Coorsurrection, Anyone?

As readers may be aware, since the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections, a substantial number of large corporate donors have announced they will no longer make campaign donations to Republican politicians who both voted to second-guess the results on January 6th and encouraged their supporters to come to Washington and participate in what became a riot.

Perhaps as a result, Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, one of the most vocal dead-enders backing Donald Trump’s baseless assertions that the election was stolen to the end, had a difficult first quarter of fundraising–even after a last-minute revision upward only raising about $845,000, well short of her higher-profile freshman fireband colleagues Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor Greene. Where MTG in particular managed to turn the revulsion of most well-adjusted people into a grassroots fringe fundraising goldmine, Boebert has failed to reap the same benefit–and that’s a problem since Boebert almost certainly faces a more competitive race in 2022.

With that said, looking through Boebert’s fundraising reports posted online this week, we find a spate of donations on January 10th–a mere four days after the January 6th insurrection–including plenty of recognizable local names among one big name:

And we see none other than Pete Coors, 2004 Republican U.S. Senate candidate and keeper of the Coors family honor…well, less so on that last point these days, but still very much reflecting on his corporate namesake with his political donations, wrote Boebert a $500 check on January 10th. MolsonCoors in keeping with its Coors family heritage does overwhelmingly give to Republican candidates as a corporation, and we haven’t seen that they’ve explicitly joined the donor boycott of Republicans in Congress content to break democracy when it didn’t go their way.

But by making this donation just a few days after the violence at the Capitol that Boebert whether she wants to admit it or not helped set the stage for, Pete Coors made his own statement about responsible political giving, and it comes across like a beer magnate driving drunk.

On the upside, you’ll get to vote about it with your next six pack.

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The GMS Podcast: Q*Bert Conquers the Spirit World

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast


 

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

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

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Just Stop Talking, Rep. Matt Soper

Last week, we wrote about the unhinged reaction on the part of a number of Western Slope Republicans, including up-and-coming wunderkind Rep. Matt Soper, to the results of city council elections in Grand Junction–in which a slate of GOP-endorsed candidates was soundly defeated by a bipartisan moderate coalition:

Rep. Matt Soper (R).

Given that Rep. Soper was himself elected to office via Dominion Voting Systems election hardware used by Delta and Mesa Counties, it’s completely natural that the press is going to want to follow up and find out if this is a serious complaint from Rep. Soper–or, you know, a “misstatement” made in a moment of exasperation. And as the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby dutifully inquires:

Even though the same voting systems were used to elect such Republicans as U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert and state Rep. Matt Soper, some members of the GOP in Colorado are questioning the legitimacy of Tuesday’s Grand Junction City Council race…

That prompted Soper to post, “Were they using Dominion? This seems impossible!” and, “Cindy Paschal Ficklin we need to request a scan of every ballot and do a manual recount.”

Not long after being questioned about those posts by The Daily Sentinel, the posts were deleted.

That’s a relief–whether it be rage posting, drunk posting, or something in between (these are not mutually exclusive), mashing the delete button once your bad judgment has been brought to your attention by the press is generally a good idea.

But don’t do what Rep. Soper did next:

Still, Soper defended writing them. [Pols emphasis] “Many voters remain concerned about election integrity and whether the results are from a fair system,” Soper said. “Dominion was at the center of the 2020 election complaints, and if Dominion was used, it would be an opportunity to have an audit with the public observing. If the results are verified, it helps restore confidence.”

It would have been much, much better for Soper so simply have taken his lumps and walked away from this fight. If this is how Soper feels, wasn’t deleting his posts calling for a recount a mistake? Since we never heard any complaints from Soper about Dominion Voting Systems when their equipment tabulated Soper’s victory in 2020 with almost 75% of the vote, we are forced to conclude based on the available evidence that Rep. Soper only has a problem with Dominion when his favored candidates lose.

This is not news to the majority of Americans who still believe in democracy.

Soper just isn’t supposed to make it so pitifully obvious.

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Boebert Doubles Down On The Big Lie At Club 20

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R).

The Grand Junction Sentinel’s veteran political reporter Charles Ashby updates from the Club 20 2021 Spring Conference–a Western Slope civic organization that struggled for relevance in recent years as the region’s right-wing politics diverged from the mainstream and Club 20 followed suit. On Friday, Club 20 hosted freshman GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert for the discussion she declined during the 2020 campaign along with lots of other candidates on both sides.

Nonetheless this weekend’s conference was an opportunity for Boebert, who has been on a nonstop tear of high-energy bellicosity since taking office just a few days before an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that Boebert cheered on right up to the windows smashing in, to project a more competent image. If there’s any benefit to Boebert appearing at Club 20 it’s to make herself look, well, normal.

But as Club 20 discovered and our readers could have guessed, there’s no normalizing Lauren Boebert:

While she referred to Biden as president on several occasions during her address and a question-and-answer session afterwards, she didn’t respond to a question about whether Biden’s election was legitimate.

She did, however, defend her stance in January in challenging the Electoral College results in Congress that put Biden into office.

“There are certain states that went against their states’ constitutions,” she said. “It was not the states’ legislatures that were determining election laws. You had secretaries of state, attorneys general, rogue judges and many other elected officials and unelected bureaucrats changing election laws.”

With that, whatever Boebert had to say about any other issue, the Bureau of Land Management headquarters in Grand Junction, oil and gas drilling, water policy–forget about it, because the national media will only care that Lauren Boebert just reaffirmed the “Big Lie” that the 2020 elections were somehow not legitimate. Three months after the violence at the U.S. Capitol that marked the effective end of Donald Trump’s deceitful campaign to undo his defeat, Lauren Boebert remains a true believer in the falsehood that sparked it.

If Club 20 wants to be known as a “safe space” for insurrectionists being spurned by even most of mainstream corporate America, that’s their choice–but it’s not going to help them attract mainstream candidates to their events in future election years. A clear statement from Club 20’s leadership that they don’t endorse Boebert’s insurrectionist election fiction is probably in order.

Scorpion and the frog, folks. Boebert simply doesn’t do normal, and attempts to pretend otherwise end badly.

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: All-Stars and A-Holes

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, that guy we talked about last week (Danny Moore) who was the Chair of the Congressional Redistricting Commission…he got shelled; Colorado is getting some All-Stars because of our awesome non-racist voting systems; we have more reasons for another edition of “Legislating with Crayons“; there is yet another recall scam going after one of the most popular Governors in the country; and we check in again with “The Boebert Report.”

Also, we all got our shots! Well, the first of them, anyway.

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

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

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Voter Suppression IS THE GOAL for Republicans

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is congratulated by Republicans after disenfranchising voters last month.

Losing the 2020 Presidential election has led many Republicans across the country to confront an uncomfortable truth: A majority of Americans just don’t like them.

For these Republicans, the solution to their electoral problem is not to find a better way to connect with voters or to adjust their policies or campaign strategies. Instead, their answer is to disenfranchise those pesky voters who refuse to support them. This is not hyperbole; Republicans have introduced more than 250 bills in at least 43 states that are blatant and obvious attempts to make it harder to vote. This devious strategy isn’t working in states like Colorado, but disenfranchisement has found smooth sailing in states such as Georgia.

Republicans have been defending these atrocities by hiding behind the suggestion that many Americans have lost confidence in our electoral process. Of course, the reason some Americans might say that they have lost confidence in elections is precisely BECAUSE Republicans keep telling them that they should no longer have confidence in our elections. This is The Big Lie that former President Trump initiated in his final months in office. Most of the GOP candidates for State Party Chair in Colorado campaigned primarily on this premise.

There was a time when Republicans used to dance around the topic of disenfranchisement with a “nudge nudge; wink wink” argument focused on trying to prevent the kind of widespread election fraud that already doesn’t happen. But in the months following the 2020 election, Republicans gradually stopped being quiet about the quiet part. In the last two weeks, two different columnists writing for the conservative National Review have directly posited that it would be preferable if America just stopped letting so many people vote altogether.

In a March 31 column laughably titled, “Not Everyone Should be Made to Vote,” Dan McLaughlin argues that it is wrong to encourage people to vote if they are not already interested in voting. You don’t need special glasses to read between the lines here.

This is a spade.

On Tuesday, Kevin D. Williamson took this theory a step further in a column titled, “Why Not Fewer Voters?” that is breathtaking in its horribleness:

There would be more voters if we made it easier to vote, and there would be more doctors if we didn’t require a license to practice medicine. The fact that we believe unqualified doctors to be a public menace but act as though unqualified voters were just stars in the splendid constellation of democracy indicates how little real esteem we actually have for the vote, in spite of our public pieties.

Right. We should have some sort of pre-voting exam before we hand someone a ballot. What could we call such a thing? Oh, let’s see…how about a “literacy test”?

The heart of Williamson’s position is more direct than what McLaughlin writes, but it’s the same argument: Only “good” voters should be allowed to vote because only “good” voters know what’s best for you.

If the question is the quality of policy outcomes, then both major camps have reasons to dread genuine majority rule. Conservatives ought to at the very least be mindful of the fact that if policy truly represented the preferences of the average American, then we would have fewer economic liberties and diminished Second Amendment rights; progressives should consider that if policy actually represented the preferences of the average American, then abortion rights would be limited and tax hikes would not fly, while we’d be spending more money on the Border Patrol and less on welfare as work requirements reduced the rolls.

What Williamson is saying here is really not that different from what many Republicans have been muttering since before Joe Biden was inaugurated as President: The only fair and just election is the one in which Republicans win. Period.

If you can’t beat ’em, cheat ’em!

If you have a problem with that…well, keep it to yourself. When big corporations such as Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines started speaking out against Georgia’s new voting restrictions, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell responded by threatening them to stay quiet. Or as Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan wrote on Twitter, “Get woke. Go broke.”

If certain Republicans are no longer going to pretend that they aren’t trying to suppress the vote in future elections, then the rest of us no longer need to pretend that we don’t see exactly what they are doing. It is at once horrifying and liberating to see all of the cards on the table.

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All-Stars In Denver: The Huge Win Republicans Can’t Celebrate

UPDATE: Statement from Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold:

Colorado is recognized as the national gold standard for elections, and I’m thrilled with the decision to move the MLB All-Star Game to Coors Field in Denver.

The truth is Colorado’s election model works. We mail ballots to all voters, have early voting, and same day voter registration. Voters can participate easily in our elections, which are also the most secure in the nation. Election accessibility and security can go hand-in-hand.

We give voters ample time and options to participate in our elections. County clerks send ballots out more than three weeks ahead of Election Day. Drop boxes and voting centers open around the state soon thereafter. These various options give voters time to send their ballot back in the mail, drop it into a drop-box, or vote in-person.

And the proof is in our voter turnout, consistently amongst the top in the nation. We’ve got the most accessible and secure elections in the country, and are grateful that MLB is giving us the opportunity to showcase how elections can be!

—–

Coors Field.

We’re still getting our heads around the whirlwind events of the last four days, after Major League Baseball announced last Friday afternoon that the 2021 All-Star Game would relocate from the state of Georgia after that state’s passage of highly controversial vote suppression laws in response to statewide Democratic victories in the 2020 elections. Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado immediately swung into action following this announcement to sell Denver’s Coors Field as an alternate location for the economically lucrative event, and yesterday evening the news broke that the Midsummer Classic would be played in Colorado for the first time since 1998.

Like we said yesterday morning, Colorado has one of the most accessible and modern election systems in the country, and the result has been consistently high rates of voter participation ever since the new system was enacted in 2013. Colorado sends mail ballots to every active voter, allows same-day voter registration, and allows collection and drop-off of a limited number of completed ballots at drop boxes across the state.

Basically, we do everything Donald Trump claims “rigged the election” against him in 2020 as standard practice in Colorado. The problem is, well, there’s no problem–our years of experience has proven that these reforms actually do work. More voters vote, elections are accurate and secure, and Republicans even occasionally win in a state whose political trajectory has been moving Democratic for years. In the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, as Trump was insisting that he rightfully won re-election, even Colorado Republican leaders like ex-chairman Rep. Ken Buck and GOP county clerks worked to debunk the nonsensical claims of Trump’s conspiracy theorists with respect to Colorado elections. And since Colorado relies on the very same Dominion Voting Systems hardware and other practices Trump had seized on to allege fraud, this means Colorado Republicans were, for anyone paying attention, effectively dismantling Trump’s falsehoods everywhere.

As Westword’s Michael Roberts reports, this important leadership role for Colorado in refuting nationwide false narratives about how elections work put our state in a position to prosper bigly at Georgia’s expense–while continuing to strike directly at the Big Lie:

The Georgia law is one of the most draconian in the country — opponents argue that it will disenfranchise people of color by adding new restrictions to mail-in ballots and voter registration — and the response has been just as drastic. In addition to MLB’s move, other major outfits are pulling big events from the state, particularly Atlanta.

But the loss of the All-Star Game particularly hurts. When Atlanta hosted this event in 2000, it got a $49 million economic boost, according to Baseball Almanac. This year’s game was estimated to bring another $100 million to the city…

Dominion Voting Systems, the Denver-based company that’s been the focus of most of those unfounded election-fraud rumors across the country, particularly Georgia, is headquartered only blocks from Coors Field (not that employees are working in that building these days). Moving the game here is a political home run for free and fair elections, as well as Denver’s economy.

It’s been suggested that the passage of draconian vote suppression laws in Georgia could backfire on Republicans in another way, by mobilizing their opponents to work that much harder. At the same time, moving the All-Star Game to Colorado forces Republicans to acknowledge our state’s success. The first response we’re seeing from Republican spin machines is not good, trying to advance an absurd narrative that Colorado’s election laws are somehow more strict than Georgia’s by comparing early voting days (15 vs 17)–and totally ignoring fundamental differences like all-mail ballots and same-day voter registration:

The reality is much more nuanced. When it comes to picking a state that makes voting accessible — and provably so — it’s very difficult to do much better than Colorado…Yes, Colorado has slightly fewer [in-person early voting days] than Georgia will have. But given how few people use that option and how accessible mail-in voting is, it’s incontrovertible that it’s easier to vote in Colorado.

The simple fact is this: Colorado’s success in increasing voter participation securely exposes vote suppression in other states for what it is. Colorado’s model election system is a major dilemma for Republicans bent on suppressing the vote in their own states. Bringing the All-Star Game here to highlight this reality, to celebrate our success in contrast to what’s happening in so many other states, is a political masterstroke that will resonate beyond Colorado’s four corners.

For some Colorado Republicans and plenty more elsewhere, however, it’s going to be an awkward few days.

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Comparing January 6th’s Lauren Boebert To Friday’s Boebert

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

Fox News’ Brittany De Lea reports that Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado is all over the deadly vehicular attack last Friday  on U.S. Capitol Police that left one officer as well as the mentally ill sole perpetrator dead–or more to the point, all over the blame game for the attack:

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., questioned whether the FBI and Department of Homeland Security were – or should have been – aware that the suspect who attacked Capitol Hill on Friday may have been a threat, or whether the agencies had been distracted by “woke training”…

The suspect, who has been identified as a 25-year-old man from Indiana named Noah Green, rammed a barricade at the Capitol on Friday in his car, killing Capitol Police officer William Evans and injuring a second officer. The suspect is said to have exited his vehicle with a knife and lunged at officers. The suspect, who was shot, also died on Friday.

It appeared to be a “lone wolf” attack, sources told Fox News, and the suspect identified himself as a follower of the Nation of Islam on Facebook.

To be as fair as possible, we’ll acknowledge that Rep. Boebert did offer condolences to the fallen Capitol Police officer before pivoting to whether the police were “too busy doing woke training” to (we guess) not die:

Friday’s fatal attack on a vehicle barrier near the U.S. Capitol comes after Boebert filmed a promotional video in March of herself walking the perimeter of the razor-wire fence erected around the building after the storming of the Capitol by pro-Donald Trump insurgents on January 6th. “Madam Speaker, tear down this wall,” said Boebert in that video, invoking Ronald Reagan in Berlin–and on March 24, the fence came down. Boebert wasn’t the reason the fence came down, though she would have gladly taken credit for it except perhaps for a brief period last Friday afternoon.

Given Boebert’s high-profile role in the post-election agitation that led directly to the riot on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol, both Boebert’s grandstanding for the Capitol fence to be removed before security considerations permitted it as well as Boebert’s intense focus on this one attacker over the hundreds who stormed the Capitol on Trump’s behalf go beyond hypocrisy into something closer to what psychologists call “gaslighting.” The goal is not so much to convince her critics, but to simply confound them in apoplectic rage over a pretense no one, not even Boebert herself, actually believes.

Although any reasonable person would have realized either on January 6th or immediately afterward that it was time to shut up get out of the spotlight until the dust settles, Boebert’s strategy is the opposite: a frontal assault of hypocrisy in the hope that the resulting wreckage will be unrecognizable.

Like Trump, folks. She learned this from Donald Trump. And on her smaller scale, Boebert is heading to the same end.

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Down Loser’s Memory Lane With Kristi Burton Brown

As noted by Ernest Luning at the Colorado Springs Gazette, what we assume was a relic from the 2020 elections still lurking in the Colorado Republican Party’s A/V department has taken a turn for the ironic:

For emphasis, this does not repeat not mean freshly defeated Sen. Cory Gardner is planning to run again against incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet, and in addition to being a political suicide mission everyone can agree this would be an odd way to announce it. Gardner’s campaign logo came up mistakenly on the television located behind newly elected GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown in her inaugural video update to the party faithful because their 2020 content hadn’t been cleared off yet.

Unfortunately that does mean instead of a hopeful glimpse at the future, this inaugural update video turned into more of a sad look back at the Colorado GOP’s past. Gardner’s narrow election victory in 2014, after all, was the last significant statewide win for Republicans in Colorado up to the present day–contrasted against today’s Democratic majority of the state’s congressional delegation, both U.S. Senate seats, and every statewide office except for one CU Regent at-large seat held by Democrats.

With all of this in mind, it makes sense that when you make a mistake like this, the internet can be most unforgiving in response! Thus one mistaken image from a losing campaign flashed on screen becomes a grand tour: Great Moments in Republican History.

The moral of the story: if you don’t want to become a meme, don’t hand us the content on a plate.

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Nothing Succeeds Like Failure

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss the Colorado Republican Party’s historically unsuccessful new leadership team; the election fraud truther on the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission; infrastructure week (for real this time); and another segment of “Legislating With Crayons,” in which Republicans unwittingly make the case for a new media literacy bill.

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

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

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Let’s “Spark a Conversation” About Danny Moore

Danny Moore

This is Danny Moore. He is a Republican from Centennial, and the recently-elected Chairperson of the Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Committee. 9News reported on Monday that Moore “is an election-rigging conspiracy theorist,” which is odd. Evan Wyloge of the Colorado Springs Gazette followed up with another story today in which Moore makes no apologies for saying ridiculous crap:

In the months following the 2020 election, Moore, one of the congressional redistricting commission’s four Republican members and now the commission’s chairman, published posts and comments questioning the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, calling it “the Democrat steal” and repeating the untrue assertion that President Joe Biden did not get more votes than former President Donald Trump.

Moore insists that he is not a conspiracy theorist; he just happens to be someone who regularly repeats conspiracy theories aloud. This is sort of like claiming that you are not a thief even though you spend a lot of time stealing things that don’t belong to you.

Danny Moore believes that the 2020 Presidential election was fraudulent. Danny Moore does not think that more than 80 million Americans really voted for Joe Biden in 2020. Danny Moore believes that the news media has been exaggerating the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic since the very beginning. You used to be able to read these comments on Moore’s Facebook page, but Moore apparently decided in the last day or two that he should make his page private.

Danny Moore believes that he can say anything he wants and lie with impunity by hiding behind the excuse that he is entitled to his own opinion. “I don’t know if those things are true or not, but in my circle we share these things between us and we debate these things,” he told the Gazette. Way to stand up for your convictions, Danny.

With that in mind, here is our opinion of some other things that we should debate about Danny Moore:

♦ Danny Moore does not believe that the earth is round; he thinks it is a square.

♦ Danny Moore became fabulously wealthy by selling used Q-tips to indigent people in Latin America.

♦ Danny Moore was once engaged to be married to a jar of pickles (Vlasic, reportedly).

♦ Danny Moore has an inside-out penis.

♦ Danny Moore eats live squirrels for breakfast twice a week.

Now, look, we don’t KNOW if these things are true or not. We’re just throwing it out there for discussion. If Danny Moore is not a lizard man from outer space, then he should prove it and put the matter to bed once and for all.

We should note that Moore is no stranger to Colorado politics. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Leadership Program of the Rockies, the right-wing training ground directed by well-known conservative names such as Bob Schaffer, Mark Hillman, and Alex Cranberg. University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl, the only remaining statewide Republican elected official in Colorado, is a former board member. It’s fair to say that Moore’s political “opinions” are probably pretty similar, which would be fine if Moore had the courage to defend those opinions instead of answering every question with a variation of, “who really knows?” 

If Moore does not even attempt to support his his own thoughts with factual arguments, then we should be concerned about whether he’ll pay any attention to truth on the redistricting commission. Is Census data just someone else’s opinion of population changes? Maybe Moore has a different “opinion” about how many people live in Denver.

Look, Danny Moore has every right to make an ass of himself on any number of topics. But the other members of the redistricting commission don’t have to let him make a fool out of them, too.

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Redistricting Chair is an Election Fraud Truther

Colorado’s new Independent Redistricting Commissions are made up of a mix of Democrats, Republicans, and Unaffiliated voters, which is what Colorado voters approved when they green-lighted Amendments Y&Z in 2018.

When the Congressional Redistricting Committee met for the first time earlier this month, Centennial Republican Danny Moore was elected by his fellow commissioners as Chair of the committee. But as 9News reports, Moore is an odd choice to be this group’s leader.

Why? Because Danny Moore thinks that the 2020 Presidential election was fraudulent. Check out this 9News story from Monday, in which anchor Kyle Clark says “Danny Moore is an election rigging conspiracy theorist”:

Take a look at this screenshot of one of Moore’s Facebook commentaries on the election (note the date as January 7):

Via 9News (3/29/21)

 

Moore responded to questions in an interview with 9News by relying on the ridiculous trope that he is “just trying to spark a conversation” by regularly claiming that the 2020 Presidential election was illegitimate. Before he was elected Chair of the committee, our understanding is that Moore did NOT indicate to his fellow commissioners that he believed the election to be fraudulent. That seems like a pretty relevant piece of information.

You could argue as to whether someone who believes the election was not legitimate should even BE on the redistricting commission, but it seems pretty obvious that this person should not be the group’s leader.

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Rep. Ron Hanks Doth Protest Much Too Much

Rep. Ron Hanks (R).

A total of five pieces of GOP-sponsored legislation intended to monkeywrench Colorado’s “gold standard” election system, credited with giving our state one of of the highest rates of voter participation in the country, went down in flames yesterday in the Colorado House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee–known colloquially under the Gold Dome as the “kill committee” being where the unfavored bills from the minority party go to die.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold summed up the mood of majority Democrats as they went through the parliamentary motions of killing these vote suppression bills yesterday afternoon:

Across the nation, we are seeing a tsunami of legislation to suppress voters and spread the big lie about the 2020 election. Although Colorado is considered the nation’s gold standard for elections, there have been bills introduced to undermine confidence and suppress the votes of Coloradans. I applaud the legislators who rejected these types of election-related bills today. We must keep Colorado’s nationally renowned elections safe, secure, and accessible, and ensure that all eligible voters can have their voices heard.

Of the five bills that died in yesterday’s committee hearing, two were very straightforward vote suppression efforts to redundantly require “proof of citizenship” to register and allow anyone to jam the process by requesting a recount. The other three were bills requesting various duplicative audits and new commissions to examine the supposed problem of election fraud in Colorado. But the state already performs comprehensive risk-limiting audits and other extensive measures to ensure the vote in Colorado is accessible and accurate, and as Republican county clerks across the state will happily tell you there is simply no evidence outside Donald Trump’s fever dreams of a problem requiring any such intervention.

Ands as Pat Poblete of the Colorado Springs Gazette reports, that’s where things took a turn for the weird:

“Many of us on this committee believe the entire reason we’re talking about election fraud is because of a false narrative that was put out there by the 45th president of the United States,” [Rep. Chris Kennedy] said. “And we’re certainly entitled to all have different opinions about that but those kinds of narratives are the very things that shake the confidence in our election.”

Rep. Ron Hanks, R-Penrose, shot back that Kennedy’s comments were “inappropriate.”

“If we are supposed to be exchanging ideas here, labeling me a conspiracy theorist kind of sets me on my heels,” he said. [Pols emphasis] “Rules ought to matter, laws ought to matter and the feelings of the opposition ought to matter and there ought to be some conciliation from whoever the victor is and it’s hard to get that if one side is feeling slighted.”

The problem here is pretty simple: freshman GOP Rep. Ron Hanks is in fact a conspiracy theorist. After attending the January 6th Trump dead-ender rally that devolved into a riot at the U.S. Capitol, Hanks asserted that the rioters “weren’t Trump supporters.” A few days before President Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20th, Hanks actually told supporters that there was still a chance “foreign intelligence” might swoop in at the last moment with proof the Trump won the election.

Like Bill Engvall says, Rep. Hanks, “here’s your sign.”

As we’ve said previously, introducing legislation to undermine Colorado’s election system in the demonstrable absence of any problem is ultimately very bad for the credibility of Republicans pushing those bills. It helps clarify, as has been seen in other states across the country where Republicans wield majority power, that the intent is not to resolve any issue other than Republicans losing elections. Likewise, Rep. Hanks is probably the worst possible choice in the entire Colorado legislature to defend Republicans over baseless conspiracy theorizing about the 2020 elections.

What’s happening in Colorado is so ridiculous, in fact, that it should be a much bigger story. Although these bills will not see the light of day in our state this year, their very existence–and the local Republican stooges pushing them–help expose the fraudulency of the whole effort nationwide.

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Missouri Republicans Have Had It With You Pesky Voters

The GOP’s new slogan.

Filed under our occasional “At Least They’re Not YOUR Legislator/Legislature” series–as readers know, in the aftermath of the 2020 elections, which as you may be aware did not go the way most Republicans would have preferred, there has been a nationwide push in GOP-controlled state legislatures to pass new restrictions on voting rights. Many of these new restrictions have nothing whatsoever to do with the false allegations of mail ballot fraud pushed by ex-President Donald Trump, instead being very straightforward crackdowns on such conveniences as early voting and voting on Sunday that make it clear the goal is to impede access to the vote–and not to prevent any kind of actual irregularity.

One could reasonably conclude from this that, having been defeated in 2020, Republicans simply don’t like participation in the democratic process when it doesn’t go their way. That’s how we got dozens of meritless lawsuits, months of delays in accepting the clear results of the 2020 elections by Republicans in Congress, and ultimately a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th intended to disrupt the final certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

Well folks, as the Kansas City Star reports from the Show Me State, Republican contempt for the results of the 2020 elections isn’t stopping with the presidential race:

Republican lawmakers blocked Medicaid expansion funding from reaching the Missouri House floor on Thursday, posing a setback for the voter-approved plan to increase eligibility for the state health care program.

The House Budget Committee voted along party lines not to pass a bill allowing Missouri to spend $130 million in state funds and $1.6 billion in federal money to pay for the program’s expansion. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government picks up 90% of the tab on expanding Medicaid…

Republicans, citing the cost, have long resisted expanding Medicaid in Missouri, one of about a dozen states that haven’t extended eligibility for the health plan.

That’s right–after the voters of Missouri passed Amendment 2 last November, which expands Medicaid eligibility to match what’s offered in Colorado and most other states, Republicans in the Missouri legislature are refusing to appropriate the funds to carry out the voters’ wishes. And the reasons some of these lawmakers are giving? We wouldn’t believe this if the Star hadn’t reported it:

Moberly Rep. Ed Lewis said despite that 53% of those who cast ballots in favor of expansion, the number did not amount to a majority of Missouri’s eligible voters or population. [Pols emphasis]

“Rural Missouri said no,” said Rep. Sara Walsh, of Ashland. “I don’t believe it is the will of the people to bankrupt our state.”

And there we have the new standard for passing laws in Missouri that Republicans might actually feel obliged to honor: not a majority, but a majority of “eligible voters”–or even the state’s entire population! And if “rural Missouri” says no that’s a hard veto, because everybody knows rural votes are worth more than “urban” votes.

This is the stuff you say because it’s impolite to say what you obviously mean: to hell with the voters.

In the end, it’s hard to look in aggregate at these recent acts of contempt for American democracy from Republicans at every level across America, and not conclude that Republicans simply don’t have much interest in playing by the rules of democracy unless they win. Trump himself was very matter-of-fact about this, but for most Republicans it’s is not something they should want to admit.

If you want to convince the world that American politics are hopelessly broken, this is exactly how you do it.

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Big Tech Trumps Big Coup For Buck, Boebert

Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck (R-CO).

Colorado Newsline’s Chase Woodruff reports on a vote by two Republican members of Congress from Colorado, Reps. Lauren Boebert and Ken Buck, along with a very small Republican minority in the U.S. House against a resolution condemning the recent military coup in the nation formerly known as Burma:

Colorado Reps. Ken Buck and Lauren Boebert were among a small group of Republican members of the House of Representatives who on Friday voted to oppose a nonbinding resolution condemning the military coup in Myanmar.

The House passed H. Res. 134, which condemned the violent military takeover of the Southeast Asian country that began on Feb. 1, on an overwhelming 398-14 vote, with 182 Republicans joining 216 Democrats in approving the resolution. But 14 GOP House members, including Buck, Boebert and other figures on the party’s right flank — including Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia — voted against the measure.

Since being on the wrong side of a 398-14 vote is unusual enough to attract attention, we’re naturally going to speculate about why these 14 of the hardest hard-right Republican members of Congress–who are also some of ex-President Donald Trump’s most indefatigable torch-bearers–would vote against condemning a nation’s military taking over the country when an election doesn’t go their preferred way.

There is, of course, the obvious answer.

But Rep. Lauren Boebert says no, her vote was about resisting the censorious control of “Big Tech,” which is apparently a bigger deal than standing up to a military coup–despite the fact that the resolution apparently only wants to make sure the Burmese military doesn’t use “Big Tech” platforms to commit crimes against the Burmese people:

Boebert’s office indicated that the congresswoman’s objection to the resolution concerned a brief provision calling on Biden to “ensure that United States-based social media companies, including Facebook, not allow their platforms to be used as vehicles for disinformation campaigns or advocating violence against the Burmese people.”

“The bill called on Big Tech to be the arbiter of truth,” Ben Stout, Boebert’s communications director, wrote in an email to Newsline. “Big Tech censorship is out of control and they have proven they can’t be trusted with such authorities.”

As for Rep. Ken Buck?

A spokesperson for Buck did not respond to a request for comment.

In both cases, we want to believe that a bout of anti-Facebook groupthink seized these 14 particularly excitable Republicans, rather than two members of Congress from Colorado having deliberately cast a vote approving of military coups to resolve disputed elections. Because while both are questionable, one is definitely worse.

And so soon after America’s own would-be coup, neither Buck nor Boebert should cast such votes lightly.

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What in the Hell is Lauren Boebert Talking About?

UPDATE: Dave Weigel of The Washington Post noticed the same bizarre answer that caught our attention.

—–

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert wore her full costume at a “town hall” meeting in Montrose on Monday.

More reporting is coming out about Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s town hall meeting in Montrose on Monday (the one that you weren’t supposed to tell anyone about), and every new piece of information is as bizarre as the last.

The Montrose Daily Press provided video of Boebert’s opening speech, which rolled quickly into some strange tangents:

You know, I’ve decided I don’t want Democrats to call me congresswoman. I want them to acknowledge the man is a gender neutral term and they can call me Congressman Boebert.

Um, sure.

Boebert’s opening speech also included strange proselytizing like this:

To this cancel culture, this is nothing new. This is something that has been around since the beginning of time. Go back to the Book of Genesis: Cain canceled Abel. He didn’t like the sacrifices he was given to God. And he canceled him?

And this…

We see these radical social Democrats wanting to cancel Christianity now. They tried to cancel Jesus. You can’t cancel God.

If you’re wondering what sort of audience Boebert might be pandering to, Gavin Dahl of KVNF radio provided some, uh, “color” on the crowd at the Turn of the Century Saloon:

At least 95% of the attendees at the Saloon were unmasked, and there was no room for social distancing. Just before she hit the stage, at the table where I found a seat, attendees were complaining about Hillary Clinton, quote ‘Jews,’ and quote ‘Illegals.’

Gah!

But perhaps the strangest exchange of the evening came near the end of the “town hall” event. As Dennis Anderson writes for The Delta County Independent:

The last question of the night drew a bizarre response from Boebert.

“Is there any hope for the people that top level government officials when they violate the law… will they ever be held accountable?”

“I want to tell you, I heard someone who is in very close contact with President Trump and the ins and outs of the White House under that administration. They talked to the owners of the Epoch Times and they said don’t change anything, you are right over the target. So anyone who tries and tells you that this is a fringe newspaper. Don’t listen to them. I have very good sources that tell me this is very good information. Is it 100%? I don’t know but it’s very good information. We all know that there was information that was declassified just a few days before President Trump left office. I know someone who is involved in declassifying that. This person is getting very tired of waiting on the DOJ to do something about it. And we’ll be hearing about it very, very soon. This is my opinion with that information that I have. I believe we’ll see resignations begin to take place and I think we can take back the majority in the House and the Senate before 2022.’”

Whaaaa???

If you like “Weekly World News,” you’ll love “The Epoch Times.”

If you’re not familiar with The Epoch Times, check out this recent profile from The Atlantic. In short, The Epoch Times is sorta like the political equivalent of Weekly World News; calling it a “fringe newspaper” would almost be a compliment. The Epoch Times was created by a follower of the Chinese spiritual movement Falun Gong and refers to COVID-19 as the “CCP Virus” (shorthand for “Chinese Communist Party”). It became a reliable right-wing mouthpiece during the administration of President Trump, who espoused the kind of anti-China rhetoric that agreed with the Times’ founder.

Anyway, we THINK Boebert is talking here about something related to Trump’s authorization in his final days in office to “declassify” some Department of Justice documents related to the probe into Russian interference of the 2016 election. As to how this could lead to “resignations” or Republicans taking control of Congress BEFORE 2022…well, your guess is as good as ours.

Do Boebert and her supporters actually understand any of this gibberish? It’s impossible to say, but they THINK they do, and that’s the important part. None of these talking points are at all normal for an actual Member of Congress, but nonsense is the fuel that keeps the Boebert circus in operation.

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Election Denier GOP Chair Race Gets Crazy It Deserves

Colorado GOP chair candidates Scott Gessler, Kristi Burton Brown.

The Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul takes an in-depth look today at the field of candidates running to succeed outgoing Rep. Ken Buck as the next chair of the Colorado Republican Party. With five candidates nominally in the race, the real competition has narrowed between former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler and current party vice-chair Kristi Burton Brown–and as we noted early this month, almost all the candidates in the race share one abiding belief that the 2020 elections were stolen from Donald Trump:

Four of the five candidates running to be the next leader of the Colorado GOP continue to cast doubt on the results of the 2020 presidential election. That’s despite all of them admitting there is no evidence of a level of fraud or wrongdoing that would have changed the outcome…

Scott Gessler, Colorado’s former secretary of state and another candidate running to be party chair, said during the recent forum with Mancuso and the other candidates that “I think there’s a very high likelihood the election was stolen from Trump in Nevada.”

“We did have, I think, huge problems nationally,” he said. (There has not been any proof of major problems with the 2020 election across the nation.)

As for Kristi Burton Brown? She’s not quite as forceful as the “Honey Badger,” but still maintaining the fictional pretense:

“We need more answers,” she said. “A lot of people want us to take a hard-core stand and say, ‘We know something.’ But there’s not enough evidence to prove one way or the other. Yet I believe that there are very valid questions still being asked about the 2020 election.”

As we wrote previously about this race, this fixation on thoroughly discredited claims of election fraud on the part of Scott Gessler in particular is an ominous sign that Colorado Republicans are about to waste the next two years rehashing Donald Trump’s fantasies instead of recovering from historic losses over the last two election cycles. Lucid Republicans including former state party chair Dick Wadhams are warning that this is exactly the wrong path for the party to take–but for Gessler, whose career flatlined in 2014 after his quest to expose “tens of thousands” of illegal voters in Colorado came to nothing, this is a dead horse which he is incapable of stopping the beating of.

And in case you think this baseless conjecture about elections doesn’t have a negative impact, think again:

(more…)

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Rep. Jayapal Requests Ethics Investigation of Boebert

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-isky).

This just in from CNN, after the local group Rural Colorado United launched a campaign this week calling for the House Committee on Ethics to investigate freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert’s actions surrounding the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory:

Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington has sent letters to the House Committee on Ethics and the Office of Congressional Ethics requesting they launch investigations into three Republican lawmakers, over accusations of the trio “instigating and aiding” the deadly January 6 riot on the Capitol.

Jayapal asks the two groups to “thoroughly investigate” the activity of the three members of Congress — Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Mo Brooks of Alabama and Paul Gosar of Arizona — in the time leading up to the insurrection and refer all potential criminal wrongdoing to the Department of Justice.

For each member, Jayapal lists examples of their conduct in the weeks before January 6. Many of the examples have been frequently reported on, such as Boebert filming herself carrying a concealed firearm around the Capitol Grounds, the fiery speech Brooks gave at the Trump rally on the day of the insurrection and Gosar’s ties to extremist groups. The letter also makes note of Boebert’s tweets regarding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s location on the day of the insurrection. [Pols emphasis]

The Hill’s Tal Alexrod:

In each of the letters, Jayapal listed rhetoric and actions she said contributed to fueling the mob, which ransacked the Capitol in a failed attempt to halt Congress’s certification of the Electoral College results showing Joe Biden defeating Donald Trump in the November presidential election.

Jayapal noted that Boebert released a video of her walking around federal buildings with a firearm and that the morning of the riot she tweeted that “today is 1776,” referencing the Revolutionary War.

“Five minutes after insurrectionists first breached the Capitol, Representative Boebert tweeted from inside the House chamber, ‘We were locked in the House Chambers’ at 2:17 p.m.,” the Washington Democrat wrote. “She then tweeted a minute later, ‘Speaker has been removed from the chambers.’ She was one of only two Members, the other being Representative Mo Brooks (AL-O5), who tweeted the location of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”

The only response that Rep. Lauren Boebert has ever offered to the allegation she helped incite violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th has been blanket denial that in no way addresses her actual words and actions. Along with Reps. Mo Brooks and Paul Gosar, Boebert stands out for having promoted the January 6th rally-turned-riot to her hundreds of thousands of social media followers in terms that very much suggest she supported an extra-constitutional resolution to the 2020 presidential elections.

And that’s before Boebert’s Tweets in the moments after the Capitol was breached by rioters regarding Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s location. There is somewhat more debate about this detail than the rest of Boebert’s unquestionably clear incitement in the weeks before the insurrection on January 6th–since it’s shocking to think that member of Congress would have knowingly tried to assist rioters rampaging through the Capitol.

On that one outrageously ill-advised Tweet, there is an issue of cluelessness or culpability that needs to be sorted out once and for all. As for the entirety of Boebert’s statements and actions leading up to the January 6th insurrection, however, there’s not really much to dispute.

It is only a question of accountability.

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The GMS Podcast: Saying No to Boebert’s No to Our Noes

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii review the wacky CPAC weekend — including Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s incomprehensible rhetoric — and break down the opening week(s) of the 2021 Colorado legislative session.

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

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

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

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“Lofgren Report” Highlights Boebert and Lamborn

The Lofgren Report

The “Lofgren Report” is getting a lot of attention today, with Colorado Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) both popping up in a collection of social media posts related to the terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and related efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential election.

As CNN explains:

Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren has quietly posted a nearly 2,000-page report documenting social media posts by her Republican colleagues who voted against certifying results of the presidential election on January 6. The information compiled isn’t secret, but the report is another sign of the deep distrust that has settled into the US Capitol in the weeks since the insurrection.

The report chronicles the social media activity of members on public forums immediately before the November election and right after the January 6 riot. The report has been online for a week.

CNN reported earlier Thursday that federal investigators are examining records of communications between members of Congress and the pro-Trump mob that attacked the Capitol, as the investigation moves closer to exploring whether lawmakers wittingly or unwittingly helped the insurrectionists.

In a preamble to the report, Lofgren — the chair of the House Administration Committee — wrote that she had asked her staff to pull the relevant social media posts and compile them in an effort to gather facts.

The “Lofgren Report” is divided up into different sections organized by state. Colorado’s list includes 74 pages of questionable social media posts from Boebert and Lamborn, but mostly from Boebert (Q*Bert accounts for 73 pages all by herself). For example:

Click here to see the complete “Lofgren Report.” Click here for the Colorado-specific section.

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Ken Buck Comes Crawling Back To The Big Lie

President Donald Trump, Rep. Ken Buck.

One of the more surprising developments in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election was the attempt by Colorado Republican Party chairman Rep. Ken Buck to debunk the false allegations of election fraud which underpinned now ex-President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept the result. In early December, as the misinformed anger that would boil over into insurrection on January 6th was building, Buck went so far as to convene a virtual town hall attended by hundreds of local Republicans in which Buck and Republican county clerks assured the party faithful that the election was accurate and secure–at least in Colorado, even though our all-mail ballot election system tabulated in large part by Dominion Voting Systems hardware amounts to everything Trump baselessly blamed for his defeat in other states.

After Rep. Buck unexpectedly came to the defense of Colorado’s election system in the face of Trump’s denials, he was criticized by Trump loyalists for his choice of fact over partisan fiction. A few weeks later, Buck announced his decision to not run again for the job of state party chairman, and as of today both of the frontrunners in the race to succeed Buck in that job are campaigning on the Big Lie of a stolen 2020 election.

Well folks, sometime between early December when we praised Ken Buck for showing integrity and today, something happened to Buck’s backbone:

In a turnabout so jarring it will give you whiplash, the 2020 elections that Ken Buck defended last December are now something we don’t want to repeat! And even though most of what Buck is warning about above is already law in Colorado–you know, the same law Buck defended–it’s suddenly wrong to apply those standards uniformly across the country? Everybody knows that Republicans are mobilizing against HR1, but Rep. Buck wasn’t obligated to open his mouth and provide a receptacle for his waiting foot.

Our disappointment is genuine. It was one of the best things Ken Buck did in his whole career.

And now Buck has flushed that goodwill, and the credibility that came with it, down the toilet.

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GOP Chair Candidates Fight Over Party’s Wreckage

Former Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

The Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter published a useful in-depth look this weekend at the candidates running to succeed Rep. Ken Buck as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, who participated in a candidate forum last Thursday night in the town of Hudson about 30 miles northeast of Denver in Weld County. As Wingerter reports, of the five contenders nominally in the running the real choice for Republicans has effectively narrowed to the current vice-chair Kristi Burton Brown versus notorious former Secretary of State Scott “Honey Badger” Gessler.

As for any rational discussion about what has happened to the Colorado GOP in recent years, leading to the least amount of power in the state since FDR was President? You’re not going to find it from either of the frontrunners:

[Jonathan] Lockwood was the only candidate to say unequivocally that the 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Two other candidates, Rich Mancuso and Casper Stockham, said it was stolen. Two others, Colorado GOP vice chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown and former secretary of state Scott Gessler, said or suggested it may have been. When pressed by the debate moderator to show evidence of a stolen election, none did… [Pols emphasis]

Gessler and Burton Brown verbally sparred on several occasions. Burton Brown criticized Gessler for installing Dominion Voting Systems — the Colorado election software and hardware company that was a frequent target of baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and has filed numerous defamation lawsuits — when he was secretary of state.

Gessler went after the current state of the Colorado GOP, of which Burton Brown is vice chair.

“If you want the same lack of creativity, if you want the same lack of initiative, if you want the same problems in the Republican Party, then keep the same people,” Gessler said.

Although vice-chair Kristi Burton Brown agreed with Gessler in denial about the outcome of the 2020 elections, we were somewhat favorably surprised and impressed by Burton Brown taking responsibility in this forum for the disastrous failed 2019 recall attempt she personally initiated against Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial. That misguided campaign played a large role in helping discredit the backlash over the GOP’s losses in the 2018 elections, and the fact that Burton Brown can admit today it was a mistake is a sign of at least some amount of political maturation on her part.

Although Gessler is generally considered to be the frontrunner in the race to be the next chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, Gessler’s long fixation with discredited claims of election fraud may be giving Republicans who would like to see the party move on from Donald Trump some discomfort. Do Republicans really want to spend the next two years relitigating the 2020 elections, or should they focus on recovering some respectability in 2022? With both frontrunners believing (or at least preaching) the Big Lie of the stolen 2020 election, the chances of honest lessons being learned to avert another electoral catastrophe in two years are not good–but Gessler’s lack of credibility after fixating on this false scapegoat for defeat for years is a matter of record. That being the case, there’s an argument that Burton Brown is better suited to making the pivot Republicans so desperately need.

Either way, it’s clear at this point that Colorado Republicans will not be turning over any new leaves. This is a party held together by a false narrative, seeking answers that confirm their own biases rather than solve their problems.

Democrats should be very pleased by this.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (February 26)

Friendly reminder: 2021 is NOT a leap year. 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 learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*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 

 

As The Denver Post reports, a loosening of pandemic-related restrictions is just around the corner:

Jefferson County will loosen its COVID-19 restrictions — allowing restaurants and event spaces to increase their capacities — starting Friday morning, but Denver will have to wait after new coronavirus cases ticked up in the city again this week.

Denver is currently at Level Yellow, the third stage on the state’s dial framework of public health restrictions. To move down to Level Blue under the relaxed standards announced in late January, the city would have to average fewer than 100 new COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 people, per day, for a week.

The city flirted with that line in the days following Valentine’s Day, but cases rebounded slightly in recent days, according to data from the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment. As of Wednesday, Denver’s average was 104.5 cases per 100,000 people.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said the city is “very close” to moving into Level Blue, which he described as a step toward revitalizing its arts and sports scenes. He urged residents to continue wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings, to help keep new cases down.

 

► Let’s catch up on news from the state legislature!

Colorado lawmakers are taking a proactive approach in trying to prevent major power outages like those seen in Texas earlier this month.

Lawmakers are considering a bill to prevent pet stores from selling puppies and kittens.

Sides are already gearing up for a bill to limit the THC potency in marijuana sold in Colorado…even though the bill hasn’t yet been introduced formally.

Alex Burness of The Denver Post considers why popular policies die strange deaths when lawmakers convene.

Colorado Newsline previews the transportation infrastructure battle coming to the State Capitol.

 

CNN reports on what looks to be a huge moment for Democrats and President Biden:

(The $1.9 trillion COVID relief) bill, which the House of Representatives is expected to pass Friday with Democratic votes, has the symbolic weight and financial power to define what Biden hopes will be the post-pandemic period as it aims to quell the virus and trigger a rebound from the economic ruin in its wake. That remains true despite the Senate parliamentarian ruling Thursday that a provision raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour infringes the budgetary process known as reconciliation that Democrats plan to use to pass the package with a simple majority. The decision was a blow to progressives but could ease Democratic divisions over the package and make it easier to pass…

…The plan’s mammoth size — more than twice as big as the Great Recession stimulus plan that Biden managed in the Obama presidency and nearly half the cost of the annual federal budget — hints at the enduring political shadow it will cast.

The measure is intended to significantly beef up the vaccine drive that will hopefully end the pandemic and to provide funds for remodeling schools to improve ventilation and social distancing to get millions of kids back into class. It would also use the power of government to alleviate short-term economic pain — for instance by granting $19 billion to state and local governments to cover back rent and utility payments — and on a more permanent basis, to share the benefits of the US economy more equally.

Republicans can (and will) complain about the relief bill, but they do so at their own peril: Americans view the bill as one of the most popular pieces of legislation in recent history.

 

Here’s a headline from POLITICO that would have been accurate at any point during the last 3-4 years:

Via POLITICO (2/26/21)

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Poll: 57% Of Colorado Republicans Win The Darwin Award

Darwin Award contestants throughout history.

As the Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul reports, acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccines now being administered by the thousands daily at long last in Colorado shows a stark partisan divide in a newly-completed poll–more so, to be frank, than we would have expected despite the well-earned cynical presumption many of our readers no doubt harbor:

Getting the coronavirus vaccine in Colorado may depend on a person’s political party affiliation, with a new poll showing Republican voters are far less likely to get inoculated than their Democratic and unaffiliated counterparts.

Magellan Strategies found that only 55% of registered voters in Colorado who haven’t been inoculated yet want to receive a vaccine when it becomes available to them. The share rises to 89% among Democrats and 57% among unaffiliated voters.

Only 29% of Republicans, however, said they’d get a coronavirus vaccine, according to the poll. Meanwhile, 57% said they would not get inoculated while 12% said they were undecided.

The Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter:

When asked, “How concerned are you that you or someone in your family will become infected with the coronavirus?” 32% of Republicans said they were either “very” or “somewhat” concerned, compared to 89% of Democrats. When respondents were asked whether they planned to get a COVID-19 vaccine, 29% of Republicans said yes, compared to 88% of Democrats.

Magellan Strategies CEO David Flaherty said the results show these public health matters “have become a political statement.”

Public health officials in Colorado and beyond are desperately trying to convince people that the vaccine is safe, and that broad buy-in is the only clear way out of the pandemic. Nine percent of respondents said they hadn’t yet decided whether they’re comfortable being vaccinated.

Although there’s a clear relationship between not being concerned about the pandemic to begin with and refusing the vaccine to prevent infection, it’s somewhat more difficult to understand the reluctance of Republicans to accept the COVID-19 vaccine after former President Donald Trump hyped the forthcoming vaccines relentlessly while trying to not lose the 2020 election. Is it possible that more Republicans would be lining up for their shots if Trump had kept the White House?

That’s a hell of a way to make life-and-death medical decisions, but we can’t rule it out.

Because vaccinating enough of the public to achieve herd immunity is the key to fully reopening the economy, it’s a maddening reality the same people who immeasurably worsened the pandemic over the last year by downplaying its severity and defying best practices to reduce the spread, resulting in the United States having the most infection and death from COVID-19 of any nation on Earth, are now posing the biggest obstacle to putting this pandemic in the rear-view mirror for good.

We’re going to beat COVID-19. But at every step, our nation’s response to this deadly disease has been hobbled by the politically-motivated willful ignorance of one side. The net effect of this has been, ironically, to expose that side to disproportionate risk. How many Republicans died needlessly because it became an article of faith to not take COVID-19 seriously?

This is a movement truly leading its adherents over the cliff.

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Colorado GOP Won’t Be Out-Crazied by National Republicans

Colorado is a blue state. As we’ve written many times in this space, there is simply no denying the results of the 2018 and 2020 elections in our state: Democrats won bigly and Republicans lost equally, uh, hugely.

But if you thought Colorado Republicans might do a little soul-searching and try to figure out a way to reverse this trend, you’ll be interested to know that the local GOP is all aboard the “election fraud” crazy train that has been crisscrossing red states in America for the past couple of months. Since Republicans don’t seem to know how to get more people to vote for them, they are actively working to figure out ways to make it harder for people to vote in general.

Kyle Clark of 9News recently discussed nonsense Republican claims of voter fraud in relation to a dumbass bill introduced — and quickly killed in committee — by State Sen. Paul Lundeen (R-Monument):

Meanwhile, the top two contenders to become the next Chair of the Colorado Republican Party are STILL OPENLY RUNNING on the idea that Donald Trump really won the 2020 Presidential election, facts be damned.

From the new Axios Denver newsletter:

Top leaders in the Colorado Republican Party are doubling down on the baseless idea that voter fraud cost President Donald Trump the 2020 election. [Pols emphasis]

Republican state lawmakers cited the potential for fraud as the reason they introduced a handful of bills that would make it harder to vote.

The top contenders for Colorado GOP chair, former Secretary of State Scott Gessler and current party vice chair Kristi Burton Brown, are advocating for a recount of the 2020 vote and review of the Dominion Voting Systems equipment in Colorado.

Why it matters: The Colorado GOP is embracing the same debunked claims of a stolen election that helped propel a mob of Trump supporters to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Gessler has already had to find a new email provider after MailChimp cancelled his account for repeatedly spreading the evidence-free claim that the 2020 Presidential election was rife with fraud.

Clockwise from Far Right: State Sen. Paul Lundeen, State GOP Chair hopeful Kristi Burton Brown, former SOS Scott Gessler, Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert

Nationally, the fraud rhetoric will be on full display this weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida; the keynote speaker is none other than former President Trump himself, which is problematic for any Republicans trying to establish a post-Trump political identity. As POLITICO notes, GOP contenders looking ahead to 2024 are finding that you can’t spell “Republican” without “Donald J. Trump”:

“There isn’t a Trump lane. There’s a Trump Turnpike with multiple lanes and multiple people,” said Chris LaCivita, a veteran GOP strategist who most recently headed the anti-Biden super PAC Preserve America.

Conversations with more than a dozen Republican consultants, strategists and officials depict a party over which Trump exerts an irresistible gravitational pull, pointing to his continued strength in polls and the megawatt energy he generates among the GOP grassroots.

Trump’s grip on the Republican base and his effect on the minds of White House hopefuls is so total, they say, that the path to the GOP nomination is best defined by the degree of loyalty to Trump — to the point where party operatives reach for elaborate metaphors to best convey the extent of his influence.

Both Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) are scheduled to speak at CPAC on Sunday. [Side note: Former Congressman and multi-time gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez is also speaking at CPAC for some reason] Boebert has not wavered from her claims of election fraud — though it wasn’t a concern in her district, apparently. Buck, on the other hand, has vacillated on the topic depending on the day he is asked; it would be no surprise if he repeated lies about 2020 election fraud in his speech on Sunday.

Trump’s insistence that the 2020 President election was stolen led directly to the terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Trump’s role in stoking that insurrection made him the only President in American history to be impeached TWICE, though Senate Republicans were too weak-willed to do anything about it. You would think Republicans would be well-served by not trying to draw attention back to Jan. 6, but the GOP base is not so easily sated.

Republicans have plenty of other problems heading into 2022, including trying to explain their open embrace of white supremacy, but their stubborn refusal to stop talking about something that didn’t happen will keep them tethered to minority party status for the foreseeable future.

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