Was the ABQ Journal being politically-correct?

I saw the Sunday Albuquerque Journal on the supposed “rise of the independent voter” in New Mexico.

And, while I found the article informative on the whole, I think it missed the point. See the chart below. What it shows to me is a rapid decline in the number of registered Democrats in New Mexico while the number of Republicans has held steady during the last three decades.

The tenor of the article, rather than focusing on the massive shift of Democrat to independent, seemed to imply that both parties are losing influence. The reality is, however, that large numbers of voters have clearly expressed their frustration with one party, that being the Democrats.

So, what does that mean to an independent, free market think tank? Simply put, as I’ve written before, when it comes to education, the reformers fighting for progress include Gov. Martinez and supporters of her reforms which includes nearly all Republicans and some, but by no means all, Democrats. Also, if you haven’t noticed, Democrats, the party that generally supports bigger government, laws supporting unions, and more government spending, have controlled the Legislature for nearly the entirety of New Mexico’s 100 years of statehood. New Mexico has also been poor for decades (and as far as I can tell has never been among the wealthy states).

Is the relative decline of the Democratic Party in New Mexico a good thing? One-party rule of any kind is dangerous and inevitably leads to corruption and a lack of intellectual openness. To me, this is the story behind the story. With any luck it sets the table for a more economically and educationally-competitive New Mexico. Perhaps it will also lead to larger numbers of Democrats bucking the “old party line” and becoming Clinton-esque “New Democrats?”

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6 Replies to “Was the ABQ Journal being politically-correct?”

  1. I think it is telling that voters refuse to ally themselves with the increasingly tea-party fueled Republican Party. The Republican Party is even more unpopular than the Democratic Party in every major poll, as is the Tea Party that the Republican Party (and, it should be noted, the Rio Grande Foundation) embraced in 2008.

    The victories in 2008 and 2010 may prove Pyrrhic as voters reject the radical views of Michelle Bachmann and the CATO Institute.

    1. Certainly, it is factually-accurate to state that the GOP is embraced by fewer voters in NM than is the Democratic Party. However, the trend is that the Democrats are losing people in relatively large numbers to the “independent” category.

      So, in this sense, your analysis simply makes no sense. I DO think the GOP can tweak its message to be more inclusive to minorities and non-traditional lifestyles, however, I don’t think education reform and spending restraint are going to lose too many elections.

  2. I suspect a lot of voters who consider themselves independent register with one party or the other in order to participate in primaries — which provide the only electoral choice in many districts. (I change my registration depending on which party has the most interesting primary.) If we had open primaries we would see many more independents — and perhaps fewer candidates on the extremes of the political spectrum.

  3. Right on the money WHY is New Mexico a poor state ? Look at the political party that has controled the state since statehood . ! LOL The corrupt ,give away party , buy the voters ,promice them steak but give them baloney . Also the native tribes are accustomed to GOV handouts since day one. when they were placed on reservations or bound to their pueblos . No encentive to better themselves . perfect for Democrats to control .

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