You are all familiar with the term “sore loser.” Last week in New Mexico, Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, took aim at the state’s popular Latina governor, Susana Martinez, and showed us what a “sore winner” looks like.
The reality television star just can’t seem to leave well enough alone. He attempted to bully Susana Martinez into jumping on board his campaign bandwagon. Yes, his relentless attacks against political rivals and party leaders have worked in the past. Last weekend “Little Marco” released his delegates to vote for Trump. Earlier, Ben Carson the “okay doctor;” Chris Christie, the brunt of his fat jokes; along with Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Rand Paul, Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal have all decided to forgive and forget in order to hitch a ride on the Trump train which appears headed to the White House with its load of political malcontents.
My guess is that this low ball tactic won’t work with Martinez, who would have made an excellent running mate for Trump. Martinez has had more than her share of insults as she swam upstream in a heavily blue state to the very top spot. Furthermore, blaming Governor Martinez for New Mexico’s problems is tantamount to blaming the problems in Calcutta on the late Mother Theresa.
Trump said, “Since 2000, the number of people on food stamps in New Mexico has tripled. We have to get your governor to get going. She’s got to do a better job, Okay? Your governor has got to do a better job.”
Earth to the tin-eared Donald Trump: Martinez was not governor of New Mexico in 2000.
New Mexico is a poor state, made poorer still by eight years of excess by Democratic governor Bill Richardson and years of a Democrat-controlled legislature. Add to that, the fact that the state’s employment was heavily tied to the federal government and the major industry is oil and gas production. After the recession hit, New Mexico was hard-hit by Washington’s cutbacks and, more recently, lower fuel prices.
Among Martinez’s first moves was to sell the state’s luxury jet and fire the two chefs assigned to the governor’s mansion. She and the first gentleman now do most of their own cooking, thank you very much. In addition, she put a moratorium on the purchase of new state vehicles and barred state agencies from hiring lobbyists.
Martinez has been heavily praised for erasing the largest structural budget deficit in state history without raising taxes and without sacrificing classroom spending and basic healthcare for those most in need. As for the economy, she worked across the aisle to enact reforms that reduced regulations and taxes on business which are bringing private investment and industries into her state, thereby diversifying the economic base. In 2014, the state went from the third highest tax burden on manufacturing investment to the best in the west.
Yes, New Mexico’s recovery has lagged behind the rest of the country. However, despite all the problems, there has been a net gain of 30,200 jobs since September of 2010 through April 2016. In the first four months of this year New Mexico added 8448 jobs, so things are beginning to move in the right direction.
Martinez has more than her share of detractors having ruffled the feathers of both the union bosses and the teaching establishment. She ended the practice of having the state collect union dues and vetoed a raise in the minimum wage which would have put New Mexico at a disadvantage with neighboring states. Her education reforms include rating schools, evaluating teachers and working to end social promotion. All of these measures are strongly opposed by the teachers’ unions.
Exactly which of the reforms instituted by Governor Martinez would Trump have a problem with? What would he have done differently? It would be helpful to know.
By far the dumbest remark made by Trump last week was to assert that “Syrian refugees are being relocated in large numbers to New Mexico.” Only 10 Syrian refugees have been relocated to the state while Martinez has served as governor. Furthermore, although Martinez opposes the practice and has taken a hard line on illegal immigration, Trump should know that governors have no legal authority to prevent refugee relocation in their states.
Nevertheless, Trump’s baseless and tasteless attacks and outright lies don’t seem to phase his supporters. In their minds, he can do no wrong. They are not unlike Clinton’s supporters who do not seem to care that she is dishonest and has put the nation at risk.
Heaven help us.