As the nation begins to reopen in months-long phases, all eyes are trained on President Donald Trump and the once-robust economy now in tatters. But perhaps some attention should focus on the political fortunes of the nation’s governors and state legislatures — and which ones might survive the heavy-handed edicts or be ousted for egregious abuses of power.
The list grows for both heroes and villains, as citizen protests sprout in Michigan, Delaware, New York, Maine, Kansas, and Colorado. But New Mexico, under a Democratic super-majority and progressive governor, has become a near police state.
You Can’t Get There From Here
The invocation of COVID-19, the invisible enemy that appears to be destroying America from within, is simply another weapon to control the populace and increase political power. After New Mexico anointed Gov. Michelle Grisham in January 2019, a rocket docket challenging the Second Amendment, fossil fuels, and the ranching industry was set upon the citizens. The Land of Enchantment became not so enchanting. Prior to Coronavirus, the governor, relatively low on the popularity totem pole, was being sued and recall attempts were aborning.
But the pandemic pointedly pushed the happy-to-dictate button, or so it seems, for Grisham. She shuttered mom-and-pop businesses, deemed gun stores non-essential, and — the piece de resistance — closed the transcontinental east-west thoroughfare: Interstate 40 between Albuquerque, NM, and Flagstaff, AZ. Not an order to pass through. Travelers can’t even breach the perimeter to other highway exchanges.
His city isolated and stranded by the closure, Gallup Mayor Louie Bonaguidi begged for Grisham to intervene. And in a press release a few days later, Grisham’s office obliged, by citing the state’s Riot Control Act:
“Effective at 12 p.m., May 1, all roads into Gallup are closed. Businesses in the city of Gallup will close from 5 p.m. through 8 a.m. Vehicles may only have a maximum of two individuals. Residents of the city should remain at home except for emergency outings and those essential for health, safety, and welfare.”
Granted, the Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni people have been hardest hit in the state, but a complete lockout of cross-through commerce? Unless citizen groups are successful in recalling the iron-fisted Grisham, she remains in charge until 2022. But will the super-majority Grisham enjoys today survive to rubber-stamp her progressive agenda?
Will Abuse of Power Alter the 2020 Ballot Box?
Eleven states have governor seats up for grabs this November: Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.
Mike Parson, the Republican governor of Missouri, could be a fatality of COVID-19 because his state reopened on May 4, faster than most. Parson went public stating that Missouri has met “the four pillars” necessary to move forward and leave the virulent bug in the dust. The “pillars” require the state to:
- Expand testing capacity and volume in the state.
- Expand reserves of PPE by opening public and private supply chains.
- Continue to monitor and, if necessary, expand hospital and health care system capacity.
- Improve ability to predict potential outbreaks using Missouri’s public health data.
He cautioned residents to remain vigilant but insisted that “(a)ll of Missouri’s businesses, employers, and employees are vital to our state’s economy and well-being.” Economic forecasting aside, an uptick in cases and deaths could derail the man’s re-election bid. But perhaps the Show Me State is showing the rest of the nation how to resurrect a brave and free country. This is not a one-size-fits-all rollout, and that alone sparks resentment from other states.
Will the nation’s governors rise or fall as the virus burns out? We are about to find out.
NEXT: The second part of this article covers Indiana, which is moving forward conservatively, while sparsely populated Montana takes a more wild and free approach.
Read more from Sarah Cowgill.
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Middle School: The Economic Cost of COVID-19
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