A Conservative is on the Albuquerque mayoral ballot, and for voters who learned after 2020 that mean tweets were a small price to pay for good policy, this one might actually have a chance.
Conservative talk show host Eddy Aragon has unofficially qualified for the November 2021 Albuquerque mayoral race. Aragon gathered 10% more than the 3,000 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot, and he did it in record time: 14 days.
Regardless of his odds, there are good reasons to support Aragon this November. Ironically, some of the best arguments were made by political commentator Pete Dinelli in an August 11, 2021 hit piece titled, “MAYOR’s RACE SPOILER ALERT: Der Führer Trump Radio Shock Jock Eddy Aragon Makes Ballot To Run For Mayor.”
In a political era marked by censorship of Conservatism and ad hominem arguments against anyone who opposes the status quo, a disrupter is exactly what Albuquerque needs.
“Now that Aragon has qualified for the ballot, the race for Mayor has change (sic) dramatically,” Dinelli wrote.
“Aragon is a staunch supporter of Der Führer and former President Donald Trump. Aragon with his talk show is on the same level as FOX News and the likes of Sean Hannity. Aragon enjoys badgering and taking issue with anyone who is Democrat or he considers progressive.”
This may seem like a criticism — and no doubt aligning Conservatives with Nazism may seem like a good strategy on its face — but calling people Nazis, racists, bigots and homophobes has done little to unite the country. Post-Trump America is more divided than ever, and Democratic policies are wreaking havoc.
Dinelli himself recognizes the case for Aragon’s election.
“There is no doubt that the Republican voters who voted for Der Führer Trump in the city will be far more likely to vote now in the Mayor’s race and vote for Aragon,” Dinelli wrote. “…If progressive voters are fed up and disappointed with how little Mayor Tim Keller has done and what little he has actually accomplished during his term, they may just decide not to show up and vote.
“Its (sic) been proven time and again that municipal elections have some of the lowest voter turnouts. In 2013, a pathetic 19% of registered voters actually voted, Democrats stayed home and the Republican incumbent Mayor won by a landslide because Republicans vote. When Democrat’s (sic) do not vote, Republicans win, which is why there just may be a Mayor Gonzales or Mayor Aragon come November.”
We shall see.
But win or lose, Aragon’s candidacy is a boon for Albuquerque.
People are tired of the hyper-partisan rhetoric, not because negative campaigns don’t work — even Dinelli acknowledges that they do — but because hyper-partisan politics used to include a discussion of the issues.
Now they’re not.
You can no longer oppose mask mandates and vaccine passports without being called a murderer. You’re a bigot for wanting a secure border, a Nazi (see above) or white supremacist (even if you’re brown) for being pro-America, for opposing Big Tech censorship, for wanting low taxes and affordable gasoline. You’re literally killing grandma if you don’t wear a mask alone in your car, and you support slavery if you expect people to work for a living.
It wasn’t always this way. There used to be a time when you could argue about the merits of government policy, the value of Conservatism versus Progressivism, the effect of Big Government versus freedom, and not risk losing your job, being outcast from friends and family, or being banned from social media.
The problem in New Mexico is that our leaders don’t have to explain themselves. They dodge the media and stick to their talking points as COVID lockdowns ravage local economies, as crime surges and homelessness grows, as education lags and the state continues to lead the nation in unemployment.
For anyone who’s listened to Aragon’s talk show for even 10 minutes knows, our problems are as much a product of culture as policy. In the Land of Mañana, policies that encourage laziness only perpetuate poverty, and leadership without a backbone solidify it as the norm. If you don’t justify it, dismiss it, or excuse it as a reality that has no solution, you are the enemy.
It doesn’t have to be this way, and electing someone who isn’t afraid to engage on the issues — and get angry about the failures of our city — may be just the change we need to reverse course.
It’s this failure to be held accountable for bad policies that keeps bad politicians in power, and Aragon has the media platform to air those policy failures, to have those conversations, and to do something about the problems that have forced so many people to leave.
Because honesty is the first step to recovery.
Few people could do a worse job than Mayor Keller. If he wins re-election, Albuquerque deserves what it gets. But as Dinelli points out, there is a large faction of voters on both sides of the political aisle who are sick of the status quo.
Keller is great at sending out happy tweets about rainbow crosswalks and pretty clouds at baseball games. He’s a master of the vapid cliche, spewing platitudes about “rebuilding our core,” “addressing crime challenges,” and “standing up for ABQ families” with his “ongoing commitment to public safety.”
But after four years of platitudes, we have nothing to show for it.
It very well may get worse, but doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result only guarantees it.
Every Conservative in Albuquerque should support Aragon’s candidacy, regardless of his odds of winning, because win or lose, you can’t identify the problems if you don’t talk about them.
If we learned anything in the post-Trump era, it’s that happy tweets and empty platitudes accomplish nothing.
It’s time for a change, and Aragon is our only hope.