Commentary: Please vote Tuesday.
This election is important. Mr. Trump is so dangerous in so many ways, his Republican enablers are so deferential, and there's so much at stake, that a Democratic majority in the House is essential.
So, please, vote for our wonderful, home-grown Xochitl Torres-Small.
Even with local races, it's important to ask why Republican candidates don't speak out against Trump. Do they blind themselves to Trumpism's dangers, see it clearly but accept it to accomplish certain ideological goals, or simply lack the courage to speak out? Trump is making a last-ditch effort to deepen white Christian male privilege, and to “save us” from the modern world by simply denying its realities. He shows open contempt for Mexicans, Muslims, and women. Do we want local leaders who find that acceptable?
One local Republican leader told me, “I haven't spoken out on President Trump, because I'm focused on the County. I didn't speak out against President Obama, even when I disagreed with him.” That sounds reasonable; but we all have a duty to speak out when our national leaders are dangerously wrong. If someone I supported behaved as badly (and dangerously) as Trump, I'd have to speak out. Having helped empower him, I'd try to limit the damage.
A philosophical difference permeates the local races: shall we use the power of government to make our state or county as good as possible, for all of us – or strictly limit government's activities, even starve government as Republicans are doing nationally?
I'd choose the former, so long as we can pay for beneficial programs. So would most Democratic candidates. Local Republicans have deepened this divide by running folks who aren't just somewhat conservative but extremely so. (Exceptions include John Zimmerman and Kim Hakes. Ben Rawson is a closer call.)
In several state races, the Republican candidates are disastrous: Steve Pearce, who consistently puts his extremist ideology before state and national good; PRC candidate Ben Hall, whose record is beyond spotty; and Pat Lyons, who wants to recover the Land Commissioner position where he once did so much harm. Why trust any of them – when we can vote for the extremely appealing Michelle Lujan-Grisham, Steve Fischmann, and Stephanie Garcia Richards?
Our Republican former sheriff, Todd Garrison, seeks to regain the office he nearly destroyed during his Seeberger episode, while the thoughtful Democrat Kim Stewart has both experience and smart, modern ideas. (Allegations that Stewart would take away deputies' long rifles or disband the SWAT Team, are just plain false.)
Lynn Ellins should win his county commission race, and likely will. He truly knows county government and the law, and works well with others. I'd prefer Karen Trujillo to Kim Hakes, although Hakes seems sensible and good-humored on the dais. (I just think Karen has a better understanding of their district's needs.)
Although I have a good working relationship with Ben Rawson, he seems to lack the vision to make our county the best it can be for all its citizens. Although he emphasizes constituent service, he (and county government) dropped the ball on fire-fighting, sending insurance rates skyrocketing; and he resisted the UDC, an effort at coherent planning. (The last-minute Talavera uproar over trailers, which the county handled just fine, didn't have to be so last-minute.) Relative newcomer Shannon Reynolds holds more moderate views that are more in tune with a majority of District 3 voters.
In any case, vote!