Mitch McConnell’s Historically-Low Approval Ratings

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO)

President Trump continues to set new records for plummeting approval ratings after such a short time in office. As we noted over the weekend, Trump’s numbers are falling fast even in states where he performed well in the 2016 election.

Various polling outfits have shown Trump’s approval ratings in the low-30s this summer, which are historically low numbers for a President after his first six months in office. But as The Hill reports today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would need to nearly DOUBLE his approval ratings just to catch up to Trump’s record lows:

A Public Policy Polling survey found just 18 percent of respondents approve of the job McConnell is doing, compared with 74 percent who disapprove.

If McConnell were up for reelection today, 37 percent of respondents said they would vote for the Kentucky Republican. Another 44 percent would instead choose a Democratic opponent, according to the survey.

It’s important to understand just how difficult it is to have an approval rating of 18-freakin’-percent. Take a look at some of these comparisons:

♦ Late last year, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie recorded the lowest approval rating for a sitting governor that Quinnipiac University pollsters had ever measured…and he bottomed out at 19%.

♦ Last month, Morning Consult released polling results for every U.S. Senator; Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake sported the worst approval rating at 37%.

♦ In a February Gallup poll, Russian President Vladimir Putin checked in with a 22% approval rating among Americans.

♦ Former President George W. Bush suffered low approval ratings for much of his second term, but still bottomed out at around 23%.

McConnell was just in Denver last week for a fundraiser with Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who has the unenviable job of leading the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) for the 2018 election cycle. Gardner himself is scraping the floor with approval ratings at a meager 24%.

Get More Smarter on Friday (August 18)

The sun will come out…tomorrow…and Sunday…but not Monday. 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…

So long, Steve BannonPresident Trump’s Chief Strategist is out of a job.

Earlier this week, Bannon told American Prospect magazine that he thought the recent news focus on white supremacists would actually be politically beneficial to Trump and Republicans.

 

► Lawmakers are growing concerned that President Trump might deliberately refuse to spend money allocated by Congress for federal budgets. As Politico reports:

Lawmakers and activists are preparing for the possibility that President Donald Trump’s administration, in its zeal to slash the federal budget, will take the rare step of deliberately not spending all the money Congress gives it — a move sure to trigger legal and political battles.

The concern is mainly focused on the State Department, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has drawn criticism for failing to spend $80 million allocated by Congress to fight Russian and terrorist propaganda and for trying to freezecongressionally authorized fellowships for women and minorities. Activists and congressional officials fear such practices could take hold at other U.S. departments and agencies under Trump…

…Advocacy groups are consulting lawyers and gathering information on current spending and the laws that govern the budget; one nongovernmental-organization network is even surveying humanitarian organizations to gather more facts. Capitol Hill staffers are scouring the fine print of appropriations bills, hunting for loopholes that would allow the executive branch to slow down or stop spending.

The goal is to fend off cuts that they fear could damage foreign aid programs, hobble U.S. diplomacy and ultimately weaken America’s national security.

So, about that separate “branches of government” thing…

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 17)

On this day 11 years ago, it was 2006. 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…

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) isn’t up for re-election until 2020, but he has a LOT of work to do just to win back his Republican base. Conservative writer Jennifer Rubin absolutely dismantled Gardner in a column yesterday in the Washington Post titled “Cory Gardner Has a Choice: Voters or Trump.” Here’s an excerpt:

Gardner has sacrificed his integrity and betrayed the confidence voters place in him to be an independent-minded voice. And for what? His reputation has suffered, his profile has fallen…

…It’s Gardner’s moral absenteeism that reminds all voters how unworthy of office are Trump and his go-along Republicans. Anti-Trump Republicans and Democrats should get ready for 2020 — they can and should have the chance to knock him out of office.

Yikes! It has not been a good week for Sen. Gardner. Maybe he’ll feel better tomorrow after he hosts a fundraiser tonight in Denver along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

 

President Trump is on a mission to burn every bridge imaginable, and it may only be a matter of time before he is forced to answer his own phones in the White House. As Politico reports, Trump is essentially just an orang-er version of that angry old man down the street who shakes his fist at kids for running on his lawn:

President Donald Trump’s decision to double down on his argument that “both sides” were to blame for the violent clashes at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was driven in part by his own anger — and his disdain for being told what to do…

…The controversy over his response to the Charlottesville violence was no different. Agitated about being pressured by aides to clarify his first public statement, Trump unexpectedly unwound the damage control of the prior two days by assigning blame to the “alt-left” and calling some of the white supremacist protesters “very fine people.”

“In some ways, Trump would rather have people calling him racist than say he backed down the minute he was wrong,” one adviser to the White House said on Wednesday about Charlottesville. “This may turn into the biggest mess of his presidency because he is stubborn and doesn’t realize how bad this is getting.”

That thing about the old guy down the street? We take that back. Trump is 9-years-old. You’re not the boss of me!!!

Never content to let a divisive issue settle, Trump is now raging about the removal of statues that celebrate the Confederate Army. From the Washington Post:

President Trump on Thursday mourned the loss of “beautiful statues and monuments” in the wake of the violent clashes in Charlottesville during a white supremacist demonstration protesting the planned removal of a statue depicting Confederate military commander Robert E. Lee.

Trump’s string of morning tweets made clear the president was not willing to back down over his claims Tuesday that some of the demonstrators had legitimate grievances over the loss of Southern “history,” and that “both sides” were to blame in the mayhem that left a woman dead and at least 19 more injured. Trump made those claims a day after he had belatedly condemned the neo-Nazi and Klux Klan groups that organized the Unite the Right rally. Politicians from both parties have criticized the president for inflaming racial tensions and failing to provide clear moral leadership for the nation.

History may well show that Trump’s Presidency truly did collapse this week. Hell, even Brick Tamland Rep. Doug Lamborn is condemning Trump’s comments about white supremacists in no uncertain terms.

 

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Callers and hosts rip Senator Cory Gardner on conservative talk radio

U.S. Sen Cory Gardner (R-CO) is taking heat from conservative talk radio hosts and listeners on Colorado talk radio, following his strong statements condemning white supremacy in light of a violent “Unite the Right” rally and counter-protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one counter-protestor was killed and many more were injured.

In a survey of Colorado voters earlier this month, Public Policy Polling revealed that Cory Gardner’s approval rating has fallen to 24%, which positions the junior Senator from Colorado – who also chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee – 16 points below President Trump’s rating in the same poll.

That result should have caused some consternation among the Colorado GOP and national Republican operatives. Gardner’s position as NRSC Chairman, his pivotal role in supporting multiple attempts to repeal and/or replace the Affordable Care Act, his staunch public commentary in response to North Korean threats, and his loyalty to Trump’s legislative agenda and cabinet picks gave the impression that his favorability with Colorado conservatives was solid.

But as bad as the polling results are for him, things may have just gotten worse for Gardner among conservatives.

Gardner has been under pressure from constituents to hold in-person town hall meetings to address healthcare reform and other issues which Republican controlled Congress and the Trump administration have slated on their agendas. He held three town hall meetings on Tuesday, after a 16 month town hall hiatus, where he repeated his condemnation of white supremacy.

Beginning last Saturday and culminating in an off-script contentious exchange at a press conference Tuesday, President Trump has issued equivocating statements regarding which side (or sides) were responsible for the violence, and asserting a moral equivalency between the white nationalists and counter-protestors.

Gardner’s original tweet condemning racism following Trump’s Saturday comments is apparently where the Senator got sideways with some of Trump’s base in Colorado.

On at least two Colorado conservative talk radio shows on Monday, August 14, hosts and listeners calling into the show revealed their frustrations with Gardner.

From Monday’s edition of the Richard Randall Show (KVOR, 740am in Colorado Springs):

CALLER:  Cory Gardner –I’m not going to denounce this guy, but I’ll tell you what, I’m not going to vote for the guy! Nor will I vote for any other politician who is pouncing on the opportunity to throw rocks at President Trump. Again, he said the right things.

HOST RICHARD RANDALL:  […] You know, Cory Gardner has been noticeably absent, by and large, from media here in Colorado, unless he knows it’s going to be softballs. He’s been invited to be on the program numerous times. My feeling is, I don’t see a lot of support for Donald Trump coming from Cory Gardner. I don’t know if that’s a personal belief, or whether it’s a political calculation that in order to be reelected in Colorado he needs to not do that sort of thing. Or it’s political calculation that somebody tells him, “Well, you need to call on stronger language from Trump because that’s what everybody’s doing so if you want to be like –.”  I mean, I don’t know. I just don’t know. I know this. I haven’t seen much support of Trump from Cory Gardner. And I see him, on the first opportunity he can, pouncing on this President. It — it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

And, from the same day on Randall’s show:

CALLER:  Hey, Richard! Thanks for taking my call. I know I only have a few seconds. But, when injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty. And I’m telling you, they’re taking history away from people, and this is what is causing it. And people like Andrew Cohen or Cory Gardner – first of all, Cory Gardner should be recalled. Anybody that doesn’t, you know, participates in this hatred, I think they should be recalled, investigated, and see if Cory Gardner is getting paid by George Soros.

Randal also shared a text message on-air from another listener:

RANDALL:  This comes in by text. It says: “I was a ‘never-Trumper’, but this is ridiculous! Republicans like Gardner will not get another dime (dollar sign) or vote from me! I am changing my affiliation today!

Later that afternoon, on the Chuck & Julie Show (KNUS, 710am in Centennial) there was a similar evaluation of Senator Cory Garnder:

HOST, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR, AND PUBLISHER OF THE GLENDALE CHERRY CREEK CHRONICLE, CHUCK BONNIWELL:  Is Cory Gardner the biggest little snake you’ve ever seen in your life?

CALLER, TOM: Oh, man! I – that guy!

BONNIWELL:  He’s revolting.

CALLER:  I don’t know how we get rid of that guy.  But –.

[…]

BONNIWELL:  I went through the Internet to find anything Cory Gardner said about the Micah Johnson, who shot and killed five police officers [in Dallas last July]. Not a peep from that little creep.  […]Hey, [you’re a] great caller, Tom, and a great American. And you agree with me, so–. Thanks so much for calling!

Then, later in the same show, Mr. Bonniwell interrupted his co-host and wife, journalist Julie Hayden:

BONNIWELL:  Before you go into that, I just want to declare my utter disgust [with] –and revulsion to — Cory Gardner.

HAYDEN:  Yes!

BONNIWELL:  What an awful human being!  What a scum ball!  I look back – I mean, he’s condemning Trump because he didn’t call a particular person ‘evil’. Really! And I forgot, when Micah Johnson gunned down five police officers in Dallas, I went to the internet. I don’t see one peep of Cory Gardner calling on Obama to reject it. And Obama gave some kind of, “Oh, well, we shouldn’t incite racial hatred” – nothing against Black Lives Matter, nothing!  This guy is a total squirrel—

HAYDEN:  Pandering, right!

BONNIWELL:  –a total amoral squirrel. He’s revolting and I’m ashamed that he is my Senator.

HAYDEN:  He should be ashamed of himself.

Conservative Columnist: “Gardner Shows No Moral Leadership”

Senator Cory Gardner is in trouble.

On Tuesday, Gardner held his first solo town hall appearance(s) in more than a year. The coverage of those events (in Colorado Springs, Greeley, and Lakewood) was largely negative for the freshman Senator, but there were a few friendlier media voices that could help Gardner feel a little better about the rough reception he received.

And then there was Jennifer Rubin.

The well-known conservative columnist absolutely unloaded on Gardner today. Rubin writes the “Right Turn” blog for the Washington Post, and if you have a knee-jerk reaction to assume a liberal bias because of the publication, it’s important to know that Rubin’s conservative bonafides are more than solid. In fact, Rubin heaped praise and sunshine on Gardner just last December, calling him a “steady but quiet force in the Senate” in a column dedicated entirely to our man from Yuma.

It’s safe to say that Rubin is no longer buying whatever Gardner is selling. We’d encourage you to read her entire column today, titled, “Cory Gardner Has a Choice: Voters or Trump?” In fact, it’s hard for us to pick out a handful of anecdotes to best represent the apparent disgust Rubin has with Gardner today, but we’ll do our best.

Sen. Cory Gardner in a July press conference about repealing Obamacare.

Rubin starts out by pointing out that Gardner has come a long way from where he started when he won a Senate seat in 2014:

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) ran in 2014 as a reform-minded, inclusive Republican (now an oxymoron). He successfully beat back the “war on women” charge from Democrats. He nevertheless turned out to be a political lemming [Pols emphasis] — yes on endorsing Donald Trump’s candidacy (until the “Access Hollywood” tape); yes on denying Merrick Garland a confirmation vote; yes on President Trump’s extreme and unqualified nominees (only the U.S. trade representative [!] nominee drew a no vote); and yes on Trumpcare, including a one-year ban on Planned Parenthood funding. When he returned home this week, he got an angry reception…

Rubin is not at all impressed with Gardner’s attempt to finesse questions about President Trump, whose bizarre news conference on Tuesday seemed to indicate his support for white supremacists:

When the hard questions come, Gardner shows no moral leadership…

…In  three years, no one will say in his defense, “But Cory Gardner was privately upset so he gets a pass!” or “But Cory Gardner made empty public statements after Charlottesville!”

It is because of passive, cowering Republicans such as Gardner that Trump feels confident he can ride out his term. Gardner is the quintessential decent man who refused to interpose himself between an abhorrent leader and his country. Gardner has sacrificed his integrity and betrayed the confidence voters place in him to be an independent-minded voice. And for what? His reputation has suffered, his profile has fallen. [Pols emphasis]

In her final paragraph, Rubin drops the hammer:

It’s Gardner’s moral absenteeism that reminds all voters how unworthy of office are Trump and his go-along Republicans. Anti-Trump Republicans and Democrats should get ready for 2020 — they can and should have the chance to knock him out of office. [Pols emphasis]

There is no way to sugarcoat this for Gardner. Rubin was one of the leaders of the Cory Gardner fan club as recently as last December. But as 2017 wore on, it became apparent that Gardner preferred the title of “leadership” in the U.S. Senate as opposed to actually, you know, showing leadership.

We noticed the change ourselves some months back, but these critical comments from an erstwhile-friendly conservative commentator confirm that Sen. Gardner took a hard-right turn at Donald Trump’s side and hasn’t looked back since.

Local Media Can’t Whitewash Cory Gardner’s Very Bad Day

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

As Politico reports today, months of pent-up anger over Sen. Cory Gardner’s votes in the U.S. Senate since President Donald Trump took office exploded at three town halls held in Colorado Springs, Greeley and finally in Lakewood yesterday afternoon. The result was a public humiliation of the likes Gardner has never seen in his relatively brief political career:

Sen. Cory Gardner was hammered for supporting Obamacare repeal during a series of raucous town halls on Tuesday, where constituents repeatedly criticized his role in a closed-door partisan process to draft the failed GOP health bill.

Gardner, who’s responsible for protecting the GOP majority in the Senate in 2018, faced heated criticism over the repeal effort that collapsed just a few weeks ago, even as congressional leaders try to pivot to tax reform when they return from the lengthy recess next month.

While Gardner’s constituents in this purple state applauded him for his swift and strong condemnation of white supremacist groups this weekend, he was interrupted by boos and jeers of “shame” and was called a “liar” as he defended his support for health care legislation that would have significantly scaled back Obamacare and Medicaid. One attendee at the town hall here, held at Colorado Christian University in a Denver-area suburb, was escorted out by police after repeatedly shouting, “Why are you taking away health care?”

Roll Call’s Kyle Stewart describes a typical exchange between Gardner and the town hall attendees, in which Gardner’s initially satisfying answers were undercut by hypocritical qualifiers by the end–prompting the crowd to reject them rather vocally:

The conversation soon shifted to the environment when a woman with 350 Colorado, a grassroots movement dedicated to addressing climate change, asked the senator about a plan to expand coal mining in the state. She said she opposed the plan, which would allow coal to be mined in Gunnison National Forest…

There was little opposition to Gardner’s initial response.

“I want nothing more for them than to have a brighter, better future, clean air, and clean environment,” the senator said.

As he continued, Gardner lost the crowd’s approval. [Pols emphasis]

“I do believe that we have to have an all of the above energy policy,” Gardner said as boos started. “I do believe that we have to have coal.”

It’s important to note that Republicans made a significant effort to turn out supporters to all three of these events. Despite this, it’s true that yesterday’s town halls were overwhelmingly filled with Sen. Gardner’s critics. But the audience wasn’t just blindly shouting down Gardner at every turn, as evidenced by applause for Gardner and praise in many questions for his standing up against white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend. In the exchange above, the booing only began after Gardner gave an answer that initially drew praise–but was undercut by his next statement.

The audience was angry, but they were angry for specific reasons. And they gave Gardner credit where due.

Local media, on the other hand, seems to have been taken in by a deliberate strategy from Gardner and his staff to play for sympathy off the crowd’s easily-anticipated anger. On social media and via direct communication with local reporters, Gardner’s staff aggressively pushed the narrative of an ignorant mob shouting down Gardner’s every word. But that’s just not what happened on the ground: these were crowds asking intelligent questions and rejecting Gardner’s answers–not out of hand, but via their own understanding of the issues. They listened to Gardner. They heard what he was saying. They didn’t like it. And they said so.

That’s not “chaos.” That’s accountability. And it did not merit the arrogant response it received from the local peanut gallery. 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark, we’re talking to you. Shame on you for this uncharacteristic bout of offensive nonsense:

To quote Mr. Clark out of context, “that, of course, is completely not how America works.”

The much larger audiences who watched this play out yesterday in national media aren’t getting this silly local spin that Gardner was somehow a victim. All the nation saw yesterday was another Republican facing blowback at home over his votes in Washington. It wasn’t the first such incident in this August recess, and it won’t be the last. Not to mention that the response Gardner received yesterday, from the failure of Republicans to turn out in support to the withering fire from Democrats who did, is fully consistent with Gardner’s 24% approval rating in the polls.

What the huge difference between local and national coverage of yesterday’s town halls does show is that Gardner has very effective press staff–and our local media gets played like a fiddle by them over and over. The real “embarrassment” yesterday was a local press who were somehow persuaded to value politeness over their own stated principles–and left very real Coloradans who have been struggling to be heard by their U.S. Senator for months flapping in the breeze.

Those attendees should be proud. And their detractors yesterday should feel shame today.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 15)

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► After more than a year of refusing to meet with his constituents in a solo town hall setting, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) today is holding three separate town hall events around the Front Range. We’re covering Gardner’s big day here, from his event in Colorado Springs this morning to Greeley and then Lakewood later today. So far, things have not gone so good for Gardner.

Gardner’s third and final town hall of the day today is at Colorado Christian University; event hosts say that public protests will not be permitted.

 

President Trump finally got around to condemning white supremacists with an awkward statement at the White House on Monday. Most observers saw Trump’s comments as “too little, too late” after the weekend bloodshed in Charlottesville, Virginia. For his part, Trump is ratcheting up his victimhood rhetoric and taking new shots at the media for not making him look good. As the New York Times reports:

Shortly before leaving the capital, Mr. Trump attacked the news media for blowing the episode out of proportion.

“Made additional remarks on Charlottesville and realize once again that the #Fake News Media will never be satisfied…truly bad people!” he wrote Monday evening…

…Even Mr. Trump’s allies worried that his measured remarks, delivered two days after dozens of public figures issued more forceful denunciations of the violence in Virginia, came too late to reverse the self-inflicted damage on his moral standing as president.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump said the rioting was initiated by “many sides.” His comments prompted nearly universal criticism and spurred several of his top advisers, including his new chief of staff, John F. Kelly, to press the president to issue a more forceful rebuke.

It’s is possible probable that President Trump just does not possess the “empathy” gene.

 

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Gardner’s Big Day Off To Very Rough Start

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: 9NEWS has from the final town hall in Lakewood:

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UPDATE: Round 2 live now from Greeley via KDVR:

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KRDO-TV reporting from the first of three public town halls going on today held by Sen. Cory Gardner at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs early this morning–where the short notice and crack-of-dawn start did not hold back a rowdy capacity crowd:

It was a rowdy crowd at Senator Cory Gardner’s town hall in Colorado Springs on Tuesday morning.

The Senator held a question and answer forum at the Pikes Peak Community College.

He addressed hot topics such as health care, the conflict with North Korea, and the controversial rally in Virginia over the weekend.

When the discussion of health care was first raised, Sen. Gardner was met with boos from the majority of the crowd…

Despite desperate pleas from El Paso County Republicans for Gardner supporters to turn out in force for this town hall, the crowd was overwhelmingly composed of residents upset about Gardner’s position on health care and his support for the Trump administration in general. But as the Denver Post’s Jesse Paul reports, the crowd did back up Gardner with applause on a few items on which there was agreement:

Cory Gardner kicked off his day of three solo, in-person town halls across the state — his first such events in more than a year — by reiterating his disgust of white nationalist groups and their violent actions over the weekend in Virginia.

“I think it’s about time asses with Nazi flags go back to their hole,” Gardner said Tuesday to a round of applause.

But the support pretty much ended there.

Gardner won himself a few legitimate plaudits from the crowd for his pushback against President Donald Trump’s tepid condemnation of the violence at a white supremacist rally in Virginia over the weekend. Unfortunately, Gardner completely undid that goodwill in a fumbled response to a question from Tom Sullivan, former state senate candidate and father of an Aurora theater shooting victim:

After thanking Gardner for calling out Trump, Sullivan requested what he saw as the next logical step–for Gardner to ask Trump to fire Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka, three senior Trump administration officials who have been accused of white nationalist proclivities. Several House caucuses representing minority groups in Congress have asked for this as well, saying “Americans deserve to know that white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis are not in a position to influence U.S. policy.” The clip above of Gardner’s flat refusal to even consider this seriously undermines the goodwill he earned over the weekend.

Overall this was a very difficult outing for Gardner, as he surely expected–after all, that’s why he has avoided unscripted engagement with his constituents for Trump’s entire presidency up to now. The video circulating today of Gardner getting pummeled by constituents, and inability to provide mollifying answers on the hard questions is part of the permanent record now. Yes, it was better for Gardner to take his lumps than to hide all the way through the August recess. But given the further harm Gardner’s responses today are likely to do to his image, it was always a choice between the lesser of two evils.

We’ll update from Gardner’s next two pummelings town halls in Greeley and Lakewood later today.

No Protests Allowed at Gardner Town Hall in Lakewood

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Members of the public who fail to gain admittance to the Colorado Christian University’s (CCU) 900-person-capacity Event Center, where U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) plans to hold his Lakewood town hall meeting Tuesday, will be able to watch the event on YouTube but will not be accommodated on the university  campus, according to a CCU spokesperson.

“The University was only asked to provide space for the town hall event, itself,” said CCU Director of Communications Lance J. Oversole via email to the  Colorado Times Recorder. “The event will be lived-stream from the Centennial Institute YouTube channel.”

An overflow crowd seems likely, given that over 1,000 people packed a middle-school auditorium in February, according to media reports, to direct questions at a cardboard cutout of Gardner, as opposed to the real Republican, who’s scheduled to be there Wed.

People will be allowed into the town-hall venue on a “first-come, first-in” basis, according to Oversole.

Oversole said protesters at the town hall meeting in Lakewood will not be allowed in front of Event Center but instead must gather “on public property, either the Garrison or Alameda entrances to the campus.”

“Clearly, this is a town hall event in the CCU Event Center, open to the public,” wrote Oversole. “In the event of inappropriate behavior inside the venue, Lakewood Police will handle the situation accordingly. If individuals are removed from the venue, they will be escorted to public property. Public protest in any form must be carried out “on public property, either the Garrison or Alameda entrances to the campus.”.”

The CCU event center is located on the campus at 8787 West Alameda Ave., and the town hall is scheduled to run from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m

What you can do to fight back this week (August 14)

As tragedies like the events in Charlottesville this weekend prove once again, we have a long struggle ahead to stem the tide of racism and extremism in our nation and to protect the values that have made America great for generations. We will prevail, but we are reminded of the difficulty of this struggle and the sacrifices so many have made—and will continue to make.

The fight goes on, and there is also some better news today. After hiding from the voters of Colorado for over five hundred days, Sen. Cory Gardner is finally holding in-person town halls tomorrow along the Front Range. In Colorado Springs, Greeley, and Lakewood, you’ll at last get the chance to ask your Republican U.S. Senator to explain his votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, to end clean air protections, and to advance President Donald Trump’s destructive agenda.

Priority #1 this week: hold Sen. Cory Gardner accountable in person.

COLORADO SPRINGS TOWN HALL
When: Tuesday, August 15, 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. MT Doors open at 7:00 a.m. MT
Where: Pikes Peak Community College
Room A-110
5675 S. Academy Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO 80906.

GREELEY TOWN HALL
When: Tuesday, August 15, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. MT Doors open at 11:00 a.m. MT
Where: University School Auditorium
6519 18th St.
Greeley, CO 80634

LAKEWOOD TOWN HALL
When: Tuesday, August 15, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. MT Doors open at 2:30 p.m. MT
Where: Colorado Christian University
CCU Event Center
8787 W. Alameda Ave.
Lakewood, CO 80226

The fact that Sen. Gardner is holding in-person town halls tomorrow after refusing to do so all year is a major victory for the resistance in Colorado. Gardner’s refusal to hold town halls directly resulted in a massive loss of public support recent opinion polls have shown—down to 24% in a new poll released last week. Once one of the Republican Party’s “rising stars,” the backlash against the Trump agenda and everyone who supports it has jeopardized Sen. Gardner’s entire political career. And now he has no choice but to face us, the people he was elected to represent.

Here are more ways to take action for the week of August 14th:


Supervised Injection Community Forum – Denver

Join the Harm Reduction Action Center and Drug Policy Alliance for an educational evening to discuss our upcoming policy initative, supervised injection facilities, in Denver. Supervised injection facilities (SIF) improve injection-related behavior and access to medical treatment for people who inject drugs. The state of Colorado lost 912 people to overdose in 2016 and the epidemic continues unabated. Of overdoses reversed reported to the HRAC since 2012, 87% have been reported reversed outdoors. Colorado needs a new public health approach to the opioid epidemic.

Where: Denver Public Library, 10 W. Fourteenth Ave. Pkwy., Denver
When: Tuesday, August 15 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Governing Community Radio

KGNU is a beacon of local, community-supported radio in the Front Range area, and it hosts our Study Circle’s monthly Co-op Power Hour show. KGNU’s model has a lot in common with cooperative enterprise. We’ll be joined by Tim Russo, a veteran of community radio networks in Central America who recently joined KGNU as station manager. We’ll explore some of the lessons and challenges KGNU has encountered, and share ideas for how to build powerful, accountable, self-governing media collectives.

Where: KGNU Community Radio, 4700 Walnut St, Boulder
When: Tuesday, August 15 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Governor’s Town Hall- Health Care: Your Turn

Come join Governor Hickenlooper and Lieutenant Governor Lynne to add your voice to the bipartisan effort to help solve what needs to be fixed in health care. An open format for questions on additional issues will be facilitated.

Where: Aurora Municipal Center 15151 E. Alameda Pkwy, Aurora
When: Wednesday, August 16 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Colorado Farm and Food Alliance Speaker Series with Uproot

This will be a great chance to learn about food waste, local gleaning opportunities, and to interact with Uproot Colorado. Come to Alfalfa’s Community Room on Thursday the 17th at 5:00 PM for refreshments, stories from farmers, and an exciting discussion about this up-and-coming organization!

Where: Alfalfa’s Market (Boulder, CO), 1651 Broadway, Boulder
When: Thursday, August 17 at 5:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Protest McConnell & Gardner’s Fundraiser Dinner

After having only held one town hall in the past 500 days, absentee Senator Cory Gardner has finally returned to the Denver Metro area–with none other than special guest, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “Are they here to finally listen to constituent voices,” you ask? No, silly! They’re here to fundraise for the National Republican Senatorial Committee! At a fancy, private dinner! Priced at $2,500 to $25,000 per seat! Indivisible and its partners will engage in law-abiding, non-violent protest on public property within the vicinity of the fundraising dinner. Denver Police have been notified of our plans for peaceful protest.

Where: TBD Cherry Creek Shopping District, Denver
When: Thursday, August 17 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Know Your Health, Know Your Rights Salida

We know lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans and their families face unique physical and mental health barriers. One Colorado is hosting an event in Salida to dig deeper into the landscape of LGBTQ health in the state, provide tools for self-advocacy in healthcare settings, and talk with community members to learn more about local issues in accessing care. This is free and open to the public!

Where: Seasons Cafe, 300 W Sackett Ave, Salida
When: Thursday, August 17 at 6:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Protecting Reproductive Freedom

Reproductive rights include not only abortion, but also birth control, emergency contraception, sex education and healthy pregnancies. All are essential to gender equality and all are currently under attack. Gena Ozols, Political Director at NARAL Pro choice Colorado (the political arm of the pro choice movement) will present an overviiew of our state legislation as well as highlights from the federal level. Q & A to follow.

Where: Douglas County Libraries (Highlands Ranch, CO), 9292 Ridgeline Blvd, Highlands Ranch
When: Thursday, August 17 at 7:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Normalize Breastfeeding Project & Family Fair

The goal of Normalize Breastfeeding Project is to break stigmas associated with breastfeeding in public and capture local breastfeeding and breastmilk-feeding dyads simultaneously nursing in a single image. These images will be shared in local communities and from the Normalize Breastfeeding Project page. Join Whole Mothering Center – Denver and Yvette Michelle Portraits LLC for our 2017 Normalize Breastfeeding Project event in Denver in celebration and support of human milk for human babies. All local families are welcome, even if you’re not breastfeeding or exclusively breastfeeding.

Where: Rocky Mountain Lake Park, 3151 W 46th Ave, Denver
When: Saturday, August 19 at 9:00am

Click here to RSVP.


30th Annual AIDS Walk

AIDS Walk Colorado – A Walk For Life – is the Rocky Mountain Region’s oldest one-day HIV and AIDS fundraiser. More than 8,000 people from throughout the state come together as a community to raise money for vital services for HIV/AIDS clients of Colorado Health Network’s regional Colorado AIDS Project offices and Howard Dental Center, and many other outstanding AIDS service organizations.

Where: Cheesman Park, Denver
When: Saturday, August 19 at 10:00am

Click here to RSVP.


Colfax Cleanup

GREEN TEAM is joining The Harm Reduction Action Center for it’s monthly Colfax Cleanup. We love the work they do there, and are thrilled to be bringing our volunteers out on Saturday August 19th for a quick cleanup of Colfax around their offices. It’s a direct way to affect public relations with this incredibly important organization and the neighborhood they serve, and many hands make the work light. So we hope to see our GREEN TEAM friends out in force!

Where: Harm Reduction Action Center, 231 E Colfax Ave, Denver
When: Saturday, August 19 at 11:00am

Click here to RSVP.


Denver NF Walk

One in three thousand people worldwide are living with neurofibromatosis (NF), a disorder that can cause tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body. NF can cause blindness, bone abnormalities, cancer, deafness, disfigurement, learning disabilities and disabling pain. It affects people of all cultures, races and genders equally. There is no cure and there are no effective treatments—yet! You can help change that! Join the Denver NF Walk on August 19th at 1:00pm at Clement Park This outrageously fun day includes a Walk as well as a Kids’ Hero Dash specifically for our smaller yet mighty superheroes. Many family-friendly activities are involved for fun for the whole family!

Where: Clement Park, 7306 W Bowles Ave, Littleton
When: Saturday, August 19 at 1:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Volunteer at Pueblo Pride

Flip-flops. Shades. Farmer’s tan. Oh my! Pride season must be here! Pull on a One Colorado t-shirt, sign up new supporters of LGBTQ equality, and join in the fun this summer!

Where: Mineral Palace Park 1500-2100 N Santa Fe Ave, Pueblo
When: Sunday, August 20 at 10:30am

Click here to RSVP.


PEACE Rally: antiwar, antiviolence, antihate

Colorado has made international news for our consistently prominent and peaceful resistance since our first march after Trump took office. Stand united as a Community for Unity against war in North Korea, the use of nuclear weapons, and racial violence and terrorism on our own soil. We refuse to allow our military personnel to be used as fodder for a dangerously deranged president’s dream of war. We refuse to allow the use of nuclear weapons. We refuse to allow North Korean military and citizens to be killed. We refuse to allow our own people to be beaten and killed while police stand by and watch. We refuse to allow more terrorist attacks like the one in Charlottesville.

Where: Colorado State Capitol, Denver
When: Sunday, August 20 at 1:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Solidarity with Charlottesville: Not in Our Town!

This weekend has seen radical right-wing terrorism reign in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, with at least one person killed and several others injured. A coalition of Neo-Nazis and other white supremacists assembled to “unite the right” and spew their vile, poisonous hatred against everyone who doesn’t share their views. The people of Colorado Springs will mobilize on Sunday, August 20th at 4pm in front of City Hall in solidarity with the overwhelming majority of the people of Charlottesville who rejected the “unite the right” rally, and to demonstrate that we will not allow this type of terror to take root in our beloved home. We reject Nazism, white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, racism, xenophobia, and bigotry in all its hideous forms. We live in tenuous, uncertain times and the only way to prevent this terror from spreading is by standing up, mobilizing, and uniting to say, “Not in our town!”

Where: Colorado Springs City Hall, 107 N Nevada Ave, Colorado Springs
When: Sunday, August 20 at 4:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Remember to watch your inbox for short-notice updates and more chances to fight back for what we believe in. Thanks again for every action you take every day to fight back—big and small. They all make a difference. 

Crowdsource: What Would You Ask Cory Gardner?

After over a year and a half of avoiding public events like the plague, Sen. Cory Gardner has scheduled three open-admission town halls for tomorrow in Colorado Springs, Greeley, and finally on the campus of Colorado Christian University in Lakewood. The recommendation for all three of these town halls is to arrive as early as possible, as space in limited–and in the particular case of CCU’s campus, there’s a rumored possibility of shenanigans with the conservative student body being employed to pack the event.

Despite this we do expect interest in these events to be quite high, and every question posed to Gardner in these public forums tomorrow should be, you know, a good one. Use this space to suggest and refine questions for Gardner–questions that either you or another reader might get the chance to ask tomorrow.

We’ll start: how was Disneyland?

White Supremacist Rally Terror Attack Shocks GOP Conscience

UPDATE: From the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado:

We call on all who strive for a more just, anti-racist society to join Denver-area faith leaders, and activists at 2 PM Sunday at the Dr. King statue near the southwest corner of City Park. [Pols emphasis] Dr. King reminds us still that the “philosophy of nonviolent resistance is the only logical and moral approach to the solution of the race problem in the United States.”

Like many people of faith, we are horrified at the violent actions and rhetoric displayed by white nationalists in the last couple days. Following leaders of color in Colorado and nationwide, we must add that we are not surprised. This has been the reality for leaders in the Movement for Black Lives, the Sanctuary movement, and other movements for justice in this country for a long time, and–as there are people of color on our staff and embedded in our partnerships–all of us must face the depth of the hold that white supremacy has on our society and culture.

What happened Saturday in Charlottesville was a disgusting act of aggression and violence by a group of people–white and mostly male–who perceive themselves and their ‘group’ as losing power. They are under no real threat. No one is attacking them. No one is killing their children. They have had centuries long access to land, material wealth, physical health, education, and safety.

Many political and faith leaders have, and will, denounce the vitriol coming from overt white nationalists. It is tougher, and essential, to look deeply at how complacency and coded rhetoric and policies have combined to nurture an environment in which white supremacy can survive and, as we are now seeing, thrive in our current reality.

Tougher still is to see ourselves implicated in allowing hate and supremacy to live. We are called to do our part in building a new way. Love can drive out hate, but not without love-filled actions of courage, sacrifice, and witness. Love must win, but to live a faithful life of love requires action, and community. Join us and a host of others Sunday at 2 PM.

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Viewer discretion advised.

CNN reporting on the horrible events today in Charlottesville, Virginia, the scene of a white supremacist rally following weeks of controversy over the removal of Confederate monuments from public parks that turned tragically violent:

One person was killed and 19 were hurt when a speeding car slammed into a throng of counterprotesters in Charlottesville, where a “Unite the Right” rally of white nationalist and other right-wing groups had been scheduled take place, the city tweeted on its verified account.

A 32-year-old woman was killed while walking across the street, Thomas said. Police were still in the process of notifying her family.

Two Virginia State Patrol troopers were killed in a helicopter crash while “assisting public safety resources with the ongoing situation in Charlottesville,” the agency said in a news release. The pilot, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, 48, and Trooper Berke M.M. Bates, who would have turned 41 on Sunday, died in the crash.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe McAuliffe had a pointed message for the right-wing groups that flocked to Charlottesville on Saturday: “Go home. … You are not wanted in this great commonwealth. Shame on you.”

President Donald Trump’s response to the violence against counterprotesters in Charlottesville was that that “many sides” are to blame, not the white supremacists who gathered in the city for an eerily Naziesque blazing-torch march to a statue of Thomas Jefferson yesterday, and today engaged in what can only be described as street combat against left-wing counterprotesters. This (understatement) totally inadequate response from the President is receiving what seems to be authentic bipartisan condemnation in Colorado:

The resurgence of unapologetic white supremacism since Donald Trump’s campaign for and eventual election as President is undeniable in both statistical and anecdotal terms–as evidenced by the rise of hate crimes in the United States, and the boldness of the racist movement that organized the chaos in Charlottesville to fight against the removal of Confederate names and statues from the city’s public parks. Even if Trump didn’t make the linkage painfully obvious by failing to explicitly condemn white supremacism and the American white racist movement following today’s violence, everyone knows why this movement is emboldened to the point of taking to the streets in store-bought riot gear.

It’s because Trump has emboldened them. And every member of Trump’s party, up to and including Sen. Cory Gardner, owns a piece of what is happening. Somewhere deep in the conscience of an intelligent former Democrat like Sen. Gardner, who learned in college about essential civic responsibility, that truth burns bright and it torments.

It had better, anyway. History will not be kind to any of them.

Finally: Sen. Gardner Schedules Three Public Events

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

After months of withering criticism for refusing to hold a public town hall event to answer questions from constituents, Sen. Cory Gardner today announced three Front Range events, all occurring in one whirlwind tour next Tuesday. Here are the details:

Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) will hold three town hall meetings on Tuesday, August 15th in Colorado Springs, Greeley, and Lakewood.

Constituents are encouraged to arrive early, as space is limited. The events are open to the public and the media. If you are a member of the media interested in attending the event, please RSVP by sending an email to Senator Gardner’s Press Secretary, Casey Contres, at casey_contres@gardner.senate.gov.

COLORADO SPRINGS TOWN HALL

Who: U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO)
What: Colorado Springs Town Hall
When: Tuesday, August 15, 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. MT Doors open at 7:00 a.m. MT
Where: Pikes Peak Community College
Room A-110
5675 S. Academy Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO 80906.

GREELEY TOWN HALL

Who: U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO)
What: Greeley Town Hall
When: Tuesday, August 15, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. MT Doors open at 11:00 a.m. MT
Where: University School Auditorium
6519 18th St.
Greeley, CO 80634

LAKEWOOD TOWN HALL

Who: U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO)
What: Lakewood Town Hall
When: Tuesday, August 15, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. MT Doors open at 2:30 p.m. MT
Where: Colorado Christian University
CCU Event Center
8787 W. Alameda Ave.
Lakewood, CO 80226

No tickets appear to be required for these events, with the only RSVP required being for members of the press. There are some unanswered questions about the venues, in particular the Event Center at Colorado Christian University–a private campus that may or may not be accommodating of the lawful protest we would naturally expect outside this event. CCU is also about the densest population of ardent conservatives available to turn out on short notice anywhere in the Denver metro area, so Gardner may well consider it to be a “safe space.”

Nonetheless, we expect that the pent-up desire of Coloradans to engage with Sen. Gardner after eight months of Donald Trump driving the bus in Washington will be…considerable. If Gardner wants to stave off the public relations disaster he’s been running from all this time, he’d better bring his A-game.

What’s Next, Cory Gardner? “I’m Going To Disneyland!”

An eagle-eyed reader forwarded us a photo reportedly taken yesterday in Anaheim, California: while Colorado’s senior U.S. Senator Michael Bennet holds public town halls across the state, Sen. Cory Gardner is celebrating the U.S. Senate’s votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act by going to Disneyland!

Where he didn’t take questions, being busy (pardon us) picking winners.

It’s important to understand the full context of this photo: Sen. Bennet is holding packed town hall meetings across the state during this August recess, while Sen. Gardner was more or less hornswaggled into answering questions in public at an impromptu “town hall” in Durango last week–that being Gardner’s first public event in over a year and a half. Gardner made vague promises under fire at that meeting to hold more public events, but as of this writing none have been scheduled.

And now he’s at Disneyland.

Gardner’s lack of availability to his own constituents has become a major point of discussion this year, playing a role in Gardner’s approval rating plunging below 25% among Colorado voters. At this point, it’s very hard to understand why Gardner hasn’t just taken his lumps and put an end to the negative press.

But for some reason, he hasn’t.

It’s a safe bet that pic(k)s of Gardner frolicking at Disneyland will do very little to improve those poll numbers.

Gloves Come Off as Republican Infighting Escalates

UPDATE: Don’t forget that Sen. Mitch McConnell will be in Colorado next week (August 17) for a fundraiser hosted by Sen. Cory Gardner.

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Sen. Cory Gardner (left) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (Associated Press)

In case you somehow missed it, Congressional Republicans spent most of 2017 in a fruitless quest to repeal and (maybe) replace Obamacare. Despite seven years of campaign promises to destroy the Affordable Care Act and the Congressional majority to theoretically make it happen, the GOP couldn’t come up with a reasonable piece of legislation that could even make it onto the Senate floor for a debate.

While some Republicans are still pretending that they might eventually repeal Obamacare, most are spending the long August recess trying to avoid the subject altogether. Instead of talking about healthcare changes with constituents, Republicans such as Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) are desperately trying to figure out how to explain some pretty awful votes. When Congress returns to work after Labor Day, healthcare won’t likely be a focus of their attention; as Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch colorfully explained, Republicans “shot their wad” on healthcare.

Republicans may indeed move on to other legislative priorities without accomplishing anything on Obamacare, but the political wounds from the first half of this year may not heal anytime soon. Right-wing radio host Sean Hannity is calling for the head of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:

As the Huffington Post explains, red-on-red anger is on the rise:

While moderate Republicans like Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) are receiving warm adulation from constituents for opposing a bill that would have repealed Obamacare, other GOP lawmakers are facing attacks from their right flank over their handling of the health care debate.

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) drew a primary challenge this week from businessman Danny Tarkanian, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, who blasted the senator for failing to support Trump during last year’s presidential campaign and for “obstructing” his agenda in Washington, D.C…..

…The inability to repeal Obamacare has also roiled the race for an Alabama Senate seat made vacant by Trump’s appointment of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General earlier this year.

Ousted Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is running in the Republican primary, released a television ad on Tuesday defending himself against attacks made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his allies in Washington, D.C.

“They lied about repealing Obamacare. Now Mitch McConnell’s D.C slime machine is spending millions spreading lies about Roy Moore,” the narrator in the ad said.

Frustration over the failure to repeal Obamacare isn’t just limited to Republican Primary fights. Dark clouds are bubbling over in the White House New Jersey as well:

Trump’s comments were in response to this statement from McConnell.

It was just about a year ago that Sen. Gardner was publicly campaigning to be the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) for 2018. If he could get his hands on a time machine, we’d guess that Gardner would happily take a do-over on that decision. Come to think of it, Gardner would probably prefer to just erase 2017 altogether.