe once again.
Further, revising, clarifying and supporting the mission of ART, so that the new public transportation initiative is integrated and works with existing infrastructure should be an essential goal of the new municipal administration.
Finally, halting ecologically ignorant projects—in an environment where water is becoming a precious commodity—like the Santolina mega-development, establishing a business-and worker-friendly sick leave program, bolstering local business over pie-in-the-sky outsider corporations and taking a serious look at how a lack of public health and mental health services has contributed to Albuquerque’s intense yet transitory malaise are all goals the new mayor must embrace.
As citizens, we can only blame ourselves for the temporary triumph of Trump and his cronies. We may have been comfortable, asleep, assured of the future as last winter beckoned. That is not the case now; now we are awake and alive with the agency needed to reclaim what was so wantonly taken from us. The fact that this battle can and will be waged at the local level should be a hopeful indicator of its outcome.