Many Democrats here were overjoyed by this election’s blue wave in New Mexico, but lots of people are still concerned about how divided the nation is.
At the Hotel Albuquerque in Old Town, Democrats gathered to support their candidates.
Glenda Lewis said that she is excited for the future of the state. She’s a PHD candidate at the University of New Mexico.
“I do recognize the divide that we have right now,” Lewis said, “but everyone has a personally relevant issue that should connect them. So right now, there’s no time to be divisive. It’s time to get to work. We have to push New Mexico and push America forward.”
Veteran Richard Ciccarello was enjoying a beer in the corner. He said the nation may always be this way.
“We are more divided than ever. And I’m afraid that that’s going to remain true as long as we have factions,” he said.
Max Lopez was invited to the party by his sister. He said that politics is just like sports – one team against another.
“It’s crazy, there is such a polarization between the left and the right,” Lopez said. “It’s like there is no middle ground. I would say that the mainstream media contributes mainly to that. And the way that they handle elections and handle election coverage.”
Ane Romero wore a bright turquoise Michelle Lujan Grisham T-shirt and said we’re in a pivotal time of our country.
“If you get down to the core root of Americans,” she explained, “you will find that everyone cares about the same things. And I think it comes down to the point of grassroots.”
Most people KUNM spoke to said Americans need to quit being mad about who’s in office and get together to change things for the better.
At the Crowne Plaza Tuesday night, Republicans watched their candidates give up their hopes for governor, U.S. Senate and two U.S. House seats. Still, Bob Lucero was optimistic about what could be accomplished moving forward despite partisan divisions.
“It doesn’t matter what party, as long as the state reaps the benefits of that progression,” he said.
Down the hall, hotel workers began packing up tables and chairs, and Anna McFall offered a less rosy picture of the night’s results. She’s married to Jerald Steve McFall, the Republican candidate who lost to incumbent Ben Ray Lujan in the 3rd Congressional District. She blames Democratic leadership in the statehouse and in Washington for New Mexico’s ongoing troubles.
“We’re still the crappiest state with the worst ratings,” she said, “and it won’t change until the Republicans actually take over and start doing good for this state, unlike the Democrats.”
Jay Block is a Sandoval County Commissioner – he was not up for election this time. He said the trouble for Republican candidates this year came straight from the top – from President Trump’s divisive rhetoric.
“I support a lot of the President’s policies,” he said. “There’s a lot when it comes to the voters supporting our messages, it just hasn’t been helpful.”
After a nasty few months of campaigning for candidates on both sides, many now say it’s time to come together. That may be easier said than done.
Kimberly Palacios was watching election results roll in with some friends at the Craft Republic Bar in northeast Albuquerque last night. This is a sort of tradition for her.
“So I like to invite different people from different backgrounds and different places to come out so that we can kind of discuss the issues and it gets a little heated sometimes actually.”
Palacios says she encourages people to get together like this so they can learn more about what matters to folks with different views and what motivates them to vote.
“Not everybody likes to talk politics, but we like to talk change, what we can do to improve our society, our conditions as well as the conditions of people around us.”
Lots of people from different parties share Palacios’ concerns about the country’s division. And like her, a lot of them want to close that gap.