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.