Get More Smarter on Monday (September 19)

GetMoreSmarter-SnowToday is the sixth anniversary of September 19th, 2010. 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.


► Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump may be riding a small wave of momentum at the moment, but as Chris Cillizza explains for “The Fix,” the Presidential math is still not in his favor:

There is no doubt — as I have written in this space — that Trump is on the march in swing states. But what gets lost is that a) Trump was way behind so his recent gains have made him competitive rather than dominant and b) the electoral map simply favors any Democrat over any Republican.

The latest Fix analysis of the map represents that dual reality. Yes, Trump is in better shape in our latest map than he was when we last handicapped the 2016 race in mid-August. But, he remains considerably behind Clinton in the race for 270 electoral votes.


Authorities have arrested a man in connection with two bombings (in New York and New Jersey) over the weekend. Law enforcement officials say they do not believe that the bombings are part of a larger terrorist plot.


► Donald Trump was in Colorado Springs on Saturday making his usual ridiculous political promises, and now here comes the rest of the Trumpians. Donald Trump, Jr. will be campaigning for his father at an event on the Western Slope of Colorado on Thursday. Junior has been making some off-the-wall comments lately, and we’re curious how he’ll address “sportsmen issues” given his personal history of killing defenseless animals around the globe.

Elsewhere, Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, will be the guest of honor at a fundraiser in Denver on Wednesday.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Donald Trump Jr. To Talk “Sportmen’s Issues” In Junction

hunt30n-13-webDonald Trump, Jr. kills big stuff.

Donald Trump, Jr. holding an elephant's tail.

Donald Trump, Jr. holding an elephant’s tail.

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Amy Hamilton reports, it’s almost too audacious to be believed:

Donald Trump Jr., son of Republican candidate for president Donald J. Trump, will be drumming up support for policies that benefit sportsmen in the West’s public lands during a talk Thursday night at the Mesa County Fairgrounds.

The event, called “Autumn Fever — A Campfire with Donald Trump, Jr.,” is expected to attract about 4,000 people, said Marjorie Haun, who is helping to spread the word about the event. The effort is hosted through the Colorado Sportsmen “Make America Great” group.

Haun said the junior Trump is expected to talk about sportsmen issues and “issues specific to western Colorado” rather than directly campaigning for his father.

Hamilton didn’t see fit to mention it, but Donald Trump, Jr. is infamous as a big-game hunter, with photos of Junior and his brother with various dead animals having been made a regular issue both before and during his father’s presidential campaign. The Washington Post reported last month about Junior’s love of putting holes in large mammals:

Americans are nearly split when it comes to hunting animals for sport — 56 percent said they oppose it — and they are particularly against big-game hunting. Eighty-six percent of respondents said they disapprove of it, and six out of 10 said they believe it should be illegal. [Pols emphasis]

Donald Jr. spoke in exhaustive detail about his love of hunting for the enthusiast site Bowsite earlier in the year. He explained that he learned to hunt as a boy from his maternal grandfather during summers spent in Czechoslovakia. He said he has been an active hunter throughout his life, that his preferred form is bowhunting, and that he frequently employs it during the weekends to hunt whitetail deer in New York…

He talked of hunting not just as a pastime, but as an important influence on his character. “I owe the outdoors way too much to try to do the usual apologize and hide thing,” Trump Jr. said. “It’s kept me out of a lot of other trouble I probably would’ve gotten into.”

hunt30n-8-webTo be sure, neither we nor we would say most Coloradans are opposed to hunting properly managed by wildlife authorities: especially when the hunt is actually for consumption in addition to sport. Hunting plays a role in regulating animal populations in the West, and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife does a good science-based job administering hunting in our state.

What Donald Trump Jr. does in Africa, killing threatened animals to take crass trophies like an elephant’s tail, bears no resemblance to any kind of hunting that most Coloradans would find acceptable. And that makes Junior’s trip to Junction to discuss “sportsmen issues” more than a little questionable in our minds.

We wouldn’t be surprised to see protesters outside Junior’s event Thursday who agree.

Monday Open Thread

“Insanity is knowing that what you’re doing is completely idiotic, but still, somehow, you just can’t stop it.”

–Elizabeth Wurtzel

DC Oil & Gas Lobbyist Says Colorado’s Air is Clean Enough

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a recent Denver Post column, Matt Dempsey from the Washington-based Center for Regulatory Solutions attempted to undermine a new report that highlights the public health threats due to ozone pollution from the oil and gas industry.

A DC-based political consultant complaining about clean air rules while working on behalf of an organization that has taken more than $100,000 in contributions from the American Petroleum Institute in recent years is probably not a surprise. But there are several factual problems with Dempsey’s argument that deserve closer scrutiny.

The oil and gas industry has an ozone problem, and it’s a lot bigger than what we know.

Colorado’s made progress in cleaning up our air. That much is clear, but it doesn’t mean that our air is yet as clean as it should be.

Ozone pollution is serious. It can trigger asthma attacks and worsen other lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. At-risk populations are most likely to be affected including children, the elderly, and minority communities.


Weekend Open Thread

“In the end, people are persuaded not by what we say, but by what they understand.”

–John C. Maxwell

Conservationists Launch Big Campaign Against Laura Woods

Sen. Laura Woods (R).

Sen. Laura Woods (R).

Remember last weekend when we noted with no small amount of surprise a new ad campaign from far-right GOP Sen. Laura Waters Woods of Arvada, in which she claimed with (literally) no factual basis that she has “consistently supported public lands?”

It looks like that was a bigger mistake than even we imagined. A press release from Conservation Colorado today:

Conservation Colorado, the state’s largest environmental organization, today announced that it will be making an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars in Jefferson County’s Senate District 19 to educate voters about incumbent Senator Laura Woods’ dismal record on protecting Colorado’s open spaces, public lands, and way of life before they cast their votes this fall. The campaign spending will come in the form of mailers, digital ads, and canvassers.

Pete Maysmith, Executive Director of Conservation Colorado, stated:

“When it comes to protecting our open spaces and landscapes, Laura Woods is flat out wrong. She is trying to convince voters that she supports protecting our public lands. But the reality is that she has repeatedly thrown her weight behind Cliven Bundy-style efforts to turn our lands over to private interests, which could make it easier for them to be split up and sold off to out-of-state oil companies. Woods is not being straight with her constituents; her voting record is out of touch with our values as people who enjoy all that our amazing state has to offer. Former Senator Rachel Zenzinger, on the other hand, understands that the outdoors are part of our Colorado way of life and must be protected for future generations. Zenzinger will once again represent the citizens of Arvada and Jefferson County well in the state Senate in 2017.”

John Gale, a hunter and angler from SD-19, echoed:

“Sportsmen and women in Colorado know that our wild public lands and waters support the most robust populations of fish and wildlife we have. They provide quality access to every American for hunting and fishing and other recreational opportunities. But Laura Woods has let hunters and anglers in our district down by aligning with special interests operating on the fringes of popular opinion to comprise our outdoor heritage and take away western traditions like hunting and fishing that mean so much to our families. I urge sportsmen and women to cast their vote for someone who supports their values– and that person is not Laura Woods.”

Woods recently has been scrambling to defend herself on public lands by paying to promote ads on social media touting her “solid” voting record on the issue, despite offering absolutely no proof for her claims. In fact, she has voted the wrong way on every single bill that would protect public lands that Conservation Colorado has scored in its annual scorecard since she has been in office (for reference, here are the 2016 and 2015 scorecards).

Hunters, hikers, families, and everyone in SD-19 who enjoys the outdoors deserve to know what, exactly, Woods believes is her “solid” record on protecting our lands when all of the evidence points to the contrary.

As the state’s most competitive state senate race, SD-19 was always going to get a lot of attention from both sides. With that said, Woods did herself no favors by trying to claim without even an attempt to factually demonstrate that she is a supporter of public lands. If anything, Woods’ far-out right wing politics put her much closer to the Cliven Bundy “sagebrush rebel” side of the public lands debate: that is, so far from the position of true conservationists it’s simply laughable.

Or it should be. As it stands now, conservationists will have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars just to set the record straight with the voters in Sen. Woods’ district. And that’s no laughing matter. If there’s an upside, it’s that Woods has given conservationists a wealth of material to work with.

And enough to be highly motivated to see her defeated.

Donald Trump Goes Full-Out Reverse Birther

Former Birther-in-Chief Donald Trump now says that Barack Obama was definitely born in the U.S.

Former Birther-in-Chief Donald Trump now says that Barack Obama was definitely born in the U.S.

UPDATE: National media outlets are not happy at being “Rick-rolled” by Trump today. From the Daily Beast:

CNN anchor Jake Tapper decried how Trump had successfully gotten millions to tune into his “birther” address, only to find a drawn-out promotion of his campaign and hotel. “It’s hard to imagine this as anything other than a political Rick-roll,” Tapper remarked. “We got played again by the Trump campaign,” his colleague John King added.


“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
     — from the movie “The Usual Suspects”

Republican Donald Trump may not be fit or qualified for the Presidency, but there’s no arguing that he is a master media manipulator. As Chris Cillizza reports for “The Fix,” Trump managed to convince news outlets to pay a lot of attention to him this morning in Washington D.C.:

Trump may have outdone himself on Friday morning. He and his campaign touted a “major” announcement at his newly-opened hotel in Washington, DC at 10 AM Friday morning.  The word was that Trump would walk away from his past skepticism about President Obama’s citizenship while also laying the blame for the birther movement at the feet of Hillary Clinton. (That, of course, isn’t true — according to numerous fact-checkers — but no matter: Trump planned to say it anyway.)

And say it he did. “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it,” said Trump. “President Obama was born in the United States. Period.” [Pols emphasis]

Trump’s assertions about Clinton’s role in the birther movement are wrong. His simple statement that Obama was born in the United States directly contradicts myriad statements he has made questioning the president’s birthplace over the past five years…

…It was a low moment for politics and political coverage. A nothing-burger filled with falsehoods covered as though it was the Super Bowl. But for Trump, it might have been his crowning achievement: All eyes on him with the chance to direct the play in whatever way he saw fit. The ringmaster — calling the shots in all three rings of the circus. It was peak Trump.

We have nothing else to add here that isn’t glaringly obvious already.

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:


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


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



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.


► 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…