This year is different though. It’s as if the American political animal—an apex predator of some renown, it must be remembered—has been wholly replaced. On one side of the historic march forward is a deleterious devolution; on the limb of the bifurcation, a creature that is trying to adapt, to survive and overcome the downward path of its misguided peers.
That’s poetic, to be sure, but it’s also damn true. The stakes are that high this year, folks, and after you’re done with the customary barbecue picnics that grace this weekend, you might want to spend some time perusing this or any other American newspaper—as well as your own particular county clerk’s office website—to find out just where your options, nay your duties, shall reside come November.
This year’s general election has some historic ramifications. For example the control of the US House of Representatives will be a battle fought on slim margins and new progressive advances. Currently, with the House decidedly tilted toward the GOP, there is little chance that this legislative body will try to exercise any substantive oversight or investigation of the Trump administration.
But if the Democrats can hold onto the 194 seats they currently hold, as well as gain at least 24 more seats, they will become the majority party in the House of Representatives and thereby be able to set the agenda for this part of Congress. Many progressives believe that such a change in the house leadership would result in investigative and subsequently, punitive measures to be taken against Donald Trump, his administration and perhaps, even his enablers.
This is a scenario which becomes more and more plausible as one looks into the opportunities available to progressive candidates throughout the nation. Democrats are competitive in many states all over the union, but to take control of the lower house of Congress, they must win several key races in California, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. In fact, the University of Virginia Center for Politics recently predicted that the chances of a Democratic takeover are only 50 percent.
In New Mexico that race to overcome the stultified Republican majority—in order to effect oversight of the possibly criminal Trump administration—can be symbolized by the congressional and gubernatorial contests gearing up for autumn here in the Land of Enchantment.
If you live in central Nuevo Mexico then you are probably from District One. Michelle Lujan Grisham is currently the representative from this Bernalillo County-centered congressional division, but she effectively gave up the seat to run for governor. In her place are Deb Haaland, a Democrat, Janice Arnold Jones, the Republican, and Lloyd Princeton, a candidate from the Libertarian Party. Haaland has long been a progressive voice in the community, and served as chairwoman of the state Democratic party. If elected Haaland would be the nation’s first Native American Congresswoman.
Jones is vocally pro-life and sees value in detaining certain immigrants and their families. Princeton is a motivational speaker who wants New Mexicans to take personal responsibility in determining their lives’ outcomes.
It’s very important that Democrats retain this seat in the US House of Representatives, which first saw Democratic guidance with the election of Martin Heinrich to the post in 2009. Before that, it was dark days indeed, as current Air Force Secretary “Leather Heather” Wilson held the post before Heinrich; she took the post after moderate former Burque DA Steve Schiff died in office. Before that, it was some GOP insurance salesman from the heights named Lujan, sabes?
On the other side of things, literally just south of Burque, lies US House District Two. Unlike its neighbor to the north, the second congressional district has been traditionally guided by the services of the elephants. Steve Pearce is the current representative from the southern geographic area, but as readers may well know, he is giving up his seat to run for—wait for it, hombres—governor of the great state of New Mexico! His predecessors have included sundry semi-effective GOPers like the inimitable Joe Skeen, a cattle rancher by trade, but also the well known old-school New Mexico centrist Democrat Harold Runnels, who died in office in 1980.
It just may be possible recapture Runnels legacy and then some. The Democratic contender in this race, Xochitl Torres Small is a water rights lawyer from Las Cruces. She’s running on a platform that recognizes the importance of Hispanic women and children, particularly those of immigrant status, in moving New Mexican culture forward. Contrariwise, her opponent State Representative Yvette Harrell recently told US News and World Report that, “I strongly support the president, and I think he's doing a marvelous job.” Early polling shows Torres Small to have a 2-point advantage going into the heart of campaign season; it will take sustained interest and committed voter turnout to flip this seat, but it may indeed be part of the blue wave coming this fall.
In District Three, comprising el Norte, Ben Ray Lujan, whose tenure is stretching toward the decade mark, will face Republican Jerald Steve McFall, a ski tech at Angel Fire resort who perennially runs for a variety of offices in the area. Christopher Manning, a US Army National Guard member, is the Libertarian candidate. If Lujan loses this one, I’ll eat a healthy hunk of crow for damn sure—something I’d sure as hell hate to do since they are such smart animals. But I reckon I won’t have to do it this year.
If all of this sounds familiar, you are right. I’ve written about this stuff before, made these sorts of intimations and declarations on behalf of Weekly Alibi for going on a couple of years now. You know why, don’t you. It’s because you must vote to end this madness and you can end this madness by voting. It’s that simple. I am just going to remind you every week from here on out, just to make my case.
Oh, by the way, Steve Pearce—a man who said wives should submit to their husbands and who believes that tolerating homosexuality will lead to an American culture where polygamy is the norm—has a chance to win in the battle for governor, against a valuable and reliable voice of reason, Michelle Lujan Grisham. Pearce’s election would also preclude any end to the criminalization of recreational cannabis in the state, too, by the way.
But those are only hellish possibilities that start looking like reality when you decide you ain’t gonna vote, after all.
So, you ought to reconsider, compadre. Just Saying.