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

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

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

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

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

As for everything else going on?

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

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

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


Gardner Trumpets His Success at Renaming Buildings. And It Works.

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner sums up his accomplishments in a single gesture.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner is bragging a lot these days about, as his campaign website puts it, having “had eight bills signed into law, more than the current Colorado delegation combined.”

Even if you’re the laziest of journalists, you can look up eight laws, right? So I had no excuse.

It turns out two of Gardner’s laws (25% of the total) rename buildings.

Two more (an additional 25%) mandate reports from federal agencies.

One Gardner law aims to help a foreign country (Taiwan) “observe” international meetings.

Why would Gardner, a Republican, draw our attention to such weak stuff?

Gardner is trying to “show he is effective,” said Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, in an email to the Colorado Times Recorder, adding that, “being effective is a good thing for a senator. Especially if you have to run with Donald Trump.”

“Of course, there are many ways for a senator to be effective–through amendments (I don’t see any) oversight (none, despite the corruption and mismanagement of the administration) constituent service (you tell me),” wrote Ornstein. “And it is hard to stand out in an era where little is done. But Gardner for the past 3-1/2 years has been a loyal foot soldier in the Trump army, voting for every nominee, no matter how unqualified or corrupt, voting to blow up the Affordable Care Act with no replacement, enabling a racist and nativist president without criticism.”

What’s surprising is that Gardner would specify a precise number of laws (eight), including some that invite mockery (naming buildings) instead of simply focusing on the three more substantive laws on his list, which provide money 1) for Colorado’s Veterans hospital and 2) for U.S. interests in Southeast Asia and 3) for modernizing operations at federal scientific agencies. (And he could spotlight his Great American Outdoors Act, (GAOA) providing ongoing funding for public lands, which is coming, but not yet signed into law.)

A call to Gardner’s office seeking to understand why he’d invite scrutiny of such flabby material was not immediately returned.

But the answer is probably as simple as: It sounds good to say you’ve had more bills signed into law than all of Colorado’s Washington lawmakers combined–instead of pointing to a few laws you passed.

And it works! See this paragraph from Colorado Springs Gazette editorial June 18:

“Senators do not get better than Gardner,” editorialized the Gazette. “The Senate passed his Great Outdoors Act on Wednesday, which was the 10th major piece of legislation passed into law at Gardner’s insistence and sponsorship. All other eight members of Colorado’s Washington delegation combined have not passed that many laws in the past six years.”

See what I mean? Even one of the state’s biggest newspapers was fooled.

Tenth “major piece of legislation?” That’s not just hype. It’s a falsehood. I’ll be watching for a correction from the Gazette,

Let’s hope voters see through this amateur manipulation.


Why Hickenlooper Beat Romanoff

John Hickenlooper, Andrew Romanoff.

A few days after the 2010 U.S. Senate Primary Election, in which Sen. Michael Bennet defeated challenger Andrew Romanoff by 8 points, we took a long look at how and why Bennet emerged victorious despite not being particularly well-known among Colorado Democrats. Most of what we wrote on August 13, 2010 holds up remarkably well in comparison to the 2020 Democratic Senate Primary race between Romanoff and former Gov. John Hickenlooper, which Hickenlooper won by about 18 points.

Ten years ago, we cited four main reasons as to why Bennet beat Romanoff: 1) Ballot chasing, 2) Messaging, 3) Romanoff getting mired in details, and 4) Fundraising. The 2020 election is not an apples-to-apples comparison, of course, but the point here is that Romanoff made many of the same mistakes he made in 2010. Ballot chasing was less relevant in 2020 because of campaigning restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that Colorado is now an all-mail ballot state. The other three points are all pretty similar when you look at the two Senate Primary races. With that in mind, we’ll drop the first item from 2010 and add a different explanation:



World, Meet Lauren Boebert–But Don’t Eat The Sliders

CD-3 GOP nominee Lauren Boebert.

Lauren Boebert, the novice political candidate out of Rifle who pole-vaulted to the national spotlight after dispatching 5-term incumbent GOP Rep. Scott Tipton in the Colorado CD-3 Republican primary, is now getting the kind of scrutiny that congressional major-party nominees should always get.

And as the Daily Beast’s lede makes painfully clear today, it’s not going well:

In 2017, a Colorado restaurant’s tainted pork sliders poisoned dozens of attendees at a local rodeo, who came down with symptoms ranging from nausea to bloody diarrhea. Now the restaurant’s proprietor is running for Congress on her small-business-owner credentials…

The county health office began investigating, and quickly discovered that the event had been catered by “an unlicensed temporary retail food establishment associated with Shooters Grill.” The meat served there “was smoked at Smokehouse 1776, a retail food establishment located in downtown Rifle, Colorado across the street from Shooters Grill and owned by the same person.”

The main culprit was found to be the pork sliders, and those who ate them reported symptoms including bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and chills. Health authorities determined that the tainted pork was caused by “improper food safety practices of the unlicensed food providers.”

We took passing note back in May during Boebert’s battle to prematurely reopen the “COVID Cafe” of the reports back in 2017 that Boebert’s restaurant had sickened dozens of customers at a local rodeo where they were providing unlicensed food service. The prevalent local rumor was that some 80 people were afflicted with “Boebert’s Revenge,” also known as Clostridium perfringens, which causes a generally brief but exceedingly unpleasant condition readers know by such colloquial names as the “backdoor trots” or “Hershey squirts.”

Boebert herself denies the number of infected patrons was anywhere near that many, but we tend to think if you’re a restauranteur explaining exactly how many customers actually tested positive for Clostridium or not, you’re losing.

It’s just the tip of the iceberg, we’re told, for an unprepared candidate dreadfully out of her depth–but now that she’s the nominee in a district full of Republican voters no one can ignore, she’s sharing the stage with the biggest names in Colorado Republican politics. As was the scene yesterday in Fruita when Sen. Cory Gardner came calling for an obligatory photo-op with Colorado’s newest GOP luminary:

The time has come, for good or ill, for Republicans to pose like a team!

But everybody is responsible for their own meals.


Hickenlooper or Gardner?

Sen. Cory Gardner and John Hickenlooper

We regularly offer up completely non-scientific polls here on Colorado Pols, and our wise readers are often pretty accurate in their estimations. Don’t believe us? Check out the results of last week’s poll on the predicted outcome of the Democratic Senate Primary.

Now that the 2020 Primary Election is in the books, it’s time to look ahead to November. Who is going to win Colorado’s marquee race? Senator Cory Gardner or former Governor John Hickenlooper?

As always, we want to know what you think will happen here — not what you want to happen or who you personally might support. If you had to place a bet — right now — on one of the following options, what would you select?

Click after the jump to cast your vote…



Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 8)

Happy birthday to retired Chinese basketball player Wang Zhizhi! Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.



*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 


► The United States has surpassed 3 million coronavirus cases.


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Via CNN (7/8/20)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

Irony? Yeah, there’s that, too.


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




Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 7)

There is no coronavirus. There is no coronavirus. There is no coronavirus. [Opens eyes] Shit, there is still coronavirus. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.



*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 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Faithless electors, repent! As The Denver Post reports:

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

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

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


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

Irony? Yeah, there’s that, too.


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




Media “Doing Everything They Can to Suppress Our Vote,” Gardner Tells GOP Activists

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner told Republican supporters last week that the “media does not want us to win” and “is going to do everything they can to suppress our vote by deflating our hopes.”

Gardner made the comments during a virtual meeting with GOP activists after last week’s primary election.


“We need to make sure we get this turnout to happen,” said Gardner. “We can’t let people get depressed by the media. I know I’m going to shock people. I know you have not heard this before. The media does not want us to win. And they are going to do everything they can to suppress our vote by deflating our hopes. And so, we can’t let them do that.”



Caption This Photo: Where Cory Goes One, We Go All

Courtesy the Shooters Grill Twitters, this is a photo from last September in Rifle, Colorado, of embattled GOP Sen. Cory Gardner and now-CD-3 GOP nominee Lauren Boebert. This was taken before Boebert challenged Rep. Scott Tipton in the GOP CD-3 primary in December–otherwise you can be assured that Gardner would not have consented to a promotional photo with the candidate not endorsed by Gardner’s boss Donald Trump.

Now that Boebert has shocked the Slope by ousting Tipton after his somnolent decade in Congress, though, Gardner and Boebert are ticketmates way up high on the November 2020 ballot! Under normal circumstances that would mean lots of joint appearances between now and then.

But as our readers know, Lauren Boebert…has baggage. Cory Gardner has enough problems without having to answer for Boebert’s fringy pronouncements on the way to icepicking Tipton’s political career–and certainly no time for, as they are known colloquially, “the trots.”

Enjoy the photo, gentle readers, because it might be the only one of its kind.


Cory Gardner is Melting Down in Front of Our Eyes

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

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


Tuesday Afternoon (June 30)

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

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

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

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

Very subtle.

And then there’s this bit of nuttery:

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

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

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

Nobody? Okay, let’s move on…


Tuesday Evening (June 30)

See you in your dreams, Cory…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday Morning, July 1

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

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

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

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

Sen. Cory Gardner


Late Morning on Wednesday, July 1

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

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

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






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


Primary Results Portend GOP Wipeout in November

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

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

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

Rep. Scott Tipton

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

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

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

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

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


Lesson #2: Pat Neville and RMGO Failed Everywhere

GOP House Minority Leader Patrick Neville

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

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

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

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

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


Lesson #3: Cory Gardner is in DEEP Trouble

Sen. Cory Gardner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Get More Smarter on Election Day (June 30)

The Primary Election is FINALLY here. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.



*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 


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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




To Win, Gardner Sees Need to Skirt Media’s “Pre-Approved Filter”

(“Enemy of the people,” etc. – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Sen. Cory Gardner’s complaints about the news media surfaced again Saturday, when KNUS host Randy Corporon put this question to the Colorado Republican:

CORPORON at 20:45: “You of course have been on the receiving end of so many attacks during your political career, including the way the newspapers and the television news–you, know they’re really not news reporters. They’re commentators, political activists, anymore. But have you ever seen anything quite like where we are right now with just the undeniable inaccurate dishonest spin being placed on anything that Republicans do right now.”

Gardner’s reply:

GARDNER: “I certainly haven’t seen it in my lifetime. You know, I don’t know that anyone has in their lifetime either. Look, we have to compartmentalize that, right. We have to acknowledge it, recognize it, and just say, ‘Okay, now, what do we do in spite of that.’ And that’s to get our message out to the people of Colorado, to get our message around the people who want to twist or turn it or ignore it. We have to figure out how to get onto the ground and get the grassroots engaged. In many ways, that’s what we are seeing.
“And perhaps that’s the fight some don’t like, is that they don’t like the fact that you can communicate directly with constituents without going through their pre-approved filter. But we have to do that, because we have to recognize that it’s real. And then just address it. That’s how we are going to win in November. It’s not just by wishing things were different. It’s by recognizing it and addressing it.”

These comments by Gardner, who didn’t return a call for comment, may reflect his thinking behind his decision last month not to take part in a debate on 9News, a decision met with cheers from some conservatives.

Gardner didn’t say why he rejected 9News and its partners, but state Rep. Patrick Neville of Castle Rock told another conservative platform: “[Gardner] told me…. He was like, ‘Yeah, I don’t talk to those guys [at 9News]’” (here at 20 min 30 sec).

Gardner had accused 9News of bias, after multiple bump-ups with 9News reporters over the past year.

But Gardner’s embattled stance, vis-a-vis the news media, isn’t new. Back in 2012, Gardner blamed Mitt Romney’s loss in part on the media.

He once told a right-wing talk radio host that the media is biased against “people like us.”

Prior to the 2018 election, Gardner told conservatives that the media was “afraid” the GOP would retain control of the U.S. Senate. They “want us to fail,” said Gardner at the time.


How About Now? Nope, Gardner Still Sticks with Trump

A Tweet for your soul?

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

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

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

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




“Shovel-Ready” Cory Gardner Is Stimulus Shameless

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Say Anything).

That’s Sen. Cory Gardner, extolling the benefits in this weekend’s Pueblo Chieftain of two legislative achievements Gardner claims credit for as economic stimulus (emphasis ours) benefiting “a record number of Coloradans looking for work.” Specifically Gardner is referring to the Arkansas Valley Conduit irrigation project in southern Colorado for which funding was recently appropriated by Congress, as well as the Great American Outdoors Act that Gardner and a large majority in the Senate voted to recently approve.

To be clear, we agree on the economic stimulus value of both of these pieces of legislation, and nobody is going to knock Gardner for supporting local funding priorities. It’s as true today is it was in 2009 when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided critical economic stimulus that helped prevent an event great recession than what we know today as the “Great Recession.” But when Cory Gardner uses the words “shovel ready” to describe these projects as job creators in an economic downturn, we can’t help but remember Gardner’s own words back in 2010, when the “failed stimulus” was a mantra every Republican recited verbatim:

[Rep. Betsy] Markey, considered among the most vulnerable of the House Democrats, questioned Republican Cory Gardner’s honesty and defended her support of the stimulus package and the health care overhaul…

Gardner spent most of the debate chiding Markey and ruling Democrats for what he called out-of-control spending. He elicited some of the loudest cheers of the evening when he laid into Markey’s vote for the pricey stimulus package.

“You want a shovel-ready project we don’t need? It’s digging more debt,” Gardner said. [Pols emphasis]

Zing! And the Fort Morgan Times reported in February of that year:

Gardner noted that Wednesday will be the first anniversary of the Democrats’ stimulus package and that, with recent snow in D.C., the Dems at last have a shovel-ready project. [Pols emphasis]

As you can see, Cory Gardner has got a real sense of humor!

But only when a Democrat is President.


What’s Going to Happen on Tuesday?

John Hickenlooper, Andrew Romanoff.

Colorado’s Primary Election is almost over, but before we get there, we want to know what Colorado Pols readers think will happen on Tuesday evening. Who wins, and by how much? Former Gov. John Hickenlooper or former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff?

As always, we want to know what you think will happen here — not what you want to happen or who you personally might support. If you had to place a bet — right now — on one of the following options, what would you select?

(Note: We included a tie vote as an option, but for the love of God, let’s all just hope this doesn’t happen).

Click after the jump to cast your completely un-scientific vote…



The Get More Smarter Podcast: Pre-Primary Predictions

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

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

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at

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


Andrew Romanoff Leaves State to be with Dying Father

MONDAY UPDATE: Our sincere condolences.


As The Colorado Sun reports in “The Unaffiliated” newsletter:

A week from the primary, and just as his stock is rising, Andrew Romanoff is taking a break from the campaign.

He said his father, who has suffered a series of falls and strokes, is dying. He’s flying Tuesday to be with his family with no return date in mind. [Pols emphasis]

Given the virtual nature of the campaign trail, Romanoff may not miss as much as he would otherwise, but his family’s situation is consuming his time. He learned about his father’s faltering condition just before the final debate, during which he gave a less spirited performance than the first two.

The real world does not always pause for election deadlines. We’re sure this was a difficult decision for Romanoff, but we can’t say we would have made a different decision in his shoes.

Please join us in sending out our best wishes to Romanoff and his family.


Another Roberts Stunner: Abortion Restriction Law Shot Down

UPDATE: Reproductive rights advocacy group Cobalt’s statement:

Cases like June Medical Services v. Russo illustrate the importance of having access to abortion without limits or cutoffs. Louisiana is one of the most restrictive states in terms of abortion laws and there are just 3 abortion clinics in the state. Laws like admitting privileges, waiting periods, and mandatory counseling are designed to push care out of reach and will force people to seek abortion care later in pregnancy. Colorado must remain a place where people can seek abortion care when the patient’s home state has failed them.

We must defeat the abortion ban on the ballot in Colorado this November.

And we must replace Sen Cory Gardner with a Senator who reflects our Colorado values on abortion access and reproductive rights. Both of the Trump Justices Sen Gardner confirmed to the Court were on the wrong side of today’s decision. Justice Kavanaugh wrote the dissent. Sen Gardner’s votes to confirm these Justices flagrantly ignored Colorado voters and values, and we will hold him accountable.


Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

The Hill reports on another Supreme Court decision today with a very high probability of enraging the religious right:

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana abortion law, handing a win to abortion rights advocates who feared the conservative court would break with past rulings to rein in protections that emerged from the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade.

The justices voted 5-4 to invalidate Louisiana’s admitting-privilege law in the first major abortion ruling of the Trump era, which came after the court struck down a nearly identical Texas law four years ago.

The ruling, which underscored the razor-thin voting margin over abortion rights, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the court’s four liberals, is likely to make future Supreme Court decisions over a woman’s right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy an even more pressing issue in the coming presidential election.

In this case, Colorado’s Justice Neil Gorsuch and Trump’s other Justice Brett Kavanaugh voted to uphold Louisiana’s trial-balloon challenge to abortion rights. For Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who squeaked into office in 2014 in part by evading and even weaponing the issue of abortion via a much-analyzed reverse psychology sympathy ploy, the votes of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are damning proof for Democrats that Gardner poses a very real and proximal “threat to abortion rights.”

On the other hand, this case is the latest demonstration of the increasingly pivotal role on the Court played by Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush in 2005. From the Affordable Care Act to LGBT rights and now on abortion, Roberts has emerged as a crucial firewall against the rightward lurch by the Court that has been broadly feared ever since Republican treachery forestalled the appointment of Merrick Garland in 2016.

With rumors continuing to spread in Washington about retirements from the Court both awaiting and trying to beat out the November elections, voters can add the future of the Supreme Court to the fate of the nation, the world, and all the other weighty questions this election will serve as a history-defining referendum for.

But, you know, no pressure or anything America.


“Fauxgressive”–Lorena Garcia Unloads On Romanoff

Andrew Romanoff.

With Democratic ranks closing and polls signaling the outcome of the 2020 Democratic U.S. Senate primary election will not be close, the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter adds to du jour reporting on the trouble challenger Andrew Romanoff has had laying claim to the mantle of “progressive champion” in the race to flank the frontrunner John Hickenlooper, after a long record of political centrism in office and as a candidate in prior elections based on political expediency.

The point is expressed by none better than the most authentic “movement progressive” who ran in the Democratic Senate primary, community activist Lorena Garcia:

Lorena Garcia, arguably the most progressive candidate to run for Senate in Colorado this year, disagreed often with Romanoff, whom she calls a “fauxgressive.”

“I think there are efforts to unify the progressives around Romanoff, but it’s not working,” Garcia said Wednesday.

“I think it’s not working because many of these progressive leaders who are now pushing energy his way had originally denounced Romanoff when he entered the race and are now trying to claim he is the progressive champion. This is not only insincere, it’s inauthentic, and progressives demand authenticity. People may still vote because he says the right things, but the excitement for this race is gone.”

Garcia’s complaint about Romanoff’s “inauthentic” brand echoes what we’ve heard from just about everyone who has actually been involved in Colorado politics going back to Romanoff’s heyday in the mid-aughts. Fifteen years ago, Andrew Romanoff was the epitome of a calculating technocratic centrist politician, no more apparent than in the 2006 anti-immigrant special session in which Romanoff permanently alienated many of the state’s politically involved Latinos. In 2014, when Romanoff had his sights on a swing congressional seat, he came out for a federal balanced budget amendment and turned against single-payer health care.

Because Romanoff in the 2020 primary has embraced all of the ambitious bullet points of the nationwide progressive Democratic agenda, there’s a natural tendency on the part of supporters of that agenda to channel their anger into this race as a proxy for the larger battle. The problem, as Garcia explains very well in today’s story, is that Romanoff is simply not a credible advocate for that agenda having campaigned on both sides of every major issue from energy to health care to immigration–and for all of the fervor of Romanoff’s supporters, this is why is has not been able to consolidate support even on the left side of the Democratic coalition.

It’s not about having the perfect candidate. It’s about having an authentic candidate.

If the polls are right, that will be the story of this primary.


Coloradans are Voting in Record Numbers

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

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


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


Get More Smarter on Friday (June 26)

Don’t look now, but we’re rounding the bend of June and rolling into July already. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.



*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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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




This Is What Political Suicide Looks Like

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


9NEWS/Clarity Media: Hickenlooper 58%, Romanoff 28%

As announced by 9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger a short while ago this evening, a new poll of the Colorado Democratic U.S. Senate primary slams home just days before voting ends the overwhelming advantage enjoyed by former Gov John Hickenlooper in this race:

More poll details can be found here.

A thirty-point advantage for Hickenlooper in this poll underscores a simple fact: all of the recent hullaballoo over Hickenlooper’s stumbles is still not enough to overcome eight years of beneficial experience as the popular though quirky and unpolished Democratic governor of Colorado, and years before that as Denver’s equally personable brewer-mayor. Every attempt to take Hickenlooper down politically immediately runs into an enduring positive impression he left with the voters of Colorado after leaving office.

The numbers in this poll explain very clearly why Democrats focused in defeating incumbent GOP Sen. Cory Gardner have stuck with Hickenlooper around the rough edges: 67% say that Hickenlooper has the better chance of beating Gardner than Andrew Romanoff, and 62% say Hickenlooper is “an ethical guy who made some mistakes”–a clear indicator that the recently concluded ethics proceeding that resulted in some minor findings of fault for travel expenses did not do lasting damage to Hick’s reputation.

From the moment Hickenlooper entered the U.S. Senate race last summer, the result anticipated in this poll was the most likely outcome. Hickenlooper is the only contender in the primary who ever demonstrated the organizing and fundraising capacity for a contested U.S. Senate race. In an election with enormous importance for Democrats and a growing chance to actually retake the Senate, any advantage in one race that allows Democrats to allocate resources into another is crucial to the larger strategy.

This poll tells us that Colorado Democratic primary voters get it.


Shady Staiert Reacts Poorly to Ethics Questions

Suzanne Staiert (left) and “Facepalm”

Earlier this week we wrote about Republican State Senate candidate Suzanne Staiert, who is facing ethics questions of her own after making headlines as the lead attorney for a GOP-aligned “watchdog” group attacking former Gov. John Hickenlooper. Our post on Monday referenced a story written by Marianne Goodland of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman — a story that so incensed Staiert that she was moved to demand space in the same publication to a) repeat the allegations against her, b) attack Goodland, and c) make some idiotic attempts at defending her actions.

Staiert’s response rant is really quite something, but before we dig into that, we’ll remind you of the background story here.

Staiert is the Republican candidate in a key swing district, SD-27 in Arapahoe County. She is also the attorney for  Frank McNulty’s “Public Trust Institute,” which spent the better part of the last two years tossing around 97 different complaints about Hickenlooper. She is also the attorney for an abortion ban initiative that will be on the Colorado ballot in November. Needless to say, Staiert is juggling a lot of different jobs at the moment, and they have recently intersected in a complicated manner.

As Goodland wrote on Monday for “Colorado Politics,” Staiert has some questionable connections to Independent Ethics Commission member Debra Johnson and is also facing a complaint with the Colorado Secretary of State’s (SOS) office over an inaccurately-filed personal financial disclosure document required of legislative candidates. As a former Deputy Secretary of State under Republicans Scott Gessler and Wayne Williams, Staiert should be intimately familiar with Colorado election and campaign finance laws, which makes her ethics allegations all the more confounding.

Now that you’re caught up, let’s get back to Staiert’s “In Response” rant. If you are going to clap back at a media outlet for reporting on a story, you damn well had better have your ducks in a row. Staiert…does not.

Without any evidence, Staiert blames Hickenlooper’s campaign for initiating a complaint with the SOS office related to her State Senate candidate filings:

It started with a campaign finance complaint about my personal financial disclosures. That’s a filing anyone running for office must make with the secretary of state. I’m running for a state Senate seat, and I filed mine in August of last year. The law allows two kinds of filings. One is a form that discloses only sources of income and obligations. The other is a tax return that discloses that and a lot more. After having lived through years of the tax return wars where candidates were hounded for this information, I decided to offer mine up. You’d think I’d be credited for being transparent. Nope.

Here’s the problem with this argument: The spirit of the Public Financial Disclosure (PFD) law is to disclose — upfront — the sources of your personal income so that voters can be aware of any potential conflicts of interest. As far as we can tell from the SOS database, Staiert is literally the only 2020 candidate to file a tax return instead of a PFD. Submitting a tax return shows your income from the previous year — NOT any current sources of income — which is quite obviously not the point of a PFD requirement.

Suzanne Staiert

Not a good idea

Staiert apparently did file an official PFD on May 24…but it does not disclose any information about the Public Trust Institute. Multiple news reports have reported that Staiert is the lead attorney for PTI, so perhaps Staiert would have us believe that this is just a very time-consuming volunteer project on her part. But as Staiert writes later in her “In Response” Op-Ed:

I filed a response to the complaint and I also filed the disclosure form; so now I’ve filed twice. I have nothing to hide.

This might be perfectly true…if you consider repeatedly failing to disclose your primary source of income as the definition of “nothing to hide.” This is an important point to remember: In two separate filings, Staiert has yet to even acknowledge the “Public Trust Institute.”

From here, Staiert decides to blame the reporter — Goodland — for not seeking out information that did not exist, or something:

The problem with reporters who develop a narrative before they start writing is that the facts get in the way. That’s what happened in a recent Colorado Politics story about this non-event, so the facts had to be sacrificed (“Ethics problems once again plague Independent Ethics Commission,” June 22). Reading the story you’d think I’d never filed a single disclosure, let alone two, and you would be led to believe that filing this form was of the utmost importance because it would show my income. None of this is true. I disclosed everything in August and the second form I filed doesn’t even show my income. I am left to conclude the reporter did not review a single public document firsthand. [Pols emphasis]

This argument is patently ridiculous. If Staiert did “disclose everything” in August 2019, then why in the hell would she file an additional PFD in May 2020? (HINT: She wouldn’t)

Regarding allegations that Staiert failed to disclose a personal relationship with an IEC member (Johnson), here’s what Goodland wrote on Monday:

The relationship, which was not disclosed during the Hickenlooper hearings, involves how Johnson was named to the board and that she contributed to Staiert’s campaign for state Senate.

Staiert’s response is to acknowledge recommending Johnson for the IEC and admitting “I’ve worked for her and we crossed paths in Aurora years ago.” Staiert worked with Johnson for at least three years at the City of Aurora, when she was a city attorney and Johnson was the city clerk. More recently, Staiert worked under Johnson when the latter was the Denver Clerk and Recorder. Johnson also donated to Staiert’s State Senate campaign soon after Staiert filed as a candidate, which Staiert does acknowledge in an off-hand manner. It is disingenuous at best for Staiert to claim that she “crossed paths” with Johnson; this is sort of like saying that you’ve had “interactions” with your spouse from time to time.

As a general rule, it’s a terrible idea to respond to negative allegations about you or your campaign with a 944-word public screed repeating said allegations, but this would at least make some sense if Staiert was actually able to refute the charges. If you don’t have a good explanation for your actions, nobody is going to care when you say that a reporter and a U.S. Senate candidate are being mean to you.

We’ll be sure to publish Staiert’s inane response to this post as soon as we receive it.