Nora Says No to the League


Errors of Enchantment avoids politics — the Rio Grande Foundation is a nonpartisan, tax-exempt research organization — and won’t tell you how to cast your vote for New Mexico’s next secretary of state.

But yesterday, an article in The Santa Fe New Mexican on the race caught our attention. It highlights the need for voters to be aware of the ideological leanings of benign-sounding organizations active in lobbying and elections.

Noting that “no fewer than 17 of the officers and leaders of the League of Women Voters in chapters around the state are solidly and openly backing my opponent,” Nora Espinoza, the GOP’s nominee for secretary of state, has refused the group’s invitations to appear at public forums with her opponent, Democrat Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

League officials have donated “more than $8,000” to Oliver, Espinoza said — a “substantial amount for an office that is administrative in nature, and from members of an organization that touts itself as being ‘nonpartisan.'”

Predictably, the league’s president denounced the GOP candidate’s comments as an “offensive, untrue, intentional misrepresentation and a flimsy excuse for not participating in our candidate forums.”

But the record is pretty clear. The league is committed to an undeniably — many would say radically — liberal agenda. Last year, the Capital Research Center published a useful primer on the organization’s history and record. Founded in 1920, when women won the right to vote nationally, the league quickly involved itself in lobbying. (It supported the creation of the United Nations, and was heavily involved in the civil-rights movement.) In our era, it “has been a steady voice for legislation to deal with climate change, establish stricter gun control and environmental legislation, and make the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) the law of the land.”

Espinoza has a personal reason to eschew involvement with the league. Reporter Steve Terrell wrote that earlier this year, the “League of Women Voters openly opposed a bill sponsored by Espinoza that would have required voters to present photo identification at polling places.”

So nationally and in New Mexico, the league doesn’t represent women. It speaks for left-wing women. Nothing wrong with free speech, of course. But for citizens, taxpayers, and voters, truth in advertising matters. It’s easy for unsophisticated observers to get snookered by liberal organizations that cleverly craft an image of moderation. (New Mexico Voices for Children is another example of a mom-and-apple-pie-named entity. It advocates for Big Government “solutions” to New Mexico’s many socioeconomic woes.) The League of Women Voters has every right to participate in the political process. But the lobbying group shouldn’t be shocked and offended when a politician opposed to its agenda refuses to lend credibility to the organization, and says “thanks, but no thanks.”