Trump’s Criminal Enterprise: A Time For Choosing

Comic book villain Roger Stone.

The New York Times reports on last night’s commutation of the sentence of close Donald Trump campaign associate Roger Stone, the latest act in the administration’s accelerating disregard for the rule of law in the interest of self-preservation:

For months, senior advisers warned Mr. Trump that it would be politically self-destructive if not ethically inappropriate to grant clemency to Mr. Stone, who was convicted of lying to protect the president. Even Attorney General William P. Barr, who had already overruled career prosecutors to reduce Mr. Stone’s sentence, argued against commutation in recent weeks, officials said.

But in casting aside their counsel on Friday, Mr. Trump indulged his own sense of grievance over precedent to reward an ally who kept silent. Once again, he challenged convention by intervening in the justice system undermining investigators looking into him and his associates, just days after the Supreme Court ruled that he went too far in claiming “absolute immunity” in two other inquiries.

Democrats condemned the commutation of Mr. Stone’s 40-month prison term and vowed to investigate. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calling the move an act of “staggering corruption,” said she would pursue legislation to prevent the president from using his power to protect those convicted of a cover-up on his own behalf, although that would face serious constitutional hurdles and never be signed into law by Mr. Trump…

Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, as of this writing the Senate GOP majority’s last remaining shred of conscience, found the words few other Republicans could manage:

Donald Trump, Cory Gardner.

Responding today in a Washington Post op-ed, Special Counsel Robert Mueller recapped Stone’s crimes, saying “remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.”

Congress also investigated and sought information from Stone. A jury later determined he lied repeatedly to members of Congress. He lied about the identity of his intermediary to WikiLeaks. He lied about the existence of written communications with his intermediary. He lied by denying he had communicated with the Trump campaign about the timing of WikiLeaks’ releases. He in fact updated senior campaign officials repeatedly about WikiLeaks. And he tampered with a witness, imploring him to stonewall Congress.

The jury ultimately convicted Stone of obstruction of a congressional investigation, five counts of making false statements to Congress and tampering with a witness. Because his sentence has been commuted, he will not go to prison. But his conviction stands.

Russian efforts to interfere in our political system, and the essential question of whether those efforts involved the Trump campaign, required investigation. In that investigation, it was critical for us (and, before us, the FBI) to obtain full and accurate information. Likewise, it was critical for Congress to obtain accurate information from its witnesses. When a subject lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government’s efforts to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable. It may ultimately impede those efforts.

Even Attorney General William Barr, who has richly earned his reputation as Trump’s “getaway driver” as opposed to the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, told Trump that commuting Stone’s sentence was wrong–and after Barr’s intervention into the case to lower the requested sentence before it was commuted, no one has done more on Stone’s behalf than William Barr until Trump made the ultimate “intervention” yesterday.

From what we can see, the only full-throated defense of this action is coming from the most hard-core supporters of the President, who embrace without question the administration’s baseless counter-narrative that the real bad guys of the 2016 Russian election interference campaign were the victims, President Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and especially Hillary Clinton–and because they were the real bad guys it was somehow okay for Roger Stone to lie to protect Trump.

The last time Cory Gardner was asked about Roger Stone back in February, he ran away from the reporter asking the question. Running away from the hard questions about Trump is so routine for Gardner now that he gets seriously off balance when cornered. But even then, Gardner is totally unable to show even a token degree of independence from Trump, and after a few repetitions this is understood to be complicity by all sides. Gardner knows it, and more importantly Gardner’s boss knows it.

For most Americans paying attention, commuting Stone’s sentence only further establishes guilt that no one seriously questions at this point. Everybody knows now what the Russians wanted out of 2016, how that coincided with what Trump wanted, and through Roger Stone how Trump’s campaign came to know the Russian game plan. The only thing that matters in 2020 is this: are you on the side in American politics willing to embrace a criminal enterprise in the White House in exchange for lower taxes and wedge issues, or are you not?

Cory Gardner has made his choice, and now you’ve got to make yours.

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It’s Official: 2020 Is Killing The Party of Trump

President Donald Trump, Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Politico reports, and it’s very, very bleak news for Republicans at every level as November looms on the near horizon:

Support for President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has hit an all-time low, according to a new survey, with a similarly substantial majority of Americans also disapproving of his response to widespread racial unrest.

An ABC News/Ipsos poll released Friday reports that a record 67 percent of respondents now disapprove of “the way Donald Trump is handling the response to the coronavirus,” while only 33 percent approve — the widest gulf in public sentiment since ABC News and Ipsos began surveying on the pandemic in March…

As for everything else going on?

The same percentage of respondents, 67 percent, also say they disapprove of “the way Donald Trump is handling race relations” amid protests against police brutality and racial injustice that began in late May after the killing of George Floyd. Just 32 percent of respondents say they approve of Trump’s handling of race relations.

These approval numbers on the central issues driving the news in 2020 are of course politically devastating for Trump and downballot Republicans assuming they translate into votes in November–and with all of 2020’s societal breakdowns and disruptions coming back to leadership that Trump has either failed to provide or villainously disregarded, this extremely high rate of public dissatisfaction is going to translate into votes. These numbers are another indicator that Trump’s total failure of leadership in the nation’s time of greatest need has set the entire Republican Party on a course for destruction in November. This is the “why” underscoring every poll showing Democrats from Joe Biden downward expanding their double-digit leads, and competing in places they shouldn’t be competitive.

Absent some deus ex machina no one can foresee today, there’s no coming back from this politically.

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Believe It Or Not, Stuff Happened Before Trump was President

As The New York Times reports, Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden is pushing a new slogan intended to encourage voters to “Buy American”:

Joseph R. Biden Jr. will lay out a populist economic vision to revive and reinvest in American manufacturing on Thursday, calling for major new spending and stricter new rules to “Buy American” as part of an effort to more aggressively challenge President Trump on two of his signature issues: the economy and nationalism.

In a speech in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, Mr. Biden is expected to slash at Mr. Trump management of the economy while framing his own economic agenda around the campaign’s new tagline of “Build Back Better.”

Mr. Biden is expected to say his plans would leverage trade, tax and investment policy to spur domestic innovation, reduce the reliance on foreign manufacturing and create five million additional American manufacturing and innovation jobs, according to a preview outlined by senior campaign officials.

This news has aggravated some Republicans who were of the belief that President Trump was the first person ever to think of promoting American-made products. Here’s a “hot take” from Kristi Burton Brown, “Personhood” genius, Vice-Chair of the Colorado Republican Party and now “lead policy adviser” for Republican Congressional candidate Lauren “Yosemite Samantha” Boebert:

Donald Trump invented “Buy American” in the same way that Ivanka Trump was personally responsible for creating 10% of all American jobs.

The “Buy American Act,” which required the U.S. government to prioritize purchasing U.S.-made products, was approved by Congress in 1933. More recently, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — a stimulus package passed by Congress in response to the Great Recession — included a separate “Buy American” provision. Congressional Republicans even tried to get then-President Obama to roll back the “Buy American” section because of concerns that it was slowing down the progress of recovery programs.

Former President Ronald Reagan was criticized for his protectionist trade policies in the 1980s, as was his successor, George H.W. Bush. Former President George W. Bush encouraged the “Buy American” idea in his 2006 State of the Union speech. Former President Bill Clinton wrote an entire chapter about the importance of buying American goods in a book published in 2011.

We’d mention Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, but you get the idea.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 8)

Happy birthday to retired Chinese basketball player Wang Zhizhi! 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

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

► The United States has surpassed 3 million coronavirus cases.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling today that will finally make right-wing Republicans happy. From The Washington Post:

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration may allow employers and universities to opt out of the Affordable Care Act requirement to provide contraceptive care because of religious or moral objections.

The issue has been at the heart of an intense legal battle for nine years, first with the Obama administration sparring with religious organizations who said offering contraceptive care to their employees violated their beliefs, and then with the Trump administration broadening the exemption, angering women’s groups, health organizations and Democratic-led states.

Wednesday’s decision greatly expands the ability of employers to claim the exemption, and the government estimates that it could mean that 70,000 to 126,000 women could lose access to cost-free birth control.

And the Trump campaign wonders why female voters are abandoning him in droves.

There should be another big Supreme Court announcement on Thursday — whether or not congressional committees and a New York prosecutor should be allowed to see Trump’s personal financial records.

 

► President Trump says that any hesitancy to re-open schools in the fall is about trying to make him look bad, or something. Now he’s threatening to cut off federal aid for school districts that don’t just open up regardless of the health risks. Chris Cillizza of CNN thinks this is a bad move for Trump:

Via CNN (7/8/20)

“We don’t want people to make political statements or do it for political reasons,” said Trump. “They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed. No way. So we’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open.”

The “why” here is simple: Trump’s poll numbers — and chances at winning a second term this fall — have taken a huge hit as the country has turned on how the President and his administration have handled the ongoing pandemic. (Trump’s job approval was at just 38% in a new Gallup poll released earlier this week.) He desperately wants to kickstart the economy and needs people to feel as though they are returning to “normal,” and getting kids back to school is, he believes, one of the best ways to do just that.

The problem is that Trump is so focused on his political imperatives that he is losing sight of the bigger picture here: Forcing — or pressuring — schools to fully reopen will jeopardize the health of teachers and could well boomerang back on him from both a public health and political perspective.

Attempting to “force” schools to open could have a cascading effect that ends up “forcing” schools to close altogether:

…if a USA Today/Ipsos poll conducted in May is any indication, plenty of teachers will walk away from the profession rather than risk their health. That survey showed that 1 in 5 teachers said they would not return to the classroom if schools reopened in the fall, a number that could well cripple any attempts to reopen schools anyway.

The reality is that school opening decisions are made by governors and local officials, not the President of the United States. And, even if schools do reopen, it’s not at all clear that enough teachers will show up to make it feasible.

Earlier this week, Florida’s Education Commissioner announced that he would require all schools to be open for in-person learning five days a week.

 

Sticking with the subject of education, international students in Colorado are facing more questions than answers about resuming classes in the fall. From The Denver Post:

International students at Colorado universities are worried about their educational futures following a new directive from federal immigration officials that would require them to change schools or leave the country should their institution revert to full online learning this fall.

The new guidance is meant to encourage schools that closed their campuses and moved online due to the pandemic to physically reopen, Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, said in a CNN interview Tuesday.

“If they don’t reopen this semester, there isn’t a reason for a person holding a student visa to be present in the country,” Cuccinelli said. “They should go home, and they can return when the school reopens.”

Tanya Roussy, a University of Colorado Boulder graduate student from Canada who is researching physics, said Tuesday that she felt it was “pretty clear with this government that cruelty is the point.”

 

You’re going to be reading a lot about businesses that received PPP loans from the federal government now that data has been made public. The list of businesses that received loans of at least $1 million is…frustrating.

Irony? Yeah, there’s that, too.

 

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

 

(more…)

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 7)

There is no coronavirus. There is no coronavirus. There is no coronavirus. [Opens eyes] Shit, there is still coronavirus. 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

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

► Experts say that we are still in the first phase of the coronavirus outbreak because we have not yet reached a point of lower infection rates — and that first phase is still raging. Melbourne, Australia (the country’s second-largest city with 5 million residents) is locking down for another six weeks in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. The United States might not be far behind. As The Washington Post reports:

Hospitals across the Sun Belt continue to be inundated with coronavirus patients, with Arizona reaching 89 percent capacity for intensive care unit beds on Monday, as Alabama, California, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas also reported unprecedented numbers of hospitalizations. For the 28th day in a row, the country’s rolling seven-day average of daily new cases shattered all previous records, although the number of deaths has remained relatively stable.

The United States is “still knee deep in the first wave” of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday. Unlike Europe, “we never came down to baseline and now are surging back up.”

At least 2,926,000 coronavirus cases and 127,000 deaths have been reported nationwide since February. The Trump administration hopes that Americans will grow inured to the growing death toll and accept the tens of thousands of new cases being reported each day as the new reality, three people familiar with the White House’s thinking told The Washington Post. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Meanwhile, CNN reports that even longtime Trump allies are privately admitting that people should be wearing masks everywhere they go:

Three months after reversing course and recommending masks — a move officials later conceded was confusing and awkward — top Republicans and allies of the President are only now coming to the realization that mask-wearing will be an essential element to containing a still-raging pandemic. [Pols emphasis]

White House officials are discussing taking a more active role in encouraging masks as they shift to a strategy of preparing Americans to live long-term with the virus. After appearing at a string of events without social distancing and where masks were scarce, Trump’s campaign said Sunday it would host a New Hampshire campaign rally where attendees will be “provided a face mask that they are strongly encouraged to wear.”

Yet Trump’s willingness to shift personally on the issue is far from clear. While he likened himself to the “Lone Ranger” on one of the few occasions he wore a mask in private, he has not used his powerful social media platforms to encourage his supporters to do the same. And in meetings with advisers, Trump has stated that more strenuous calls to wear masks might send the wrong message as he attempts to move on from the virus.

So, let’s see if we can parse out this logic: If we ignore the coronavirus, it will go away…which is why we can’t wear masks, because then the coronavirus would know that we aren’t really ignoring it? Don’t make eye contact with COVID-19!!!

And since we’re on the topic of ignoring the coronavirus, here’s an interesting bit of news via POLITICO:

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for Covid-19 after months of downplaying the virus’ severity.

Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and speaking to reporters in capital Brasilia.

 

► President Trump seems to be dead-set on playing only to his base as he gears up for the last few months of his re-election campaign. But as Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, this makes absolutely no sense:

What Trump is doing at the moment — judging from the Gallup numbers — is running a very effective primary campaign. He is consolidating his base behind him using fear and overt racial appeals. (Trump’s tweets on Monday calling on NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace to apologize are the latest evidence of that purposeful weaponizing of race.)

The problem, of course, is that Trump doesn’t have a primary problem. He has a general election problem. And by running a primary when a general election is what’s called for, Trump is making it harder and harder for himself to ever make the turn to a more traditional general-election strategy of outreach and inclusion.

Why? Why cut off your nose to spite your face? Because Trump can’t help himself.

As for those new Gallup numbers, Trump’s approval rating is holding steady at a not-so-robust 38%.

 

Faithless electors, repent! As The Denver Post reports:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that states can require electors to vote for the winner of the state’s popular vote for president in the Electoral College.

The decision was made based on two cases — one in Colorado and one in Washington State.

Delivering the court’s reasoning for both cases in Chiafalo v. Washington, Justice Elena Kagan wrote that nothing in the U.S. Constitution prevents states from punishing so-called faithless electors — members of the Electoral College who don’t vote in accordance with the people of their state. Justice Sonia Sotomayor recused herself from the Colorado decision because of her friendship with Colorado elector Polly Baca.

 

You’re going to be reading a lot about businesses that received PPP loans from the federal government now that data has been made public. The list of businesses that received loans of at least $1 million is…frustrating.

Irony? Yeah, there’s that, too.

 

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

 

(more…)

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The End Is Near for the Neville Clan

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville’s collar grows ever tighter.

Last week’s Primary Election was an anti-climactic affair at the top of the ticket, but the rest of the ballot told a very interesting story. As we wrote last week, significant Republican Primary losses portend another GOP wipeout in Colorado come November, and the fallout could lead to the last gasps of the Neville Clan.

Rumors are growing that House Minority Leader Patrick Neville could be in danger of losing control of the GOP caucus after another poor showing at the polls last week. State Rep. Hugh McKean is now in a strong position to challenge Neville for Minority Leader after victories on Tuesday by Colin Larsen (HD-22), Tonya Van Beber (HD-48), Mike Lynch (Hd-49), and Dan Woog (HD-63) — all of whom defeated candidates backed by the Neville Clan and their close friends at Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO). The Nevilles and RMGO also lost badly in SD-23, where their support of Rupert Parchment wasn’t enough to stop Barbara Kirkmeyer from cruising to a double-digit victory.

Our back-of-the-napkin math shows Neville with only seven remaining supporters among House Republicans, equal to the seven GOP House members who would likely side with McKean. Depending on how the General Election shakes out, that leaves about 8 Republican Representatives to determine the 2021-22 leadership battle. This could be a significant moment for Colorado Republicans, because a good number of their recent failures can be attributed directly to decisions made by the Neville Clan.

The Neville family have been fixtures in Colorado Republican politics for much of the last decade, beginning with State Sen. Tim “Pa” Neville’s narrow victory in Jefferson County in 2014. Tim Neville is the father of Pat Neville and GOP political consultant Joe Neville, whose consulting firm Rearden Strategic has overseen many Republican races in recent years (Tim Neville is also the brother-in-law of former Jefferson County School Board Member Julie Williams, whose brief run in Jeffco was a disaster all its own).

Sen. Cory Gardner and former state Sen. Tim Neville, circa 2015.

Tim Neville quickly rose to the top of the Republican food chain in Colorado as a conservative social issue warrior, becoming the de-facto leader of the Senate Republican caucus in the state legislature (Neville was basically the Senate President at one point) and a bonafide contender for statewide office. He looked to be on his way to becoming the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 2015, and by Spring 2016 he seemed to be accumulating enough support to take the top line at the State GOP Convention.

But Tim Neville’s political demise was as swift as his ascent. Colorado Republicans held their state assembly in April 2016, and Neville completely bombed, losing to little-known Darryl Glenn by a 4-to-1 margin. Neville then turned his attention toward running for re-election to the State Senate in 2018, where he was out-worked by Democrat Tammy Story en route to a 14-point loss that contributed to Republicans losing majority control of the state senate. Neville later blamed his defeat on poor campaign strategies enacted by outside groups, which was ironic considering how his son’s strategic blunders torpedoed GOP chances around the state in that same cycle.

Tim Neville was actually preceded in the state legislature by Patrick, who was elected to the State House in 2014 and became House Minority Leader following the 2016 election. Together the Nevilles championed the causes of anti-abortion activists, gun lovers, anti-vaxxers and opponents of a functioning government. With Joe Neville overseeing the outside political operations for many Republican candidates — and with financial support from RMGO head honcho Dudley Brown — the Neville Clan kept the State Capitol stocked with loyal but questionable characters such as former State Reps. Justin Everett and Tim Leonard. You might remember Leonard as the only person in recent history to serve time in jail while a sitting member of the legislature; the Leonard debacle paved the way for Democrats to take control of what had long been a safe Republican seat in 2018.

The 2018 election cycle was a pivotal year for Colorado Republicans who were TROUNCED in races across the board — many of which were overseen by the Nevilles and/or Rearden Strategic. One particularly pathetic effort in Jefferson County exemplified the poor return on investment that 2018 candidates received from Rearden Strategic.

Pat Neville has been driving the COVID-19 Stupidity Train in recent months.

Despite those heavy losses, Neville retained enough caucus support to keep his post as Minority Leader, but the cracks were starting to show. A few months later, Marianne Goodland of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman reported on grumblings about the Neville’s dubious political strategy and a generous payout structure for Rearden Strategic.

Last year, the Neville Clan followed up their poor 2018 by directing misguided efforts to raise money from gullible donors in a feeble attempt to recall multiple Democratic elected officials. Warning signs should have been apparent to the GOP after a questionable decision to go after Democratic Rep. Tom Sullivan left the Nevilles and RMGO with mostly egg on their sad faces.

This time last year, we wondered again how Neville still managed to remain House Minority Leader despite a consistent record of incompetence. The 2020 legislative session didn’t help Neville’s cause, and the June Primary exposed yet another rift between Neville and Colorado Republicans — many of whom were tired of a heavy-handed approach that included Neville’s Chief of Staff, Jim Pfaff, regularly threatening other Republicans.

Colorado Republicans aren’t going to take control of the State House in 2020, and it is also unlikely that they will wrestle away the State Senate from Democrats. But if this is the year that the GOP finally rejects the influence of the Neville Clan, then perhaps Republicans can start to creep back toward relevance in 2022.

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Everybody Loves Ken Salazar, Who Loves Joe Biden

Ken Salazar with former President Barack Obama.

Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette reports on a familiar face back in action with presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign on the summertime upswing:

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign has named former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as a co-chair of the presumptive Democratic nominee’s Latino Leadership Committee.

Salazar, a former U.S. senator and Colorado attorney general, was an early endorser of the former vice president’s White House bid. He joins fellow Obama cabinet alum former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis heading the campaign group, the Biden campaign said…

The other Colorado members are former Denver Mayor Federico Peña, who served as secretary of energy and transportation in the Clinton administration; state Senate President Leroy Gracia, D-Pueblo; and state Rep. Bri Buentello, D-Pueblo.

Former Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado on the stump for Biden is like getting the band back together again, and naturally invites speculation about whether Salazar might be tapped to serve in President Biden’s Cabinet–at Interior or another role for which Colorado’s “senior Salazar” would be well qualified. Back in 2016, before our universe veered off on this bizarre alternate timeline in which Donald Trump is President, Salazar was picked by then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to head what would have been Clinton’s presidential transition team.

Here’s a political mulligan we think history will allow.

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Supremes Crush Dreams of Colorado’s “Faithless Electors”

UPDATE: Statements from Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Attorney General Phil Weiser:

Secretary of State Jena Griswold:

“Today’s unanimous decision by the United States Supreme Court reaffirms the fundamental right to vote of every American and ensures that when we cast a vote for President of the United States, our voices will be heard. The will of a few unelected presidential electors should never supersede the will of the people, and today’s landmark decision rightly protects Americans’ right to vote and to self-governance. The fact that the Justices were unanimous in their decision further illustrates their realization that electors not bound to the will of the people needlessly opens up our entire election system to corruption and outside influence. I applaud the Court’s decision and am thankful that the Justices were willing to hear the case and make a determination in time for the 2020 General Election, which will give every voter the peace of mind that they will have say in who gets elected to be our nation’s next president.”

Attorney General Phil Weiser:

“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously affirmed that the States, and the States alone, have the exclusive authority to appoint and, if necessary, remove presidential electors when they violate their pledges. The Court’s historic opinion ensures that presidential electors will follow State law when they cast their Electoral College ballots in presidential elections and not act as free agents. With this issue decided before the 2020 election, we can avoid uncertainty, chaos, and confusion in the Electoral College, and protect our nation’s democratic principles and system of stable governance.”

—–

Colorado “faithless elector” Micheal Baca.

The Denver Post reports on a unanimous 9-0 smackdown delivered by the U.S. Supreme Court to Colorado’s “faithless electors,” overturning a lower court ruling that threatened chaos in the upcoming presidential elections and helping ensure that the nation’s creaky Electoral College system holds together:

In the unanimous decision based on a Colorado case, Justice Elena Kagan wrote that nothing in the U.S. Constitution prevents states from punishing so-called faithless electors — members of the Electoral College who do not vote in accordance with the people of their state.

The decision comes four months before the next presidential election.

Colorado’s case concerned several electors who tried to vote for Republican John Kasich instead of Hillary Clinton — the state’s winner — in 2016 in an effort to keep Donald Trump from becoming president. One of the electors, Micheal Baca, was punished for his dissension.

Baca and his attorneys had argued the state had no power to punish members of the Electoral College, who are free agents with the power to vote for whomever they choose. When the case was argued before justices May 13, two questioned whether Baca could have voted for Frodo Baggins or a giraffe is he wanted to.

Former Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams was severely exercised over the effrontery of Colorado’s “faithless electors,” and today’s decision certainly represents a vindication for Williams on this matter as well as his Democratic successor who agreed on the question of whether electors could be replaced, locked up, etc. if they refuse to carry out their sworn responsibility. A contagion of faithlessness that might have arisen after the practice was legitimized would have piled yet another destabilizing factor on an already very contentious election, so everyone who comes down on the order side of the essential order versus chaos debate can breathe a sigh of relief.

With that said, the unanimous decision to provide certainty to this one component of the Electoral College shouldn’t be interpreted as a unanimous endorsement of the entire undemocratic system, which delivered Donald Trump to the White House in 2016 despite losing the national popular vote by unprecedented millions. We’re still talking about the mechanics of a system meant to unequally weight the votes of supposedly equal Americans, and that system in a much more general sense is up for a vote this November in Colorado.

If “faithless electors” endanger democracy, let’s apply the same test to the Electoral College as a whole.

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Americans Will Stop Worrying And Love The COVID?

Donald Trump.

According to the Washington Post, President Donald Trump’s strategy for managing the political fallout of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is now pretty rudimentary:

The goal is to convince Americans that they can live with the virus — that schools should reopen, professional sports should return, a vaccine is likely to arrive by the end of the year and the economy will continue to improve.

White House officials also hope Americans will grow numb to the escalating death toll and learn to accept tens of thousands of new cases a day, [Pols emphasis] according to three people familiar with the White House’s thinking, who requested anonymity to reveal internal deliberations. Americans will “live with the virus being a threat,” in the words of one of those people, a senior administration official.

There’s a time-honored validity to this assumption as horrifying as it may sound at first blush: much like America eventually became “numb” to Trump’s almost daily deluge of disqualifying statements and actions as President, the “hope” is that perhaps they’ll get to the same place of resignation about the pandemic’s death toll. For those keeping score, yes, that’s the same pandemic Trump assured us was over before it even began, and has now killed and infected more Americans than any other nation on Earth.

The strategy does work. At length, it does become difficult to find fresh words to describe the horror.

We can’t wait to hear what Sen. Cory Gardner thinks of this, knowing we most likely never will.

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Trump Hasn’t Ever Been ‘More Excited’ by a Candidate, White House Told Boebert

(Trump thinks Boebert’s Primary victory means HE will win Colorado? Everything is always about Trump somehow. — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

After Lauren Boebert’s upset primary victory over U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO), her campaign told local Associated Press writers that the candidate was not available for an interview due to her trip to South Dakota for a Bikers for Trump Rally July 4.

But she accepted interview requests from the Denver Channel and other news outlets plus at least two on conservative talk radio, first with KHOW host Dan Caplis yesterday and later today with KNUS host Steffan Tubbs.

The AP piece focused in part on Boebert’s warm feelings toward Q’Anon, a conspiracy theory.

“When Lauren Boebert was asked in May about QAnon, she didn’t shy away from the far-right conspiracy theory, which advances unproven allegations about a so-called deep state plot against President Donald Trump that involves satanism and child sex trafficking,” began the AP story. “Everything that I’ve heard of Q, I hope that this is real because it only means that America is getting stronger and better, and people are returning to conservative values,” the Associated Press quoted her as saying, drawing from a radio interview.

But KHOW’s Caplis didn’t mention QAnon at all, beginning by telling Boebert, “This is a great thing,” and, “You have lit a fire.”

“And now we need to win in November, and we will,” Boebert told Caplis, saying she got calls from U.S. Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio, Ken Buck of Colorado, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.

Vice President Pence called her from Air Force Two, telling her about “the wonderful things” he’s learning about her and praying for her family, and he thanked her for serving at-risk women in her local jail, Boebert told Caplis

“And then I got a call from President Trump,” said Boebert. “And it was incredible.”

“Wow. Cool,” said Caplis.

“At first, I was told twice by his White House political director how excited the president was,” said Boebert on air. “He said last night I was in his office at 11:30 with [Trump], and he’s going through your Twitter, and he sits back in his chair and he says, ‘You know, with her winning, I think it’s safe to say we just won Colorado.’ He told me how excited the president was and again he said, ‘I don’t think I’ve seen the President more excited over a candidate before.’ He said, we are going to put you on the phone with him.”

Boebert then spoke with Trump who invited her to meet with him at his Rushmore event backstage.

“It was an honor of a lifetime to have that call with President Trump,” she told Caplis.

Boebert recently gained attention by rejecting state COVID orders to close her cafe, until its license was suspended by the county. Her business previously made headlines for food-safety infractions and for its staff, including Boebert, openly carrying guns. She also challenged a Democratic presidential primary candidate on gun issues. Her campaign has said she doesn’t “follow QAnon.”

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Cory Gardner is Melting Down in Front of Our Eyes

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is a hot mess right now.

In the last 24 hours or so, Gardner has tried desperately to convince reporters that his campaign isn’t already doomed; watched his Democratic opponent win a blowout victory despite millions in negative ads; saw a fellow incumbent lose a Primary despite having President Trump’s endorsement; conducted a handful of interviews that make him sound like a lunatic used-car salesman; and got to see a new General Election poll already showing that he’s getting crushed by Democratic Senate nominee John Hickenlooper.

 

Tuesday Afternoon (June 30)

Sen. Cory Gardner tells a story about his mammoth MOV in 2014.

With just a few hours to go until polls close in Colorado, the Gardner campaign releases a laughable memo (“Cory Gardner Isn’t Dead Yet Probably”) that inaccurately calls Colorado “the Rocky Mountain state” (the correct answer is: The Centennial State) and lists the wrong margin of victory for his 2014 Senate win. The memo says that Gardner defeated Democrat Mark Udall by 2.5 points in 2014, but the actual final margin was just about 2 even. This isn’t a huge deal, but it’s a weird thing to lie about.

There are a lot of other, let’s say, exaggerations in the Gardner memo, which calls Hickenlooper “the worst senate candidate in America” a few hours before Hick wins the Democratic Primary by 20 points. Check out this preemptive jab at media outlets hoping to convince reporters that Gardner is not screwed:

One thing you can count on – the Washington, DC press corps will predict losses across the board for Republicans in Senate contests this cycle. It is part of their migratory ritual every even-numbered year that more often than not proves incorrect. They’ll proclaim Colorado is now the political soulmate of California – or something equally preposterous.

Very subtle.

And then there’s this bit of nuttery:

In Colorado the floor for candidates from both parties is high and the ceiling is low. Single-digit races are the norm. Democrats will also spin yarns about their bare voter registration advantage. It’s nonsense. [Pols emphasis] For decades, Republicans had a voter registration advantage in this state, but Democrats like Michael Bennet, Mark Udall, Ken Salazar, and even John Hickenlooper were able to win statewide. Independents decide elections in Colorado – they always have and always will.

First of all, a voter registration advantage is a concrete number. The advantage doesn’t necessarily play out in every contest, but you can’t dispute that the number is indeed real. The rest of this paragraph actually hurts the underlying argument; if Democratic candidates could win when Republicans had a voter registration advantage, then they should feel really good about having a natural head start in 2020.

Also, raise your hand if you believe that the 2020 Election is going to be just like Colorado’s past half-dozen General Elections by any measurement.

Nobody? Okay, let’s move on…

 

Tuesday Evening (June 30)

See you in your dreams, Cory…

Election results are coming in, and they are disastrous for Republicans. Hickenlooper defeats Andrew Romanoff by 20 points in the Democratic Primary — despite weeks of expensive negative attacks against Hick. As we wrote earlier:

Last August, Hickenlooper was polling at about 61% support in a potential Democratic Primary. He’s going to end up winning the Primary with about 60% of the vote…after Republicans spent $2 million in negative ads attacking Hickenlooper for ethics charges and a hard-to-understand public-private partnership “scandal.”

This is a big blow for Team Gardner, even if a Hickenlooper victory was anticipated. But Gardner takes a second body blow when he learns that incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) will lose in a GOP Primary to a political newcomer who raised little money for her campaign. Just like Gardner, Tipton had the full endorsement of President Trump; it didn’t even help in a Republican Primary. Gardner can also look forward to being asked about whether he agrees with Lauren Boebert in hoping that the QAnon conspiracy theories are real.

Later, Gardner is quoted several times in a story written by Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman in which he seems to confuse Hickenlooper and Romanoff entirely:

Gardner said he also plans to press Hickenlooper to explain “his new, radical positions” on health care and the environment, though Gardner cited positions championed by Romanoff but rejected by Hickenlooper [Pols emphasis], such as Medicare for all and the Green New Deal. Indeed, much of Romanoff’s campaign against Hickenlooper centered around his primary rival’s opposition to those proposals.

They’re all socialists! The whole lot of them! Arrrgghhhhh!!!

Gardner then opens up a can of worms — inaccurately — on an issue that he really shouldn’t be discussing:

“He needs to explain why 20% of the state tried to secede when he was governor,” Gardner said, referring to a failed 2013 effort by some conservatives in 11 northeastern Colorado counties — representing 7% of Colorado’s population — to form the 51st state.

When he says “20% of the state,” Gardner is referring to 20% of the land in Colorado. Less than 2% of Colorado’s population actually ended up supporting succession in 2013. Notably, Gardner HAS NEVER SAID how he voted on this issue, which is why we wouldn’t have broached the topic if we were him. One year before he was elected to the U.S. Senate, did Gardner vote in favor of secession?

 

Wednesday Morning, July 1

Gardner starts his day as a guest of Ryan Warner on Colorado Public Radio. It is an unmitigated disaster.

Gardner also dodges questions about reports that Russia set cash bounties on the heads of American soldiers; about whether he questions his continued support of President Trump; and whether he supports the nomination of William Perry Pendley to be the Director of the Bureau of Land Management, which moved its HQ to Grand Junction last year with a big lift from Gardner.

Warner previewed his Gardner interview on Tuesday, writing on Twitter: “On Wednesday— when we will most likely know who his Democratic opponent is — Sen. Cory Gardner joins Colorado Matters for our first interview of the general election. What would you like to know?”

If you are one of the people who happened to submit a question, we’ll save you the trouble of looking for the clip online; Gardner definitely didn’t provide an answer.

Sen. Cory Gardner

 

Late Morning on Wednesday, July 1

Finally, a new poll from PPP is released showing Hickenlooper leading Gardner by a 51-40 margin, including a 19-point advantage among “independent” voters. The same poll shows Democrat Joe Biden leading President Trump by a 56-39 margin, with a 25-point advantage among “independents.”

Let’s go back to this line in Tuesday’s memo from the Gardner campaign:

Independents decide elections in Colorado – they always have and always will.

D’oh!

 

 

—–

 

Cory Gardner is not going to be re-elected to the U.S. Senate in November, and he knows this. It’s all over but the shouting…and these are the last desperate cries of a man watching the door close on a once-promising political career.

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Primary Results Portend GOP Wipeout in November

The 2020 Primary Election is now behind us (except for those few races that may need a recount). If you are a Democrat, you should be ecstatic. If you are a Republican, you might want to go into hibernation until 2022.

Let’s take a step back and examine the view of the 2020 Primary from 30,000 feet (or what you remember the view to look like from 30,000 feet, since nobody is going to be on an airplane anytime soon).

Lesson #1: Republicans Who are Known Entities Were Roundly Rejected 

Rep. Scott Tipton

Even Republican voters are sick of the current batch of Republicans. Take a look at this brief list of well-known Republicans who were shown the door on Tuesday:

♦ Six-term Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) — who was endorsed by President Trump — lost to QAnon true believer Lauren “Yosemite Samantha” Boebert.

♦ State Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Firestone) lost her campaign to return to the State House…by 30 points.

♦ Former State Rep. Justin Everett was handily defeated by Rep. Colin Larsen in South Jeffco.

This list does not (yet) include State Rep. Lori Saine (R-Firestone), who will likely need to wait for a recount to see if she won her race for an open seat on the Weld County Board of Commissioners.

 

Lesson #2: Pat Neville and RMGO Failed Everywhere

GOP House Minority Leader Patrick Neville

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville “led” Republicans to a beatdown in 2018. His preferred Primary candidates in 2020, most of whom were supported with tens of thousands of dollars from Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), were all soundly defeated:

HD-22: Justin Everett, a longtime Neville/RMGO loyalist, tried to retake his old House seat with a disgusting far-right message. He lost to Rep. Colin Larsen by 12 points.

HD-48: Two-time loser Grady Nouis lost by 12 points to Tonya Van Beber. Voters were apparently not impressed with the fact that Nouis is basically a Nazi.

HD-63: Neville and RMGO liked them some Pat Miller, who was Tom Tancredo’s running mate for Governor back in 2010. Dan Woog beat Miller by 25 points. (Fun Fact: This is Cory Gardner’s original State House seat)

SD-23: In one of the nastier Primary battles of 2020, RMGO spent big bucks trying to prop up Rupert Parchment against former County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer. This race was also not close, with Kirkmeyer winning by about 12 points.

 

Lesson #3: Cory Gardner is in DEEP Trouble

Sen. Cory Gardner

Lessons #1 and #2 would be scary enough for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who is seeking re-election in November, but that’s not even the worst of it.

Prepping for former Gov. John Hickenlooper to defeat former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff in the Democratic Senate Primary, Gardner’s campaign sent out a rambling, ridiculous memo on Tuesday afternoon (“Cory Gardner Isn’t Dead Yet Probably”) arguing that Hickenlooper was the “worst senate candidate in America” and that a Democratic voter registration advantage in Colorado is “nonsense.”

A few hours later, Hickenlooper beat Romanoff by 20 points.

Last August, Hickenlooper was polling at about 61% support in a potential Democratic Primary. He’s going to end up winning the Primary with about 60% of the vote…after Republicans spent $2 million in negative ads attacking Hickenlooper for ethics charges and a hard-to-understand public-private partnership “scandal.”

Re-read that last paragraph. Republicans (and Romanoff) spent many millions of dollars over several weeks trying to tear down Hickenlooper. They might have moved the race about one point in the end.

Colorado voters saw and heard about the ethics complaints against Hickenlooper; either they didn’t buy it, or they didn’t care. Gardner used a silly commercial to try to convince voters that Hickenlooper didn’t really want to be a Senator; that didn’t work, either.

Gardner has been a hot mess in the last 24 hours (more on that in a later post). If we were Gardner, we’d absolutely be freaking out today, too.

 

The 2020 Primary Election went worse for Republicans than observers — including us — could have even imagined. Today is the first day of the 2020 General Election in Colorado. It’s going to be a LONG couple of months for the GOP.

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Get More Smarter on Election Day (June 30)

The Primary Election is FINALLY here. 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

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

► If you still have a Primary Election ballot at home, DO NOT put it in the mail! Go to GoVoteColorado.com to find a ballot drop off location and make sure to return your ballot BEFORE 7:00pm. If your ballot isn’t in a drop box by 7:00, it’s not going to be counted. 

As Blair Miller reports for Denver7, ballot returns are expected to greatly exceed the total voter turnout from the 2018 Primary Election.

 

► Democrat Amy McGrath appears to have defeated Charles Booker in last week’s hotly-contested U.S. Senate Primary in Kentucky. The Associated Press called the race for McGrath after nearly a week of ballot counting; McGrath will challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November.

POLITICO takes a separate look at Colorado’s U.S. Senate Primary Election and concludes that former Gov. John Hickenlooper appears to be a good bet to hold off a challenge from former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. Booker’s loss in Kentucky is another ominous sign for Romanoff, since both candidates tried to position themselves as the most progressive candidate on the ballot:

A handful of national progressive organizations, including the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, backed Romanoff down the stretch, and Our Revolution, which launched out of Sanders’ first presidential run, also endorsed him. But many of the groups who jumped into Kentucky stayed on the sidelines in Colorado.

If you’re looking for hints as to the outcome in today’s big Senate battle, take a look at what Colorado Pols readers think will happen.

 

Colorado isn’t the only Western state holding a Primary Election today. Voters are also casting ballots — though mostly by mail — in Utah, where the top-ticket race is a battle for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. As POLITICO reports, former Gov. Jon Huntsman is in real danger of losing a GOP Primary to Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox:

Huntsman’s willingness to serve in both Democratic and Republican administrations — as well as his reputation for moderation that includes his role as a co-chair of the bipartisan group No Labels — is testing Utah Republicans’ tolerance for the kind of technocratic governance he represents.

“This race is kind of Huntsman versus Huntsman,” said Doug Foxley, a political strategist and senior adviser to the Huntsman campaign. “Some of these people have feelings about Jon — and they’re either voting for him, or they’re voting against him.”

Recent polls show the primary as a near-tie between Huntsman and Cox. Also on the ballot are two well-known state Republicans — former state House Speaker Greg Hughes and former state GOP chairman Thomas Wright — who have ranked behind the two frontrunners.

Voters are also going to the polls in Oklahoma today, as POLITICO notes, but the overarching story of the day might be the spotlight on mail balloting in Colorado and Utah.

 

► President Trump has repeatedly claimed that he was not briefed about intelligence concerns that Russia had issued “bounties” for the deaths of American soldiers in Afghanistan. But as The New York Times reports, that position may not hold for much longer:

American officials provided a written briefing in late February to President Trump laying out their conclusion that a Russian military intelligence unit offered and paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, two officials familiar with the matter said.

The investigation into the suspected Russian covert operation to incentivize such killings has focused in part on an April 2019 car bombing that killed three Marines as one such potential attack, according to multiple officials familiar with the matter.

The new information emerged as the White House tried on Monday to play down the intelligence assessment that Russia sought to encourage and reward killings — including reiterating a claim that Mr. Trump was never briefed about the matter and portraying the conclusion as disputed and dubious.

But that stance clashed with the disclosure by two officials that the intelligence was included months ago in Mr. Trump’s President’s Daily Brief document — a compilation of the government’s latest secrets and best insights about foreign policy and national security that is prepared for him to read. One of the officials said the item appeared in Mr. Trump’s brief in late February; the other cited Feb. 27, specifically.

It is well known that Trump does not normally bother reading his daily intelligence briefin

 

 Does Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) have a breaking point when it comes to President Trump? We asked that question last year, and we asked it again on Monday. The answer is the same.

 

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

 

(more…)

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How About Now? Nope, Gardner Still Sticks with Trump

A Tweet for your soul?

Last October we wondered aloud about whether there was anything that President Trump could do — or fail to do — that might convince Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) to finally begin to distance himself from the incredible sinking ship that is the S.S. Trumptanic. A couple of months later, The Colorado Sun asked if Gardner had a breaking point when it came to Trump.

The answer then was the same as it is now: “Nope.”

Of course, October 2019 was a much simpler time in America, when we could almost focus on the fact that the President of the United States tried to extort a foreign country in order to aid his own re-election hopes. Things have gotten significantly more complicated in the last nine months, so we thought we’d check in once more on Gardner.

Does Cory Gardner have a breaking point when it comes to President Trump? Let’s take a look…

 

(more…)

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Pre-Primary Predictions

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, it’s Primary-Prognostication-Palooza! The President takes a pounding in the polls, a potential politician pretends to be a professional, and more pretentious pablum from some political putzes. Tune in to hear our predictions for the June 30 Primary Election in Colorado.

If you missed last week’s episode featuring Assistant House Majority Leader Chris Kennedyclick here.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

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Coloradans are Voting in Record Numbers

According to data just released by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, nearly 1 million ballots have already been returned ahead of the June 30 Primary Election. This is a HUMONGOUS jump from 2018, and it’s not a story that we’ve seen mentioned yet.

Take a look at a comparison of ballot returns today and with five days remaining until the Primary Election in 2018. We’re basing these comparisons on ballot return press releases issued by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office in 2018 (here) and 2020 (here).

 

We’ll have more commentary on why these numbers are so huge as soon as we figure that out. It may be the coronavirus and people spending more time at home; it’s harder to forget about that ballot on your kitchen table when you’re sitting at your kitchen table for six hours every day.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (June 26)

Don’t look now, but we’re rounding the bend of June and rolling into July already. 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

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

 

***If you still have a Primary Election ballot at home, don’t put it in the mail! Go to GoVoteColorado.com to find a ballot drop off location near you.*** 

 

It might still be the first wave. Maybe it’s a second wave. The number doesn’t really matter, because the important part is that the COVID-19 is still growing in the United States with 40,000 new cases being reported. Texas is seeing a huge spike in coronavirus cases, as is Arizona — two Republican-led states in the southwest that were too anxious to reopen without making sure it was safe to do so.

The Washington Post explains how Arizona lost control of the pandemic:

Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, is recording as many as 2,000 cases a day, “eclipsing the New York City boroughs even on their worst days,” warned a Wednesday brief by disease trackers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which observed, “Arizona has lost control of the epidemic.”

But physicians, public health experts, advocates and local officials say the crisis was predictable in Arizona, where local ordinances requiring masks were forbidden until Gov. Doug Ducey (R) reversed course last week. State leaders did not take the necessary precautions or model safe behavior, these observers maintain, even in the face of compelling evidence and repeated pleas from authoritative voices.

“We have failed on so many levels,” said Dana Marie Kennedy, the Arizona director of AARP, who said her organization has yet to receive a response to four letters outlining concerns to the governor. She is working on a fifth.

Neither the governor’s office nor the state health department responded to requests for comment.

Florida — another Republican-led state — is slowing down its reopening process because of a surge in cases; on Friday, Florida reported nearly 9,000 new cases (the state’s previous daily high was 5,500).

Colorado has also seen an uptick in coronavirus cases, but not nearly to the extend of neighboring states. Within Colorado, El Paso County is one of the worst-hit areas; it’s not a coincidence that El Paso is a solid-red Republican county.

At the White House today, Vice President Mike Pence will provide a media briefing on the nation’s coronavirus response…the first such briefing IN TWO MONTHS.

President Trump, meanwhile, is apparently watching an entirely different movie than everyone else:

 

President Trump is hemhoraging support. As a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds, Trump’s disapproval ratings have reached an all-time high:

Trump’s approval rating sits at just 40% overall, while a record 58% disapprove.

What’s more, a whopping 49% of voters “strongly disapprove” of the job Trump is doing. That kind of intensity of disapproval is a record never before seen for this president or any past one. [Pols emphasis]

So much winning! The #1 most disliked President ever!

 

Sticking with the subject of political polling, 9News released new data on Thursday showing that the race for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination is pretty much over. According to data from SurveyUSA, former Gov. John Hickenlooper is a 2-to-1 favorite over former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff ahead of Tuesday’s Primary Election.

 

Hickenlooper is probably not going to beat Romanoff by 30 points, but as the saying goes, you can tell the “fat lady” to start warming up.

 

Political suicide. On Thursday the Trump administration announced another boneheaded decision that one Republican consultant called “pretty dumb” earlier this week. As The Washington Post reports:

The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court late on Thursday to overturn the Affordable Care Act, telling the court that “the entire ACA must fall.” The administration’s argument comes as hundreds of thousands of Americans have turned to the government program for health care as they’ve lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) responded to the brief by saying there is “no moral excuse for the Trump Administration’s disastrous efforts to take away Americans’ health care.” Dismantling the ACA would leave more than 23 million people without healthcare plans, according to a recent analysis by the liberal-leaning think tank Center for American Progress.

“President Trump and the Republicans’ campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty,” Pelosi, who on Wednesday filed a bill to expand the ACA, said in a statement.

Again, the Trump administration is making a big show of trying to take away health insurance for millions of people in the midst of an historic global pandemic that is pummeling the United States. Is Trump trying to lose in 2020?

This is also bad news for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who has repeatedly voiced support for destroying the ACA through the courts.

 

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

 

(more…)

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This Is What Political Suicide Looks Like

UPDATE: This lede from The Washington Post summarizes the story well:

President Trump insists on the campaign trail that he wants to protect insurance coverage for people with preexisting conditions. His legal team just told the Supreme Court otherwise.

—–

President Donald Trump, Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

NBC News reported late last night, and the rude shock despite this being a fully expected development reverberates as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on the health and economic security of Americans:

The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to wipe out Obamacare, arguing that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and that the rest of the law must be struck down with it.

The late-night brief, filed Thursday in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, carries major implications for the presidential election. If the justices agree, it would cost an estimated 20 million Americans their insurance coverage and nullify protections for pre-existing conditions.

The Trump administration’s brief comes as the U.S. has recorded more than 120,000 deaths from COVID-19, with nearly 2.5 million confirmed cases. On Wednesday, the nation hit a new record for the highest daily total of new infections reported with more than 45,500.

The brief filed by Trump administration seeks to close the loop on the Republican legislative attempt to repeal (forget “replace,” that’s so 2015) the Affordable Care Act during the period of total GOP control in Washington from 2017-2019. As readers know, despite Sen. Cory Gardner’s steadfast support for every ACA repeal bill put before him for a vote, Republicans could not summon up the political will to follow through on their promises to get rid of “Obamacare” with the painful consequences of that action fully in view. But they did manage to pass a zeroing out of the individual mandate tax penalty, and that chipping away at the foundation of the law is the basis for today’s argument that the ACA can’t legally exist without the mandate.

The point? This is all happening because Republicans wanted it to happen. They kicked the leg out from the proverbial stool, and are now arguing their actions should kill the entire law–somehow without Republicans having to take political responsibility.

But as the New York Times reported earlier this week, that’s just not going to fly in 2020:

Republicans are increasingly worried that their decade-long push to repeal the Affordable Care Act will hurt them in the November elections, as coronavirus cases spike around the country and millions of Americans who have lost jobs during the pandemic lose their health coverage as well…

Republicans have long said their goal is to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act but have yet to agree on an alternative. This week’s back-to-back developments — Ms. Pelosi’s bill announcement on Wednesday, followed on Thursday by the administration’s legal filing — has put Republicans in a difficult spot, strategists say.

“Politically, it’s pretty dumb to be talking about how we need to repeal Obamacare in the middle of a pandemic,” [Pols emphasis] said Joel White, a Republican strategist who specializes in health policy and has presented legislative proposals to House and Senate Republicans and the White House. “We need quick solutions here; we need stuff that we can do tomorrow, because our countrymen are hurting.”

Well folks, it appears that the only thing Republicans in Washington are prepared to “do tomorrow” is strike down the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, with no plan to remediate the resulting loss of health coverage millions of Americans would face after that decision. It’s generally agreed today that the Republican attacks on health coverage after Trump took office played a big role in the electoral backlash against the GOP in 2018.

Going down this road in 2020, in the middle of a global pandemic with an election fast approaching isn’t just grievous policy malpractice. It’s a political catastrophe for Republicans like Cory Gardner, who has invested so much in trying to appear responsive to the country’s needs in the current emergency by voting for economic stimulus measures he decried when a Democrat was President. It is not an exaggeration to state that Gardner’s entire career in federal office, in Congress and in the U.S. Senate, has been built around opposition to the Affordable Care Act–with an accompanying promise that the ACA would be “replaced” with “something better.”

Everything Cory Gardner has promised for ten years on health care lies in ruins today. Gardner, along with his party, are revealed to have no health care agenda other than the destruction by any means necessary of Barack Obama’s legacy. Americans caught in the crossfire of the GOP’s political vendetta, including hundreds of thousands in Colorado who have benefited or even had their lives saved by the Affordable Care Act, are the success stories Republicans want to condemn to the status quo ante.

When they say elections matter, this is what they mean. This is life and death stuff, and the consequences have perhaps never been more starkly apparent to Americans than they are today.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (June 24)

Happy Bannockburn Day. 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

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

 

A new poll from The New York Times and Siena College shows that President Trump is absolutely cratering:

Joseph R. Biden Jr. has taken a commanding lead over President Trump in the 2020 race, building a wide advantage among women and nonwhite voters and making deep inroads with some traditionally Republican-leaning groups that have shifted away from Mr. Trump following his ineffective response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new national poll of registered voters by The New York Times and Siena College.

Mr. Biden is currently ahead of Mr. Trump by 14 percentage points, garnering 50 percent of the vote compared with 36 percent for Mr. Trump. That is among the most dismal showings of Mr. Trump’s presidency, and a sign that he is the clear underdog right now in his fight for a second term…

…among a striking cross-section of voters, the distaste for Mr. Trump has deepened as his administration failed to stop a deadly disease that crippled the economy and then as he responded to a wave of racial-justice protests with angry bluster and militaristic threats. The dominant picture that emerges from the poll is of a country ready to reject a president whom a strong majority of voters regard as failing the greatest tests confronting his administration.

Trump gets crushed in this poll on questions about how he has handled the coronavirus pandemic. According to the poll, the only demographic where Trump has any advantage over Biden is among non-college educated white voters.

 

 Tuesday marked the highest number of new coronavirus cases in the United States since late April. The United States is doing such a poor job of containing the pandemic that the European Union may soon block travelers coming from America.

The coronavirus news isn’t all bad, fortunately. In Colorado, mortality rates are declining among people infected with the virus.

 

Two federal prosecutors are testifying in front of a House committee today about the high-level political pressure placed upon their work by the Trump administration and Attorney General William Barr. As CNN reports:

Two prosecutors in the Justice Department will ratchet up the criticism of Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday with remarkable congressional testimony accusing senior Justice Department officials of politicizing DOJ investigations and the sentencing of a friend of President Donald Trump.

Aaron Zelinsky, a prosecutor on former special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, plans to testify that the sentencing recommendation for Trump’s longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone was watered down due to political pressure from the “highest levels” of the Justice Department, according to Zelinsky’s prepared remarked released Tuesday. Zelinsky, who now works in the Maryland US Attorney’s Office, said the pressure came due to Stone’s “relationship with the President.”

John Elias, a career Justice Department prosecutor in the Antitrust Division, accused Barr of ordering investigations into 10 mergers of cannabis companies because he did not like the industry, according to a copy of his testimony. Elias also charged that political leadership in the Antitrust Division pushed an investigation into California’s emissions standards last year following a tweet from the President attacking the state.

Wednesday’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee comes amid a new flurry of questions surrounding Barr’s decision to fire Geoffrey Berman, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, which has investigated Trump and his associates. Berman initially refused Barr’s request for his resignation, vowing to remain until the Senate confirmed his replacement sparking a chaotic situation that ended after Trump and Barr fired him and Berman agreed to leave.

 

In not-unrelated news, a federal appeals court has ruled that a criminal case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn should be dropped. From The Washington Post:

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan cannot scrutinize the Justice Department’s decision to drop its long-running prosecution of President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn and must dismiss the case, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

In a 2-1 decision, the court said it is not within the judge’s power to prolong the prosecution or examine the government’s motives for its reversal in the politically charged case. Flynn twice pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about his pre-inauguration contacts with Russia’s ambassador before the Justice Department moved in May to dismiss the charges.

 

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

 

(more…)

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Former Colo Republican Activist Wants Trump Out

(He’s not wrong about Trump, but this word salad is something else: “On this side of the looking glass, we find ourselves in the year 2020, it seems as though nothing is as it was, and that nothing will be as we were promised.” — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A conservative activist, once regarded in Colorado as a partisan Republican, is now saying Trump has “failed in even the simplest of pursuits in his role,” and wants the president defeated in November.

Jonathan Lockwood, who worked for former U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), has aligned himself with the Lincoln Project, a Republican-lead organization working to defeat Trump.

“The president has failed to elevate our collective consciousness, and he has failed in even the simplest of pursuits in his role,” said Lockwood when asked why he’s turned against the president. “The antics are not just campaign tactics, they are character flaws. The cover-ups and insidious events are alarming.”

Lockwood insists he wants Democrats and Republicans to come together to solve problems.

‪“America is in crisis,” he wrote in a statement to the Colorado Times Recorder. “We need leaders on both sides of the aisle to stand up to profligate personalities occupying positions of power. I will continue to speak out on division and lawlessness, and advocate for policies that advance a fairer and freer society. My purpose is to manifest a new world—one not imprisoned by chaos and revolution, but evolution and order. “Our future is at stake, we must fight not only for survival, but for survival. Imagine a world without war, poverty and suffering—even just for a moment—we need leaders to capture that spark, the imagination of our nation, and aspire for better by appealing to the best in all of us, not the worst humanity has to offer. On this side of the looking glass, we find ourselves in the year 2020, it seems as though nothing is as it was, and that nothing will be as we were promised.”

Those may not sound like words you’d expect from a former spokesperson for Colorado House Republicans and Oregon House and Senate Republicans or from someone who concocted a nuclear-bomb-themed attack advertisement targeting Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, but Lockwood is seriously disappointed by Trump.

“I voted for the president because the stakes were high, and the partisan warfare was real,” he wrote. “I took him at his word that he would be fiscally conservative, but he has delivered a fiscally irresponsible administration. He’s advanced the Pelosi spending agenda. He promised a smarter foreign policy and he has delivered a more vulnerable America due to his nefarious volatility.”

Lockwood was among the leaders of campaigns to recall Colorado Democrats for passing gun control laws. And he worked for GOP candidate Casper Stockham, who’s currently running for Congress in the Seventh Congressional District.

He directed Advancing Colorado, a now-defunct conservative multi-issue advocacy group in Colorado and was a fellow both for the Charles Koch Institute and legislative fellow with American Legislative Exchange Council

“It is not too late though, and while I don’t expect people on the other side of the aisle to be waving and holding open arms — we need to seriously come together and unite for humanity,” Lockwood wrote.

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The Wheels are Coming Off the Trump Train

The White House is broken

We wrote yesterday about how Sen. Cory Gardner’s past statements were at odds with President Trump’s declarations that he instructed officials to “slow down” testing for COVID-19 because Trump didn’t think it looked good that so many people were getting sick. As POLITICO reports today, Trump made it clear to reporters that he was not joking around when he made his “slow down” comments at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday insisted he was serious when he revealed that he had directed his administration to slow coronavirus testing in the United States, shattering the defenses of senior White House aides who argued Trump’s remarks were made in jest.

“I don’t kid. Let me just tell you. Let me make it clear,” Trump told reporters, when pressed on whether his comments at a campaign rally Saturday in Tulsa, Okla., were intended as a joke…[Pols emphasis]

…Administration officials as high ranking as Vice President Mike Pence have scrambled in recent days to clean up Trump’s statements on Saturday in Tulsa, Okla., where he reprised his dubious logic regarding testing rates before an arena of supporters.

“When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people,” Trump said during the rally. “You’re going to find more cases. So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.’”

Now, here’s where things start to get really weird. As NBC News reports:

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that the federal government is trying to expand testing, not slow it down it as President Donald Trump has suggested in recent days. [Pols emphasis]

In testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Fauci was asked about the president’s recent comments and whether he agrees that it makes sense to limit the number of COVID-19 tests.

“It’s the opposite, we’re going to be doing more testing, not less,” said Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, who has played a key role in the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic.

On the same day that President Trump reiterated that he instructed officials to “slow down” COVID-19 testing, the top infectious disease expert in the United States was telling Congress that health officials were “doing more testing, not less.”

What in the hell is going on here? Did Trump just have a dream that he instructed officials to “slow down” on testing, or did he really make that request and it was completely ignored? Have federal government officials stopped listening to Trump altogether?

This is very strange, even for an administration that is already well beyond normal.

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Cory Gardner Has a Coronavirus Testing Problem

Say anything? Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma)

President Trump held his first campaign rally in three months on Saturday when he dropped in on Tulsa, Oklahoma. In case you missed it, there were two big storylines that emerged from Saturday’s rally.

The first big story was the crowd size. After touting more than 800,000 RSVPs and promoting a huge crowd in Tulsa, only about 6,200 people actually showed up to a venue that seats 19,000. The Trump campaign anticipated an additional 40,000 people to fill an outdoor overflow area; instead they got about 25 stragglers and ended up scrapping a planned Trump speech outside.

The second big story came from Trump’s eventual speech inside the Bank of Oklahoma Center, when the President literally bragged to the crowd that he instructed officials to SLOW DOWN COVID-19 testing because too many people were testing positive for the virus. From The Washington Post:

“Here’s the bad part … when you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people; you’re going to find more cases,” Trump told his supporters. “So I said to my people, slow the testing down please.”

Today, Joe St. George, National Political Editor & Washington Correspondent for Scripps (and formerly of Fox 31 News in Denver) asked President Trump — twice — to confirm this statement. Trump dodged both questions:

Here’s St. George’s follow-up question about slowing down coronavirus testing:

ST. GEORGE: But did you ask to slow [testing] down?

TRUMP: Uhhh…if it did slow down, frankly, I think we’re way ahead of ourselves if you want to know the truth. We’ve done too good a job, because every time we go up…with 25 million tests you’re going to find more people, so then they say, ‘Oh, we have more cases in the United States.’ The reason we have more cases: Because we do more testing than any other country by far.

We’ll take that as a ‘Yes.’ (BTW, The New York Times already fact-checked Trump’s claim that the U.S. is the coronavirus testing champion of the world).

When the coronavirus outbreak first became a daily news headline in March, President Trump paid lip service to the importance of increasing COVID-19 testing in the United States. When it became clear soon afterward that said testing was not happening and was not likely to be taking place anytime soon, Trump started to poo-poo the idea that testing was important at all (here’s just one example of Trump saying that widespread testing is “overrated”).

“I’ve encouraged the President and Vice President to get the testing where it should be.”

   — Sen. Cory Gardner (Ft. Morgan Times, 3/27/20)

All of this puts Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) in a very awkward position, because Gardner has consistently stated that “widespread testing will be key” to American’s recovery from the pandemic. If they can find him, reporters will be asking Gardner what he thinks about Trump’s claim that he ordered COVID-19 testing to be scaled back. Gardner does NOT want to criticize Trump publicly, so he’ll likely pretend that he was in a coma all weekend and was unaware that Dear Leader Trump said anything controversial. And then Gardner will dive into an elevator just as the doors slam shut.

“Widespread testing will be key to reopening our economy.”

   — Sen. Cory Gardner (Twitter, 5/8/20)

The problem that Gardner is eventually going to be forced to square is that he himself has been unambiguous about the importance of COVID-19 testing in the United States. It was less than two months ago, in fact, that Gardner was talking about how he wanted every American to be able to get a COVID-19 test along with their Slurpee. As Gardner told the publication formerly known as The Colorado Statesman on April 24:

“We’ll continue to make sure that this Manhattan Project funding that we put into testing achieves what we need — and that is a ubiquitous, low-cost, rapid test that’s available everywhere in first aid kits and 7-Elevens.”

When workers at the JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley were getting sick from COVID-19, Gardner and Vice President Mike Pence loudly proclaimed that they had come to save the day with boxes of tests in tow. As it turned out, that didn’t actually happen, but Gardner has continued to talk about coronavirus testing.

“I will continue fighting every day to increase our testing capacity.”

   — Sen. Cory Gardner (Grand Junction Sentinel Op-Ed, 5/9/20)

Last month, Gardner penned an Op-Ed for The Grand Junction Sentinel that was almost entirely focused on the “importance” of widespread coronavirus testing:

Without effective, widespread testing and a corresponding strategy that leverages and improves public health infrastructure to support monitoring, we cannot have a real-time response to the virus. Rapid testing and the ability for public health departments to inform individuals with positive cases quickly so they can take appropriate action and prevent further spread is critical to making sure that our entire economy is not forced to shut down in the future.

I’d like our country to get to the place where COVID-19 testing is available at the local corner store. Every doctor’s office should have the capability to screen patients for COVID-19. Families at home should be able to order tests online. Every business should have COVID-19 tests in its first aid kits and be able to offer on-site testing for employees. Every student should be able to go to the nurse’s office and get a test.

Gardner has the same problem here that he has with DACA and many other issues: Either he’s lying about the work he’s doing to actually ramp up COVID-19 testing — “I will continue fighting every day to increase our testing capacity” — or he’s been completely ineffective at his job. Actually, as Gardner’s record has demonstrated, BOTH of these statements might be true.

Now that Trump has flat-out admitted that he’s trying to hamstring coronavirus testing efforts in the U.S., Gardner has a choice to make. It’s time to put up or shut up.

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Trump Mail Ballot Rage Really Starting To Look Suspicious

UPDATE: Joe St. George of Scripps News point-blank asks Donald Trump to justify his claims of mail ballot fraud after years of covering fraud-free elections in Colorado, and this rambling mess of nonsense is what followed:

Cory Gardner, who won his Senate seat in the state’s first federal election test of mail ballots in 2014, knows better.

But will he ever say so?

—–

Donald Trump.

Fresh off a terrible weekend featuring a half-empty rally in Tulsa and horrifying statements about management of the COVID-19 pandemic that invited a fresh look at the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, President Donald Trump this morning returned to his all-caps rhetorical assault on mail-in ballots–which have been in use in Colorado without controversy since 2013, and which Republicans and Democrats alike in this state know work safely and securely.

The claim Trump makes above is of course baseless, since there are numerous safeguards in place to prevent anything other than an official and properly accounted-for ballot from being counted in any Colorado mail ballot election. Back in 2014, then-FOX News host Megyn Kelly was forced to correct a breathless report that Coloradans could “print ballots” to return in elections, a claim that simply had no basis in reality.

After Trump lost the popular vote by the widest margin of any victorious President, he laid the blame for that embarrassment on baseless allegations of vote fraud. This time, however, there’s much more at stake than Trump’s ego. By sowing doubt in the election ahead of time, Trump may be in the early stages of a strategy to dispute the result of a losing election. States increasing access to mail ballots in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are doing the right thing–and setting themselves up to be Trump’s electoral scapegoats.

There’s no nice way to say this: discrediting the results of the upcoming election based on demonstrably false claims from Trump represents a clear and present danger to American democracy. It is therefore crucially important that Colorado political leaders, especially Colorado Republican political leaders, speak out loudly as and many times as necessary to debunk what Trump is saying–before he uses it as an excuse to not give up power.

We’re getting uncomfortably close to something that’s not ever supposed to happen in America. And Colorado knows this is based on nonsense. Will local Republicans have the courage to stand up for democracy if the worst-case scenario comes to pass?

Because the worst case scenario here…is pretty bad.

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Words Fail: Donald Trump Admits He’s Letting Americans Die

Donald Trump.

Political news this Sunday morning is dominated by a statement made by Donald Trump at least night’s re-election rally in Tulsa–a statement that, if true, could be the most damning admission ever made by a sitting American President:

In a shocking admission during his Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally on Saturday night, President Donald Trump said he had told officials in his administration to slow down coronavirus testing because of the rising number of cases in America, and used a racist term to describe the coronavirus.

“You know testing is a double-edged sword,” Trump said while complaining about press coverage of his handling of the virus. Claiming the US has now tested some 25 million people, he added: “Here’s the bad part … when you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people; you’re going to find more cases. So I said to my people, slow the testing down please.” [Pols emphasis]

It was a stunning revelation given that nearly 120,000 people have died in the United States from the coronavirus and medical experts have long said that testing is critical to identifying cases, tracing them and stopping the spread of the virus.

Trump adviser Peter Navarro tried to walk it back this morning, sort of, except not really:

“I don’t know if it was [tongue in cheek],” responded CNN’s Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday morning. Responded Navarro, the White House trade adviser: “Thirty million people are unemployed, and we’ve seen over 100,000 people die because of the China, Wuhan virus,” Navarro said, using terms for the virus popular among some Trump backers. “Let’s talk about some serious issues, Jake.”

But the question of whether the Trump administration may have deliberately sought to know less about the COVID-19 pandemic, thus thwarting by design any real attempt to contain the spread of the disease, is a deadly serious matter. The administration’s early response to the pandemic is a story of exactly this kind of denial–routinely downplaying the severity of the situation, and insisting that cases were declining when they were not. As for concealing the extent of the problem by deliberately not testing people, that’s a tactic we’ve already seen in Colorado after tests promised by Sen. Cory Gardner and Vice President Mike Pence himself of meatpacking workers at the JBS plant in Greeley was halted after finding “too many” positive results.

The scariest part about this statement isn’t how it is outrageous beyond belief. It’s scary because it is not just plausible, it appears to explain events as they transpired. Trump didn’t want to know then, and doesn’t want to know today how bad the pandemic really is.

And where does this admission leave Trump’s most indefatigable local defender, Sen. Cory Gardner? Remember what Gardner said about COVID testing back in April, and then ask yourself what Gardner is thinking today:

“Testing absolutely is key here,” Mr. Gardner said on “Fox & Friends.” “I’d like to see testing so ubiquitous going forward that you can go buy your Big Gulp at 7-Eleven, and you can get your COVID-19 test at the same time.”

Well folks, it looks like the White House has adopted a different strategy than tests with every Big Gulp.

It’s called letting Americans die.

Because Donald Trump, by his own admission, doesn’t want to know if they’re sick.

How can anyone with a conscience, or even Cory Gardner, allow this deadly charade to continue?

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White House COS Laughs Out Loud About Gardner

Oof.

The hits just keep on coming for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma):

The White House later tried to spin this as Chief of Staff Mark Meadows actually just laughing at another funny joke he thought about at the same time. You can listen for yourself below, but the word has been out for some time that Gardner isn’t accomplishing squat for a legal marijuana industry he has tried to embrace.

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