Before Donald J. Trump was president, he repeatedly demanded to see President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. A leader in a “birtherism” movement that openly called into question Obama’s citizenship, the bigotry by the then-New York developer and reality TV show celebrity helped propel him into the presidency in 2016. Is it any surprise then that this week Trump, now president, is reprising his role as Birther No. 1? In a press conference Thursday, President Trump gave credibility to racist conspiracy theories that call into question Kamala Harris’ eligibility to run as Joe Biden’s running mate.
As the first wave of COVID-19 hits communities during primary season, states are still resolving how to hold elections in the middle of a pandemic. Voter advocates and organizers see the primaries as a test run, with many assuming that the November general election will also need to adapt to COVID-19. Since April, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, a virologist, and epidemiologists have predicted that another, potentially worse, wave of the virus will hit communities this fall and winter. Universal vote-by-mail is being promoted by secretaries of State and voter advocates alike as a clear solution to balancing voter access and public health concerns. In this area, the West leads the way.
There was optimism in the air and a packed crowd at the Santa Ana Center in Rio Rancho Monday evening to greet President Trump who visited New Mexico for the first time as commander in chief. Before Trump took the stage, Republican Party Chair Steve Pearce pumped the crowd with the claim that Trump could win New Mexico in 2020, holding up 2016 national election results as evidence. NM GOP Party Chair Steve Peace tells Trump rally that Trump can win New Mexico in 2020. Without former New Mexico governor and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson playing the spoiler, “It would have been a two or three point race,” Pearce said of the 2016 presidential election that ushered Trump into the White House. Johnson won a little more than nine percent of the New Mexico vote in 2016.