The flimsy fences set up around the state Capitol are sort of a calendar. They mark the final days of Donald Trump’s destructive presidency, and they symbolize a city’s fear of another government building becoming a powder keg.

New Mexico’s annual legislative session begins at noon Tuesday. Joe Biden will be sworn in as president the following day in Washington.

Both events are sure to inspire protests from Trump’s supporters. They already have overrun the U.S. Capitol — a riot incited by Trump’s false charge that Biden stole the election. A Capitol police officer died as lawbreakers who called themselves patriots tried to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s victory.

The terrorism in Washington put Santa Fe and other capital cities on notice to prepare for trouble.

Along with fences, a heavy police and military presence will fortify the state Capitol. It’s come to that because a president’s selfishness prevented a peaceful transfer of power.

Had Trump accepted the voters’ verdict, there would have been no insurgence at the U.S. Capitol. He wouldn’t have been impeached a second time, and a country sagging in a pandemic wouldn’t be at greater risk because of the politics of rage.

The 11 weeks since the election have felt longer than the campaign, mostly because of Trump’s constant assault on arithmetic.

Here’s Trump, by the numbers:

  • 400,000: What Trump claimed as his margin of victory in Georgia, a state he lost by almost 12,000 votes.
  • 3: Counts of presidential ballots in Georgia. Biden’s victory held up every time.
  • 244: Trump’s announced weight in June. If ever a recount with eagle-eyed scale watchers was warranted, this was it.
  • 80,555: The total Trump lost by in Pennsylvania. He claimed widespread fraud defeated him, but a federal judge said Trump’s lawyers tried “to discard millions of votes legally cast.” Like Trump, the judge is a Republican.
  • 74,483: Trump’s margin of victory in North Carolina. He had no complaints.
  • 191: Residents of Maricopa County, Ariz., who voted for more than one presidential candidate. Trump’s lawyers sued to stop certification of Arizona’s election based on these “overvotes.” Trump lost the lawsuit and the election in Arizona.
  • 1: Announcement by Trump’s crack attorney, Rudy Giuliani, of a “very, very significant amount of fraud allegations in the state of New Mexico.”
  • Zero: Documented voter fraud cases in New Mexico’s presidential election. Biden defeated Trump in the state by 11 percentage points or almost 100,000 votes.
  • 2: Republican senators from Georgia who lost runoff elections after Trump urged state officials to massage vote totals to reverse his own defeat. “There’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated,” Trump said.
  • 60: Percentage of respondents in a Quinnipiac University poll who disapprove of Trump’s performance as his term ends. Thirty-three percent gave Trump a favorable rating.
  • 25: States Trump carried while losing the electoral vote, 306 to 232.
  • 25: States Biden won while besting Trump by 7 million popular votes.
  • 50: States Trump claimed he carried. “A lot of the, the political people said that there’s no way they beat me, and they beat me,” Trump said. “They, they beat me in the — as you know, every single state. We won every state.”

Those incapable of critical thinking will always claim Trump won reelection. They will regurgitate his complaints about voter fraud without showing any interest in evidence.

What have they accomplished? Not much, aside from creating enough fear to fence off the New Mexico Capitol and bring a military presence to the streets of Washington.

Public access would have been prohibited at the state Capitol anyway because of the coronavirus pandemic. But now police and soldiers will have to be on high alert, just in case a mob decides to show out.

Lost in all the fury is a holiday.

Monday is Martin Luther King Day in honor of the man who advocated nonviolence as he led the civil rights movement.

In any other year, New Mexico’s Capitol Rotunda would have been open to the public for a ceremony remembering King’s courage in securing voting rights for Black people.

King wanted one ballot for every qualified voter, regardless of skin color.

Trump tried to discard or change millions of votes, all in the name of fighting fraud.

Ringside Seat is an opinion column about people, politics and news. Contact Milan Simonich at or 505-986-3080.

(31) comments

Jim Klukkert

Though Mike Johnson and I have a lot of daylight between our positions, I find Mike an intelligent and mostly amicable foil for discussion of the important issues that we need to resolve.

I am puzzled that one of Mike's comments, part of an open discussion between Mike & I, were deleted, presumably as abuse. I did respond to Mike's comment that I believed he was exaggerating. I know that exaggeration is part of the debate, and I was not offended.

I urge to the reader to note, I believe that Mike & I resolved our disagreement, with my concluding comment "We agree that the cause of Racial Justice, and the goal of Peace and Justice are commendable."

I am happy to continue my online dialogue with Mike, Johnson and again, I am concerned that Mike's comments are being deleted without apparent cause.

I must add, there is no money nor other reward, that would induce me to take the position of web editor at the SFNM.

Thanks much.

Mike Johnson

As discussed offline Jim, the comment was not "abuse", it was an opinion the censors disagreed with.

Russell Scanlon

I agree. His comment was deleted on my thread also. . . And I’m pretty sure that I am WAY more obnoxious.

Lee Vigil

I agree that the violence and looting perpetuated by protesters during the summer was wrong and harmed the very goals of the movement. However, I hardly think that an insurgency and attack on the nation's capitol and seat of our government can be compared or equated.

John Cook

I want to be fair to our soon to be former, and unlamented, President. He is a pig in pigs clothing. There. Fairness.

rodney carswell

You are funny, John Cook.

Cleve Spence

For trump to sell his "Big Lie," he needed social media. What we need is a James Madison to step forward and write a Constitution just for Social Media.

Khal Spencer

I liked a part of George Will's piece in today's Journal. To paraphrase: the conspiracy alleged to have denied President Trump his re-election was so vast as to encompass thousands and thousands of election workers in half the states of the union, and so cunning as to leave absolutely no trace of itself.

The mythology of the Great Steal still infects a lot of those on the Right. At least the authors of the 1619 narrative backtracked on some of their more egregious post-Reason claims.

Thomas Carlson

Khal, you have to remember that fully one-quarter of Americans think the Sun goes around the Earth. If you don't believe me, Google it. Guess who most of these folks voted for?

Khal Spencer

A while back I read that most also believe in the virgin birth, too. Its tough, though, when belief rather than reason rules the body politic.

Khal Spencer

Oh a reference on 1619..

B. Rosen

Biden won, Trump lost. Trump has been the most inept, dishonest, and corrupt president in our nation’s history. He has left our country poorer, more divided, and far less respected in the world. He belongs in the trash heap of history.

Mike Johnson

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said "Riots are the language of the unheard". That applies to people beyond the left wing BLM types who used this quote as justification of their riots and destruction and mayhem this summer.

Patrick Brockwell

Mike, the rioters at the nation's Capitol are not "the unheard". They are a loud and privileged bunch of malcontents who feel entitled to tell the rest of us, at gunpoint, that the loser should win the election. Their aggrievement is the idea that only white men should run the country and the votes of people of color are illegitimate. It is time to recognize and deal with the nation's original sin; systemic racism in this country.

Mike Johnson

I disagree, these people feel disenfranchised and unheard today, as Trump has been removed from office, who was their leader in power, now that is all gone. They feel the same as any of the people who also think they are unheard and disenfranchised. And BTW, I do not believe such a thing as "systemic racism" exists in this country. That is just left wing political rhetoric to continue dividing and polarizing America for their political agenda.

David Ford

Wow. So much for "critical thinking" from another retrumplican

Mike Johnson

Mr. Ford you persist in your mistaken illusions and hallucinations that I am a Trump supporter. I am not, never voted for him, never would, but as a life-long conservative Democrat I miss that part of my party which has been destroyed by the left wing, although Scranton Joe offers me hope for its' return.

David Ford


Actually almost everything you post seems to be straight out of the Drumpf playbook. Sorry but I find it hard to believe based on that. Sorry

Stefanie Beninato


Jim Klukkert

Mike Johnson, when you write that “Dr. MLK, Jr. said "Riots are the language of the unheard". That applies to people beyond the left wing BLM types who used this quote as justification…” I see only deflection from the critically important issues of Trump and his encouragement of seditious violence.

Violent other throw of state or national Governments was not supported by the overwhelmingly peaceful, nonviolent advocates of Racial Justice who protested Murder by State Agents and others. Any violence that was done by folks during demonstrations, clearly did not rise to the level of seizing the U.S. Capitol, and halting the Constitutional function of our elected U.S. Congress.

It is not a riot by members of “Trump’s base” that most concerns many of us post-January 6th. The event of that Wednesday was instead a well organized act of sedition by a core group of armed Alt-right conspirators. Alt-right actions resulted death, injury and destruction, in a nearly successful interruption of the most important act of any Democracy, the peaceful transfer of power. Only the the most courageous actions by our valiant U.S. Capitol and D.C. Metro Police prevented what could have been a total seizure of the Capitol, and perhaps even the taking and killing of members of Congress.

That this event strikes against the very heart of our Democratic Process, and took place at the very center of our experiment in Democracy, only emphasizes the importance of turning back this Sedition.

This militant, armed Alt-right conspiracy is a minority of “Trump’s base,” and some in that latter group were undoubtedly swept up in a mob mentality. As Mao noted, the revolutionary cadres swim like fish in an ocean of the people.

It would be a mistake to condemn an ocean, for the crimes of its fish.

It is a mistake, to confuse the actions of a few on the same streets of the many peaceful folks demanding Racial Justice, with the actions of a well organized, armed and demonstrably murderous, militant cadre of the Alt-Right.

Comment deleted.
Jim Klukkert

“Exaggerations, much???” No Mike, no exaggerations by me, but Big Time Deflections on your part!!! [Pardon dear reader, the propensity for 3x punctuation for emphasis by Mike, and the same for mockery by me!]

The main part of my comment was that you had deflected on Milan’s Op/Ed by bringing up allegations regarding the movement for Racial Justice, and that the Alt-Right cadre who overwhelmed the police and seized the U.S. Capitol bear no comparison to the he overwhelmingly peaceful advocates of Racial Justice.

Until you get back on course, responding directly to my comment, instead of deflecting by nibbling around the edges of what I wrote, I feel no compulsion to answer to your latest deflection.

The day is gorgeous, the direction of your comments is not. Outside I go!

Best to you Mike, despite our differences and teasing.

Khal Spencer

I don't know if it has been updated, but this report the day of the insurrection said six guns were recovered by law enforcement. So although some were armed, its a bit of an exaggeration to conclude the generalization that it was a group of armed least until a complete inventory of what we know is published. If I'm wrong, I am happy to be corrected.

Mike Johnson

Khal, all the descriptions I have seen had found no deadly weapons inside the Capital. The ones seized were on the "Capital grounds" which includes parking lots and walkways far outside the Capital. Likewise the Molotov cocktails and rifle were in a locked car in a parking lot a mile away, and the pipe bombs were at RNC and DNC HQs, miles away. If any guns had been actually inside the Capital carried by the mob, the press would have plastered every news cast with pictures of them.

Jim Klukkert

It is disingenuous of Mike Johnson to say that I have exaggerated the armament or the level of threat posed by the seditous, armed, organized Alt-Right thugs who overwhelmed the Police at our U.S. Capitol on Wednesday 6 January.

It is unfortunate that these thugs were, by initial reports, well armed. The count of weapons seized is likely just the tip of the iceberg of weapons covertly carried. I have not exagerrated...

Google guns recovered from us capitol 6 jan 2021 for results like the following:

Guns, Brass Knuckles, Homemade Napalm: Read Some of the Documents From Arrests After the Capitol Riot

Nor is it an exaggeration to call out uniformed military cadre proceeding up the steps and into the Capitol in 'Ranger File,' as being highly organized and trained. Armed? Most likely...

'U.S. Capitol rioters included highly trained ex-military and cops'

Mike Johnson

Jim, my honest short answer in comparing the summer of riots, looting, arson, and mayhem by BLM and allies to what happened on the Jan.6 riot is this: I think the summer riot's cause was noble and worthy, the tactics were deplorable and wrong. I think Jan.6 riot's cause was despicable, and their tactics deplorable and wrong. But I think to describe the Jan. 6 riots as a coup attempt, or an attempt to overthrown our government and democracy is a gross exaggeration, given the incompetent, unarmed clowns that entered the Capital bent on making a show about their anger. This was not a serious attempt at anything except photo ops and PR for their cause. Enjoy the outdoors, time for a cruise......

Jim Klukkert

Mike– Mike, I deplore violence. In hope to always be able to find a non-violent alternative in responding to violence against me; such has not always been the case.

I am reluctant to criticize the violence that accompanied a few of the Racial Justice events of the last year, as too many racist opportunists have shown a remarkable willingness to twist that sort of criticism into a condemnation of our Movement.

I think it is fine to throw the baby out with the bath water, as long as the baby belongs to the thrower.

We agree that the cause of Racial Justice, and the goal of Peace and Justice are commendable.

I am happy to agree to disagree as to the goals of the violent folks at the Capitol on the historic Wednesday. Time will tell, and certainly we deserve a thorough and professional investigation.

I enjoyed a short outing, Mike. Darn, who just roared past in that gorgeous Vette?

Russell Scanlon

Mr. Johnson—the attempt to use Dr. King’s words to rationalize the actions of a violent, unlawful, white supremacist mob is the very definition of “Orwellian”.

Comment deleted.
Russell Scanlon

Well aside from your condescending attitude, the only thing I gather is that we are now just splitting hairs. Perhaps you should re-read your own comments—including the one where you equivocate about the weapons discovered by authorities on the Capitol grounds. “Hey it’s all good here. We only found six firearms and one Molotov cocktail!”

I really don’t disagree with you about a lot of this. I also don’t know of one Democrat who openly endorsed violence in the BLM riots. Who is it that used Dr. King’s words to “justify” the rioting last summer?

Russell Scanlon

Mr. Johnson: I must disagree with you that systemic racism doesn’t exist and is a construct of liberal politicians. And I also don’t think your previous comment should have been deleted. Here’s to a more peaceful and prosperous future for all Americans—and less yelling.

Russell Scanlon

Thank you Mr. Simonich for stating what should be obvious (that is to say: Reality).

David Ford


You would think huh? As far as those outside the boundaries of reality and those incapable of critical thinking I wonder if they would be OK with their Doctor, CPA, Dentist, Lawyer etc., not using critical thinking on their behalf....

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