Joe Coors, Jr. Dies After Surgery Complications

Joe Coors, Jr.

Joe Coors, Jr.

As KDVR reports:

Joe Coors Jr., the great-grandson of brewer Adolph Coors and former congressional candidate, died Thursday night from complications from surgery. He was 74.

Coors, a Republican, ran against Rep. Ed Perlmutter for Congress in Colorado’s 7th Congressional District in 2012 and lost.

Coors ran an ad during the 2012 election in which he declared “I’m not a beer.”

Coors, Jr. was easily defeated by Democrat Ed Perlmutter in 2012, in part due to difficulties smoothing out his personal biography for voters. Coors, Jr. was the eldest member of the fourth generation of the Coors family.

Mike Coffman Can’t Cease or Desist from Talking Trump

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Obfuscation)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Obfuscation)

Mike Coffman really wants to talk about Donald Trump.

This would seem counterintuitive as a political strategy, but Coffman’s re-election campaign seems convinced that continuing to talk about his support/non-support for Trump is somehow going to help him defeat Democrat Morgan Carroll in November.

Mark Matthews of the Denver Post has the details on Coffman’s strange legal challenge this week regarding his sorta-support for Trump:

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman on Thursday demanded that a major Democratic booster stop sending Colorado voters an attack piece about him because he says the political mailer inaccurately describes his stance — or lack thereof — on Donald Trump.

Specifically, Coffman is disputing the flier’s assertion that he supports the Republican presidential nominee. Coffman, R-Aurora, is running for re-election in a swing district that curls east around Denver, and he has made a point of not saying either way whether he backs Trump — which is why his attorney sent a cease-and-desist letter to the House Majority PAC, a super PAC that backs Democratic House candidates.

The mailer makes the claim that “Mike Coffman Supports Donald Trump And That Puts America’s Safety At Risk,” according to a copy included in the correspondence.

“The advertisement includes false statements prohibited by Colorado law,” notes attorney Jonathan Anderson in a letter to the House Majority PAC. “Mike Coffman has never indicated that he supports Donald Trump as a candidate for President.” [Pols emphasis]

This isn’t an argument about semantics. You can’t accuse someone of distorting your position when you refuse to make that position clear yourself. Let’s go back to what Coffman spokesperson Kristin Strohm said about his support for Trump back in February, via Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman:

“Will Mike Coffman support the Republican nominee over Bernie or Hillary? The answer is obviously yes.”

Coffman could easily put this whole argument to rest by stating clearly that he DOES NOT SUPPORT Donald Trump for President, but he won’t do that. As we’ve discussed in this space in the past, Coffman perhaps feels he cannot do that because of the risk that pro-Trump voters in CD-6 would abandon him.

Coffman continues to play this strange game over Trump in large part because media outlets like the Denver Post let him get away with it. Former Political Editor and current Editorial Page Editor Chuck Plunkett never misses an opportunity to throw Coffman a life preserver, and neither does Matthews. Take this paragraph from Matthews’s story today:

A spokesman for House Majority PAC defended the flier, and noted a past statement by a Coffman aide who said the congressman “obviously” would support the Republican candidate over a Democrat. That was long before Trump clinched the nomination, however. [Pols emphasis]

Huh? Coffman’s spokesperson said he would “support the Republican nominee [for President],” but that doesn’t matter because it was before Trump clinched the nomination? That’s completely absurd. If his spokesperson was wrong in saying that Coffman would support the nominee, then Coffman should just say as much. But Coffman doesn’t want to do that; in his story today, Matthews even quotes a different Coffman spokesperson repeating that Coffman hasn’t decided not to support Trump.

Mike Coffman, and only Mike Coffman, is responsible for being ambiguous about Donald Trump.

Again, Coffman could settle this argument at any time by just saying, one way or the other, whether he supported Trump for President. We’d say it’s probably too late for Coffman to sincerely oppose Trump at this point, but it’s still on his shoulders; if Coffman refuses to say that he does not support Trump, then by logical default we must rely on his spokesperson’s statement from earlier this year.

Obviously Coffman is trying to play both sides here so that he doesn’t lose support based on what he says about Trump. This isn’t complicated.

Donald Trump May Never Break His Own Ceiling

This is how far Donald Trump has risen in recent polling.

This is how far Donald Trump has risen of late.

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has been rising in national polls of late, though political analysts disagree on what this might mean for the Presidential race as we approach 50 days until Election Day. Glenn Thrush of Politico breaks out the political ouija board and finds that Trump is still stuck with the same problems he’s had for months:

Everything has gone Trump’s way — and he’s still not ahead. If 2012 was all about the 47 percent, this year — at least for Trump — is defined by the 44 percent. In poll after poll after poll — during the good times and bad, the most disliked politician in the country can never rise (with a few outliers) beyond the 38 to 44 percent range among likely voters (he typically tops out at 42 among registered voters). In a normal year, numbers such as these are in a statistical range political consultants like to call “the Killing Field.” [Pols emphasis]

Clinton’s decision to lay low in August (a time when Trump dumped his Man from Ukraine Paul Manafort and hired the competent professional Kellyanne Conway) will be debated for years. If she wins, her summertime fundraising blitz, meant to unleash a torrent of anti-Trump advertising at campaign’s end, will be regarded as strategic genius; lose and her decision is up there with Michael Dukakis in the tank. But the bigger point: Even with Trump’s nifty new telepromptered campaign, even with Clinton’s paranoia-will-destroy-her decision-making (i.e. covering up her own pneumonia) — Trump isn’t doing particularly well. “True to form, he’s underperforming any other Republican candidate in his position,” said a GOP operative who is publicly backing the reality-star-turned-politician. “He’s just now starting to crack Mitt Romney levels, and everything has gone right for him, including an on-camera face-plant by his opponent.”

Of course, Democrat Hillary Clinton has her own likability problems, though her ceiling is not nearly as low as Trump’s 42 percent. This election has been cast as a battle between two of the most disliked major party candidates in American history, and the Presidential race may very well be won by the candidate who is the least offensive to voters.

If that’s the case, we’d still rather be in Clinton’s shoes right now.

“We’re All Mike Coffman”–Now It’s Just Getting Weird

Embattled GOP Rep. Mike Coffman’s re-election campaign in 2016 has been easily the most audacious triangulation off his own party that we’ve seen in his long political career–a reflection of the difficulty he faces remaining viable in ultra-swing CD-6 as Republican in the era of Donald Trump. Coffman has kicked the reinvention of his formerly hard-right political image into high gear with a dual message this election season: “He’s not like other Republicans”–and “Mike Coffman is one of us.”

But in a walk piece were were sent a photo of this week, Coffman seems to be taking the “one of us” meme a little too far:

wereallmike

See the new twist? Mike Coffman isn’t just “one of us.” We’re all Mike Coffman! This presumably means you.

hesmike

The “I’m Mike Coffman” thing starts off well enough, but quickly gets…rather weird.

shesmike

 

yougetacarWe can almost hear Oprah Winfrey now: “You’re Mike Coffman! And you’re Mike Coffman! EVERYBODY gets to be Mike Coffman!”

Look, we get that the point of this piece of campaign literature is to instill a sense of empathy between Coffman and the diverse voters of his district. Voters who in many cases wouldn’t find much to support in Coffman’s record if they knew the facts.

Unfortunately, Coffman was much better off presenting himself as a member of the community he represents, not bizarrely claiming he “is” the community. This may have seemed like a good idea in a strategy meeting, but it’s just strange and insulting in the final product–to the point of being downright narcissistic.

If Coffman can’t see that, we’d say he’s been on the run from his own past for too long.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 15)

Get More SmarterHappy Restoration of Primorska to the Motherland Day (for you Slovenians out there). It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The “new” Donald Trump has once again been strangled by the old Donald Trump. As Politico explains:

Donald Trump’s newfound commitment to message discipline and restraint showed some cracks on Thursday, with the Republican nominee attacking an African-American pastor who cut off his political speech in a Flint, Michigan, church.

“Well, I was in Flint yesterday and it was a very interesting experience and got unbelievably good treatment from people, I must say, and even in that audience, the treatment was great. But something was up because I noticed she was so nervous when she introduced me,” Trump said in a telephone interview with “Fox & Friends,” noting that the Bethel United Methodist Church pastor Faith Green Timmons “was so nervous, she was shaking” when she introduced him for his speech…

…Since elevating pollster Kellyanne Conway to be his campaign manager last month, Trump has been relatively restrained, generally sticking to the TelePrompTer at his speeches. He even initially refrained from delivering an “I told you so” when Clinton nearly collapsed after appearing at a 9/11 memorial service on Sunday. (Her campaign initially said she was “overheated” but later revealed that she had been diagnosed with pneumonia.)

But on Wednesday night, Trump apparently couldn’t resist, and again questioned Clinton’s stamina during a rally in Canton, Ohio.

As we wrote yesterday, we don’t put much stock in a new outlier poll from Reuters/Ipsos that suggests Trump with a 43-41 lead over Democrat Hillary Clinton in Colorado, and a couple of new polls confirm that analysis. Whatever gains that Trump may have made recently will be swiftly erased by Trump’s own bombastic style anyway.

 

► There’s lots of buzz about a Newsweek article that examines Donald Trump’s foreign business dealings and the massive conflict-of-interest that could result if Trump is somehow elected President:

A close examination by Newsweek of the Trump Organization, including confidential interviews with business executives and some of its international partners, reveals an enterprise with deep ties to global financiers, foreign politicians and even criminals, although there is no evidence the Trump Organization has engaged in any illegal activities. It also reveals a web of contractual entanglements that could not be just canceled. If Trump moves into the White House and his family continues to receive any benefit from the company, during or even after his presidency, almost every foreign policy decision he makes will raise serious conflicts of interest and ethical quagmires.

 

Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received a doctor’s note affirming that she is in good health. Clinton will turn 69 next month, while Trump is already at age 70; it’s a little absurd to believe that either candidate is in perfect health. 

Clinton, meanwhile, is back on the campaign trail in North Carolina today after taking a few days off to recover from pneumonia.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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The Return Of Economic Doomsday Dude Eric Fruits!

Right-wing go-to economics dude Eric Fruits.

Right-wing economist dude Eric Fruits.

The Denver Post’s Aldo Svaldi reported this week on competing studies in favor and opposed to Amendment 70, the proposal to increase Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020:

Lifting Colorado’s minimum wage from $8.31 an hour to $12 an hour would pump $400 million into the state economy and raise living standards for one in five households — all with minimal impacts on inflation or total employment, according to a study released Tuesday from the University of Denver…

About 400,000 Colorado households will see higher incomes, half of those families with children, if Amendment 70, the higher-minimum-wage measure up for a vote in November, passes, according to the study.

All of which sounds great, but as you can imagine, opponents have their own study forecasting massive job losses for Colorado–and it’s from a name our longtime readers will recognize:

Opponents of Amendment 70 point to a study from Portland State University economist Eric Fruits that estimates Colorado could end up with 90,000 fewer jobs if the minimum wage rises to $12 an hour.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure, Eric Fruits is a right-wing “free market” economist based in Oregon, whose dire predictions of massive reduction in Colorado employment back in 2011 helped the ill-fated Proposition 103 education tax increase proposal go down in flames. Fruits’ already dubious forecast was wildly exaggerated by local opponents of Proposition 103, eventually claiming “over 100,000 jobs would be lost” if that modest tax hike had passed.

This time, however, minimum wage increase proponents aren’t taking Fruits’ doomsaying lying down:

Chris Stiffler, an economist with the Colorado Fiscal Institute, a pro-70 group, back tested Fruit’s model with the bump up in the Colorado minimum wage to $6.85 from $5.15 to that occurred on Jan. 1, 2007.

Colorado gained 71,000 jobs in the two years that followed and didn’t suffer the losses that Fruit’s model projected would happen, given a 33 percent jump in the state minimum wage. [Pols emphasis]

That’s right, folks–applied to real-world experience, Fruits’ gloom and doom “model” doesn’t hold up at all! The hyperbolic hand-wringing over Fruits’ predictions of economic disaster got so bad in 2011 that after awhile, we could only lampoon it–but as the saying goes, “a lie travels the world before the truth can get its pants on.”

The rule today with Eric Fruits, just like then, is don’t believe the hype.

Thursday Open Thread

“The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.”

–Carl Jung

Hillary Gets Doctor’s Note to Run for President

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

The Presidential campaign of Democrat Hillary Clinton released more medical information about the candidate this afternoon. As the Washington Post reports:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign released a letter from her doctor Wednesday describing her diagnosis and treatment for “mild, non-contagious bacterial pneumonia,” and will note that she received a CT scan confirming the illness and that she is now halfway through a regimen on the antibiotic Levaquin.

The letter, from Clinton’s doctor, Lisa Bardack, is intended to put to rest concerns about the Democratic presidential nominee’s health after the illness caused her to stumble out of a memorial service Sunday and forced her off the campaign trail for days. Clinton’s campaign said the information would update a health history released last year.

The details in the letter show that Clinton has normal-ranging vital statistics, according to several doctors who reviewed the information but have never treated her. Her blood pressure and cholesterol levels are “good” or “excellent” and place her at low risk for illness for a woman her age, the doctors said.

So, yeah…there you go. We’re having a discussion about a note from a doctor.

“Colorado For Donald Trump” (And Busted Websites)

We’re not sure who is in charge of two Facebook groups dedicated to turning out Colorado votes for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, but we wanted to tip them off to a small problem:

trumpco1

This is the Facebook page called “Trump for Colorado,” which is clearly not official. But the website http://trumpforcolorado.com, which the page tells people to visit for more information, is a dead link. Likewise,

trumpco2

This is the “Colorado for Donald Trump 2016” page, a vastly larger and busier page with over 110,000 “likes.” But the website it directs to, http://www.coloradofordonaldtrump.com, is likewise…well, it’s dead Jim.

Needless to say, this isn’t super helpful for Donald Trump! We’re not sure what happened to these websites, or why no one has complained to let the owners know the sites are offline, but undecided Coloradans looking to social media for information about Trump’s campaign locally will probably need to keep looking.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 14)

Get More SmarterThe 2016 election will be all over in 54 days. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Colorado Republicans are trying to get excited about Presidential nominee Donald Trump as a new (questionable) poll shows His Hairness leading Democrat Hillary Clinton in our state. John Frank has more for the Denver Post:

Democratic strategist Rick Ridder said the polling trend is a natural phenomenon in Colorado, where party registration is evenly split and independents make it a swing state.

“Anybody who thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the state of Colorado by double digits was dreaming,” said Ridder, a veteran of six presidential campaigns. “The history in Colorado shows that it is difficult for a Democrat or a Republican to get over 50 percent of the vote.”

Meanwhile, Dan Balz of the Washington Post takes a look at Colorado trends from a national perspective:

Make no mistake. Donald Trump is a distinct underdog in Colorado. He’s hobbled by demographic realities here and by a record of statements that have alienated the very groups of voters who will be pivotal in November.

But Democrats here say it’s premature to declare that there has been a permanent shift in the politics of the state. They worry about a lack of enthusiasm for Clinton and warn against complacency born of overconfidence…

…Trump is also potentially hobbled by the absence of a competitive Senate race. Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who had a tough race six years ago, appears in a strong position. His opponent, Republican Darryl Glenn, won a crowded primary, but his hard-right conservatism and lack of resources have left his campaign sputtering.

 

► Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn may very well be the worst statewide candidate in Colorado history. Molly Ball of Atlantic Monthly wonders if we should even still consider Glenn a “candidate” given his lack of movement:

Since winning the primary in June, Glenn has barely mounted a campaign, Wadhams and other Republican insiders told me. He barely speaks to the press, makes few appearances, has few staff, and has yet to run a television ad. Bennet has been on the air with gauzy positive spots touting his bipartisanship since the beginning of the year.

“All he does is go to Republican and conservative events,” Wadhams complained. The deep-red county Glenn hails from is also home to the social-conservative powerhouse Focus on the Family and five military installations, including the Air Force Academy.

 

► Donald Trump will be in Colorado Springs on Saturday evening for a campaign rally. Let’s get those elevators up and running!

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Reuters/Ipsos in Colorado: Trump 43%, Clinton 41%

Donald Trump.

Donald Trump.

As the Denver Post’s John Frank reports, beleaguered supporters of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump are cheering a new poll showing Trump with a modest lead over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in Colorado:

The latest polls show the Republican closing the gap with Hillary Clinton in a state where Democrats felt so confident that they diverted millions in television advertising to other battlegrounds.

A Reuters/Ipsos survey released this week gave Trump a narrow edge in a two-way race, 43 percent to 41 percent — his first lead in Colorado in the 2016 election. It follows two other recent polls showing the presidential race as a dead heat or within 5 percentage points.

For months, Clinton held a definitive, often double-digit lead in Colorado, and polling averages still give her the upper hand. But Republicans are sensing momentum here, and Trump announced Tuesday he will hold a rally Saturday in Colorado Springs.

Grist for the discussion mill though it may be, there’s plenty of skepticism out there about this latest trend in polling toward Trump:

Yesterday, GOP-aligned pollster Magellan Strategies released polling showing a five-point lead for Clinton in Colorado, which earlier this month a Washington Post/SurveyMonkey poll gave Clinton a two-point lead. All of these indicate tightening of the race from mid-August, when Clinton’s lead was in double digits by the consensus of polls at the time.

As we’ve opined previously, if Trump can simply demonstrate the ability for a few days to shut the hell up and not further worsen his already seriously damaged public image, it’s worth several points of support–from Republicans who want to support him but can’t bear to do it when he’s embarrassing their entire party.

But can it last? Based on what we’ve seen from Trump throughout this entire lunatic campaign season, we’d say probably not. Assuming this poll isn’t simply a plain old outlier, we’re most likely seeing a unsustainable level of message discipline for Trump–and the last washout of a summer of desperate attacks on Clinton. At the very least, we’ll need more corroboration from trusted pollsters before calling the momentum definitively changed.

And yes! Maybe this is just the kick in the ass [insert campaign here] needs to [insert remedy here].

Wednesday Open Thread

“Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us.”

–Franklin D. Roosevelt

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 13)

Get More SmarterThe Denver Broncos unveiled a new all-orange jersey scheme; come on, that’s exciting! It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Good news for those of you who use money: The U.S. economy is doing very well. As the New York Times reports:

Household incomes for American families rose strongly in 2015, breaking a yearslong pattern of income stagnation. The median household’s income in 2015 was $56,516, an increase of 5.2 percent over the previous year — the largest one-year rise since at least 1967, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

The income gains mark an important turning point in the recovery from the 2008 recession, showing that recent economic gains are being distributed more broadly.

The economic recovery, however, remains incomplete. The median is still 1.6 percent lower than in 2007, before the recession. It also remains 2.4 percent lower than the peak reached during the boom of the late 1990s. The number of people living in poverty also remains elevated, although it shrank last year by 3.5 million, or roughly 8 percent.

Still, most economists saw the report as remarkably positive. In an exuberant tweet, Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, called it “unambiguously the best” such census data “ever.” Household incomes in 2015 were higher than when President Obama entered office, and it is likely that the gains are continuing during his final year in office.

Economic data shows strong gains across several metrics, particularly among the middle class. Middle class incomes grew in 2015 at the fastest rate in modern history.

 

► The good news keeps coming. Uninsurance rates have reached a record low, as the Washington Post explains:

About 4 million Americans gained health insurance last year, decreasing the nation’s uninsured rate to 9.1 percent, the lowest level since before the Great Recession, according to new federal figures.

The figures, released Tuesday from a large annual Census Bureau survey, show that the gains were driven primarily by an expansion of coverage among people buying individual policies, rather than getting health benefits through a job. This includes, but is not limited to, the kind of coverage sold on the insurance exchanges that began in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act.

The decrease in the share of people who were uninsured slowed from the year before. Between 2013 and 2014, some 9 million people gained coverage — more than twice the increase as from 2014 to last year.

Sorry, Republicans. It looks like you may need to make some changes to those anti-Obamacare talking points.

 

► There’s big news from the Colorado Independent in one of the most competitive house districts in the state. Republican Katy Brown, who is running against Democrat Jeff Bridges in HD-3, has a deep history with the Fraternity Sorority Political Action Committee (FratPAC) that she would rather not discuss.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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