Ugly Truths and Opportunities to Build Democracy in New Mexico

By Jen Lewis

Last Tuesday, we did not dare predict the victories of both Democratic Senators in Georgia, and we couldn’t have imagined on Wednesday the outgoing president would incite a riot to block the work of Congress as it certified November’s election results. The contrast between the days and their directions could not be more vivid.  

In Georgia, the dreams of a progressive coalition of social justice advocates—many of them young people and people of color—were realized.  With the election of Georgians Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the U.S. Senate, implementation of the Democratic Party’s democratic agenda is no pipe dream.  Instead, the party’s progressive platform will guide the day-to-day work of a nation with a shared vision of equality, equity, opportunity, and rationality. 

In Washington D.C., the most autocratic regime in U.S. history almost brought Congress down as it worked to certify a legitimate presidential election. The 45th president’s inaugural promise to end the “American carnage” was revealed once again as clearly little more than a dog-whistle to racists and people willing to misname their historical privilege as a cause for constitutional rights.  The executive branch permitted and encouraged an attack on its sister branch, the Congress, where even the president’s most ardent supporters affirmed the legitimacy of the Biden-Harris election and urged the outgoing president to face the truth that he lost the election. By Thursday morning, the president promised to leave.

We don’t know what comes next, as some 200 to 300 people reportedly gathered at the Capitol in Santa Fe to protest the election results, remaining peaceful if adamant in their denial of the facts of an election that was not even close in this state.  Southern New Mexico Congresswoman Yvette Herrell (CD 1) joined with other Republicans in a vote objecting to the certified electoral college results while condemning the violence of the insurrection. We know that there’s a gulf between those who uphold the rule of law and democratic processes and those who do not acknowledge them. Bridging the divide, if possible, will be a major task.

At the most local level, the 2021 Democratic Party of Bernalillo County (DPBC) ward and precinct meetings will offer every single Democratic voter the opportunity to build our state democracy and its institutions by becoming involved in the grassroots structure of the party. We encourage every reader to join in the ward and precinct elections that determine the leadership of the County, and ultimately the State Democratic party, its policies and platform. As with elected members of Congress in D.C., those who stand for election in the most local of races reinforce the system of representative democracy.  Watch for more information on the ward and precinct elections in this newsletter.