Will New Mexicans have less of a voice?

May 27, 2019

It is disheartening to read that the state Legislature has consumed the Kool-Aid of the popular vote for president of the United States (“Bill backing presidential popular vote approved by gov.,” April 4). State Sen. Carlos Cisneros of Questa was quoted in USA Today (“New Mexico is latest state to join National Popular Vote compact to cast all electoral votes for popular winner in presidential elections,” April 5), bemoaning the issue that, “Presidential candidates don’t even bother to come into the state anymore because they really don’t need to.”

Well, senator, this is not the election of class president or prom queen. This is the presidency of the United States. It is true that New Mexico has few (five) Electoral College votes compared to neighboring states (Arizona, 11; Utah, 6; Colorado, 9; Oklahoma, 7; Texas, 36), but the Electoral College is based on population as collected during the national census. We have a less-populated state so fewer electoral votes. However, those votes, few though they may be, become very important when election polling indicates close election races.

The New Mexico Legislature has chosen to forfeit any expectation of a New Mexico “voice” during any future elections as, with any popular vote, the focus falls on major population states such as California, Texas, Virginia, New York, Illinois, etc.

Consider that the top nine states for the 2016 presidential election, Democratic votes only: California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Virginia, Washington, Maryland, Colorado, and Oregon had a total of 24,461,004 Democratic votes. This surpasses the total 2018 state population for Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Kansas, Utah and Oklahoma for a total population of 19,076,947. Only when you add Minnesota’s population of 5,611,179 do you exceed the Democratic votes; barely, at 24,688,126.

Yes, I include New Mexico even though the state went for Hillary Clinton in 2016. The Democratic voters of Illinois outnumber the entire population of New Mexico.

Eventually, large population centers such as New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Dallas and Houston will become the primary focus of any presidential candidate, thereby relegating most of the United States as superfluous. So, Sen. Cisneros, if you were concerned before about few and far between candidates visiting, then fear not, because New Mexico has truly become a fly-over state. And even you, with your almost 30 years in state Legislature, are still considered a peon, like the rest of us and not worthy of any attention from the self-“important” people.

Now also consider that the Democratic votes from the 2016 election of King County, Wash.; Cook County, Ill.; Broward County, Fla.; Wayne County, Mich.; Santa Clara County, Calif.; and Hennepin, Minn., exceed the total populations of Nebraska, South and North Dakota and Wyoming with plenty of room to spare. Six counties outnumber four whole states.

As a final thought, we know that this issue is nothing more than Democrat versus Republican political maneuvering, without regard to actually serving your constituents — strictly going with the big party flow. The pendulum swings both ways. If the political spectrum were reversed, where would you stand on this issue? Should we disband the Senate in Washington, D.C.? That is the equivalent.

Brian Edwards is a self-reliant independent thinker who lives in Chaparral, N.M.

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