What single-party (Democrat) rule has meant for New Mexico

by WorldTribune Staff, January 29, 2020

Since 1931, no other state has had single-party Democrat rule at the state level as long as New Mexico, a columnist noted.

Since 1931, Democrats have held a majority in both houses of New Mexico’s legislature for 79 of the 89 years.

A yellow “welcome to New Mexico” sign in front of a blue sky

Since 1931, Democrats have held the governor’s office for 69 of the 89 years.

“Even when a Republican has been governor, his powers have been greatly limited because he has never held a majority in both houses of the state legislature while in office,” Charles W. Sullivan wrote for American Thinker on Jan. 28.

How has New Mexico fared under single party Democrat rule? As, Sullivan pointed out, “not so well.”


“By all accounts, New Mexico has one of the worst, if not the worst, K–12 public education system in the country,” Sullivan wrote. “It is a system that spends vast sums of money but has little or no accountability for the students, teachers, administrators, parents, or elected officials.”

New Mexico, which has a population of 2.1 million, was recently rated as the worst state public school system in the country. Among the country’s 11,850 school districts, only one from New Mexico, Los Alamos, is rated in the top 1,000. A charity named the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy estimates that 46 percent of adults in the state are functional illiterates.

Additionally, Sullivan noted, ”not a single college or university in New Mexico is ranked in the nation’s top 500.”


New Mexico “is a dangerous place to live, and a lot of judges are reluctant to lock up criminals,” Sullivan wrote.

New Mexico is number one in the U.S. for per capita property crime and number two for violent crime.

The state’s largest city, Albuquerque, “has the dubious distinction of a #1 ranking for auto thefts in the entire nation,” Sullivan noted, adding, “don’t expect the Chamber of Commerce or the Department of Tourism to brag about the fact that Albuquerque is ranked as the 12th most dangerous city in the U.S. Expect Albuquerque to move up on the list, as it just had a record number of homicides in 2019.”


New Mexico “survives financially because it receives enormous sums of money from two sources: the federal government and the oil and natural gas industry,” Sullivan wrote. “With the fracking revolution going on in the Permian Basin in southeast New Mexico, the state is swimming in tax revenues and has a large budget surplus.”

Despite all that, New Mexico “has one of the worst job markets in the country,” Sullivan noted. It has the fourth highest unemployment rate of any state and is “the second hardest state in the country in which to find full-time employment.”

“As one would expect of a state that has had single-party Dem rule for nearly 90 years, the state is teeming with public-sector employees and has the third highest percentage of public-sector workers in the country,” Sullivan noted.

“New Mexico is more dependent on federal spending than any other state and receives more in per capita federal spending than all but two states.”


As of November 2019, New Mexico had 827,269 persons receiving Medicaid, or 39 percent of the population and 223,116 persons receiving SNAP benefits, or 11 percent of the state’s population.

“Despite the enormous amount of federal spending, oil and natural gas riches, and some of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, New Mexico is considered to be the third poorest state in the nation,” Sullivan noted.


Arizona’s population is more than five million larger than New Mexico (7.3 million vs 2.1 million). Why did New Mexico, with its vast oil and natural gas wealth, experience such anemic population growth compared to Arizona?

“In most parts of the country, population growth follows job growth. The most plausible explanation of what has happened is that 90 years of single-party Dem rule in New Mexico has created a state that is deemed business-unfriendly. When the private businesses did not come, neither did the people,” Sullivan wrote.

The state nickname for New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment. “Sadly, after 90 years of single-party Democrat rule, it should probably be changed to the Land of Disenchantment.”

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