New Mexico is a blue state – it went Democratic in three of the past four Presidential elections (except Bush in ’04), both of its Senators are Democrats, yet it is surrounded by red states, except for Colorado, which can’t seem to make up its mind. Nevertheless, The Land of Enchantment feels more like Texas or Arizona for liberals living there. Let’s count the reasons for this anomaly.
1. OUR RED GOVERNOR PACKS HEAT
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez was once a clear-minded liberal trying to lead compassionately and sanely. 20 years ago, she was a Democratic assistant district attorney, but shortly thereafter she switched to the Red Side. Now the Gov carries a gun. During a media interview, Martinez warned a crew member trying to put a microphone on her, “Be careful. That’s a gun back there.”
At the 2012 Republican National Convention the only elected female governor of America ingratiated herself with the Tea Party by saying, among other things, “(When I was a teen), I carried a Smith & Wesson 357 Magnum…This is Amereeka –todos es posible!”
2. ENCHANTING NUCLEAR LEAKS
To further dismay and disappoint liberals (who seem to care more about the environment than do the right wingers), Governor Martinez has proposed that New Mexico become the nation’s “interim storage site” for high-level nuclear waste, even though one year ago airborne radiation was detected in southeastern New Mexico from a leak at the nation’s first underground nuclear waste dump (WIPP) that stores plutonium (weapons grade)-contaminated waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory and government nuclear sites.
3. TRIGGER-HAPPY PEACE OFFICERS
In the past five years, over 40 people have been shot by police in Albuquerque, and two-thirds of these shootings have been fatal. The rate of police shootings in Albuquerque is 4 per 100,000 people — ten times higher than the rate in New York City. This is upsetting to liberals across the nation not because they harbor anti-police feelings, but because violent crime and assaults against officers have been declining for years, and we in New Mexico wish to keep Albuquerque off the “Ferguson/Baltimore/ Cleveland” list.
4. GUN CONTROL
New Mexico has some of the least restrictive firearms laws in the country.
- State law pre-empts all local gun control ordinances.
- There are no waiting periods under state law for picking up a firearm after it has been purchased.
- There are no restrictions on magazine capacity.
- Residents may carry a loaded firearm without a permit.
- New Mexico had the second-highest violent crime rate in the country in 2013, according to FBI crime data.
5. THE ENVIROMENT
Many New Mexicans – liberal and conservative alike – are deeply concerned that a proposed 21-square-mile residential development in the desert west of Albuquerque called Santolina would cause castastrophic water shortages; it is projected to consume about 12million gallons of water every day in a state where, like in California, every drop is already fiercely contested.
- “This development would come at the expense of precious water use for farmers and irrigators and people who live here,” says the director of the local Center for Social Sustainable Systems,
- “We’re talking about someone else’s pipe dream at the expense of our communities,”said a spokeman for the Contra Santolina group of farmers, organisations and community groups, which have united in opposition to the project.
- A recent Forbes article described it in as “one long tale of stupidity, cupidity and mismanagement in roughly equal measure.”
- Yet, when Governor Martinez was asked about the possibility of a special session to approve the financing of infrastructure projects like Santolina, she said, “if it is, it’s got to benefit the private (corporate) sector.”
New Mexico’s Game and Fish Commission has denied a renewal permit that had been in place for 17 years that allowed Ted Turner’s Ladder Ranch in southern New Mexico to aid the federal Mexican wolf recovery program by providing pen space for wolves being released into or removed from the wild by the federal government. This action is being viewed by some as a move by the governor-appointed commission to curb reintroduction of the endangered Mexican gray wolf in New Mexico.
Who’s the boss of this disheveled state, and what is she doing about these issues? Does she hope to continue her rise to higher and higher office by wearing the GOP colors, like Ted Cruz, Julian Castro. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Brian Sandoval? The answer is “YES,”at least according to a ”race relations expert” in Five Latino Politicians to Watch.