FEMA Ditches Threatened Testing Pullout From Colorado

The Colorado Springs Independent’s Jeanne Davant reported yesterday that a threatened withdrawal of support by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from drive-up COVID-19 testing programs could impact local efforts:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has ended support for community COVID-19 testing sites effective April 10, leaving in doubt the future of the drive-up test site in Colorado Springs.

Dr. Leon Kelly, El Paso County coroner, said county Public Health is trying to find supplies and personnel to help run the testing site…

“UCHealth has been at the forefront of serving our community since the first cases of COVID were diagnosed in El Paso County,” Media Relations Specialist Cary Vogrin said via email. “We are committed to continuing the operations of the testing site off South Parkside Drive with or without federal support, so long as our supplies enable us to do so.”

But late yesterday, the word went out as Politico reports that the feds would not pull back support from what’s considered a vital resource to make controversially limited COVID-19 tests available:

[A]n HHS spokesperson told POLITICO the federal government will continue to operate the sites if governors request such assistance — and said that the agency would not hold states to the deadline listed in a FEMA memo: 5 p.m. today. [Pols emphasis]

“I want to be clear that the federal government is not abandoning any of the community-based testing sites,” HHS testing czar Brett Giroir told reporters late Thursday. “Many people want the federal government to allow them to do the programs as they want — without the Public Health Service officers, without the restrictions that we have.”

Giroir said that some states have already chosen to take over testing sites. Others — including Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey and Texas — have asked for continued federal support, Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday night at a White House briefing.

What happened between yesterday morning when FEMA had decided to pull out of the drive-through testing program and yesterday evening when FEMA did an about-face? We assume it involved some animated discussions from vulnerable Republicans whose states would be affected by this decision. We can speculate, but no matter who convinced them to change course at the last moment this is another example of arbitrary and capricious management of the pandemic by the Trump administration. Much like the co-opting of 500 ventilators Colorado tried to buy a week ago by competing federal buyers, there are clearly major gaps in communication between officials who are supposed to be working together.

And it’s consistent with a theme: of states like ours scrambling to mitigate federal incompetence.

Get More Smarter on Good Friday (April 10)

Have a nice “Good Friday” and a Happy Easter. If we work together, maybe we can convince President Trump to pardon a turkey on Sunday. Now, let’s 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 an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

 

► President Trump cherishes few things more than the opportunity to stand at a podium and see if he can construct new sentences out of mismatched words. But as The New York Times reports, an increasing number of Republican advisers are worried that Trump’s daily coronavirus briefings are doing far more harm than good — and not just for the country:

As unemployment soars and the death toll skyrockets, and new polls show support for the president’s handling of the crisis sagging, White House allies and Republican lawmakers increasingly believe the briefings are hurting the president more than helping him. Many view the sessions as a kind of original sin from which all of his missteps flow, once he gets through his prepared script and turns to his preferred style of extemporaneous bluster and invective.

Mr. Trump “sometimes drowns out his own message,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has become one of the president’s informal counselors and told him “a once-a-week show” could be more effective. Representative Susan Brooks of Indiana said “they’re going on too long.” Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia said the briefings were “going off the rails a little bit” and suggested that he should “let the health professionals guide where we’re going to go.”…

One of Mr. Trump’s top political advisers, speaking on the condition of anonymity so as not to anger the president, was even blunter, arguing that the White House was handing Mr. Biden ammunition each night by sending the president out to the cameras. [Pols emphasis]

Anybody who has watched even a snippet of one of Trump’s coronavirus briefings can understand these sentiments. Of course, Trump wouldn’t give up the opportunity to air his grievances on national television if the microphone was made entirely of coronavirus particles.

 

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado officials are urging residents and small businesses to act swiftly in order to collect federal stimulus money. Meanwhile, the Colorado Springs Independent points out that the federal government is bailing out on coronavirus testing in local areas:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has ended support for community COVID-19 testing sites effective April 10, leaving in doubt the future of the drive-up test site in Colorado Springs.

Dr. Leon Kelly, El Paso County coroner, said county Public Health is trying to find supplies and personnel to help run the testing site.

UCHealth, which established the site in a tent off South Parkside Drive, said Thursday it hopes to continue operating the site without FEMA support.

 

 Vox.com weighs in on the “ventilator patronage” story that broke in Colorado this week.

 

As The Washington Post reports, city and state governments are bracing for serious economic trouble:

The economic carnage unleashed by the novel coronavirus nationwide hasn’t just shuttered businesses and left more than 17 million Americans seeking unemployment benefits — it has also threatened city and state governments with financial devastation, according to local leaders, who say their ability to maintain roads, schools and basic social services is at risk at a time when their residents need help most.

Many states and cities, which were already cash-strapped, are now in dire straits, facing plunging tax revenue and spiking costs.

“I do think cities across the country are looking at some degree of austerity,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg (I), who predicts his municipality will face as much as a $100 million shortfall. “This is a reckoning for us.”

Colorado lawmakers are worried that the state budget could take a hit of some $3 billion.

 

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who will be the Democratic nominee for President, announced new policy proposals for expanding Medicare and forgiving student debt.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

It’s a Whole New Ken Buck, We Guess!

Rep. Ken Buck, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.

As the COVID-19 pandemic escalated into a global emergency, and particularly in recent weeks as even many political conservatives in the United States began to take the crisis seriously, Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado emerged as a national symbol of opposition to both public health orders to control the spread and stimulus spending to soften the blow to the economy–spending, we should add, that even Colorado’s highest-ranking Republican Sen. Cory Gardner has eagerly embraced. Buck also harshly criticized the stay-at-home order issued in Colorado by Gov. Jared Polis, contributing to a climate of misguided “resistance” that directly contravenes the work being done to control the spread of the coronavirus in Colorado.

Well folks, sometime between when Rep. Buck said it’s “craziness to shut down businesses” and yesterday, he appears to have found the epidemiological equivalent of religion! In a letter to Vice President Mike Pence and the White House Coronavirus Task Force, an immeasurably more contrite Ken Buck lavishes praise on the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic–after decrying just a few weeks ago that “we have no leader” in rare (and not wholly misplaced) criticism of Donald Trump:

I write to thank you for your continued leadership as the head of the Coronavirus Task Force. Under your direction, the Task Force has assembled the best and brightest minds to help our nation defeat the coronavirus (COVID-19) and provide sound guidance to the American people. In this vein, I urge the Coronavirus Task Force to develop and distribute clear, concise sanitation guidelines to ensure American businesses can safely and confidently re-open as soon as possible. [Pols emphasis]

Current federal guidance to combat COVID-19 in the workplace is limited and generically focused on stopping the immediate spread of the virus, not sterilizing businesses before reopening to the public. Additionally, varying reports detailing how long COVID-19 can live on different surfaces and what types of cleaning solutions are most effective at killing the virus add confusion as businesses contemplate restarting operations. One thing is clear, one-size-fits-all guidelines will not work for every industry in America. Main Street businesses need expert help to ensure the safety of their employees and customers as they reopen for business.

Establishing clear guidelines now will also give manufacturers and suppliers time to build critical supply chains to distribute these needed materials and give businesses confidence before reopening their doors. [Pols emphasis] Furthermore, these guidelines will help ensure that the $700 million provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to clean federal workplaces is not being wasted…

How can this be the same Ken Buck? Buck voted against the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act–which leaves him less than entitled to complain about how the money is spent. But before we even assess that, we need to hear Ken Buck explain his much more fundamental change of heart about businesses “reopening” their doors.

Because if you’ll recall, Ken Buck never believed those doors should be closed.

Are we glad Rep. Buck has shifted from condemning the closure of non-essential business to hoping businesses get really strong cleaning products “before reopening their doors?” Every responsible person should be, not least the beleaguered residents of Buck’s own Weld County.

What Buck doesn’t get to do, or any other Republican eating their poorly-aged words today, is to take their irresponsible naysaying at a moment it was least needed back. And if Buck’s newfound concern doesn’t play at least as widely as his votes and prior statements, that’s yet another travesty.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (April 9)

Happy “Day of the Finnish Language” Please celebrate responsibly. Now, let’s 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 an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

 

► President Trump and Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) are getting rightfully hammered after gloating about delivering 100 ventilators to Colorado just days after the federal government prevented 500 ventilators from getting to our state.

The editorial board of The Denver Post comes in HOT on the subject today:

Via The Denver Post (4/9/20)

President Donald Trump is treating life-saving medical equipment as emoluments he can dole out as favors to loyalists. It’s the worst imaginable form of corruption — playing political games with lives. For the good of this nation during what should be a time of unity, he must stop.

The Post is referring to yesterday’s big news in Colorado, in which Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) patted each other on the back over 100 ventilators being delivered to Colorado…just a few days after FEMA blocked Colorado’s order for 500 ventilators.

Trump had only days before prevented Colorado Gov. Jared Polis from securing 500 ventilators from a private company, instead, taking the ventilators for the federal government. Polis sent a formal letter pleading for medical equipment, but the president took the time to make clear he was responding to a request from Gardner. We are left to believe that if Colorado didn’t have a Republican senator in office, our state would not be getting these 100 ventilators. How many ventilators would we be getting if we had a Republican governor and a second Republican senator? Would that indicate we had more Republican lives in our state worth saving for Trump and resources would start flowing? Should Utah be concerned that Sen. Mitt Romney voted to remove the president from office?

This behavior comes, of course, weeks after Trump informed states they would have to compete against one another in the procurement of medical supplies at a time of global shortages due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As news outlets across the state (and country) reported, people were aghast at Trump and Gardner for using ventilators as a political tool. Here’s The Grand Junction Sentinel; 9News; CBS4 Denver; CNN; and The Denver Post, to name just a few.

Jeremy Jojola of 9News had a similar reaction:


 
The U.S. Senate has reached an early impasse in discussions on a fourth spending bill related to coronavirus relief.

 

► Another 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment assistance last week, bringing the total number of claims to 17 million. The unemployment rate in the United States is now estimated to be about 13%, the highest figure since the Great Depression.

The news isn’t all bad, thankfully: There’s more evidence that social distancing efforts are working to flatten/smash/crush “the curve.”

 

 CNN checks the facts on President Trump’s latest coronavirus briefing. The Washington Post notes that all of our problems are miraculously solved when Trump is at the podium every afternoon, while Politico points out that Trump’s briefings are NOT helping his image with Americans.

As part of Wednesday’s briefing, Trump again claimed — without evidence — that increasing mail-in voting is a recipe for rampant corruption. Questions about mail-in balloting came after Trump earlier encouraged Republicans to “fight very hard” against expanding mail-in voting because Republicans will have a harder time winning elections if more Americans cast ballots. Seriously…that’s really what he said.

As 9News points out, Colorado is lucky that it moved to all-mail balloting years ago.

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper makes the case for voting by mail in an Op-Ed for The Washington Post.

 

► How do you run a U.S. Senate campaign during a coronavirus lockdown? What’s it like to be in charge during a time of crisis? How will you get your hair cut? We ask former Gov. John Hickenlooper these questions and more in the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

Trump, Gardner Eviscerated Over Failed Ventilator Scam

Yesterday, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado in concert with America’s Twitterer-in-chief rolled out a multimedia PR package “celebrating” the delivery due to a personal request from Gardner to Donald Trump of 100 new ventilator machines to our state from the Strategic National Stockpile. This rollout included a Tweet to the President’s tens of millions of followers, supporting cover from local Republican mouthpieces, and even an appearance on Fox News by Gardner to take credit for Trump’s “largesse.”

But by the end of the day, this rosy picture was very far from the prevalent narrative of the day’s events, and Sen. Gardner found himself facing one of the worst public relations debacles of his career–once again created for him by the President Gardner is most famous for servilely defending ever since Trump’s improbable 2016 election. Because the 100 ventilators Gardner and Trump were so excited to announce to Colorado constituted just 20% of the number federal officials had bought out from under Colorado a few days earlier.

Sen. Gardner made no acknowledgement of the co-opting of 500 ventilators sought by the state of Colorado just days before Trump did Gardner the “personal favor” of sending us 100 ventilators during his Fox News appearance yesterday, or in a telephone town hall the day before when he was specifically questioned about the situation. Gardner’s crass “celebration” of what amounts to an adverse development in Colorado’s fright against the COVID-19 pandemic, with no acknowledgement of the facts that completely change the nature of the story…

Starting with the Denver Post’s editorial board today, it’s clear this did not work out.

President Donald Trump is treating life-saving medical equipment as emoluments he can dole out as favors to loyalists. It’s the worst imaginable form of corruption — playing political games with lives. For the good of this nation during what should be a time of unity, he must stop…

Trump had only days before prevented Colorado Gov. Jared Polis from securing 500 ventilators from a private company, instead, taking the ventilators for the federal government. Polis sent a formal letter pleading for medical equipment, but the president took the time to make clear he was responding to a request from Gardner. We are left to believe that if Colorado didn’t have a Republican senator in office, our state would not be getting these 100 ventilators. How many ventilators would we be getting if we had a Republican governor and a second Republican senator? [Pols emphasis] Would that indicate we had more Republican lives in our state worth saving for Trump and resources would start flowing? Should Utah be concerned that Sen. Mitt Romney voted to remove the president from office?

This behavior comes, of course, weeks after Trump informed states they would have to compete against one another in the procurement of medical supplies at a time of global shortages due to the coronavirus pandemic.

9NEWS’ Kyle Clark welcomed the 100 ventilators, but absolutely shredded the “laughably clumsy politics” behind Gardner’s attempt to shine Trump’s turd:

Even Colorado’s senior Sen. Michael Bennet who has been very reticent out of a sense of same-state collegiality to directly criticize Gardner’s endless fealty to Trump, couldn’t defend this one:

Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver was quite a bit more direct, as CBS4 Denver reports:

“I think this thing that happened with Sen. Gardner and President Trump is very disturbing,” DeGette told CNN Wednesday evening. “What is the process here?”

DeGette said that while she wants the state to get every ventilator it can — after initially requesting 10,000 — the process employed by the White House shows that the president appears to be doling out the ventilators to his allies at a time when the virus is affecting people of all political persuasions.

“It seems that way to me,” DeGette said when asked if it appeared to be a political favor to Gardner. “I was totally outraged.” [Pols emphasis]

In hindsight, Gardner’s attempt to deceive not just Coloradans but the much larger conservative audience at Fox News into thinking that Trump somehow did Colorado a favor, when in fact much more harm than good was done in the full context, backfired spectacularly–with more coverage given to the original co-opting of 500 ventilators than the limited coverage that story received when it happened. Reporters were obliged to give the proper context that Trump and Gardner omitted, and it completely changed the story. Trump became the villain, not Colorado’s savior, and Gardner became a willing agent in a brazen deception of the people of his own state.

Every Colorado voter who understands this is going to be horrified. It is going to change votes.

And it was completely avoidable. Gardner didn’t have to do this. He thought it would work.

Thursday Open Thread

“Slick campaigns and dazzling speeches can work for a while, but the magic always wears off.”

–Charles Krauthammer

Three Cheers: Gardner Loses 400 Ventilators To Trump

UPDATE #2: In a clip sure to outrage anyone who knows the full context of the story, Sen. Cory Gardner went on Fox News this morning to celebrate the 100 ventilators he snagged as a personal favor from President Donald Trump–presumably out of the 500 the Trump administration bought out from under Colorado:

The closest Gardner comes to acknowledging the original sin of Trump’s swiping of 500 ventilators is to mention at about 1:30 that “The governor has been searching for ventilators. FEMA has been searching for ventilators.” Not a single word about how those two searches intersected, and Colorado lost. Without that part of the story, understanding that Colorado is getting back 20% of the ventilators they lost due to the federal government’s actions, this narrative is misleading in the extreme.

A textbook lie of omission, told on national television.

—–

UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark lays the smack down:

—–

President Trump and Cory Gardner in Colorado Springs (2/20/20)

The Denver Post reported over the weekend on an order of 500 ventilators sought by the state of Colorado to forestall a shortage of the devices in our state–an order that was co-opted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for federal use “out from under” Colorado, after President Donald Trump told states they should try to acquire medical equipment to respond to COVID-19 ourselves:

Colorado was making a deal with a manufacturer for an order of much-needed ventilators when the Federal Emergency Management Agency swooped in and took it themselves, Gov. Jared Polis told CNN on Friday night.

It was one thing for states to be competing among themselves for vital resources to fight the novel coronavirus, Polis said. Now they’re competing against the federal government, too.

“Either be in or out,” Polis told CNN’s Don Lemon. “Either you’re buying them and you’re providing them to states and you’re letting us know what we’re going to get and when we’re going to get them. Or you stay out, and let us buy them.”

Yesterday, Sen. Cory Gardner was asked during a telephone town hall about the federal government’s swiping of 500 Colorado-bound ventilators:

But today, as The Hill’s Justine Coleman reports:

President Trump on Wednesday announced that 100 ventilators will “immediately” be sent to Colorado after Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) made a request for the medical equipment.

In a response to Gardner’s tweet announcing the approval of National Guard assistance in the state, Trump posted, “Will be immediately sending 100 Ventilators to Colorado at the request of Senator Gardner!”

…The Colorado governor’s press secretary, Conor Cahill, said Tuesday that Polis had been notified Colorado’s orders for ventilators will not be granted in the coming weeks.

In a letter to Vice President Mike Pence last week, Gov. Jared Polis in fact requested a total of 10,000 ventilators, along with “associated equipment and pharmaceuticals” for their operation. That letter was sent several days before Gov. Polis went on CNN to expose that the federal government had bought an order of 500 machines out from under the state of Colorado.

But today, we’re supposed to celebrate the fact that the federal government will “generously” give us 1% of the ventilators we originally asked for, and one-fifth of what they bought out from under the state just last week? It’s preposterous, but that’s apparently what Gardner expects us to do. And given Trump’s well-publicized exercise of personal spite in the distribution of emergency equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic, if Gov. Polis complains about what amounts to an outrageous shell game being played with lifesaving medical equipment, we might not even get the 100 ventilators.

Folks, to say this is nothing to celebrate is an understatement.

Colorado just got historically ripped off–and Cory Gardner is telling us to like it.

Trump to Republicans: If People Vote, We Lose

President Trump’s greatest fear

As Politico reports, President Trump is again saying the quiet part out loud regarding efforts to increase mail-in voting options around the country:

President Donald Trump on Wednesday directed Republicans to “fight very hard” against efforts to expand mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting that such a shift in ballot-casting practices would yield unfavorable electoral results for the GOP. [Pols emphasis]

“Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to statewide mail-in voting. Democrats are clamoring for it,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn’t work out well for Republicans.”…

…The president fiercely criticized mail-in voting as “horrible” and “corrupt” during the White House coronavirus task force’s daily news conference Tuesday, but also conceded that he voted by mail in Florida’s primary last month.

Trump offered no legitimate explanation for the discrepancy between his position on mail-in voting and his personal voting habits, but insisted “there’s a big difference between somebody that’s out of state and does a ballot, and everything’s sealed, certified and everything else.”

Nobody with even a partially-functioning brain will be confused by what Trump is saying here: Republicans win in November 2020 if fewer Americans vote. Period.

Partisan politics aside, there are plenty of good reasons to support mail-in voting — just ask anybody in Wisconsin. Heck, just ask anybody here in Colorado, where mail balloting has gone smoothly for years. More people voting is a good thing, regardless of who they vote for.

Bernie Sanders Drops Out of Presidential Race

Sen. Bernie Sanders

UPDATE: From The Washington Post:

Sanders’s decision closes one of the most remarkable chapters in modern political history. His advocacy for sweeping liberal ideas, such as Medicare-for-all and tuition-free public college, shifted the national debate over the role of government.

His unexpected success in the first three primary contests made him the best-performing socialist contender in U.S. history, as well the strongest Jewish presidential candidate. At 78, Sanders was also the oldest candidate to go so far in the process.

But his campaign’s failure to capture the support of a majority of Democrats, on sharp display once the field narrowed to Sanders and Biden, underlined the limits of his left-leaning politics. A loss in the Michigan primary was especially damaging, undercutting Sanders’s message that he could expand the Democratic electorate by winning industrial areas.

Sanders also was unable to win widespread support in the African American community, a fatal problem in a party where black voters play a critical role.

—–

As CNN reports, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announced today in a call with his staff that he is formally ending his campaign for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

Sanders had fallen behind former Vice President Joe Biden in the delegate race just before the coronavirus outbreak upended, well, everything. For those of you keeping track at home, this means the General Election matchup will be between Biden and President Trump.

We’ll have more on this story as information becomes available.

 

At Least It’s Not Your Election, Badger State Edition

As the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports:

Wisconsin voters will head to the polls Tuesday after Gov. Tony Evers failed to shut down Tuesday’s election in a historic last-minute move that was swiftly rejected by the conservative majority of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The spring election will take place with polls opening at 7 a.m. statewide in the face of a warning from the state’s top health official who said voting in person will “without question” lead to more illness and death as coronavirus spreads through the state.

Six chaotic hours on Monday during which state leaders fought in court over whether to hold the election ended with a U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring all absentee ballots to be postmarked by Tuesday, reversing a federal judge’s order to extend absentee voting by a week and forcing thousands who hadn’t yet received their ballots to vote in person or not at all…

Here in Colorado, where laws designed to make voting easy include mail ballots sent to all active voters and same-day registration, the electoral train wreck unfolding in Wisconsin today looks like a tragedy so preventable it must be by design. Absentee ballots were reportedly requested by Wisconsin voters in record numbers, but results in Colorado prove there’s just no comparison to a true mail ballot system for facilitating access to the franchise–and this year, safe access. To force voters to the polls without regard for public safety instead of simply postponing of Wisconsin’s old-school election is an insidious form of vote suppression that simply wouldn’t be possible in our state.

It’s common knowledge that Republicans want fewer people to vote, but this is an ugly way to show it.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (April 7)

Happy Passover Holiday…oh, wait, it’s only Tuesday. Now, let’s 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 an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

 

Governor Jared Polis addressed Coloradans on Monday evening in a rare speech covered live by every local news outlet. The big news from Polis’ speech is that a statewide “stay at home” order has been extended until April 26. As 9News reports:

Polis said the reason for April 26 date is because, based on data, staying at home is “our best chance, our only realistic chance to avoid a catastrophic loss of life the death of thousands of our friends, neighbors and family members.”

Polis encouraged Coloradans to continue to do their part: stay home, wear a mask when going out for critical items and practice social distancing.

“The federal government is literally paying us to stay home,” Polis added.

He said April will be known as the “lost month,” and said this generation has been called upon to sacrifice – temporarily – our way of life so we can return to normal.

Polis gave a nod to scientists at Colorado State University (CSU) for their work on a possible vaccine or cure and thanked other countries for personal protective gear donations.

Polis will answer viewer questions during a live televised “town hall” meeting tonight at 7:00 pm. Check this link from 9News for information on how you can submit a question.

 

If we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic, this would be the biggest story of the month. Wisconsin is holding its Primary Election today after the Wisconsin Supreme Court overruled the state’s Governor and gave their stamp of approval to voter disenfranchisement. From Vox.com:

The Supreme Court’s Republican majority, in a case that is literally titled Republican National Committee v. Democratic National Committee, handed down a decision that will effectively disenfranchise tens of thousands of Wisconsin voters. It did so at the urging of the GOP.

The case arises out of Wisconsin’s decision to hold its spring election during the coronavirus pandemic, even as nearly a dozen other states have chosen to postpone similar elections to protect the safety of voters. Democrats hoped to defend a lower court order that allowed absentee ballots to be counted so long as they arrived at the designated polling place by April 13, an extension granted by a judge to account for the brewing coronavirus-sparked chaos on Election Day, April 7. Republicans successfully asked the Court to require these ballots to be postmarked by April 7.

All five of the Court’s Republicans voted for the Republican Party’s position. All four of the Court’s Democrats voted for the Democratic Party’s position.

The decision carries grave repercussions for the state of Wisconsin — and democracy more broadly. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg notes in her dissent, “the presidential primaries, a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, three seats on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, over 100 other judgeships, over 500 school board seats, and several thousand other positions” are at stake in the Wisconsin election, which will be held on Tuesday. Of all these seats, the state Supreme Court race, between incumbent conservative Justice Daniel Kelly and challenger Judge Jill Karofsky, is the most hotly contested…

…Tens of thousands of voters are not expected to even receive their ballots until after Election Day, effectively disenfranchising them through no fault of their own. [Pols emphasis]

These days, Republicans aren’t even pretending that they aren’t actively disenfranchising voters.

 

► President Trump has fired his second inspector general in less than a week. As The Washington Post reports, Trump booted the IG who was supposed to be watching over the $2.2 trillion spending package approved by Congress last month.

 

 CNN checks the facts on President Trump’s latest coronavirus talkathon.

 

► How do you run a U.S. Senate campaign during a coronavirus lockdown? What’s it like to be in charge during a time of crisis? How will you get your hair cut? We ask former Gov. John Hickenlooper these questions and more in the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

Dang, DMB–Another CD-3 Candidate Raises Big Bucks

Former Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush (D-Steamboat Springs).

A press release a short while ago from the congressional campaign of former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush in CD-3 announces a substantially bigger than expected fundraising haul for the first quarter of the 2020 election year:

In the first fundraising quarter of 2020, Diane Mitsch Bush, Democratic candidate running to unseat incumbent Scott Tipton, raised $363,000 from more than 1,338 donors in Colorado alone. This is the largest amount raised by a candidate for the seat so far this cycle by a large margin.

This figure brings her overall fundraising total for the 2020 Election Cycle to more than $789,000 from 7,110 donations with almost three-quarters coming from Coloradans–with $478,000 cash on hand…

“My contributions come from hardworking people who are deeply concerned by the current crisis and are tired of Tipton working for Washington insiders, pharmaceutical companies, and not holding this current administration accountable.”

“Scott Tipton has put corporations and party politics over people time and time again. He voted against protections for more than 300,000 Coloradans with preexisting conditions, voted to cut Medicare and Social Security, voted against veteran benefits, and against protections for our public lands. This crisis shows that we need better leadership in Washington. I have a record of bringing people together and getting things done for the people of CD3 when it really matters. I’ll do the same in Congress.”

In recent weeks the conversation about the upcoming race to unseat incumbent GOP Rep. Scott Tipton has mostly been about Democrat James Iacino–a wealthy businessman who although capable of self-funding a congressional campaign posted strong bonafide funds raised in Q4 2019, and has been racking up the endorsements. In 2018, former Rep. Mitsch Bush lost to Tipton, although by a smaller margin than some of Tipton’s previous Democratic opponents in less favorable years. CD-3 rates R+6 on the Cook PVI Index, in practical terms the only “reach goal” left for Colorado Democrats who would like to grow the state’s 4-3 Democratic delegation majority to 5-2 ahead of redistricting in 2021.

With this strong performance, Mitsch Bush looks to make the Democratic primary a real race. And that’s good: Rep. Tipton may not be what you’d call an inspiring leader, but he’s proven to be a very durable GOP incumbent. Supporters of both Democratic candidates should welcome the chance to hone their skills for the main event.

Tuesday Open Thread

“It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

  • RECENT COMMENTS