How Cory Gardner Destroyed Cory Gardner

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-ekt).

It appears likely that Sen. Cory Gardner will not be re-elected to the U.S. Senate next week. If months and years of polling data are accurate, Gardner will be handily defeated by Democrat John Hickenlooper. It will be a loss of his own making. 

Like many Republicans, Gardner might have been dragged down by Trump in 2020 no matter what he did. Democrats certainly would have tied the two together whenever possible, but Gardner made it easy by getting stuck in a quintessential quagmire; instead of trying to extricate himself from Trump’s backside, Gardner just kept stepping closer and closer and closer.

But Gardner also made decisions that would have been wrong under any president. His quest to abolish the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was his central campaign message in 2014, became untenable as Americans decided that the ACA was actually pretty useful. Gardner’s refusal to engage with constituents and his persistent ducking of reporters fed a narrative of aloof indifference. “Cardboard Cory” was a brilliant counter to Gardner’s detachment from the public, but it wouldn’t have worked so well if Gardner hadn’t been such a perfect foil. 

Gardner was haunted by his infamous 2014 ad in which he said, “When my party is wrong, I’ll say it.” This was the type of grand statement that helped him defeat incumbent Sen. Mark Udall, but eventually the bill came due on his promises. Gardner never tried to earn any equity with Colorado voters since that 2014 victory; by the time the 2020 election really started to heat up, his metaphorical wallet was empty.   

Policy-wise, Gardner put a lot of time and effort into undertakings that were not as politically-useful as he might have calculated. He made a big deal about moving the Bureau of Land Management headquarters to Colorado, but nobody cared. His push to fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) didn’t resonate with voters who were more concerned about the coronavirus outbreak and, later, social justice protests; nobody who was worried about the general state of the country was going to side with Gardner because of LWCF.   

The truth about Gardner is that he was not the brilliant rising star that he was portrayed to be in 2014. He made a lot of objectively dumb decisions that began to pile up over time. He never altered his path to reflect Colorado’s changing electorate

Gardner was good at being the opposition candidate, as he was in 2014, but he never adjusted as Republicans gained more power in Washington DC. Gardner’s shtick only works if he has a villain to oppose, which is why he needed Hillary Clinton to win the Presidency in 2016. When a Republican majority forced him into the position of actually trying to govern, Gardner was lost. 

We took a rather exhausting spin through Gardner’s full term in the Senate to identify precisely where things went wrong for Gardner. You can read through the full timeline after the jump, but the short version breaks down into 13 key moments in time:

♦ October 2016
Following the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Donald Trump brags about sexually assaulting women, Gardner calls on Trump to withdraw from the race and says, “I will not vote for Donald Trump.” [SPOILER ALERT: This doesn’t age well].

♦ Early 2017
Trump takes office and immediately promotes a “Muslim travel ban,” signals his full support for repealing the ACA, and nominates Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Gardner makes two big statements that he will eventually abandon: a) Promising not to repeal the ACA without a replacement plan, and b) Opposing Trump’s call for a wall along the US-Mexico border. 

♦ July 2017
After months of pretending that he hadn’t decided how he would vote on repealing the ACA, Gardner casts TWO separate votes to do just that. Gardner never adjusts his talking points even after Arizona Sen. John McCain’s famous “thumbs down” on the Senate floor.

♦ August 2017
Two things happen this month that will not happen again: a) Gardner holds his last town hall meetings, and b) Gardner speaks out against President Trump following the racial violence in Charlottesville, VA. 

♦ Early 2018
President Trump calls Haiti and other African nations “shithole countries.” A few months later, Trump implements his “family separation” policy for immigrants. Gardner is silent.

♦ November 2018
As Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign (NRSC), Gardner relies on a largely pro-Trump message in campaigns around the country. Back in Colorado, a massive blue wave sees Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) defeated by double digit margins. It should have been clear at this point that a pro-Trump message wasn’t going to work in Colorado.

♦ January 2019
Gardner becomes one of the first U.S. Senators to formally endorse President Trump’s re-election campaign. Whatever once bothered Gardner about Trump’s “Access Hollywood” moment no longer troubles the Yuma Republican.   

♦ March 2019
Gardner flips on his previous opposition to a border wall and backs Trump’s efforts to fund the project by declaring a dubious “national emergency.” The editorial board of The Denver Post demolishes Gardner in an Op-Ed that is widely referred to as an “un-endorsement” (The Post endorsed Gardner in 2014).

♦ August 2019
“Cardboard Cory” goes on a statewide bus tour and generates significant media attention, highlighting Gardner’s refusal to engage with constituents.

♦ October 2019
Gardner absolutely implodes in front of a gaggle of Colorado reporters when pressed to respond to reports that President Trump tried to extort the President of Ukraine. It’s hard to overstate how much this moment damaged Gardner’s credibility, both with the media and with voters in general.

♦ February 2020
Gardner votes to acquit President Trump after a Senate impeachment trial in which he gets national press for pressing Senate Republicans NOT to call on additional witnesses. Later, Gardner appears at a Trump campaign rally in Colorado Springs in which Trump says that “Cory never wavered” in his support of the President. Gardner finishes the month by jetting to a $1,000-a-bottle champagne tasting party in Palm Beach, Florida…right at the time that the coronavirus pandemic is becoming big news in the United States.

♦ June 2020
The Trump administration has now completely botched the response to COVID-19, and Black Lives Matter protests are taking center stage in the news. Gardner refuses to speak a negative word about Trump on either issue. Gardner also spends millions on TV advertisements critical of Democrat John Hickenlooper, who handily wins a Democratic Primary Election regardless.

♦ October 2020
Gardner sides with Senate Republicans on confirming a new SCOTUS nominee, which is completely at odds with his 2016 comments on Obama nominee Merrick Garland. Given one last chance to stand up to Trump, Gardner fails; he is asked in a Senate debate whether or not he believes that President Trump is a “moral and ethical man.” Gardner answers, “Yes.”  


And now, the full details of Gardner’s demise…



Gee Thanks, Cory: So Much For COVID Tests At 7-Eleven

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

The Phil Anschutz-owned Colorado Springs Gazette is very excited to report:

The White House sent 50,000 additional COVID-19 tests to Colorado in the past week to support increased testing needs resulting from recent wildfires.

The tests are BinaxNOW rapid point-of-care tests, providing results in 15 minutes…

On Oct. 21, 25,000 tests were sent for additional testing and to replace any effected tests from the wildfires. The state requested another 25,000 tests on Saturday that were sent immediately.

Sen. Cory Gardner is, as you can imagine, ebullient:

President Donald Trump’s most recent messaging on the COVID-19 pandemic is that the United States, the scene of more illness and death than any other nation on Earth, was “successful” in confronting the pandemic compared to worst-case early estimates that millions of Americans could die. Similarly, if you compare Cory Gardner’s excitement about these 50,000 tests for emergency personnel and evacuees to what Gardner said all the way back in April, which feels like an eternity ago, about what he wanted to see in terms of COVID testing:

“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.” [Pols emphasis]

This is where it dawns on the reader that in both cases, the goalposts have been moved to the point of Orwellian absurdity. 227,000 Americans are dead from the virus Donald Trump promised would go away with warm weather when cases were in the dozens–and we are still very, very far from getting a COVID-19 test at 7-Eleven. This “success” in obtaining 50,000 tests is occurring against the backdrop of inestimably greater failure.

All these months later, it’s remarkable–and tragic–how little has changed.


Get More Smarter on Wednesday (October 28)

[We’re just going to keep this here]: STOP! If you still have a mail ballot at home, DO NOT DROP IT IN THE MAIL. We are close enough to Election Day that you now need to take your completed ballot to a local collection box; visit for more information. 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 learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

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

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:


As The Denver Post reports, the COVID-19 outbreak is getting worse in the Denver Metro area:

Denver moved to Colorado’s second-highest level of COVID-19 restrictions Tuesday, forcing most businesses to operate at a quarter of their capacity in an effort to curb the virus’ spread and avoid overwhelming hospitals.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced the state health department had asked the city to tighten its restrictions after weeks of climbing coronavirus cases and rising hospitalizations.

Denver Public Schools followed with plans to send many of the district’s elementary students — who just had returned to their classrooms — back to remote learning.

“I don’t believe this is Denver’s failing,” Hancock said, blaming the virus’s resurgence on the lack of a national strategy to contain COVID-19. “It is, rather, a failing by those who still refuse to believe in science, and those who do not take it seriously.”

Adams and Arapahoe counties are also moving to more restrictive measures in an effort to reduce the number of positive cases.

As The New York Times reports, European counties such as France and Germany are moving toward lockdown status because COVID-19 cases are out of control.

Meanwhile, as CNN reports:

Via CNN (10/28/20)

And then there’s this gem from The Huffington Post:

Via The Huffington Post (10/28/20)


Ask yourself this question: Would you wait outside for hours — at night — in freezing cold temperatures to listen to anyone speak? Right…now go ahead and argue that Trumpism is NOT a cult. As NBC News reports:

Hundreds of President Donald Trump supporters were left in the freezing cold for hours after a rally at an airfield in Omaha, Nebraska, on Tuesday night, with some walking around three miles to waiting buses and others being taken away in ambulances.

Many of those at the rally at the Eppley Airfield faced hours in long lines to get in and clogged parking lots and busy crowds to get out, hours after his Air Force One departed around 9 p.m. Crowds cleared about 12:30 a.m.

According to dispatches from Omaha Police department, recorded by radio communications platform, Broadcastify, at least 30 people including the elderly, an electric wheelchair user and a family with small children were among those requiring medical attention after hours of waiting in the cold at the rally at the Eppley Airfield.

As The Washington Post reports, Democrat Joe Biden maintains an advantage over President Trump in two key battleground states:

Former vice president Joe Biden continues to outpace President Trump in two crucial Midwest battlegrounds, currently holding a slight lead over the president in Michigan while showing a much more substantial advantage in Wisconsin, according to a pair of Washington Post-ABC News polls.

The surveys show Biden narrowly ahead of Trump among likely voters in Michigan by 51 percent to 44 percent, with Libertarian Party nominee Jo Jorgensen at 3 percent. In Wisconsin, likely voters favor Biden by 57 percent to 40 percent, with Jorgensen at 2 percent. Among all registered voters, Biden’s edge in Michigan is five points, while he leads by 17 points in Wisconsin.

Wait, what? Biden is up 17 POINTS in Wisconsin?

As Greg Sargent notes in a different story for The Washington Post, Trump is losing ground all across America AMONG WHITE VOTERS. As Colorado Public Radio reports, the Presidential campaigns in Colorado are largely targeting non-white voters in the final week before Election Day.


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




You’re Not Getting Another Stimulus Check Anytime Soon

As the Washington Post reports–having chosen the confirmation of another U.S. Supreme Court Justice over the public’s overwhelming preference of a second round of coronavirus economic relief, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate is getting out of Dodge:

Congress has left town until after the election without passing any new economic or health care relief measures even as the coronavirus pandemic surges and the economy sputters…

After days of bitterly partisan debate and a vote late Monday confirming Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, senators are headed back home to campaign for re-election. The House has been out of session for weeks, although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have continued to negotiate around a new $2 trillion relief bill.

Their talks have shown scant evidence of progress, but neither Pelosi nor Mnuchin seems to want to be the one to say it’s over. Pelosi continues to insist she wants a deal before the election that would include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks, among other things. But at the same time, her rhetoric has shifted in recent days to emphasize the possibility of a bigger and better relief bill passing in future, with retroactive benefits — a scenario that would seem possible only under a Biden administration.

When Donald Trump threw the latter rounds of negotiations into a tailspin by (temporarily) calling off negotiations on a new stimulus bill until “after I win,” he promised to push through a bill after the election that met his desire to “go big,” even exceeding the requests of Democrats who fruitlessly negotiated with the White House over a few hundred billion. This statement left…unclear what might happen in the event Trump does not win re-election, and there’s no guarantee that Trump will keep his promise–or that the GOP majority lame duck Senate will have any more appetite to pass a stimulus adequate to the task than they were before the election.

The worst case scenario, which is no additional economic relief for Americans until January, even as the pandemic’s third wave wreaks havoc through the winter, is a very disturbing prospect. Back in May, Sen. Cory Gardner said it would be “unfathomable” for the Senate to adjourn without another stimulus bill. Economists have been warning for months that more relief is needed desperately, and if Trump and the Senate GOP decide to let Americans suffer until Joe Biden takes office out of political spite…

The awful truth is that is not “unfathomable.” Americans suffering needlessly this winter is now a likelihood.


Get More Smarter on Tuesday (October 27)

STOP! If you still have a mail ballot at home, DO NOT DROP IT IN THE MAIL. We are close enough to Election Day that you now need to take your completed ballot to a local collection box; visit for more information. 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 learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

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

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:


► The Republican Senate finished ramming through their confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Monday evening. This is the same Republican Senate that hasn’t been able to move ahead on any sort of coronavirus stimulus bill since the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act in May, but they managed to confirm a SCOTUS nominee in a matter of weeks.

We probably don’t need to tell you that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was a ‘YES’ vote.


Voters continue to turn out in record numbers in Colorado and across the country. As The New York Times explains, this is not good news for Republicans:

A week before Election Day, more than 64 million Americans have already voted — and about half of them are in the dozen or so competitive states that will ultimately decide who wins the Electoral College.

Possibly even more significant, early votes in these battlegrounds account for more than half of those states’ total votes in 2016. Nationally, voters have already cast about 46 percent of the total vote counted in 2016, according to the United States Elections Project.

Via The New York Times


The campaigns for President Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, respectively, can telegraph much of their last week strategy based on travel plans. Biden was in Pennsylvania on Monday and will travel to Georgia today before a stop later this week in Iowa; he will also visit Tampa Bay, FL and Wisconsin before Election Day.

As for Trump, he’s traveling to Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Nevada.


The Aspen Daily News endorses Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush in an editorial that contains an absolutely STUNNING comment from Republican Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert:

When asked if she condemned the administration’s policies that allowed for children to be separated from their parents — in the same week that the American Civil Liberties Union reported that the federal government has so far failed to locate the parents of 545 children victims of the “no tolerance” policy — Boebert replied that “when parents break the laws, sometimes things happen.”

She went on to liken a nearly 10% alleged failure to effectively track the parents of children separated at the border, even amid asylum requests, to her anecdotal experience following an arrest for an unpaid parking ticket.

“When I didn’t pay my $100 traffic ticket, I was separated from my kids for about an hour until I got it taken care of,” she said. [Pols emphasis]

We’d call this unbelievable, but we ARE talking about the same Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert. As Alex Burness reports for The Denver Post, many Colorado conservatives think Boebert is the future of the party.


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




Boebert Compares Family Separation Policies to Traffic Ticket

“When I didn’t pay my $100 traffic ticket, I was separated from my kids for about an hour until I got it taken care of.” — Lauren Boebert

The Aspen Daily News followed a trend in CO-03 this week by endorsing Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush over Republican Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert. Virtually every newspaper in the vast Western/Southern Colorado congressional district has backed Mitsch Bush instead of Boebert, and often for the same reasons: Boebert has absolutely no idea what she is talking about when it comes to policy issues.

Boebert has regularly refused to meet with newspaper editorial boards, including those of The Denver Post and The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, and for good reason: When you ask Boebert a question that she can’t answer with a talking point about “freedom,” what you get in response is absolute nonsense.

And sometimes, much, much worse. From The Aspen Daily News:

Our concerns with Boebert largely come back to her seemingly superficial understanding of issues and her quickness to parrot the same talking points coming from her party’s leadership — mainly, President Donald J. Trump. For instance, she spoke passionately about immigration reform, but when, as an aspiring representative of many resort communities on the Western Slope, she was asked about J-1 visas, she allowed that she wasn’t familiar with that particular visa type.

When asked if she condemned the administration’s policies that allowed for children to be separated from their parents — in the same week that the American Civil Liberties Union reported that the federal government has so far failed to locate the parents of 545 children victims of the “no tolerance” policy — Boebert replied that “when parents break the laws, sometimes things happen.”

She went on to liken a nearly 10% alleged failure to effectively track the parents of children separated at the border, even amid asylum requests, to her anecdotal experience following an arrest for an unpaid parking ticket.

“When I didn’t pay my $100 traffic ticket, I was separated from my kids for about an hour until I got it taken care of,” she said. [Pols emphasis]


Boebert has a troubling history of just ignoring things like laws and court orders that she believes apply to everyone else, but she also apparently has no ability to differentiate between CHILDREN BEING RIPPED FROM THE ARMS OF THEIR PARENTS to going to court to deal with a misdemeanor offense.

This is more than just an asinine comment from an ill-prepared candidate. This is weird. Boebert’s perspective isn’t odd for a politician — it’s strange behavior from a human being.


The Real Lesson of Amy Coney Barrett

Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim reports and everyone in America knows, the last great fait accompli of Republican control in Washington, D.C. under President Donald Trump is now mission accomplished:

Colorado’s senators followed their parties’ lead when it came to voting Judge Amy Coney Barrett onto the Supreme Court Monday. Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet voted against her confirmation, while Republican Sen Cory Gardner voted for it.

She was confirmed along party lines 52-48, with no Democrats voting for her confirmation.

Bennet and Gardner both took to the Senate floor ahead of the vote, decrying the highly partisan process.

Gardner said Monday afternoon that, “if you can take the politics out of the place, she would probably have a unanimous vote. Unfortunately, the politicization of this nomination is going to prevent that.”

“Decrying the highly partisan process” that ended last night with the swearing in of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, over the express dying wish of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that her replacement be appointed after a new president is sworn in in January, is a risible distortion of the history of Republican treachery regarding high court appointments going back to 2016, when the same Cory Gardner and Senate Republicans refused to grant President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Antonin Scalia a hearing months before the presidential election to be held that year. Gardner’s excuse for acting differently in 2020 was simply that the Senate and White House are controlled by the same party. How can Gardner complain about a “partisan process” when partisanship is literally the only reason this is happening?

The real mistake here would be to spend any time trying to honestly reconcile Gardner’s words with his deeds. The confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett happened yesterday for the same reason Merrick Garland’s confirmation didn’t happen in 2016: Republicans had the power to do what they wanted in both cases. All of the stated justifications for taking opposite actions in response to the same circumstances are meaningless, even insulting to the nation’s collective intelligence. The only thing that matters, then and now, is power.

In 2014, it was in part reliance on the theory that Gardner’s ability to carry out his anti-abortion agenda would be self-limited by the deliberative nature of the Senate that justified the Denver Post’s backhanded endorsement of Gardner–going so far as to call worries about the threat Gardner posted to abortion rights a “tedious refrain.” Today, with abortion rights in mortal danger beyond even what Gardner’s opponents in 2014 could have predicted, the naivete of Gardner’s apologists in 2014 has been laid bare more completely than any Democratic ad campaign could possibly manage.

There is only one lesson from all of this, and it could not be more timely. Elections matter.

Whatever happens next, a generation of Colorado voters have seen enough to never be fooled again.


Cory Gardner Says Republicans Have a Health Care Plan!

[SPOILER ALERT: There is no Republican health care plan]

President Trump’s somewhat-anticipated interview with “60 Minutes” reporter Lesley Stahl finally aired on Sunday night. This was the interview that Trump cut short last week when he got sad that Stahl was not going to just let him sit there and pretend that a secret laptop that formerly belonged to Hunter Biden was a real thing (last week, even longtime Republican strategist/pollster Frank Luntz proclaimed, “Nobody cares about Hunter Biden … why is [Trump] spending all his time on him?”).

But there was still a surprise ending to the “60 Minutes” interview that hadn’t already leaked out beforehand.

After Trump walked out of the interview, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany emerged with a big ‘ol book-like object that she hand-delivered to Stahl:

As CNN’s Chris Cillizza explains:

The oversized book that drastically under-delivers on its promised contents is, actually, a pretty apt metaphor for the entire Trump presidency…

…But like so much with Trump, the show and the pageantry belie the emptiness of the actual vessel. A big book filled with executive orders is not a comprehensive health care plan. Because there is no plan.

Undaunted by stupid things like facts and truth, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) picked up the baton from McEnany in an interview Monday morning on “The FOX News Rundown.” Behold this amazing baloney:

HOST: The Democrats are arguing [that] Republicans haven’t put forth a health care plan, as they’re trying to take down, effectively, Obamacare. If President Trump secures a second term, if the Affordable Care Act is struck down, whole or in part, we’ve heard discussions about a potential Republican health care plan before, but we haven’t heard a whole lot in terms of what that would look like. What can you tell us about the planning going on for that phase?

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma)

GARDNER: Well, there’s two things that Republicans and Democrats both agree on. Number one, we’re always going to provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Number two, both Republicans and Democrats want to replace the Affordable Care Act with something that works. The Democrat plan is Medicare for All, a public option that turns into Medicare for All. Basically eliminating the private insurance that 136-plus million Americans enjoy today that they receive through their employer. 

Republicans are focused on a patient-centered health care program that is based on decisions between patients and their doctor…the consumer and their doctor…the constituent and their doctor…not Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. And it is about risk pools and reinsurance. It is about liability reforms that delay…you know, it is said right now that unnecessary procedures account for nearly 25% of health care costs because they are driven by liability concerns. That’s part of the plan that we have to address. Things like association health plans, across state lines, telehealth. I helped the Governor of Colorado get a waiver for reinsurance through the Health and Human Services department to drive down the costs in Colorado. 

You know, our plan is there. They don’t agree with our plan because it doesn’t involve a government takeover. [Pols emphasis]

What’s in the box book?

Say what, now?

This is the point in the story where we would provide a link so that you could read for yourself the Republican health care plan that Democrats disagree on because it doesn’t involve a government takeover. But, we can’t, because THERE IS NO REPUBLICAN HEALTH CARE PLAN. You can Google “Republican health care plan,” and you’ll get a lot of results about Republicans and health care — but, alas, no actual “health care plan.”

In August, Gardner introduced a 117-word bill for protecting pre-existing medical conditions that fact checkers agree would not actually protect people with pre-existing medical conditions. Much like Gardner’s political career, this bill is going nowhere in the U.S. Senate, but at least it is an actual thing that does exist.

We have absolutely no idea what Gardner is talking about when he says “our plan is there.” We’d guess Gardner doesn’t know, either. Perhaps he watched Sunday’s episode of “60 Minutes” and got excited when he saw the giant book delivered to Lesley Stahl.

Cory Gardner has seemingly come full-circle six years after winding down his first U.S. Senate campaign. Back in October 2014, Gardner was insisting that there was no such thing as a federal “personhood” bill, which wasn’t true. With just one week left until Election Day in 2020, Gardner is pounding the table in support of a Republican health care bill that isn’t real.

In with one lie, and out with another.


Mayor Mike Has COVID-19, And Trump Gave Up

Mayor Mike Coffman (R-Aurora).

As the Aurora Sentinel reports, get well wishes are in order for Mayor Mike Coffman of Aurora, and a close call for Gov. Jared Polis as the third wave of the very much ongoing COVID-19 pandemic grips the state:

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis was but now isn’t quarantining himself after learning that Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman tested positive for the coronavirus over a week after they appeared with other officials at a press conference, a spokesperson for the governor said Sunday.

Earlier Sunday, spokesperson Maria De Cambra said Polis would quarantine while waiting to hear from health officials investigating who else may have been exposed to the coronavirus about whether he should continue to isolate himself.

Sunday evening, spokesperson Conor Cahill said he was advised by state health officials there was no risk to Polis during the joint press conference.

“TCHD disease control investigators conducted an interview with Mayor Coffman this afternoon and have determined that there is no risk to Gov. Polis…Therefore, Gov. Polis and others at the that event with Mayor Coffman have been informed that they do need to quarantine as a result of this situation,” Cahill said in a statement in a statement.

Mayor Coffman’s symptoms didn’t last long, fortunately, but the renewed rapid growth of COVID-19 cases in Aurora and across the state forced the reimposition of stricter guidelines for gatherings this weekend, which should as of now consist only of 10 or fewer people in a maximum of two households. The latest modeling shows Colorado exceeding hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients on the present trajectory, and the testing positivity rate–over 9% in Adams County, which includes part of Aurora–is a very serious reversal of progress made over the summer.

We wish there was better news, but as readers know, “we’re not going to control the pandemic.” In 2016, Mike Coffman held on to his seat two years longer than he should have by saying of Donald Trump, “I don’t care for him much.” After losing his seat in Congress and now catching the virus Trump promised would go away by Easter, we imagine Coffman doesn’t care for Trump much more today, either.

But just like in 2018 and Cory Gardner today, Coffman will only say Trump’s name if you drag it out of him.


Oh, Right, There’s Still an Election in CO-06

The #Crowmentum continues.

Two years ago, we were talking a lot in this space about #Crowmentum. The race for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District was looking better for Democrats in 2018 after a couple of near-misses (and “not-so-near” misses) in previous election cycles in which CO-06 was a top battleground in the state. Democrats were cautiously optimistic that first-time candidate Jason Crow could knock off longtime Republican politician Mike Coffman after some encouraging poll numbers and strong fundraising reports.

As it turned out, Crow didn’t just win — he annihilated Coffman by 11 points. Crow’s decisive victory was a surprisingly-strong repudiation of both Coffman and Trump, but there was still an outstanding question about how much CO-6 itself might have really changed. After all, this was a a district that had been represented by a Republican in every year since it was first created — including 5 terms from conservative firebrand Tom Tancredo.

That question will be answered definitively in a little more than one week, but it’s telling in itself that we are barely even discussing CO-06 in 2020. As Justin Wingerter writes for The Denver Post, the CO-06 battleground of the past decade is a much different place today:

For the first time in several election cycles, there has not been an influx of outside money into the 6th District this year. There has been no public polling and no debate. All is quiet in what was once a well-trodden political battleground…

…Crow has run only positive television ads — a common tactic among incumbents who expect to win easily — that have highlighted his work on health care, the environment and coronavirus relief. Over the summer, he took his volunteers off the campaign trail and put them to work sending 67,000 text messages with COVID-19 resources and information to 6th District residents.

So what happened in CO-06? A couple of things: 1) Crow’s margin of victory in 2018 diluted enthusiasm for a 2020 challenge, and 2) Crow had a very successful and high-profile first term in Congress.

We’ll start with the second point first. Crow proved in his freshman term in Congress to be a hard-working, accessible, and likable Representative whose voice was being heard in Washington D.C. For example, an Op-Ed signed by Crow and several other Members of Congress with military/national security backgrounds ultimately might have convinced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to move forward with impeachment hearings against President Trump. Crow was later selected as one of seven Democrats to serve as “impeachment managers” in Trump’s Senate trial. Whether you liked him or not, you couldn’t accuse Crow of not being fully engaged in the job.

House for House? Not so much.

But even before Crow proved himself in Congress, his 11-point victory over Coffman in 2018 complicated Republican thinking about 2020. If there was a Republican bench of up-and-comers in CO-06, nobody wanted to sit there anymore.

Thus, Republicans were left with former State GOP Chairman and “CEO” Steve House as their nominee — though only after House convinced professional candidate/grifter Casper Stockham to make a hopeless bid for CO-07 instead. House pushed ahead with a completely forgettable campaign that we — and everybody else — barely noticed, aside from his silly attempts at matching Crow’s military record by pretending that he had the support of people with the word “veteran” in their title.

As Wingerter notes in his story for the Post, House doesn’t appear to be giving himself much of a chance next week, either:

Win or lose, House plans to keep his campaign office on Colfax through the rest of the year. He has bought decks of Scrummy, a vocabulary game developed in Denver, and plans to host tournaments there for local kids after the election.

That sounds nice.

Colorado will likely gain an eighth congressional seat after the 2020 Census numbers are counted, which could significantly alter the makeup of CO-06 in 2022. Redistricting might make Republicans more enthusiastic about challenging Crow in two years — though by that point Crow will be an even stronger candidate than he is already.


WATCH: Sen. Bennet Eviscerates Barrett Confirmation Process

Sen. Michael Bennet.

A powerful speech delivered yesterday by Sen. Michael Bennet, senior Senator from Colorado, tearing into his Republican colleagues for “stealing the authority of the Founders in an effort to conceal their reactionary project”–“to protect their power and call it freedom: freedom to enslave; freedom to segregate; freedom to pay workers less than they can live on; to work them to death; to fire them because of what they believe or whom they love; to redline our neighborhoods; poison our skies; defund our schools; and buy our elections.”

Strong words (read the full text here) befitting perilous times:

Judge Barrett’s confirmation will cement a 6-3 majority on the Court that will allow the powerful to do what they want, while standing against the American people’s efforts to protect one another, to support one another, and to invest in each other through our democracy.

That is where we are. That is where we are. And as dispiriting as this moment may be, we have been here before as a country.

We are not the first generation of Americans to face a Senate or a Supreme Court that will stand with the powerful against the people. We are not the first citizens to run into a wall of obstruction as we work to make this country more democratic, more fair, and more free.

We have to learn from the examples of those who came before us. Those who answered slavery with emancipation and Reconstruction; a Gilded Age with a Progressive Era; a Great Depression with a New Deal; Jim Crow with Civil Rights.

As it was for them, so it is for us to meet the challenges of our time. And unlike the forces that have brought us to this low point, we have a much harder job, because we have a far greater purpose.

Theirs has been to grind our democracy into rubble. Ours is to build a strong foundation for the American people and the next generation.

The final vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett remains scheduled for today, and President Donald Trump reportedly intends to swear her in tonight. That inevitability is acknowledged by Bennet in his speech opposing Barrett’s confirmation, along with what comes next:

They’re not going to stop. They have spent decades, and billions in dark money, exercising their power to entrench their power. They will not abandon this project in a single election. And we’re going to have to overcome that, just as we’ll have to overcome this Supreme Court.

It won’t be easy. It won’t be easy, but anyone who’s studied the history of our country, our democracy, knows how hard it is to make progress. It’s never easy.

Sen. Bennet is correct, the damage done in four and a half years of Republican Supreme Court treachery will take more than one election to undo–but a week from tomorrow is when the journey back from this nadir begins.


“We’re Not Going To Control The Pandemic”

MONDAY UPDATE: The Washington Post gives it to you straight:

Via The Washington Post (10/25/20)


UPDATE: Remember this joke?

“My 8-year-old son came to me and said, ‘Dad, I know when the pandemic ends.’ And I said, ‘You do?’ He says, ‘Yes, the day after the election.’ Now, he picked that up somewhere or heard that somewhere, or maybe mom and dad were talking too much around him,” [Sen. Cory] Gardner told a laughing crowd.

It’s less funny today.


If you watched CNN’s State of the Union this morning, you’re still picking your jaw up off the floor:


It might be time to consult this book.

This is White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, yelling at telling America this morning that the Trump administration is giving up on containing the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed over 220,000 Americans, more than any other nation, consumed the year 2020 economically and socially, and forever changed the lives of everyone living through it (that’s you, and us, everybody on the planet).

MEADOWS: Your website is talking about, well now we think the spread is coming from small social groups and family groups. First it was large groups. Now it’s small groups…

TAPPER: It’s coming from all sorts of places, it’s coming from all sorts of places because the pandemic’s out of control.

MEADOWS: Now, well, that’s exactly, that’s exactly the point. So, here’s what we have to do. We’re not going to control the pandemic, [Pols emphasis] we are gonna control the fact that we uh, get vaccines, therapeutics, and other mitigations…

TAPPER: Why aren’t we going to get control of the pandemic?

MEADOWS: Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu…

It is a legitimate struggle to find the appropriate words to encapsulate what this means. You can anticipate an admission of defeat like this, you can understand how we got to such an unthinkable moment in history through hopelessly incompetent and even willfully counterproductive management of the global emergency by America’s Republican elected leaders–creating a partisan divide over public health that has directly resulted in the deaths of untold thousands of Americans. But when it hits you that the President of the United States has now publicly conceded after all the sacrifices Americans have made this year that the virus will win, that thousands more Americans will die who would have been saved had they lived in so many other nations that took this threat seriously…

Nine days from the election, a more painful lesson on the importance of making the right choice seems impossible.

It’s truly a life or death election now.


CU Regent Candidate, Who Refused To Reveal His Stance on Prez, Told GOP Donors He’ll Vote for Trump

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Richard Murray, a Republican who’s running for an open seat on the University of Colorado Board of Regents, would be expected to vote for Trump on November 3. After all, no elected Republican in Colorado has said they’ll abandon the President, despite his unpopularity here–and his extremism, like his refusal to commit to leaving office peacefully.

But during his watershed regent race that could become the high watermark of the blue wave splashing across Colorado, Murray has been refusing to say where he stands on Trump, likely because his pro-Trump stance would scare away swing Trump-hating voters.

Murray has been caught telling Republican donors that he will vote for the president, according to an audio recording released by a group opposing Murray.

In the recording, Murray is asked, “Are you going to be voting for Trump in the General Election?”

The question elicits laughter from the crowd, presumably because it would be preposterous for a Republican not to vote for Trump.

After a slight pause, Murray says, “Uhhh, yes.”



Get More Smarter on Friday (October 23)

Happy Chulalongkorn Day. Please celebrate responsibly. 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 learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

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

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:


The final Presidential debate of 2020 took place in Nashville, TN on Thursday night. A somewhat-restrained President Trump made the debate almost…normal. As The Washington Post reports:

With the two candidates electronically muted for portions of the night, the constant interruptions from the first debate were replaced by a clearer contrast between their competing views for the country and more sharply defined exchanges of attacks and retorts.

When Trump tried to accuse Biden of making money from China, the former vice president pointed out that the president has a bank account in the country and has failed to disclose his income tax returns despite promises to do so.

When Trump argued that stock markets would crash if Biden were elected, Biden responded with his signature line contrasting the gains of Wall Street vs. the cratering Main Street economy.

And when Trump sought to paint Biden as a puppet of socialist forces, his opponent pushed back with a forcefulness that has been absent from much of his campaign. “He’s a very confused guy. He thinks he’s running against somebody else,” Biden said. “He’s running against Joe Biden. I beat all those other people because I disagreed with them.”

Trump attacked Biden on multiple occasions, but his rhetoric was a bit too obscure for the average voter to understand. As Elahe Izadi and Jeremy Barr write for The Washington Post, you’d have to be a regular viewer of Fox News to have understood most of Trump’s shorthand:

During the final presidential debate, President Trump made reference to “the laptop from hell,” “AOC plus three″ and “Russia, Russia, Russia” — yes, said three times in a row.

The material was very familiar to — and maybe only familiar to — regular viewers of Fox News opinion hosts such as Sean Hannity.

“I feel like he almost was speaking the language of Fox prime time,” Chuck Todd, host of “Meet the Press,” said on NBC after the debate. “If you watch a lot of Fox prime time, you understand what he’s saying. If you don’t, you have no idea.”


As NBC News reports, coronavirus cases in the United States are continuing to skyrocket:

The U.S. set a record Thursday as the number of new coronavirus cases rose to over 77,000, topping the previous record in July.

Nationwide, 77,640 new cases were reported for the day, up from the previous record of 75,723 on July 29, according to the latest tally compiled by NBC News.

The record-breaking daily tally comes as the total number of coronavirus cases in the country has reached nearly 8.5 million, with 224,280 deaths. There were 921 coronavirus-related deaths reported on Thursday.

Here in Colorado, COVID-19 cases are also increasing. The situation is enough of a concern in Aurora that officials have decided to move students in grades 1-8 to an online-only instruction model. Elsewhere, a new app will be available this weekend that is intended to allow Coloradans to gauge potential exposure to COVID-19 in their communities.


President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that appears designed to allow him to fire more people who aren’t deemed sufficiently loyal to Dear Leader. As CNN reports:

Trump signed an executive order that appears to provide him and his agency appointees more leeway in the hiring and firing of federal employees deemed disloyal, a move that critics say politicizes civil service and could lead to career officials being pushed out for political reasons.

The President has vilified some career officials as the “deep state” during his term and sought to rid the federal government of people he views as anti-Trump. Critics warn that the order would allow the President to fill the federal workforce with his cronies and reverts the country back to a spoils systems.

The executive order, issued Wednesday, creates a new classification of federal employees titled “Schedule F” for employees serving in “confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions” that typically do not change during a presidential transition.

The White House says the directive will give federal agencies more flexibility to hire “Schedule F” employees but also be able to remove “poor performers” from these roles without going through a lengthy appeals process.


 Governor Jared Polis will visit the sites of several massive wildfires in Colorado today. The two largest wildfires in state history are now in Larimer County. Large portions of Estes Park were evacuated on Thursday.


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




President Trump’s Debate Plans Are…Not Good

UPDATE: The final kerfluffle begins:


And that’s the ballgame

Tonight is the final Presidential candidate debate of the 2020 election cycle. The good news, if you are a supporter of President Trump, is that it will be physically harder for Trump to continually interrupt Democrat Joe Biden or NBC News moderator Kristen Welker.

The bad news? Well, pretty much everything else, as NBC News reports:

President Donald Trump is expected by aides and advisers to raise Hunter Biden and China throughout the final presidential debate here on Thursday and has been counseled by allies not to interrupt as much as he did in the first faceoff.

Trump allies are hoping that if Joe Biden is given more time to speak than in the first debate — when Trump repeatedly interrupted him — it will provide an opportunity for Biden to make a gaffe or give answers they believe will hurt him with voters. It’s unclear though how much Trump will follow that strategy, since he disregarded much of the advice he was given before the first debate.

Trump has done even less traditional debate prep for this second and final contest, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions. A few back-and-forth practice meetings took place on Air Force One over the last week while the president was traveling to battleground states. Those sparring rounds were more topic-oriented discussions with aides, however, and did not resemble formal sessions.

Most legitimate media outlets aren’t paying attention to a manufactured story (planted by Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon) about Hunter Biden and a laptop and…whatever. As longtime GOP messaging and polling strategist Frank Luntz said recently:

“Nobody cares about Hunter Biden … why is [Trump] spending all his time on him? [Pols emphasis] Hunter Biden does not help put food on the table. Hunter Biden does not help anyone get a job. Hunter Biden does not provide health care or solve COVID. And Donald Trump spends all of his time focused on that and nobody cares.”

It appears that the best the Trump campaign can hope for is that Joe Biden makes some sort of massive mistake tonight in Nashville, TN. Otherwise, Trump seems prepared to just dish red meat to his base instead of trying to actually sway uncommitted voters his way.

Tonight’s debate is scheduled to air at 7:00 pm on pretty much any channel you choose.


Get More Smarter on Thursday (October 22)

Today is National Nut Day; don’t tell Rudy Giuliani. 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 learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

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

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:


► As The Washington Post reports, a half-filled Senate Judiciary Committee is moving ahead with the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court:

Judge Amy Coney Barrett moved one step closer to a seat on the Supreme Court as the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced her nomination with solely Republican support Thursday. Democrats boycotted the vote in protest of what they viewed as an illegitimate confirmation process.

The vote was 12 to 0, with no Democrats present to officially register their objections. Democratic senators boycotted the proceedings to protest Republicans’ fast-tracking the nomination of the 48-year-old conservative jurist within days of the Nov. 3 election. They argue that the president elected next month should fill the court vacancy.

“That was their choice,” committee chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said. “It will be my choice to vote the nominee out of committee. We’re not going to allow them to take over the committee.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said the full Senate will vote Monday on the Barrett nomination. Republicans, who hold a 53-to-47 majority, have the votes to install her on the court.

While McConnell apparently has the votes to seat Barrett on the Supreme Court, he hasn’t bothered with trying to corral enough Republican support for another coronavirus stimulus package. The lack of movement on a pre-election stimulus package has floored many Republican political observers and left GOP Senators like Cory Gardner with no good answers.


Former President Barack Obama campaigned for Democrat Joe Biden in Philadelphia on Wednesday, offering up a very simple reason why voters should oust President Trump from office. From Chris Cillizza at CNN:

Amid the rhetoric, one specific set of lines jumped out at me as channeling what so many people — including Republicans who voted for Trump in 2016 — feel right now.

Here it is (bolding is mine):

“And with Joe and Kamala at the helm, you’re not going to have to think about the crazy things they said every day. And that’s worth a lot. You’re not going to have to argue about them every day. It just won’t be so exhausting.”

That, for me, is the best and most succinct argument that former Vice President Joe Biden can make in the closing 12 days of this race. Deciding to fire Trump and hire Biden isn’t about any specific policy or even any specific mistake that the incumbent has made. It’s about a country absolutely exhausted by Trump — his norm-busting, his misinformation, his junior high school bullying, and his tweeting, his tweeting, his tweeting…


► Early voting is going very well:

Via The Washington Post (10/22/20)


Here in Colorado, one-third of likely voters have already cast a ballot.


 The final Presidential debate is tonight on NBC News. President Trump reportedly plans to focus on topics that nobody cares about.


► President Trump is still lashing out at “60 Minutes” over an interview recorded this week that Trump felt was not sufficiently sycophantic for his tastes. As he threatened earlier, Trump has released footage of an interview with Lesley Stahl that he apparently thinks makes him look good?

Trump is also asked a question about when his administration is finally going to announce his new health care plan. Trump has been saying for years that the new plan will be announced in “a few weeks.” Guess what he says in this interview?

Oh, and Trump flat-out says that he hopes the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act.


Rocky Mountain National Park is now closed because of the East Troublesome Fire.


This is about as cut-and-dried of a case of “voter intimidation” as you’re likely to find — and it’s happening in Ft. Morgan, Colorado.


Governor Jared Polis has ordered a statewide moratorium on evictions as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Colorado.



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




‘Tis The Season To Threaten Your Tenants And Employees

Donald Trump.

9NEWS reports on a story that’s quickly going viral as the clock to Election Day 2020 ticks down:

The landlord of a trailer park in Fort Morgan allegedly sent a note to residents warning rent would most likely double in price if Joe Biden becomes President.

9NEWS received several emails from Fort Morgan residents concerned about the legality of the letter, calling it a form of voter suppression.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office confirmed they have received a complaint, and told 9NEWS they passed it along to the Attorney General.

Here’s the note as delivered to residents of Ed Pagel’s Trailer Park of Fort Morgan:

Got that? Voting is your choice–just know we’re going to double your rent if you vote the wrong way! If that doesn’t meet the textbook definition of voter intimidation, all we can say is it should.

State Sen. Rob Woodward (R-Loveland).

The situation at Ed Pagel’s Trailer Park in 2020 is remarkably similar to an op-ed that now-Colorado Sen. Rob Woodward wrote ahead of the 2012 election. Not a “threat,” Sen. Woodward and his brother insisted, just “some facts” about how Barack Obama’s re-election would “affect” their business. The Casper Star-Tribune reported then:

The Woodwards own Bagelmakers and Subway restaurants in Wyoming and Colorado. Tim lives in Laramie and Rob in Loveland, Colo. They presented a possible bleak future for their 41-restaurant chain and 341 employees in an op-ed piece published in the Laramie Boomerang, Oct. 24. Citing decreased earnings and minimal job growth if the ACA stands, the Woodwards vowed to terminate a majority of their employees by 2014, [Pols emphasis] predicted more than $600,000 in penalties per year and expected to liquidate two-thirds of their restaurants because of additional costs if Obama wins Tuesday’s election.

Needless to say, nothing happened after Obama’s re-election in 2012 that resulted in any such thing. But what do you think a threatening notice like this from an employer or landlord feels like to receive as an employee or a tenant? This is not a dialogue between equal parties–it’s classic exploitation an unequal relationship out of childish political pique, and says much more about the author of the threatening note than anyone else. Unfortunately, in Rob Woodward’s case his threats to lay off employees if Obama won re-election were eventually rewarded with a seat in the Colorado Senate.

Let justice be served–and we hope our readers never pay rent to or draw a paycheck from such people.


Oh, Rudy!

Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani (left), in a compromising scene from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.

NBC News reports on the wackiest–and ickiest–story in politics today:

Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, fell for an embarrassing Sacha Baron Cohen prank in the soon-to-be-released movie sequel to “Borat.”

In the film, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, Giuliani and a fictional young female reporter, who was part of Cohen’s sting, can be seen going into a hotel bedroom for drinks — at the woman’s invitation — after completing what the former mayor apparently believed to be a real interview about the coronavirus pandemic and Trump’s response to the crisis…

Giuliani and the woman, recorded by what seem to be hidden cameras, are eventually interrupted by Cohen, who bursts into the bedroom in his Borat persona, shouting: “She’s 15. She’s too old for you!”

On the one hand, no actual minors were involved. Personal attorney to President Donald Trump and former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani only thought the woman in the frame capture from Sacha Baron Cohen’s new movie you can see above was underage. It’s our understanding that in some jurisdictions that’s enough to be a crime without further ado, but we don’t pretend to know the law on this either in Colorado or in New York. It’s not something we’ve ever had to explore personally, much like the interior of Rudy Giuliani’s trousers.

On the other hand…let’s stop talking about hands.


As McConnell Spikes Stimulus, Where The Hell Is Cory Gardner?

Mitch McConnell, Cory Gardner.

As the New York Times reports, the White House and Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi are inching closer to a deal on a comprehensive economic stimulus bill that includes the direct payments and aid to struggling state and local governments Democrats have been holding out for, and might even if everybody moves quickly get those checks in the mail before November 3. But there’s a problem:

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, told Republican senators privately on Tuesday that he has advised the White House not to strike a deal with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a new stimulus bill before Election Day, cautioning against reaching an agreement that most in the party cannot accept.

Mr. McConnell’s counsel, confirmed by three Republicans familiar with his remarks, threw cold water on President Trump’s increasingly urgent push to enact a fresh round of pandemic aid before he faces voters on Nov. 3. It came just before Ms. Pelosi’s spokesman gave an upbeat assessment of talks on Tuesday between her and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, saying they had found “common ground as they move closer to an agreement.”

Ms. Pelosi had said earlier on Tuesday that she was “optimistic” a deal could be reached with the Trump administration in the coming days. But Mr. McConnell’s remarks underscored the divisions among Republicans that have long hampered a compromise, and which have broken out into an extraordinarily open intraparty feud just two weeks before the election.

Mitch McConnell and Sen. Cory Gardner.

Politico reports that despite the passage of a self-imposed deadline to finalize a deal, the House and White House are still talking and still hopeful for a breakthrough. One major obstacle stands in their way:

Pelosi and Mnuchin plan to speak again Wednesday after a productive, 45-minute call on Tuesday afternoon. Though a deal was not reached by her self-imposed Tuesday night deadline, enough progress was made that both sides felt like talks should continue, with Washington still waiting to see whether months of negotiations between the two will culminate in a multitrillion-dollar stimulus plan just two weeks before the presidential election…

But the California Democrat’s biggest obstacle may be across the Capitol — with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) privately urging the White House not to settle with Pelosi before the election. [Pols emphasis]

Although the ball of “responsibility” has bounced back and forth repeatedly in the course of negotiations over a second stimulus bill, the current state of play of the White House and Democrats working productively white Senate Republican leaders try to shut down a deal places vulnerable Republican Senators in a terrible spot less than two weeks from the election. Chief among them would have to be Colorado’s Sen. Cory Gardner, down by double digits in every recent poll, who has campaigned heavily on his support for stimulus legislation and even disingenuously hammered his opponent for not supporting a stillborn Republican counterproposal with no direct payments and woefully insufficient aid to states.

But is Cory Gardner calling out Mitch McConnell for working against a deal everybody else is trying desperately to close? Nope.

Now, it’s possible that Cory Gardner lives in a fantasy world where either Mitch McConnell is a Democrat or the opposite of what every news story is reporting is actually what’s happening. But we think Gardner is referring to the scheduled revote in the Senate on the same inadequate $500 billion package rejected over a month ago–even though the White House and the Democratic-controlled House are distantly beyond that figure in their own negotiations. Either way, every American following the stimulus negotiations knows that Democrats are not blocking the next round of stimulus–all the resistance at this point is coming from the Senate GOP majority.

Gardner hiding behind McConnell’s pretenses instead of joining the team trying to keep Gardner’s promises is politically inexplicable, undoing any goodwill “Santa Cory” might have earned from backing the CARES Act back in March with no time left to recover. Gardner knows the bill he’s relying on to punt the blame contains no stimulus direct payments, which is the most important component of the bill for individual voters, and nothing to help cash-strapped state governments like Colorado avoid devastating budget cuts.

At long last, we honestly don’t know who Gardner thinks he’s fooling.


Ballot Return Update (Through 10/19)

Per the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, 924,735 ballots have been returned in Colorado as of Monday, October 19. As you can see from the chart below, registered Democrats continue to outpace both Unaffiliated and Republican voters.

For comparison, a total of 2,855,960 ballots were cast in 2016. In the 2018 mid-term election, 2,566,784 total ballots were cast in Colorado.

Via Colorado Secretary of State


Get More Smarter on Tuesday (October 20)

Today is 10/20/20! Is that a thing? 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 learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

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

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:


► Be careful out there, Colorado! New cases of COVID-19 have hit a record high in our state, as The Denver Post reports:

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 6,722 cases of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday, more than triple the most recent low of 2,016 in the last week of August. Three times last week, the state recorded more than 1,000 new infections in a single day.

Last week’s total was the highest since the state has had reliable data, though it’s likely there were more cases in the virus’s initial surge in March and April that weren’t found due to lack of testing at the time.

“These numbers are definitely a concern for us. We need everyone to follow public health guidance to control disease transmission and ensure that health care and public health capacity isn’t strained,” Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, said in a statement. “We also want Coloradans who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to get tested.”


Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) doesn’t have a Donald Trump problem; he has a Cory Gardner problem.


Today is the self-imposed deadline for Congress to reach a deal on another coronavirus aid package. As CNN reports, it’s probably not happening:

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said Tuesday that the “window is closing” on a potential deal for a stimulus package, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s deadline arrives for Democrats and the Trump administration to resolve policy differences if they want to pass a bill before Election Day.

“I think there’s still an outside chance something will get done before the elections. But the window is closing,” the South Carolina Democrat told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.”
Pelosi said Sunday that she and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin must reached an agreement by end of the day Tuesday, the last feasible date to get a bill passed through both chambers of Congress by November 3. The two sides have been divided for months on the topline figure as well as what should be in the bill…

…Clyburn, who is the No. 3 ranking Democrat in the chamber, accused Republicans of not being willing to compromise with Democrats and argued that Pelosi “is trying to stand up for people who are being left out of this deal.”

As we’ve written repeatedly in this space, the real hangup in all of these stimulus talks has been SENATE REPUBLICANS.


According to Republican polling outfit Magellan Strategies, which regularly tracks ballot returns in Colorado, roughly one-third of Colorado voters have already returned a ballot. Turnout in Colorado is heavily tilted toward Democratic voters at the moment, with some 35% of registered Democrats having returned their ballots as of this morning. Total ballot returns are at 921,342 (for comparison, more than 2.85 million votes were cast in Colorado in 2016).

The Denver Post has more on Colorado’s massive voter turnout numbers.


Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden addressed Colorado’s wildfires on Monday as part of a warning about Climate Change. As Colorado Public Radio reports, Colorado’w wildfire season in 2020 is unusual…and ominous:

All told, they add up to a fire season that is longer than most on record for the state, the result of extended drought conditions, high temperatures and a monsoon that just never arrived.

“We haven’t gotten any rain. We haven’t got any snow,” said Jennifer Balch, director of the Earth Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder and a fire researcher. “Coupled with hotter temperatures, you’ve essentially got a hairdryer blowing at Colorado right now that’s making our fuels incredibly dry for very long periods of time.”

According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates, precipitation in the state over the past 30 days has been less than 10 percent of normal. Colorado did not receive the usual monsoon rains or snowfall that’s common in the fall.

That kind of weather typically prevents large, destructive wildfires from starting, Balch said and dampens those still burning from the summer like the record-breaking Cameron Peak fire. She said just a dozen wildfires over 1,000 acres have begun in October in the past 35 years.


Can you speak something OUT of existence? President Trump is sure trying. According to CNN, which is keeping track, Trump has claimed at least 38 times that COVID-19 will just “disappear.”



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




Again, Please, Enough With The Cory Gardner Martyrdom

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-ekt).

A column from Colorado Sun reporter Jesse Paul appeared in the much larger forum of the Washington Post yesterday, offering another torrid take on the impending fall of GOP Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado along a theme we’ve been hearing quite a bit the last few days: that Gardner, an “excellent candidate” in his own right, is being set up to lose by President Donald Trump and not Gardner’s own choices:

In 2014, Republican Cory Gardner, a congressman from rural Colorado, parlayed his charm and ability to connect with voters into a Senate seat by defeating Mark Udall, an incumbent Democrat from a Western political dynasty. Liberals feared Gardner’s political talent, and conservatives hoped it would take him far.

Then Donald Trump was elected president. Now, given Trump’s extreme unpopularity in a state whose electorate is generally moving to the left, Colorado Democrats are confident that, come Election Day, they will pick up Gardner’s seat and fill it with the state’s popular former governor, John Hickenlooper…

Making things worse for Gardner is the fact Trump trails Biden by an average of 13 percentage points in Colorado. “Jesus Christ himself couldn’t overperform Trump by double digits,” said Tyler Sandberg, a Republican operative. [Pols emphasis]

It’s a narrative that Republicans seem determined to shape now, with hope of actually saving Gardner’s seat realistically gone for his local supporters and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC)–the proof being in the money flowing to battleground states as Democrats work to run up the score in a growing wave. If Gardner can’t be saved, then perhaps he can be martyred in defeat with a cover story that blames Trump, and in so doing preserves Republican hopes in Colorado that a comeback may be possible in future years against the state’s leftward political trajectory.

We give Jesse Paul credit in this column for laying out some of the most damning moments in Gardner’s embrace of Trump, from Gardner’s initial denunciation of Trump in October of 2016 saying “I cannot and will not support someone who brags about degrading and assaulting women” to Gardner’s metamorphosis after Trump’s victory into one of the President’s most steadfast supporters. The problem with this analysis is blithely dismissing Gardner’s transformation as inevitable. The truth is, Gardner’s decisions to stand closely with Trump through innumerable scandals, impeachment, and the disastrous handling of the COVID-19 pandemic were voluntary choices–not coerced by base GOP support for Trump or any other factor.

To suggest that Gardner had “no choice” but to fall in line behind Trump after Trump won the 2016 elections is a major misreading of Colorado’s political trends since Gardner narrowly won his seat in 2014. In reality, Gardner needed to move to the center from the very beginning of his Senate term in order to have any chance of re-election in 2020, but Gardner’s agenda of hard-right low-information crusades against the Affordable Care Act and social wedge issues like abortion made that impossible. Trump didn’t force Gardner to the right, Trump simply made Gardner’s pre-existing agenda toxic by giving it the chance of actually becoming law–a threat voters in Colorado responded to in 2018 by throwing out Republicans at every level of elected office.

The point here is that Gardner is not some kind of political prodigy brought to earth by factors beyond his control. One of the biggest reasons Gardner’s election to the U.S. Senate in 2014 has inspired such lasting division and enmity within the state’s political class is that Gardner’s politics are so at odds with a majority of Colorado voters that his narrow victory is broadly regarded as a swindle–deception committed by Gardner and many local influencers that allowed Gardner to win a race he should not have won. Since that time, Gardner has had many opportunities to chart a different course for himself, in the mold of respected Western GOP Senators like John McCain or even Mitt Romney–and he never even tried.

For Cory Gardner, a collection of contradictions from the beginning, this is comeuppance a decade in the making. The reason is simple: for all the credit Gardner gets for being a “great candidate,” he’s really not. At least not for Colorado. Gardner’s agenda became more out of step with the state he represents with each election since 2014, and Gardner’s energetic wunderkind persona was effectively turned against him in 2020 by a laconic, more authentic John Hickenlooper.

For Colorado Republicans, any road back starts with understanding what Cory Gardner did wrong, not revising history to salvage Cory Gardner’s reputation. Trump tops the ticket, but Gardner made choices entirely on his own that brought him to ruin.


Trump Reaches “Old Man Yells at Cloud” Stage of Campaign

Things are not going well for President Trump. Ballots are being cast in record numbers across the country, and polling shows that Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden maintains an historic lead over Trump as we enter the final two weeks of the 2020 election cycle. To nobody’s surprise, Trump is not reacting well to any of this…but he’s still figuring out new ways to make a fool of himself.

Trump is making new headlines today for attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, because Fauci won’t help him pretend that the coronavirus is no longer a problem. As The New York Times explains:

President Trump attacked Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease specialist, as “a disaster” on Monday and said, despite experts’ warnings that the nation was headed toward another peak in the coronavirus outbreak, that people were “tired” of hearing about the virus and wanted to be left alone.

He made the remarks during a call with campaign staff that reporters listened in on. Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, began the call by talking about the Republican ground game and other factors that he said supported Mr. Trump’s path to victory.

But the president had other things on his mind. “People are tired of Covid,” he complained. “I have the biggest rallies I’ve ever had. And we have Covid. People are saying, ‘Whatever. Just leave us alone.’ They’re tired of it.”

He added, “People are tired of hearing Fauci and these idiots, all these idiots who got it wrong.” [Pols emphasis]

Mr. Trump also called Dr. Fauci a “nice” guy, but he said, “He’s been here for 500 years,” and added, “Every time he goes on television, there’s always a bomb, but there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him. This guy’s a disaster.”

One of these men is a trusted source of information about public health matters. The other is the President.

This rhetoric does not match with a much-criticized campaign advertisement in which the Trump campaign uses Fauci’s comments out of context in order to make it look like The Big Orange Guy has done everything possible to contain COVID-19. Trump’s attacks on Fauci are also at odds with public opinion; according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll in September, 68% of Americans trust Dr. Fauci to provide accurate information about the pandemic, compared to a 40% rating for Trump. Even Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who is as much as Trump sycophant as anyone, has called Dr. Fauci a “national treasure.

Perhaps Trump is escalating his attacks on Fauci because he’s having trouble landing other messages directed toward 2020 voters. During a campaign rally in Nevada on Sunday night, Trump tried to woo suburban women to support his re-election campaign by claiming that he has made their dishwashers more efficient.

No, seriously. This is what Trump said on Sunday:

“Go buy a dishwasher. I said what’s wrong with this thing? It doesn’t clean the dishes right. The women come up to me, the women who they say don’t like me — they actually do like me a lot. Suburban women, please vote for me. I’m saving your house. I’m saving your community. I’m keeping your crime way down.”

As Chris Cillizza explains for CNN:

OK, so. The logic behind this argument goes like this.

1. Suburban women are the ones who do the dishes in their households
2. Dishwashers make doing the dishes easier
3. Trump made the water pressure in dishwashers better
4. Dishwashers now work better
5. Suburban women must vote for Trump

Yes, really. That’s the logic.

Historians will argue for centuries about the great dishwasher debate of 2020.

Trump has long been obsessed with the idea that government regulations have led to decreased water pressure. As National Public Radio reported in December 2019:

On the night that the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump, he delivered a two-hour campaign rally speech that took a detour — into the bathroom. His long riff about plumbing, household appliances and lightbulbs had the crowd in Battle Creek, Mich., cheering and laughing along…

“Remember the dishwasher, you’d press it. Boom — there’d be like an explosion. Five minutes later, you open it up, the steam pours out,” Trump said reminiscing about dishwashers that used more energy and water to wash and dry dishes. “Now you press it 12 times. The women tell me, again. They give you like four drops of water.”

Setting aside his assumption that women are the ones who do dishes, Trump also shared his thoughts on faucets and shower heads. [Pols emphasis]

At Trump’s behest, actual federal government employees have been spending time in recent months working to change federal laws intended to improve water efficiency and reduce waste, but as The Associated Press noted in August, this is not an issue that anybody really cares about:

Andrew DeLaski and officials at Consumer Reports said there’s been no public outcry or need for change. The Department of Energy’s own database of 12,499 showerheads showed 74% of them use two gallons or less water per minute, which is 20% less than the federal standard.

It’s hard to say if talking about dishwashers is more or less insulting to suburban women than promising to keep them safe from scary brown people, which had been Trump’s focus prior to Sunday’s rally.

Elections are about choices. If you believe that Dr. Fauci is an alarmist and that the real problem in America is water pressure, then Trump is absolutely your guy in 2020. We have no doubt that Joe Biden is more than happy to have the support of everyone else.


The GMS Podcast: Laura Packard and Mayor Michael Hancock

We’ve got two big interviews his week on The Get More Smarter Podcast.

First, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Laura Packard — health care activist, stage-four cancer survivor, and a powerful voice against Republicans who want to destroy the Affordable Cara Act. Next, we talk with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to discuss Denver’s lengthy ballot,  rising COVID-19 concerns, Black Lives Matter protests, and right-wing disinformation campaigns (the City of Denver is, in fact, not a smoking pile of rubble).

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

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