By Ned Cantwell
A lot of us more seasoned New Mexicans, i.e., old people, have had a bellyful of you young folks who think you run the world. Well, you don’t.
Look no further than state politics. Just days ago there was a primary election. If its turnout mirrored history, citizens over 50 accounted for 75 percent of primary election ballots cast, according to a study released by noted state pollster Brian Sanderoff.
Here’s what that means. For many races in many New Mexico counties, the primary election June 3 was, in fact, the general election. It was the end of the line. And, ha-ha, while you were busy texting we more seasoned citizens went out to vote and elect our candidates.
We elected many of our judges, and our county commissioners, and even our future state legislators because they live in counties so dominated by one party or the other the primary candidate faces no opposition or very weak opposition in November.
Southern New Mexico is a hotbed of conservatism, many of our northern neighbors pulling the other direction.
In Republican dominant Lincoln County, for instance, if you are Democrat and have political aspirations in Ruidoso, you need to either move or forsake donkeys for elephants.
You are a Republican in Rio Arriba County? Good luck getting served breakfast at McDonald’s. Dwight Eisenhower was the last Republican to carry this county. No GOP New Mexico gubernatorial candidate has won in Rio Arriba since 1991.
Now that the primary is behind us, the state anticipates a feisty general election where incumbent Gov. Susana Martinez faces Democrat Bill Richardson. No, wait. Susana is challenged by Gary King who we more seasoned citizens have chosen to face her in November.
It just seems Susana is running against Richardson. She keeps talking about the extravagant jet. Bill was a high flier on several levels and he enjoyed transport in a $5.5 million airplane. The first time around, targeting the jet was a clever campaign device. Four years later one might think she could boast about more than selling the plane.
(Never mind the fact cutting $5.5 million from the state budget is a drip of water in a huge bucket, akin to your dropping a pack of gum from your annual household expenditures. A Martinez sniper fears if the governor is elected vice president she might sell Air Force One.)
There are those who think our two-party system and its primary election need to join the transistor radio on the list of ideas once revolutionary. Why should I have to depend on any party to channel my vote?
However, the primaries give an edge to us more seasoned citizens. Good. We need something to call our own. The Instagram generation is leaving us behind. They even dictate television programming.
Note that soon to be extinct “American Idol” once had 30 million viewers, that total having plummeted to 10 million, most of us carrying AARP cards. One critic said this year’s winner sang his way to the top with tunes that were cutting-edge in the 1980s.
A young buddy told me she switched to “The Voice” because Blake Shelton is “hot.” There may be the difference. When your more seasoned citizens think “hot,” the mind goes to air conditioning, and, hmmm, I wonder if my Social Security check will keep pace with the electric bill?
We more seasoned citizens need to enjoy our political power while we can. The bright young people are sure to figure out a voting system based on Facebook.
Ned Cantwell welcomes response at firstname.lastname@example.org … or telegrams.