One lawmaker called on the governor to convene a task force to tackle the incredible harm alcohol visits on New Mexicans. Another exhorted colleagues to not become numb to harrowing statistics on the social ills emanating from alcohol abuse. Department of health officials reiterated over and over that tackling the issue requires a comprehensive, statewide effort. These comments have come during discussions and legislative hearings over the past two weeks in response to New Mexico In Depth’s Blind Drunk, a series that called attention to the state’s alcohol-related public health crisis. New Mexicans die of alcohol-related causes at far higher rates than in other states.
We suspect many of you, like us, are gobsmacked by Texas asking the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out the election results of the 2020 presidential election in four other states.
Joining in the madness by Ken Paxton, the Republican attorney general of New Mexico’s giant neighbor to the east, are 17 other Republican attorney generals and more than 40% of the Republican congressional delegation.Paxton is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the results in Wisconsin, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan — battleground states that helped hand the presidency to former Democratic vice president Joe Biden — by calling into question those states’ administration of the election.Never mind that other states that President Trump won, such as Montana, aren’t targets of Paxton’s lawsuit even though they enacted similar procedures for the 2020 election. Never mind that some of the state elections targeted by Paxton are administered by Republicans.Make no mistake: this challenge is a cynical and racist play for power.Paxton, who is white, as well as 17 Republican Attorney General colleagues and 106 U.S. House members, who support Paxton’s lawsuit and are overwhelmingly white too, are urging the Supreme Court to decide who wins the presidency by throwing out millions of votes in cities like Atlanta, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Detroit and their first-ring suburbs — most of which were cast by Black and brown people. In effect, the message Paxton and all those attorney generals and U.S. House members supportive of his suit are sending is, Black and brown people can’t be trusted to vote.Now, if you know your American history, disenfranchsing non-white people is as American as apple pie. We grew up in Georgia and Texas and know the long hard slog the civil rights movement endured while taking on the systems and institutions set up in the Jim Crow South. Since living in New Mexico we’ve also learned about its own sordid history around Indigenous voters who weren’t allowed to vote until the mid 20th century.Like we said, voter disenfranchisement of racial minorities is as American as apple pie. It’s no surprise, then, that attorney generals from five states of the former Confederacy — Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina and Mississippi — have signed on to an amicus brief filed by Missouri’s attorney general in support of Texas’ lawsuit. (Georgia did not sign on, and says Texas’ allegations are “false and irresponsible.”)
What is surprising, however, is the blatantness with which this attempt to disenfranchise non-white voters is playing out in front of the nation. Let’s also be clear that this is a concerted effort to undermine our democracy completely by sowing distrust in the electoral system.
These plaintiffs are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take away our collective right to elect the President.