There are two political topics in New Mexico that are taboo to talk about.
The first is that no state in the United States has had single-party Democrat rule at the state level longer than New Mexico. The second is that there is even the possibility of a connection between single-party Democrat rule and the tremendous problems the state has.
For those who are unaware, the last time that Republicans held a majority in both houses of the New Mexico state legislature at the same time was 1930. In the last 91 years, Democrats have held a majority in both houses of the legislature for 81 of the 91 years.
In our court system, the last time Republicans held a majority on the New Mexico State Supreme Court was in the 1920s. Our Court of Appeals was formed in 1966 and has never had a Republican majority.
Currently, all five justices on our Supreme Court and nine of the 10 judges on our Court of Appeals are Democrats.
There are 33,178 days between Jan. 1,1931, and Nov. 2,2021, during which time Republicans held the governor’s office for 11,694 days or just 35 percent of the time. Even when we have had a Republican governor during that time, that governor has never held a Republican majority of both houses of the state legislature while in office, greatly limiting his or her power.
And what has 91 years of Democrat stewardship brought New Mexico? Here are just a few salient examples.
1. Stunted population growth despite vast natural resource wealth. In the 1930 census, our neighbor Arizona’s population was just 12,000 larger than New Mexico’s. Today it is 5.2 million larger.
2. A recent Wallet Hub study ranks New Mexico as having the worst public school system of any state in the country.
3. Another Wallet Hub study concludes that none of the state’s seven public universities that grant four-year degrees is ranked academically in the nation’s top 500.
4. A recent report in the Albuquerque Journal found New Mexico to be 49th in the country in literacy, only beating out Mississippi.
5. Among the states, New Mexico is No. 2 for both violent crime and property crime.
6. A recent Legislative Finance Committee report estimates that an astonishing 43 percent of the state’s population receives Medicaid.
7. New Mexico is such an unattractive place to do business compared to the surrounding five states that I cannot think of a single major for-profit business that has moved to the state in recent years without having been bribed to do so with taxpayer credits and/or giveaways.
Logically, one simply cannot blame Republicans or Independents for the problems that exist in New Mexico at the state level because they have had such a minuscule role in running the state for the last 91 years. Nonetheless, there will be no fundamental change in New Mexico until there has been fundamental political change — and the voters have shown no interest in fundamental political change.