Republican Field for Governor Grows Vaguely Larger

Doug Robinson, the whitest man in Colorado.

Republicans have a new candidate for Governor in 2018: This guy!

“This guy” is Doug Robinson, a nephew of former Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Aside from the fact that one of Robinson’s parents is a sibling of Romney — and that Robinson was a co-chair of Romney’s finance committee in Colorado — we can’t tell you much about the guy. John Frank of the Denver Post has a short story on Robinson’s candidacy that doesn’t say much of anything — the initial version of Frank’s story said that Robinson’s campaign declined to respond to repeated requests for comment, which is a strange way to roll out a statewide campaign — but does include some of the text from Robinson’s announcement letter sent to Colorado Republicans:

The Denver investment banker declared his candidacy for the 2018 race in a letter sent to Republican activists and launched online advertisements directed to a new campaign website [Pols emphasis]. His campaign launch is scheduled for Friday…

…His letter touts himself as a “committed Republican my entire life.” And he highlights his business background, noting that he founded his own company and then worked in technology investment banking for KPMG. “My background is in business — not politics,” he said.

A businessman, not a politician. How inventive.

If you are wondering why Robinson made such a cryptic announcement today, touting a website that says absolutely nothing, the bolded line in the Denver Post story above may provide a clue. Robinson’s campaign appears to have launched online advertisements before bothering to register as an official campaign committee, which is not exactly legal; someone may have panicked and realized that Robinson needed to make his campaign official before he started spending money on said campaign.

The only other thing we remember about Robinson is from a Mitt Romney appearance in Colorado during the 2012 election. Halfway through the clip below, Robinson says something off-camera and then gets a shout-out from Romney:

So, anyway, the GOP race for governor is getting crowded. Maybe it’s time to gas up the 2016 Republican Senate clown car for another tour through Colorado.

How Not to Remember a Tragic Event

Think before you Tweet, George

You’re probably aware that yesterday was April 20, a day that has become something of a quirky holiday around the world because of the popularity of marijuana (click here for more about how 4/20 became associated with marijuana use).

For many Colorado residents, however, April 20 is a somber reminder of a different sort: The anniversary of the Columbine High School Shooting in 1999. It has been 18 years since the Columbine tragedy, in which 13 students and a teacher were killed by two fellow students (we won’t repeat the names of the killers here), the aftermath of which played out on live television across the globe.

It is not unusual, nor improper, for political figures to recognize the anniversary of the Columbine shootings. But it is possible to mark the tragedy in an inappropriate manner, which is exactly what George Brauchler’s campaign for governor did on Thursday. Take a look at this oddly-branded “remembrance”:

Why on earth would you put your campaign logo onto a “Never Forget” image like this? Never Forget: Brought to you by George Brauchler for Governor! The best thing you can say about this image is that it is incredibly tacky, which is not a good look for anybody, let alone a candidate for statewide office.

This isn’t a huge issue by any means, but it’s worth pointing out that there is a right way and a wrong way to do this sort of thing. This Tweet from Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) — who is also a candidate for governor — is simple, straightforward, and completely devoid of campaign imagery. It’s not rocket surgery.

Andy Kerr First to Make Big Launch for CD-7

State Sen. Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood)

As Peter Marcus writes for the Colorado Springs Gazette, state Senator Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood) kicks off today what could be a long and complicated race to succeed Rep. Ed Perlmutter in CD-7:

In a launch video, Kerr said he plans to “take leadership to Washington, the Colorado way.”

“Colorado has taught me what it means to be a leader,” Kerr said in the more than three-minute video. “I’ve learned that good leaders are known for what they do, not for what they say. That’s leadership, the Colorado way.”

The video features images of scenic Colorado views, Kerr with his family, teaching a group of students in a classroom, holding a town hall in a brewery, snowboarding, and, of course, Kerr riding his bike, something that has become a staple of his image…

…Kerr will hold a formal campaign kickoff Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at  Dunstan Middle School in Lakewood. He also on Wednesday launched his official campaign website.

Also announced in the Democratic race is state Rep. Brittany Pettersen, also from Lakewood. Pettersen, like Kerr, made her intentions known shortly after Perlmutter announced his run for governor.

Kerr is a middle school teacher in Jefferson County who has also served in the state legislature since 2006, both of which make him the early leader in this race. We are still waiting to hear more about which Republican candidates will take a look at this open seat in 2018, but it is expected to get crowded.

The State of the Race (for the State)

The 2018 race for Governor in Colorado is adding candidates at a rapid pace, with Democrats Ed Perlmutter and Cary Kennedy joining the field just this week. We’re keeping track of all of the big political races in Colorado through The Big Line, but with so much activity surrounding the open race at the top of the ticket in ’18, we thought it would be worthwhile to break down The State of the Race (for the State) on its own:

 

Looking Good

Ed Perlmutter

Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) officially joined the race for Governor with a big kickoff in Golden on Sunday. Perlmutter is the clear frontrunner here for a number of reasons:

1. Perlmutter begins the race with a strong base of support in Jefferson County, which is traditionally one of the most important swing counties in Colorado. Thanks in part to his decade of service in Congress, he is also well known in voter-rich areas like Adams and Arapahoe counties.

2. Perlmutter is both a proven fundraiser and an accomplished retail politician; there aren’t a lot of politicians in Colorado who can do both things well.

3. All he does is win. Perlmutter has been elected six times in Congressional District 7 – never by less than double digits.

Also on the upswing is former state Sen. Mike Johnston, who raked in more than $600,000 in his first fundraising period. Johnston’s next trick is to prove that he can find more than just some fat low-hanging fruit to collect. If he can churn out another strong fundraising quarter – with Perlmutter and Kennedy now in the race – Johnston could start to generate some serious momentum with less than a year to go until the Democratic Primary.

 

Looking Shaky

George Brauchler

Former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy has been talking about making a bid for Governor for years, so it was a bit odd that she suddenly decided to join the race one day after Perlmutter’s big rollout. Kennedy made her campaign announcement in an awkward Facebook Live video that featured the candidate driving through a wealthy neighborhood before stopping outside her Denver home. The entire performance was stilted and overly-scripted, and while Kennedy got some decent press for her campaign, she won’t generate any momentum from her Facebook Faceplant.

Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler finally became a statewide candidate after years of threatening to run for higher office. Brauchler got some big help from the Denver Post in his “virtual announcement” for Governor, and he’s been burning up the right-wing talk radio circuit ever since. His platform for Governor is a bit of a head-scratcher, however. Brauchler has thus far focused his chatter on a pledge to execute convicted killer Nathan Dunlap and a promise to make dramatic cuts to Medicaid in Colorado – neither of which seem like good issues to attract new voters. Brauchler is also already waffling on plans for making it through a Republican Primary; after initially saying he would go through the convention/caucus process, Brauchler made it clear in a recent radio interview that he has not ruled out trying to petition his way onto the ballot. If you like your candidates indecisive, Brauchler is your guy.

 

 

Still Just Looking

Walker Stapleton

Current State Treasurer Walker Stapleton has been angling toward the 2018 Gubernatorial race since he was first elected in 2010. So where is he? Stapleton may not formally announce his campaign for Governor until this summer, which is a long time to cede the spotlight to the rest of the candidates already running full-steam ahead. Stapleton is not a big-enough name or personality to just wait out the race on his own timeline, and the flurry of early activity in the Governor’s race may force him to adjust his planned schedule. Stapleton is also the Republican candidate with the deepest potential donor base (he is a cousin of former President George W. Bush, after all); if he’s confident that the money will wait for him, maybe a late start won’t be a major hurdle.

Also still eying the race on the Republican side is DaVita CEO Kent Thiry, though it still looks like the chatter is more rumor than reality. Both Noel Ginsburg (D) and Victor Mitchell (R) have already laid claim to the “businessman candidate” angle for 2018.

 

Challengers Line Up For Perlmutter’s CD-7 Seat

Sen. Andy Kerr, Rep. Brittany Pettersen.

As the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Peter Marcus reports, the announcement that Rep. Ed Perlmutter will run for governor of Colorado in 2018 is sparking movement upward by Jefferson County Democrats who have been eager for a chance to move up–with two strong candidates announcing or about to announce runs for Perlmutter’s open seat:

Lakewood Democrats Brittany Pettersen, a state representative, and Andy Kerr, a state senator, quickly announced their intentions to run in the 7th Congressional District, with the hopes of keeping the seat in Democratic control.

“Too many families in Colorado are facing tough times and we need leaders who understand those challenges,” Pettersen said in a statement. “When it comes to good schools for Colorado kids, access to health care for everyone and protecting seniors from cuts to Social Security, I’ll stand up to Donald Trump and fight for regular people.”

“Ed has a been a friend, a mentor, and a role model for public service,” Kerr added. “And yes, I will be entering the race for his congressional seat, with a formal announcement soon.”

Rep. Brittany Pettersen and Sen. Andy Kerr are well-positioned to run for Perlmutter’s congressional seat, with legislative constituencies in the heart of suburban Jeffco that give them both a leg up on name identification. It’s possible that other candidates may consider a bid for the Democratic CD-7 nomination–including Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp of Westminster, whose swing district offers similar benefits in this race for name recognition, as well as Sen. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City.

Perlmutter has proven a master at campaigning in CD-7 since winning a hotly-contested three way primary for the seat in 2006, consistently outperforming other Democratic candidates overlapping his district and making Republican attempts to recapture the seat look like a fool’s errand. On paper the district is more competitive than Perlmutter’s easy wins suggest, so it will be interesting to see who can win the right to fill his shoes–and whether they can hold the seat by the margins Perlmutter has always enjoyed.

Depending on what happens in the gubernatorial race, this could be 2018’s hottest Democratic primary. We’ll be watching it closely.

The Denver Post Should Be Embarrassed

The front page of today’s Denver Post

Democrat Ed Perlmutter launched his campaign for governor on Sunday in front of a large crowd in Golden. This was a big deal, regardless of your political affiliations, because Perlmutter is the obvious frontrunner in the race for Colorado’s top job in 2018. Perlmutter’s announcement also opens up his Congressional seat in CD-7 for what is likely to be a crowded affair for both Democrats and Republicans. In other words, there’s a lot going on here.

Yet, somehow, the front page of the Denver Post today is all about…buttons. Most of today’s front page is dedicated to a story about the 49th annual Colorado State Button Society show and sale that apparently took place in Denver over the weekend.

[We’ll pause here while your adrenaline rush dissipates]

Five other stories are headlined on the front page today — but none of them mention anything about the 2018 race for governor. Not. A. Peep.

Front page of the Denver Post from April 5, 2017

This is particularly odd when you consider that the front page of the Post from last Wednesday featured a breathless account of news that Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler would seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2018. Brauchler didn’t even hold a big event to kick off his campaign — and he’s not even the clear frontrunner in his own party — yet the Post fell all over itself to blare the news across its front page.

Look, the Denver Post can do whatever it wants with its front page. But if the idea of this newspaper is to practice actual, you know, journalism, then virtually ignoring Perlmutter’s gubernatorial announcement is farcical at best. This is a joke, and if you work for the Post, you have every right to feel ashamed today.

Ed Perlmutter Launches Gubernatorial Campaign

AP reporting from the Natural Grocers in Golden, CO this afternoon:

Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden) has officially announced that he is running for governor of Colorado.

Perlmutter, who has represented Jefferson County in Congress since 2006, made the announcement Sunday at Natural Grocers in Golden…

“The Trump administration, coupled with the gridlock that exists in Congress, really is causing things to go backward,” Perlmutter said in an interview. “I feel I can provide more service and leadership at home than I can in Washington.”

“The Republican Party can’t agree with itself right now. When the majority party is kind of in a chaotic state, nothing moves,” he said.

The crowd at today’s rally was by all reports very large, spilling out of the parking lot of the Golden grocery store where Perlmutter has often held his “Government in the Grocery” outreach events while serving in Congress:

Perlmutter’s long representation of Jefferson County, considered Colorado’s foremost bellwether of how the state is trending politically, make him the candidate to beat in both the Democratic primary as well as the general election in 2018. Perlmutter’s speech today kept to the positive message he has used to good effect throughout his political career–an approach borne out by Gov. John Hickenlooper and other politicians in both parties who have enjoyed success in Colorado in recent years.

We’ll see if Republicans have anything similarly hopeful to say in their own campaigns, the difference that defined the last gubernatorial election between Hickenlooper and Bob Beauprez in 2014. Beauprez’s relentlessly nasty and dour message helped Hickenlooper greatly in an election Republicans otherwise enjoyed “wave year” success. These days, no Republican besides Cory Gardner–and sometimes not even Gardner–remembers how to smile.

And that makes this Ed Perlmutter’s race to lose.

Ed Perlmutter Will Run for Governor in 2018

Ed Perlmutter will run for Governor in 2018.

The Jefferson County Democrat will officially declare his intentions at 1:00 on Sunday in Golden, and he will immediately become the frontrunner for the top job in Colorado.

Rumors of a potential Perlmutter candidacy have been circulating for months, becoming all but inevitable in late March when former Senator and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced publicly that he would not seek the Democratic nomination himself.

The 2018 field for Governor is going to be a crowded affair, and may well end up as the most expensive statewide campaign in Colorado history. But as we’ve said in this space before, no other potential candidate — in either party — can match Perlmutter’s combination of experience and results as a campaigner. Perlmutter is wildly popular in Jefferson County, always one of the most important counties for any statewide candidate, and he has established a reputation as both a brilliant retail politician and a consistently-strong fundraiser. Consider this: Perlmutter has won six consecutive races for Congress in CD-7, and no opponent has ever come within single digits on Election Day.

Perlmutter’s decision to run for Governor will also set off a chain reaction in CD-7 that should attract numerous candidates for Congress, including Democratic lawmakers Andy Kerr and Brittany Pettersen, but that is a story for another day. In a gubernatorial field full of recognizable names, none is as big (literally and figuratively) as Perlmutter.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 5)

Welcome back, Springtime. It’s time to Get More Smarter–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

► Senate Democrats are trying to conduct a filibuster over the Supreme Court nomination of Colorado Judge Neil Gorsuch, but as “The Fix” explains, there’s probably not much the minority party can do to stop this train:

Mostly while we slept Tuesday night, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) seized the Senate floor for roughly 15 hours in an attempt to launch an old-school filibuster to block Judge Neil Gorsuch from getting on the Supreme Court. He ended it around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

But his filibuster came too late to be able to derail or even delay Gorsuch’s confirmation. In fact, it probably wasn’t even technically be a filibuster. That’s because procedurally, there’s nothing he nor his colleagues can do to stop Gorsuch from getting a vote on Thursday to advance his nomination — and, ultimately, not much they can do stop him from getting on the court…

…there is one thing that can force a talking senator to yield the floor. And it’s the one thing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) set in place Tuesday: A vote to end debate on Gorsuch.

There aren’t many rules on how long a senator can talk, but there are tons of rules about how long senators have to wait to vote. For example, McConnell knew his colleagues in the minority were going to filibuster Gorsuch — either by actually talking, like Merkley is, or threatening to talk, like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has. So before anything began, McConnell filed a motion to vote to end that debate. That motion, called a cloture motion, has to wait two days before it is “ripened” and senators can actually vote on it.

 

► Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler is running for governor — for reals this time — and will seek to become the Republican nominee in 2018 through the convention/caucus process. Brauchler is one of many likely Republican candidates in 2018, including State Treasurer Walker Stapleton and former state Rep. Victor Mitchell. As Brauchler told the Colorado Statesman at his campaign launch today, he’s be a better governor than John Hickenlooper because…everything:

“For instance,” Brauchler said, “on transportation, I would have taken a much more hands-on approach to figuring out a way to resolve the transportation issue. We’re here on the precipice where we’re at because we really haven’t prioritized transportation. I would have taken a much stronger approach to education funding. I would have stood up to the federal government that sought to triple the size of Medicaid though Obamacare in our state. And I would have found a way to bring more liberty to more people in a way that would provide the opportunity for greater prosperity in this state.”

Yes, Brauchler would have just waved his magic wand to fund transportation and infrastructure upgrades.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Irony Eludes George Brauchler in Silly Teaser Video

Screenshot image from George Brauchler’s “teaser” video on Facebook.

Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler has been hinting and hemming and hawing about making a run for higher office in Colorado for literally years now. Brauchler now appears to be close to actually running for statewide office in 2018…but he’s still going to screw around with the possibility for a few more weeks/months.

It has been widely assumed in Colorado political circles that Brauchler will seek the Republican nomination for Governor in 2018. Today, Brauchler posted a video on Facebook that appears to be a teaser for such a campaign. Enter, irony:

“Here in Colorado…we’re frustrated with weak elected officials that continue to dodge difficult decisions.”

Yes, that’s correct. The guy who can’t decide whether or not he will actually run for higher office is on a rampage about elected officials who “dodge difficult decisions.” The absurdity of Brauchler’s video was not lost on local political reporters:


For much of 2015, Colorado Republicans waited on Brauchler to announce that he would seek the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in 2016. Brauchler spun himself in circles before  anticlimactically announcing that he was going to pass on the 2016 race, which made him look like a putz — even moreso than he already looked ridiculous — and set Colorado Republicans scrambling to find someone to challenge incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet.

Brauchler was certainly not the GOP’s top choice to run for Senate in 2016, but by the time he finally announced his decision, he was about the best option left for Republicans. Here’s what Brauchler had to say in late September 2015 after waffling for months over the idea of a Senate bid:

“I got pretty far down the field. I just couldn’t do it to my family.”

Now, let’s fast forward to November 2016. Less than 24 hours after Election Day, Brauchler took pains to suggest a potential bid for governor during an interview with a local radio station. Since that time, Brauchler has been trying to attract attention through some dunderheaded social media diatribes while refusing to actually say if he will or won’t run for governor. According to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, Brauchler’s “George for DA” campaign committee was terminated on February 13, 2017, but as of today there is no filing for a gubernatorial campaign for Brauchler.

So, anyway, if you’re looking for a gubernatorial candidate who is willing to make the tough decisions…George Brauchler might eventually be your guy. If and when he decides to run, of course.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (April 4)

Dreaming of a “White Easter?” It’s time to Get More Smarter–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…

► Congress is scheduled to embark on a two-week recess at the end of this week, but there’s still the matter of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch to consider. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) announced on Monday that he would not support a filibuster of Gorsuch, though he still won’t say whether or not he will vote in favor of Gorsuch’s nomination.

With or without Bennet, Senate Democrats say that they have enough votes to reject Gorsuch and force a filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is thus likely to invoke the “nuclear option” to limit debate and reduce the number of required votes for confirmation from 60 to 51. The editorial board of the Denver Post is encouraging Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) to reject the “nuclear option”:

Better to have the seat unfilled until senators can grow up and do right by the American people.

Trashing the filibuster over a single nominee would be doing a judge of Gorsuch’s caliber — and the nation — a terrible disservice.

 

► There is a growing school of thought among Congressional Democrats that Republicans would only be hurting themselves by invoking the “nuclear option” on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

 

► Congressional Republicans are mulling their next steps as they attempt to undo Obamacare after the House failed to even bring a bill to the floor for a vote in late March. But as the Washington Post reports, there’s little reason to think House Republicans and President Trump could get a new plan past the Senate:

The new proposal would further relax some of the Affordable Care Act’s regulations, to placate conservatives who thought the previous GOP bill didn’t deregulate enough of it. States could seek waivers to opt out of the ACA’s requirement that insurers cover “Essential Health Benefits,” such as visits to the doctor, prescription drugs and maternity care. They could also opt out of the prohibition against insurers charging more from the sick than from the healthy. House conservatives are now saying this might get them on board.

But the problem is that, since this is a deregulatory change, a bill with this feature in it might not be able to pass the Senate by a simple majority under the “reconciliation” process, which is reserved for provisions with a budgetary dimension, according to Sarah Binder, a congressional scholar at George Washington University. This would trigger a so-called “Byrd Rule” challenge from Democrats, and to get around it, Republicans would have to appeal to the Senate parliamentarian.

Republicans may want to make sure that any potential change protects coverage for “pre-existing conditions” created from repeatedly banging your head against a wall.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Get Ready for a Very Expensive Race for Governor

Michael Johnston

As John Frank reports for the Denver Post, the 2018 Colorado gubernatorial race just got a lot more expensive:

Democrat Mike Johnston will report raising more than $625,000 for his gubernatorial campaign to open the year — a sum his campaign touted as a record haul.

The former state senator entered the 2018 race for Colorado’s governor Jan. 17 and recruited more than 2,500 donors in his first 10 weeks as a candidate.

Johnston’s impressive Q1 fundraising haul certainly raises the bar for every other potential gubernatorial candidate and likely means that we are in store for the most expensive “statewide” (non-federal) race in Colorado history.

The last time Colorado had an open seat for Governor was in 2010, when Democrat John Hickenlooper handily defeated Republican Dan Maes and American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo. Those three candidates together spent about $5.5 million (not counting independent expenditures, PACs, etc.), a total which will likely be dwarfed by the time we are finished with the June primaries next year. Republican candidate Victor Mitchell is already pledging to spend at least $3 million of his own money, and several other major contenders — including Democrat Ed Perlmutter and Republicans Walker Stapleton and George Brauchler — haven’t even begun to fundraise in earnest.

Ken Salazar Out for Governor; Perlmutter Run Looks Closer

UPDATE: Peter Marcus of the Colorado Springs Gazette:

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter is expected to announce a run for governor as early as the end of the month, ColoradoPolitics has learned.

“If it was up to me, we would announce sooner rather than later,” confirmed Perlmutter campaign consultant Steve Welchert, a high-profile Democratic strategist.

Perlmutter’s pending announcement was pushed up by news that former interior secretary and U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar will not pursue a run for governor in 2018 on the Democratic ticket.

—–

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County)

Late last night, the Denver Post published an editorial from former Senator and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, in which Salazar makes clear that he will not run for governor:

The 2018 election for governor of Colorado is a keystone to the future greatness of Colorado. Several individuals, both Democratic and Republican, have expressed an interest in serving as governor. I will not be among them.

This has been a difficult decision, because I love Colorado. I believe I would have won an election for governor, and that I would have been a successful governor for all the people of Colorado. However, my family’s well-being must come first.

Salazar had been contemplating a run for governor for many months. Just a few weeks ago, Salazar told the Denver Post that he thought he could wait until the end of the summer to make a decision on 2018 — a timeline that was not at all realistic.

In the meantime, there has been a growing chorus of voices pushing for Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) to run for governor. Perlmutter had said publicly and privately that he was not interested in challenging Salazar in a potential Democratic primary, but now that this is no longer a concern, the chatter surrounding Perlmutter should start to grow exponentially.

Yes, there are other Democrats already in the race or contemplating a run — including Mike Johnston and Cary Kennedy — but Perlmutter is the juggernaut candidate that Democrats have been hoping for in 2018. Perlmutter currently represents the single most important electoral county in Colorado (Jeffco), and he has won every one of his six races for Congress by at least double digits.

Make America Great (Except for Science, Arts, and Poor People)

President Trump unveiled his federal budget plans today, and HOLYCRAPWHATAREYOUTHINKING? As the Washington Post reports:

President Trump on Thursday will unveil a budget plan that calls for a sharp increase in military spending and stark cuts across much of the rest of the government including the elimination of dozens of long-standing federal programs that assist the poor, fund scientific research and aid America’s allies abroad.

Trump’s first budget proposal, which he named “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” would increase defense spending by $54 billion and then offset that by stripping money from more than 18 other agencies. Some would be hit particularly hard, with reductions of more than 20 percent at the Agriculture, Labor and State departments and of more than 30 percent at the Environmental Protection Agency.

It would also propose eliminating future federal support for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Within EPA alone, 50 programs and 3,200 positions would be eliminated.

The cuts could represent the widest swath of reductions in federal programs since the drawdown after World War II, probably leading to a sizable cutback in the federal non-military workforce, something White House officials said was one of their goals.

“President Trump’s proposed budget will have devastating consequences for our country and for Colorado. I will do my best to fight against the cuts affecting hardworking families, federal employees, businesses and research organizations.”

— Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County)

Trump probably doesn’t have the support in Congress to enact this budget proposal, which includes dramatic cuts to popular programs that nobody in their right mind would stand behind. Indeed many Congressional Republicans reacted with swift opposition. Again, from the Washington Post:

Congressional Republicans also protested cuts that might hurt their districts and states. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who had been White House budget director under President George W. Bush,  issued a statement “strongly opposing” Trump’s proposed elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Portman vowed to “fight to preserve” the program, which he said had been “an invaluable resource” to Ohio by generating more than $80 billion in benefits in health, tourism and recreation. [Pols emphasis]

Yeah. Good luck finding a lot of Members of Congress who are willing to look the other way while popular local initiatives get whacked. The attack ads for someone like Sen. Portman virtually write themselves (here’s an outline of the specific programs that would be all but eliminated under Trump’s proposal). In fact, congress may be protecting Trump from himself by opposing this plan; as Politico explains, the result of Trump’s budget proposal would be a devastating blow to a good number of Trump voters:

But while Trump’s first stab at budget politics has some eye-popping cuts, if passed it would also hurt many of the voters who supported him as a result of its slashing of after-school programs, job training and disease-fighting research — a line item that both Republicans and Democrats tend to support.

Unless the Department of Defense is ready with an advanced new weapon that can blow up cancer and keep kids from getting in trouble after school, Trump’s $54 billion in extra defense spending isn’t going to mean squat for most Americans.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (March 8)

Happy International Women’s Day! Let’s go ahead and see if we can Get More Smarter. 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…

► President Trump has joined with House Republicans to promote a major healthcare policy change that some Republicans are calling “Obamacare-lite” (in order to conserve letters, we’re just going to stick with “Trumpcare”). Despite any happy talk you may hear from individual lawmakers, the conservative backlash is well underway. Today, the American Medical Association announced that it could not support Trumpcare, either.

Good luck trying to find consensus on Trumpcare among Colorado’s Republican delegation to Congress. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) has been a vocal supporter of the new health care legislation — even before he had a chance to read the draft document. Coffman is excited about what he calls a massive entitlement reform that would quickly eliminate Medicaid. Meanwhile, Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) continues to insist that he is opposed to any proposal that would gut Medicaid.

Politico examines seven specific pitfalls that could derail Trumpcare entirely, including a poor reception from the healthcare insurers and providers. Many conservative Republicans are also not happy with the plan being pushed by House Speaker Paul Ryan.

 

► House Republicans are moving quickly as they try to enact Trumpcare. As the Washington Post explains, outside groups are being left to figure out the details:

The House GOP is moving so fast — with debate starting in the Ways and Means Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee less than 48 hours after they unveiled their bills — that lawmakers have not yet received any estimates from congressional budget analysts of how much the plans would cost or, significantly, how many Americans could be expected to gain or lose insurance coverage…

…An analysis by S&P Global predicts the legislation would lead to a loss of coverage for 2 million to 4 million of the roughly 16 million Americans who bought their own health plans through the ACA’s marketplaces or separately. More adults 35 and younger would gain coverage, while fewer adults 45 and older would be insured, according to the analysis…

…The GOP plans also would undo an ACA rule that allows insurers to charge their oldest customers no more than three times what they charge their youngest and healthiest ones. Instead, insurers could charge five times as much…

…Larry Levitt, senior vice president for special initiatives at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said more low-income people would have a hard time affording benefits under the Republicans’ American Health Care Act. “There will be more losers than winners,” he said.

It’s not all bad news — Trumpcare is great if you are already rich.

 

► The Colorado legislature could end up convening a special session this summer if Trumpcare makes it through Congress.

 

► Women haven’t disappeared in Colorado, but this is what it might look like if they did.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)