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Monday, July 16, 2018

Lujan Grisham Shocker: She Throws Progressive Dems Under The Bus; Rejects Their Key Planks; She Says Some Of Them Have "Lost Their Minds"; No Harm Or Does Dem Base Rebel? 

We're all familiar with how Democratic candidates come out of the primary and start moving away from the left and more toward the canter of the political spectrum to appeal to the broader general election electorate. But what Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham did in a lengthy interview is simply breathtaking in the way she separates herself--with fervor--from the nominating (and progressive) wing of the Democratic Party and it is sure to rankle the true believers. Here's a look at key excerpts from the ABQ Journal interview:

SHE'S A FISCAL CONSERVATIVE: Have you ever heard of Rep. Lujan Grisham being identified as a fiscal conservative in Congress? Well, that's her new identity:

“I am socially liberal,” she says. “I believe in total equality. And I’m a fiscal conservative.”

NO MEDICARE FOR ALL--In one fell swoop she throws overboard the centerpiece of the progressive agenda in this election year:

She says the numbers “don’t work” for either single payer or Medicare for all, but she believes health care is a right and that if elected governor she would like to set in motion a number of changes to reduce costs, increase access and make it more fair.

NO PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS: She doesn't exactly disown the label progressive but comes darn close:

“I won’t join the progressive caucus because I think they have looked to minimize national security and productive, smart defense investments. That’s made me very nervous.”

KEEP ICE: Progressive Dems new battle cry over immigration is to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department (ICE). Again, Lujan Grisham nixes this key progressive proposal:

She has decried the separation of families and says the nation needs to address immigration, but she does not favor abolishing ICE. “ICE does money laundering, human trafficking and a whole laundry list of activities that are all about public safety and national security,” she says.

MAXINE WATERS--The controversial California congresswoman is an easy target for conservatives to throw overboard and it turns out that applies to her Dem colleague Lujan Grisham:

She is troubled by fellow Democrat Maxine Waters’ urging people to confront Trump administration officials in public places. “Talk about a bridge too far. How can she in good conscience say the president is promoting violence and discrimination and then do the very same thing? “I’m not in. I wasn’t raised like that.”

LOST THEIR MINDS--In what may be seen as a troubling overreach in her own party, the Democratic Guv nominee gets personal in unloading on environmentalists who tangle with the oil and gas industry.

Speaking about those in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party who are openly hostile to the oil and gas industry, Lujan Grisham says, “They’ve lost their minds.”

“We’re the third-largest oil producer in the country. I’m (as governor) going to get a benefit from that.”

Wow. It wasn't necessarily the fact that she trashed key progressive ideas (she is not one of their own as much as they would like her to be) but she didn't even throw the progressives a bone and she often used harsh language in condemning them. That will sit well when the conservative Journal editorial board sits down and endorses her (and they will) but it is sure to cause concern among those progressives who at least until now have been among her ardent backers.

SENIOR ALLIGATOR ANALYSIS

Politically, MLG is obviously determined not to let Pearce pigeon hole her as a wild-eyed liberal and realizes most gubernatorial elections are resolved in the center. That's the upside to the interview..

However, this Senior Alligator (more than 25 years in NM politics) says the downside is potentially serious:

The Journal interview wasn’t politically devastating forLujan-Grisham but it definitely helps GOP nominee Congressman Steve Pearce. For inexplicable reasons, she potentially alienated the entire progressive wing of the Democratic Party while attempting to schmooze the conservative newspaper. 

Progressives aren’t going to vote for Pearce. But they might just sit it out when it comes to her, especially given Lujan-Grisham’s statements on the oil and gas industry, ICE, the direct attack on her fellow Democrat Maxine Waters and no statement at all on early childhood education funding or other impending social issues.

Low turnout elections are what the GOP depends on for their diminishing electoral wins in NM. It makes no sense that Lujan-Grisham wouldn’t get in the Journal's face some and rally the Democratic base. Instead, she chose to play the old school 1980's and 90's NM Democrat political game of bowing and genuflecting to the state’s conservative newspaper of record. 

Democrats win when they ignore the Albuquerque Journal, the way Donald Trump ignores CNN and MSNBC. In New Mexico, there’s absolutely no reason to be a Donald Trump Democrat. But in this interview that’s exactly what Lujan-Grisham comes off as. And for that reason alone, her election went from being a done deal to something else. Claiming to be one thing during the primary, and then becoming something entirely different during the general election is a dangerous game. That’s how you lose your base, and that’s how you lose elections. That's what happened to Hillary Clinton. 

SINGLE FOR NOW

Manny Cordova
Lujan Grisham, a widow, would, to our knowledge, be the first single person elected Governor. But she said in her newspaper interview that could change:

She is engaged to Manny Cordova of Albuquerque, who owns Southwest Collision Craftsman. She says he’s sweet, wonderful and not really into politics.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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