The reason we have Donald Trump to contend with today is because of party politics. It is these party politics that have led to the diminishing of U.S. national prestige across the globe, and a value system that sees three UCLA thieves as nothing more than a kid’s prank gone wrong. U.S. voters are voting not on values, but rather on which political party they want elected, regardless of who the party banner holder is.
Amid the ever-increasing sexual misconduct allegations against Roy Moore – although many Republicans have distanced themselves from him and the White House has remained on the sidelines – the Alabama GOP continues to stand by him because they fear a Democrat taking the Senate seat in the upcoming elections. There are other examples of candidates being supported during a scandal, because the seat is more important than the integrity of the politico.
In El Paso, the party politics of the city is focused on one issue; whether one candidate, Dori Fenenbock is a true Democrat or not. That is the battle that is being waged in the 16th Congressional race, not the issues that the community faces. Fenenbock was the EPISD Board of Trustees president when the school district – that is emerging from a corruption scandal and is losing student population – passed a $669 million bond measure in 2016. Not only did EPISD adopt the eye-popping bond measure, but it did so when its student population has a very dismal record of attaining higher education. Rather than discussing these issues, the online and news media chatter is whether Fenenbock is a Democrat or not.
But it gets worse because the sad reality is that El Paso isn’t the Democrat’s bastion it pretends to be in Texas, a heavily Republican state. The El Paso Democrats circle the wagons around the notion of the Democrat’s value system of progressive public policy agendas. These include immigrant friendly policies and job-centered job politics. Yet, the true politics are the exact opposite of the purported values.
“Straight-ticket voters” that dominate the Democrat party is the accepted notion about El Paso politics. The city’s Republicans complain about this each election cycle. But does this make El Paso a Democrat stronghold or is just Republicans in sheep’s cloaks?
Consider the following inconvenient facts for the El Paso Democrat Party.
In the 2016 national elections, the Democrats won Bexar, Dallas, El Paso, Dallas and Travis counties, as well as Hidalgo and Fort Worth. Trump took Texas with about 59% of the registered voters casting their vote. Yet, El Paso, unlike its brethren counties, speaks Democrat values but adopts Republican public policy measures when it comes to progressive public policy measures centered on quality of life issues, like immigration and jobs. Because El Paso is so dependent on the government economy, it adopts tax-heavy policies to sustain the economy, but reverts to Republican-centered policies on most issues, especially at the county level.
The Center for Immigration Studies, a group that lobbies for stricter immigration controls, published a list of so-called sanctuary cities. These are cities that the Trump administration has argued threatens immigration enforcement by their lack of cooperation. The so-called sanctuary cities advocate pro-immigration policies and adopt legislation in support of immigrants.
The immigration studies group has been tracking and mapping the so-called sanctuary cities for many years. El Paso has yet to make the group’s map. In its latest incarnation, November 16, 2017, the group’s map lists Dallas and Travis counties as so-called sanctuary cities. El Paso is not on the list. Right across the Texas border, in New Mexico, a Democrat-leaning state, the group’s map includes the whole state of New Mexico.
El Paso officials talk the talk but don’t act in support of immigrants. But the notion of immigrant-friendly and Democrat-leaning notions persist.
Fenenbock’s opponent is Veronica Escobar a former county commissioner and county judge. Escobar routinely argues that she is pro-immigrant but has not pursued or adopted pro-immigrant legislation for El Paso county, even though she served two terms as the county judge and one term as a county commissioner. Lots of talk but no action best defines her support of the immigrants’ plight.
But it gets even worse, Veronica Escobar’s husband was appointed as an immigration judge by the Donald Trump administration as the Trump administration ramped up immigrant deportations. On one hand, Escobar argues that she’s a “strong voice for the values of Border communities” while her husband deports immigrants, separating border families under Trump’s draconian immigration policies.
When it came time to adopt municipal identification cards, Escobar rallied behind the idea but provided no tangible support to the effort other than vocally supporting the measure. Escobar did not back the effort to stop allowing the local jail from accepting immigrant prisoners, although a study by Vince Perez, a county commissioner, showed it would save the county money over the long run. Escobar argued that by accepting immigrant prisoners, the county was creating jobs.
In short, Veronica Escobar advocates for border policies and immigrants but does little to nothing to support of them. She does not stand alone as many of the other so-called Democrat candidates verbalize opposition to the Donald Trump agenda, but do little to curtail it. Take for example the NAFTA debate. El Paso’s non-governmental economy is heavily dependent on NAFTA trade, yet the El Paso politicos, other than verbalize opposition to Trump, have yet to mount any meaningful attempt to save NAFTA.
The race between Veronica Escobar versus Dori Fenenbock continues to be a debate about which is more Democrat, or which is not a Democrat. Where is the debate on the taxes levied by Fenenbock at EPISD, or Escobar’s public policy agenda heavily dependent on taxation to create a false economy? Where is the debate about the border wall or NAFTA? These issues are important to El Paso, but the argument continues to center on party politics, and thus El Paso voters offer lackluster ballots and the issues that affect their pocketbooks are nothing more than the illusion that El Paso is a Democrat stronghold.
Look around El Paso, especially its politics and it clearly becomes evident that El Paso is Democrat blue only in the minds of the voters, while the reality is that El Paso marches along with the rest of the Republican agenda of the state.