Democrats Are Our Own Worst Enemy

On March 10, 2018, I attended the Democratic State Convention in Albuquerque.

There was a tremendous turnout from all over the State as delegates converged to nominate their candidates for statewide offices and federal offices.

The convention packed the main ballroom of the Albuquerque Convention Center.

This year, the video introductions of the candidates were very impressive and slick and really helped to get their messages out.

It has been a very long time since I have seen so many new faces and a Democratic party this energized.

After 8 years of Governor Susana Martinez and just one year of Trump, the Democrats know this is going to be a big year for our party.

During the convention, I had a chance to talk and visit with Congressman Ben Ray Lujan from Santa Fe.

As each year passes, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan grows and matures in the job and continues to make a major difference in New Mexico and in Washington.

I feel Congressman Ben Ray Lujan has done an exceptional job for his own Congressional District as well as New Mexico.

Congressman Ben Ray Lujan has consistently and without failure stood tall for Democratic core values including civil rights, racial equality, a woman’s right to choose, opposed right to work laws, stood up for the working class and the middle class, opposed cuts to social programs, supports comprehensive immigration reform, believes in universal health care and Obama care, and has opposed the hard right Republican Agenda, including calling Trump what he is, a racist.

Congressman Lujan is head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) having been appointed by Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

After talking to Congressman Lujan, the smile on his face and the tone in his voice reflected that the Democrats do indeed have a tremendous chance of taking back the majority in the United States House of Representatives.

Thirty-Seven (37) Republicans in the House have decided not to seek re-election and the Democrats only need 26 to gain a majority, and Democrats are winning in special elections held in red states that Trump carried.

As a sign of real problems for the Republicans in the House, many prominent committee chairman are stepping down an retiring so as not to risk a loss.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has yet to announce if he will be running for reelection or be retiring.

Congressman Lujan also expressed some optimism that Democrats just may be able to take back the United States Senate but acknowledged that the path to victory with the US Senate is a little narrow.

When I posted a photo on FACEBOOK of me talking and standing next to Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, I had a few negative comments that accused Congressman Lujan of “squeezing” progressive out or discouraging them from running for congress, with one even posting an article on a progressive running in Pennsylvania.

Some of the posts from people who I know to be progressive were downright disappointing.

What I have discovered and seen over the years, progressive in New Mexico seem to be playing the game of trying to squeeze people out that they disagree with and they perceive as not being “progressive” enough for them with little or no tolerance for moderate Democrats.

Just ask former Mayor Martin Chavez how he was treated by many progressive when he wanted to run for the United States Senate against Martin Heinrich and when Chavez was told by the Washington progressive establishment he was not the candidate they would be supporting.

You can ask Democrat Gary King how he was treated four years ago by many progressive Democrats and how they declined to even vote allowing Martinez sweep to victory again.

You can also ask former Democratic State Party Chairman and moderate Brian Colon how he was treated by progressives when he was running against their chosen progressive Tim Keller for Mayor.

I recall vividly after Hillary Clinton secured the Democratic nomination, I attended a monthly meeting of Albuquerque Progressives as was my custom.

I went to the monthly meeting because I wanted to hear a respected member of the Progressive Democrats of America speak and who also worked on the Bernie Sanders campaign.

What I heard the guest speaker say loud and clear to the Albuquerque Progressive was that the Progressive Democrats of America would never get behind Hillary Clinton and they had no intention of ever endorsing her and would start concentrating on the 2018 and 2020 elections.

Another progressive activist went on to say the goal of New Mexico Progressives is to take over the traditional Democratic Party in New Mexico and get their own people elected.

At both the Bernalillo County Democrat Party and the State Democratic Party Conventions this year, I saw many new progressive faces amongst the old guard Democrats.

I was born and raised a Democrat, have been a Democrat all my life, and feel just as progressive as anyone else.

Over the years, I have also served as a Precinct Chair, Ward Chair and on the State Central Committee, but that stopped last year.

The Democratic party in New Mexico has a problem.

The big question is, will we ever unite or just be satisfied being divided and allow the elections of people like Susana Martinez and Donald Trump so we can just bitch about how bad things are statewide and nationally?

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.