Cory Gardner’s Last Con Falls Apart

UPDATE: Politico reports that the Colorado delegation isn’t taking this adverse decision lying down:

“This last-minute decision, based entirely on political expediency, will devastate our space capabilities,” [Rep. Doug] Lamborn wrote. “I call on you to use your authority upon taking office as our nation’s commoner-in-chief to reverse this foolish and hastily made decision.”

Separately, Colorado Democrats Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper released a statement saying they will “ensure the Biden administration reviews this purported decision.”

“Just as President Trump is leaving office, Colorado was not selected despite reports that it was the Air Force’s top choice,” the senators wrote. “We believe a process based on the merits will keep Space Command in Colorado. There is no role for politics when it comes to our national security.”

The Pentagon named six finalists to host the headquarters in November after a politically charged search that spanned two dozen states and lasted more than a year. Officials then winnowed it to the bases in Colorado Springs and Huntsville.

Rep. Doug Lamborn condemning President Donald Trump’s announcement as “political expediency” could be the most pointed disagreement Lamborn has ever worked up the nerve to vocalize with Trump–a sign that perhaps Lamborn too has realized the future is not on the Trump Train.

Might this decision be reversed by incoming President Joe Biden? We’ll have to see, but the worm may be turning even as the announcement is made.

—–

Apparently the reverse is also true.

Colorado Public Radio reports:

The U.S. Space Command will be calling Alabama home permanently — and not Colorado.

Petersen Air Force Base in Colorado Springs was named the temporary headquarters for the combatant command in May 2019 — and it looks like that status won’t have a chance to establish Centennial State roots…

In a statement, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis called the decision “misguided” and said the state’s aerospace security, military heritage, and quality of life makes it the “epicenter of national security space and the only permanent home for U.S. Space Command.”

“Reports that the in-depth military process found Colorado Springs to be the best location for military readiness and cost and recommended Colorado to the President only to be overruled for politically motivated reasons are deeply concerning,” Polis added. [Pols emphasis]

Donald Trump, Cory Gardner at a campaign rally in Colorado Springs last February.

News that the U.S. Space Command’s permanent headquarters would be moving to Huntsville, Alabama instead of bringing jobs and construction money to the Colorado Springs area is a significant blow to the southern Front Range’s economy, which is heavily dependent on the region’s major military installations. During Sen. Cory Gardner’s unsuccessful re-election campaign last year, the prospect of Space Command being permanently located in Colorado was touted by the campaign one of Gardner’s biggest “accomplishments,” and was dangled by President Donald Trump himself at a campaign rally in Colorado Springs last February:

“You are being very strongly considered for the space command, very strongly,” Trump told a capacity crowd of 10,000 inside The Broadmoor World Arena and hundreds more who stood outside in the cold to watch him on a screen set up for the event.

Trump said he will decide where to house the command by the end of 2020, possibly after the November election. The decision was originally due last summer, and the delay has gone unexplained by the Pentagon.

Trump’s implied personal involvement in the decision is a rarity for the White House, which in the past two administrations has steered clear of basing decisions which are generally settled in the Pentagon. [Pols emphasis]

Despite this, as AL.com reports jubilantly, the Air Force insists they didn’t play political favorites:

The Air Force studied sites in numerous states including Alabama and Colorado, where the headquarters is temporarily located. A report in Politico today said Huntsville ranked higher than Colorado in each category of the evaluation. That included cost of living and housing availability off base.

With that said,

The Politico story also quoted a top Air Force official saying the choice was “made in consultation with the White House, [Pols emphasis] senior military commanders, the congressional defense committees and others.”

Either way, at least one local Republican operative couldn’t conceal his glee at seeing Colorado lose out:

Obviously, for everyone in Colorado who wanted this major command permanently located in Colorado Springs with all the economic benefits that entails, this sucks. But it’s clear at this point the promise that a “vote for Cory Gardner is a vote for Space Command” was woefully empty. At best it was a political carrot dangled by Trump to a state his campaign quickly realized was not competitive–and no such largesse could save Gardner, who was all but written off by national Republicans early on in the 2020 cycle.

As for Alabama, we’re inclined to agree that to whatever extent Trump did have sway over this decision, he would certainly try to reward Mo Brooks and Tommy Tuberville for their unwavering loyalty right to the bitter end of Trump’s presidency. With Gardner’s loyalty to Trump there was also “no waver,” but the voters of Colorado rendered the question of Gardner’s loyalty moot. He was useless to Trump in defeat. The only caveat to this we feel obliged to add is some presumption of the best when it comes to the Air Force’s political impartiality, and readers can debate that for themselves.

Perhaps the one upside is Gardner doesn’t have to make excuses about losing Space Command now, and that’s good because we’re pretty sure nobody in Colorado would want to hear them. So long, Cory Gardner, and thanks for even closer to nothing than we thought.

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Top Ten Stories of 2020 #2: Cory Gardner, Out With a Whimper

Former Sen. Cory Gardner (R-ekt)

November 3, 2020, 7:01 p.m.

That was the exact moment when we learned that Republican Sen. Cory Gardner had lost his bid for re-election to Democrat John Hickenlooper. Gardner was so far out of contention in 2020 that the race for U.S. Senate was called literally one minute after the polls closed in Colorado.

It was an ignominious ending for Gardner, who just barely avoided a double-digit loss (53.5% to 44%). This was a startling change of direction from 2014, when Gardner narrowly defeated incumbent Sen. Mark Udall and was widely pegged as a rising star in the Republican party.

After the 2018 mid-term elections, Colorado was primed as the most competitive Senate battleground race in the country. We never got that far. Gardner’s poll numbers were consistently in the toilet, right next to his credibility, and despite tens of millions of dollars spent on his behalf, Gardner was never even really a threat to win re-election in 2020. This bears repeating: Gardner was SO bad at being a Senator and a candidate for re-election that his eventual defeat was a foregone conclusion for months beforehand.

Just before the November 2020 election, we took a long and detailed look at how things went so horribly wrong for Gardner in the years following his 2014 upset victory. We’re not going to repeat that analysis here, but the short version is this: Gardner lost his re-election because he made awful decisions nearly every step of the way.

In the end, it was fitting that Gardner’s Senate career would close with little more than a shrug from local and national observers. Cory Gardner didn’t go down swinging…he just sorta went away.

The word you’re looking for is “anticlimactic.”

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Top Ten Stories of 2020 #4: Lunacy Becomes GOP Platform

Republican Rep. Larry Liston (now Senator-elect) during special legislative session on November 30, 2020.

Republicans have not been very competitive in Colorado elections in recent years, helping to turn what was once a swing state into a solid blue rectangle. Republican ineptitude was not a new story in 2020, but there was a different flavor to the Colorado GOP’s brand of nonsense in the weirdest year any of us can remember.

It was perhaps inevitable that Colorado Republicans would further descend into madness in 2020 after spending much of 2019 on rudderless grifting operations they called “recall attempts.” But it still would have been hard to predict just how absurd things would get for GOP politicians in our state. Nobody knew much about Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert at this time a year ago, but now she’s the face of the Colorado Republican Party despite the fact that virtually every news outlet in the state reported that she basically has no idea what she’s talking about on any issue.

The coronavirus pandemic opened up a new rabbit hole for Republicans, who immediately responded to efforts to contain the spread of the virus by declaring that wearing a mask was against freedom and that stay-at-home orders were reminiscent of a “Gestapo-like mentality.” A group of Republican lawmakers, including then-House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, launched a ridiculous effort to convince Douglas County to end its association with the Tri-County Health Department IN THE MIDDLE OF A FREAKING PANDEMIC. Neville, for one, took this as an opportunity to convince a few idiots to give him money so that he could sue Gov. Jared Polis for making people wear masks.

The GOP attack on the Tri-County Health Department also included State Sen. Jim Smallwood, who contracted COVID-19 after inexplicably traveling to California when the state legislature paused all activity in mid-March. In other words, the people who were urging others to disregard health precautions were themselves becoming health risks because they disregarded health precautions. Meanwhile, Republicans were also busy trying to paint the COVID-19 outbreak as a racial issue…up until it turned out that deep red counties were being hit harder than anywhere else.

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, the new face of the Colorado GOP.

Republican attacks on the Tri-County Health Department ended up going nowhere from a practical standpoint, but they had very real and unsettling consequences elsewhere. In May, for example, Aurora police arrested a man for vandalizing a Tri-County Health office and making all sorts of violent threats. It was not a coincidence that these deranged actions happened after local Republicans began rattling cages about health department officials who were just trying to keep people safe.

Things got even weirder in May after global protests that followed the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers created a new opportunity for Colorado Republican leaders to play the fool. While the rest of us were gripped by rallies and calls for social justice, GOP leaders primarily complained about vandalism in Denver. Some Republican county party leaders were pretty sure that Floyd’s death was just a big ruse of some sort. Others fully supported violent counter-protests around the state. There was even a common refrain that the City of Denver was a burning pile of rubble…something that could be easily verified by anyone who just looked around.

It would take us too long to list every absurd thing that Colorado Republicans said or did in 2020, but here are a couple more examples:

♦ Congressman Ken Buck, who also serves as the State GOP Party Chairman, made a complete fool of himself on Fox News in trying to explain his idea that Antifa was funded by George Soros, or something.

Neville compared the killing of Elijah McClain in 2019 to protestors who tried to super glue themselves to a railing at the state capitol.

♦ Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert was far from the only Republican to express belief in QAnon conspiracy theories.

♦ This ridiculous Op-Ed from Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) speaks for itself.

♦ Rather than spend the last weeks of the 2020 election campaigning for Republicans, a group of activists instead devoted their time and effort on once again not recalling Gov. Polis.

Colorado Republicans enter the new year with their party in tatters. Their highest-ranking statewide elected official is CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, and the GOP might just elect disgraced former Secretary of State Scott Gessler as its new Party Chairman. Republicans need to find candidates for five big statewide races in 2022, but it’s hard to envision anyone but the most far-right candidates emerging from the various Primary elections. Heck, it could still be months before some in the GOP finally stop pretending that Donald Trump was re-elected as President.

Colorado Republicans had a lot of problems well before 2020. Thanks to a year of astonishingly-terrible decisions, the future of the state GOP is considerably bleaker today.

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Top Ten Stories of 2020 #6: Colorado is a Solid Blue State

Happy Cory Gardner and Sad Cory Gardner. You can plot out Colorado’s shift from a swing state in 2014 to a solid blue state in 2020 with these two images:

Colorado was swept up in a massive blue wave in 2018, handing Democrats all four of the top statewide offices (Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, and Secretary of State), as well as control of both chambers of the state legislature. Democrat Jared Polis cruised to an 11-point victory over Republican Walker Stapleton in the race for Governor. On a federal level, Democrat Jason Crow’s victory in CO-06 gave Democrats the keys to four of Colorado’s seven congressional districts.

In 2020, Democrats solidified their advantage in Colorado, with Democrat John Hickenlooper snatching Gardner’s Senate seat by a nearly 10-point margin. Democrats even managed to add a seat in the State Senate while maintaining a solid majority in the State House.

In the race for President, Democrat Joe Biden easily defeated President Trump by a margin of nearly 14 points, which was a massive increase from Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 5-point victory in 2016. Consider this: Colorado was a swing state for President in 2008 and (sorta) in 2012. In 2020, neither major party candidate for President even bothered visiting our state in the six months before Election Day.

Colorado Republicans have fallen hard since Gardner defeated incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in 2014 by a narrow 47-45 margin. The numbers are staggering: Hickenlooper added 786,911 votes to Udall’s 2014 total, while Gardner’s vote total only went up by 445,601. Democrats now have such an advantage in Colorado that Hickenlooper would have still beaten Gardner if we didn’t count any of the votes from Denver, which is the most heavily-populated area in the state and always a reliably-blue county.

Republicans aren’t just losing in Colorado — they’re not even competitive anymore. In fact, Republicans are so buried in our state that it’s difficult to even come up with plausible names for top ticket races in 2022.

The 2020 election proved that the 2018 Democratic wave in Colorado was no fluke. We are a blue state now, and there’s no way to argue otherwise.

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“Santa Cory’s” Last Chance

Mitch McConnell, Cory Gardner.

For Americans hoping to see a substantially bigger economic relief check in their account next month than the first $600 they’ve seen since the CARES Act passed last March belatedly signed into law this week by outgoing President Donald Trump, the latest news from The Hill is not good news:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday blocked an attempt by Democrats to set up a stand-alone vote on increasing the amount of recently passed stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000…

The GOP leader did not directly address why he objected.

But he signaled separately that he could package the increase in direct stimulus checks, with a repeal of a tech shield that has emerged as a top target for Trump and election-related investigations.

Although attention has been focused most heavily on Trump’s call to increase the stimulus direct payments from $600 to $2000, attaching Trump’s other conditions like repeal of protections for social media platforms from being sued over content posted by users, or validating Trump’s baseless contentions of election fraud, is very likely a nonstarter for Democrats in the House and Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s blocking of a quick vote on the bill passed by the House is not the end of the road, but it’s a clear signal that a “clean bill” like what the House passed is not going to happen. It’s definitely a setback.

We’ll say it again, since there’s just a few days left to say it: outgoing Sen. Cory Gardner has one more chance in this moment to do something good for Americans, not to mention the two candidates running in Georgia who will decide control of the Senate, by coming out for a swift and clean vote to increase the direct payments to $2,000. Both David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler say they support $2,000 checks. And just like Cory Gardner found in Colorado on a variety of issues, if Mitch McConnell proves to be the block that prevents relief Georgia voters desperately need over the objections of fellow Republican Senators, where’s the incentive to cast a vote that keeps McConnell in power as Senate Majority Leader?

It’s now or never, “Santa Cory.” Go out with a bang, or the whimper we’ve grown accustomed to.

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Top Ten Stories of 2020 #10: The Rally That Made No Sense

Photo by Erik Maulbetsch, CTR

On February 20, President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign held a rally at the Broadmoor World Arena. In typical Trump fashion, the campaign gave out tickets far in excess of the World’s Arena’s capacity, resulting in a large and intentional “overflow crowd” outside of freezing but enthusiastic supporters. Inside, the politician with the most to lose next to Trump himself, Sen. Cory Gardner, swore allegiance once again to the man he had once denounced and called on to pull out of the race for President back in October of 2016.

With the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear today that this Trump’s rally in Colorado Springs in late February was a profound miscalculation. Within a few short weeks of this rally, the COVID-19 pandemic escalated on a trajectory that would lead to the United States suffering more illness and death than any other nation on Earth. Long after the pandemic had taken hold and as Republicans including Gardner tried desperately to pretend they had been worried about the pandemic back when quick action could have saved lives, this rally made a cruel joke of Gardner’s protestations. If you were really worried about the pandemic in January as Gardner claimed, why the hell would you hold a rally with 20,000 people at the end of February?

Politically, this was an event born of pure hubris. The Trump campaign insisted a state he would lose by almost 14 points was “in play,” and dead-man-walking Cory Gardner concluded that appearing on stage with Trump would help Gardner win re-election more than it hurt. As we can say confidently today, that deliberate choice by Gardner was wrong. Ever since Gardner’s narrow victory in 2014, this state has trended bluer in each successive election. In 2018, Colorado Republicans were absolutely demolished at the polls in what was largely seen as a referendum on Trump. If Gardner’s “only path” to survival was to lash himself ever closer to Trump, the truth is Gardner had no path at all.

They’re maybe not all this counterproductive, but here’s one Trump rally that didn’t help anyone except Democrats.

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Cory Gardner is a Bad Example

Sen. Cory Gardner (left) standing next to Sen. John Barrasso.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell congratulated Democrat Joe Biden for winning the Presidential election today, exactly six weeks after Election Day. As The Washington Post reports:

“The electoral college has spoken, so today I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden,” said McConnell (R-Ky.). He also nodded to the historic elevation of his Senate colleague, Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), to the vice presidency.

McConnell’s statement comes after some of his Senate colleagues strained to avoid saying the same thing Monday. The No. 3 Senate Republican, John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), called questions about the matter “gotcha” questions.

Chris Cillizza follows up for CNN on Barrasso’s ridiculous comment:

After the Electoral College — as expected — confirmed Monday that Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States, a reporter asked Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso whether or not Biden was now officially the “President-elect.” Barrasso called it a “gotcha” question.

Yes, you read that right.

How was asking whether Biden is President-elect a “gotcha” question, you ask? “I know what the Constitution says, Article 2, Section 1. And I know that the Electoral College has voted today, so to me, that tells us a lot … I follow the Constitution,” Barrasso, the third ranking member of Republican Senate leadership, explained. “Three weeks ago the transition occurred in terms of … access to the briefings and access to the money.”

It’s possible that Barrasso was following the example set by Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who used this same lame excuse for an answer back in November:

The lesson, as always: Don’t be like Cory Gardner.

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (December 10)

Happy “Human Rights Day.” Please be a nice human today. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► The United States broke a week-old record by surpassing 3,000 daily deaths from COVID-19. The good news: Americans could be receiving vaccinations within a matter of days. As The New York Times reports:

The Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory panel, composed of independent scientific experts, infectious disease doctors and statisticians, as well as industry and consumer representatives, is meeting all day on Thursday to discuss whether Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine should be authorized by the agency. Although the F.D.A. does not have to follow the advice of the panel, it usually does.

If the experts vote in favor of the vaccine, it will clear the way for the F.D.A. to authorize the vaccine within days and for some health care workers and nursing home residents to begin receiving it early next week.

Earlier this week, career scientists at the F.D.A. published more than 100 pages of analysis of Pfizer’s clinical trial data that showed the vaccine was safe and effective across a variety of demographic groups and also began to show effectiveness after the first of two doses.

Colorado Public Radio and The Denver Post have more on how the State of Colorado plans to prioritize the availability of vaccinations, broken down by Winter, Spring, and Summer stages. The short version is that extremely-high risk health care workers and individuals will get the vaccine first, while the general public probably won’t get stabbed in the arm until early Summer 2021.

Prisoners in Colorado jails have been moved down the priorities list, though as 9News reports, the biggest outbreak in the federal prison system is in the Denver Metro area:

A minimum security federal prison in Jefferson County is experiencing the largest outbreak in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) system.

Out of 900 inmates at FCI Englewood, 451 presently have COVID-19, and 50 out of 251 staff have COVID right now, according to BOP.

 

► Scrooge McConnell appears to have scuttled a coronavirus relief package. Again.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is still officially on the job until Democrat John Hickenlooper is sworn in as his replacement on January 3. But as Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Gardner hasn’t really been doing his job for weeks now:

The email contact form on Gardner’s website disappeared soon after the election, and the “email Cory” link at the bottom of the site’s other pages leads to a 404 page that says, “404. We’re sorry. The page you requested cannot be found.”…

…Gardner’s eight in-state offices in Colorado shuttered for good on Friday, according to a message reached by calling the senator’s Pueblo office. Multiple calls to each of his offices, including the one in Washington, D.C., went unanswered this week.

A Gardner spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment.

While it is not at all unusual for Gardner’s office to avoid comment — on pretty much any question — it is not standard practice for outgoing U.S. Senators to just stop doing their job:

Four of the other five departing senators had functioning email contact forms on their Senate websites on Wednesday, and the fifth, retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, greeted constituents with messages urging them to get in touch with other members of the state’s delegation…

Spokeswomen for U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette and Jason Crow said they’d be happy to help out constituents who can’t reach Gardner’s office. [Pols emphasis]

► Colorado is one of 46 states that have joined an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook. As The Denver Post explains:

The lawsuit alleges Facebook aggressively bought out any company that threatened the platform’s dominance, including Instagram and WhatsApp, and worked to “bury” companies that did not sell out to the social media giant by using a variety of competition-stifling tactics, like limiting access to Facebook for third-party applications.

“If you stepped on Facebook’s turf or resisted pressure to sell, (Mark) Zuckerberg would go into ‘destroy mode,’ subjecting your business to the ‘wrath of Mark,’” the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit and a separate complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission seek to stop Facebook’s anti-competitive behavior by forcing the company to sell Instagram and WhatsApp, and preventing the company from making any acquisitions for more than $10 million without first alerting officials in the states that filed the suit…

…The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, as well as an eight-member executive committee that includes Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser. South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and South Dakota did not join the effort. The District of Columbia and the territory of Guam did join.

 

 Colorado House Republicans want to hold a hearing of the Legislative Audit Committee in order to “investigate” nonexistent election fraud in Colorado. Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster have been invited to testify.

 

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

 

(more…)

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (December 9)

Happy “Anna’s Day” to all of our readers named ‘Anna’; please celebrate responsibly. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► So much winning losing.

President Trump seemed convinced that the U.S. Supreme Court would somehow just make him the winner of the 2020 election. But as The Washington Post reports:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a last-minute attempt by President Trump’s allies to overturn the election results in Pennsylvania, a blow to the president’s continuing efforts to reverse his loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

The court’s brief order denying a requested injunction provided no reasoning, nor did it note any dissenting votes. [Pols emphasis] It was the first request to delay or overturn the results of last month’s presidential election to reach the court, and it appears that Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s latest nominee, took part in the case.

The lawsuit was part of a blizzard of litigation and personal interventions Trump and his lawyers have waged to overturn victories by Biden in a handful of key states. But time is running out, and the electoral college is scheduled to meet in less than a week.

We’ve reached the point where judges are just saying, “No. Go Away.” As Stephen Collinson writes for CNN, there’s really only one question remaining:

The only questions now are how many more times President Donald Trump wants to lose the election to President-elect Joe Biden and whether his Republican acolytes on Capitol Hill will wake up and recognize reality.

Trump’s dangerous delusions about a stolen election represent the most overt attempt in modern history by a President to overthrow the will of the voters. But they have reached the point of no return after the conservative-majority Supreme Court largely crushed what remaining hallucinatory hopes Trump harbored of reversing his defeat…

The denial of Pennsylvania Republicans’ request to block the certification of their state’s results, for which there were no noted dissents, was a humiliating repudiation of Trump’s fundamental misunderstanding that three justices that he installed on the Court would swing him a disputed election. It also showed that evidence-free conspiracy theories might thrill the President’s base and his media propagandists, but they don’t cut it in court. [Pols emphasis]

The Denver Broncos win more often than Trump’s legal team. The Trump campaign has pursued more than 50 different lawsuits around the country since Election Day, with only one minor “victory” in Pennsylvania to show for their efforts.

Democrat Joe Biden is the President-elect and will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2021. Nothing is going to change this fact — not even your dumbass finger-waving, Sen. Ron Johnson.

 

President Trump’s bellyaching about his election loss won’t end up accomplishing anything, but observers are growing more worried about the potential for violence from Trump supporters. As The New York Times reports:

Despite his clear loss, Mr. Trump has shown no intention of stopping his sustained assault on the American electoral process. But his baseless conspiracy theories about voting fraud have devolved into an exercise in delegitimizing the election results, and the rhetoric is accelerating among his most fervent allies. This has prompted outrage among Trump loyalists and led to behavior that Democrats and even some Republicans say has become dangerous…

…Those supporters have started to flood the voice mails, cellphones and inboxes of dozens of elected officials across the country with angry messages and threats, as well as countless officials who handle local elections. The tenor has seemed to grow more menacing as Mr. Trump’s efforts appear even more unlikely to succeed, some officials said.

 

 Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner is among the many Republican elected officials in Congress who have refused to acknowledge that Joe Biden is the President-elect. In Gardner’s typical hypocritical style, he delivered a farewell speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday in which he talked about the importance of a peaceful transition of power…which he is helping to obstruct.

 
The election is truly over, at least in Colorado. As The Denver Post explains:

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold officially certified the state’s November election results Tuesday, a normally sleepy affair that took on unusual significance in the face of President Donald Trump’s persistent rejection of 2020’s vote count showing Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential race…

…Colorado saw record turnout in last month’s election, with nearly 87% of active voters — representing nearly 3.3 million ballots — casting votes. Griswold said 94% of ballots in Colorado were cast using a mail ballot, a system Trump has without evidence denounced as susceptible to fraud.

 

 Governor Jared Polis extended a statewide mask mandate in Colorado for another 30 days. Masks are required to be worn indoors in all public spaces.

 

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

 

(more…)

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Cory Gardner: Dishonest to the Very End

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) delivers his farewell speech on the Senate floor.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) delivered his farewell speech today on the Senate floor. It was, sadly, a typical Gardner performance: Intellectually dishonest to the very end.

To understand the brazen hypocrisy of Gardner’s speech, you need to know that Gardner has steadfastly refused to acknowledge that Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Trump in the 2020 election. Gardner did not respond to some pretty basic questions from The Washington Post last week about the election outcome. On November 17, Gardner snapped at a reporter who asked if he considered Biden to be the President-elect:

“You’re going to play gotcha questions with me? You guys, just come on. I’m not going to play your gotcha questions. I’m not going to play your games. I’m tired of it.”

Asking a U.S. Senator if he recognizes the winner of the 2020 election as the President-elect is a “gotcha question”?

So it was that a man who refuses to participate in a peaceful transition of power used his farewell speech to talk about…yes, the peaceful transition of power. (Click after the jump to watch Gardner’s full farewell speech):

GARDNER: Ten years ago, I sat on the floor of the United States House of Representatives as we prepared — some of my colleagues here with me — to be sworn in to the 112th Congress. I watched with our daughter Allison patiently sitting by my side as the peaceful transition of power took place. The hallmark of our Republic. As the most powerful Constitutionally-prescribed Member of Congress, the Speaker of the House, gave the gavel to a newly elected Speaker, without gunshot or war, peacefully transitioning to a new majority.

Today I speak on the Senate floor with a heart of gratitude, that as I leave, with a new Congress set to begin, I go home not because of or due to the threat of violence or revolution, but because of that same Constitutional governess that has give this country over two centuries of strength and certainty. A jewel among nations, exceptionally blessed by God.

The irony of Gardner’s words was not lost on others, including Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post.

Via Twitter (12/8/20)

In many ways, Gardner’s farewell speech was a good summation of his time in the U.S. Senate, where his motto seemed to be, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Gardner went on and on about the importance of ideals that he himself refuses to demonstrate:

All of us here in the Senate — the American people, all of us — are responsible for the starting point that we hand off to the next generation. And we have a moral obligation to make it the best starting point possible. 

Apparently everyone else has this “moral obligation,” since Gardner will not allow a Democratic President this same courtesy.

Here is the same Sen. Gardner who regularly lied about important issues, including his support for protecting pre-existing medical conditions, decrying the celebration of political tactics over legitimate leadership:

But today it seems as though we live in a world where tactics are elevated to the same status as principles, and that staying true to principle means that the tactics used to achieve that principle are elevated to the same importance as the principle itself. It’s always my way or the highway…

…We cannot govern when every tactic and detail is elevated to the status of principle. There is no compromise with this approach.

This nonsense reminds us of what The Denver Post editorial board famously opined in March 2019:

We endorsed Sen. Cory Gardner in 2014 because we believed he’d be a statesman. We knew he’d be a conservative voice in Congress, to be certain, but we thought his voice would bring “fresh leadership, energy and ideas.”

We see now that was a mistake – consider this our resolution of disapproval.

Gardner fooled Colorado voters into electing him to the Senate in 2014 by pretending to be something he was not. It is fitting, then, that he would end his Senate career committed to the same misdirection. Goodbye and good riddance.

 

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Profiles in Cowardice: Colorado’s GOP Delegation

UPDATE #2: Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley), who also serves as the State Republican Party Chairman, won’t answer questions about the Presidential election…but he’ll happily take time to write a letter to Attorney General William Barr asking for an investigation into “Hunter Biden’s laptop.”

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UPDATE: It’s worth noting that this is not a new phenomenon. As Justin Wingerter reported for The Denver Post on November 23:

In the nearly three weeks since Biden defeated Trump, none of the state’s four congressional Republicans have acknowledged Trump’s defeat or signaled support for his wild claims of widespread election fraud. On Monday, spokespeople for the four declined to comment when asked if Trump should concede.

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Nope, nope, nope, and nope

Life is full of unanswerable questions. “Who won the 2020 Presidential Election?” is not among them.

Nevertheless, The Washington Post devoted what we imagine was a considerable amount of time into surveying every Republican Member of Congress — all 249 of them — about the results of last month’s election. The Post mostly got a bunch of non-responses and was thus forced to research other public comments from Republicans. All told, only 27 GOP lawmakers acknowledged that Democrat Joe Biden is the President-elect. Two Republicans, Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama and Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, actually maintain that Donald Trump won the 2020 election.

All told, 88% of Congressional Republicans REFUSE TO OFFER AN OPINION on the winner of the 2020 election. That percentage is even more dismal among Colorado’s GOP delegation, which is 100% united in silence. No member of Colorado’s Republican delegation even bothered to respond to questions about the election outcome. Not Sen. Cory Gardner, not Rep. Scott Tipton, not Rep. Ken Buck, nor Rep. Doug Lamborn.

And these were not difficult questions:

Via The Washington Post (12/6/20)

The last question and non-answer is particularly absurd. Most Republicans won’t even say if they would accept Biden as President of the United States once members of the Electoral College cast their ballots. How about after Biden is inaugurated on January 20, 2021? Or when Biden is literally sitting in front of the Resolute desk in the Oval Office of the White House?

As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, this is beyond ludicrous:

Saying that we need to consider both sides of this argument equally is an utter farce. It’s as though one side is arguing that 2 +2 = 4 and the other side is saying that 2+ 2 = 5, and we have to act as though both arguments are equally valid.

We are fortunate that the outcome of the Presidential election does not depend on the opinion of Doug Lamborn, but there are other important factors at play in this discussion. Cillizza goes on to make a point that should not — must not — be dismissed as simple partisan politics:

Because if some decent chunk of the population is so convinced — facts be damned — that Trump won and the election was stolen from him, it leads to events like we saw in Michigan on Saturday night: A group of armed protesters surrounded the home of Democratic Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson demanding that she “stop the steal” of the election from the President.

Donald Trump’s poisonous impact on America is undebatable, but let’s not forget the importance of Trump’s enablers. Republicans don’t have to mimic Trump’s unfound allegations about widespread voter fraud in order to weaken democracy and foment violence. By remaining silent, they are admitting that avoiding a mean Tweet from Trump is more important to them than preventing real people from getting hurt.

Shame on Cory Gardner. Shame on Scott Tipton. Shame on Ken Buck. Shame on Doug Lamborn. May their cowardice never be forgotten.

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Which Car Lot Will Cory Gardner Land In?

Donald Trump and Cory Gardner in Colorado Springs, February 20, 2020.

We’re obliged to note this report in the New York Times, though we’re not ready to take it to the bank:

[Republican Party chair Ronna Romney] McDaniel, a Michigan native, has a gilded political pedigree: She is the niece of Senator Mitt Romney of Utah and the granddaughter of George Romney, a three-term Michigan governor. She earned Mr. Trump’s trust in part by urging him to make trips to her home state during the 2016 campaign, which he credits with helping him win there.

She has told people she does not intend to seek another term after 2022, one person briefed on the discussions said, a move that could ensure her exit before the 2024 presidential cycle gets underway in earnest.

So far nobody has emerged to challenge Ms. McDaniel, but some influential Republicans are trying to stir support for Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, who has just lost his re-election bid and is well-liked among pro-Trump and Trump-skeptical Republicans alike in Washington. [Pols emphasis] Mr. Gardner did not respond to two emails inquiring whether he had any interest in the chairmanship.

In the three weeks since the 2020 election Sen. Cory Gardner and President Donald Trump both lost, Gardner’s failure to join the ever-so-slowly-growing chorus of fellow Republicans admitting the reality that Joe Biden won has stood out–even more so after being cornered in Washington long enough to accuse reporters asking if he considers Biden to be the President-elect of asking “gotcha questions.” After losing his Senate seat in no small part due to his loyalty to Trump while the voters of Colorado migrated left, Gardner’s silence is generally assumed to be in the interest of preserving his standing in the GOP long enough to land his next gig.

It’s not unreasonable to think Cory Gardner might want Ronna Romney McDaniels’ job, and as former head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Gardner undeniably has relevant experience. On the other hand, Gardner leading the Republican Party after running in both 2014 and to a lesser extent in 2020 as a contra-brand “different kind of Republican” highlighting his supposed post-partisanship is a bit whiplash-inducing for those who don’t know him well. Also, K Street pays much better.

Would Cory Gardner give the Republican Party the smooth-talking pitchman they need to move on after Trump? Or would Chairman Gardner just be another indicator that Republicans aren’t learning any lessons? This particular rumor may or may not pan out, of course, but it’s reasonable to assume Gardner won’t be immediately selling tractors in Yuma in 2021.

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Jeffco Republicans Refuse to Do Thing Nobody Needs Them to Do

As Erik Maulbetsch reports for The Colorado Times Recorder, the Jefferson County Republican Party is mad as hell and they’re not going to pretend to be doing nothing anymore. Instead, they are going to pretend to do something that doesn’t mean anything. So there!

From The Times Recorder:

The Jefferson County Republican Party announced on Facebook today that it “refused to certify the election results.” Election certification is the responsibility of the canvass board and the County Clerk, not political parties.

Reached for comment, Jefferson County Clerk spokesperson Kara Rowland explained that the county’s election results are already certified…

…Colorado Secretary of State spokesperson Betsy Hart confirmed this.

Oh yeah? Well, then, the Jefferson County Republican Party is going to refuse to certify every election this century! Not only that, they’re thinking about refusing to certify future elections!

2020 Election Results in Jefferson County, Colorado. Not exactly a photo finish.

And what is the Jeffco GOP’s particular beef with 2020?

While the Jeffco GOP says it is not alleging fraud, it is basing its demands for “an audit” on unfounded conspiracy theories about the voting machine software company, Dominion Voting, which is used by Jeffco (and nearly every other county in Colorado).

It’s unclear from the public statements and the party’s so-called “Minority Report” if the Jeffco executive committee understands the county election process. Chair Denise Mund did not return a request for comment. [Pols emphasis]

With regards to the Jeffco GOP’s audit request, Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder George Stern explains that it’s already happened.

Oh…so you already did the audit thing…that we are demanding. Okay, well, it’s a good thing we demanded it!

We’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to suggest other potential actions that the Jefferson County Republican Party can take that will serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever.

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Cory Gardner’s Loyalty To Trump Extends Beyond Political Grave

After nearly two weeks of trying, a reporter finally got outgoing Sen. Cory Gardner to utter words in response to the terminal crisis of Donald Trump’s out-of-control presidency–Trump’s refusal to acknowledge the results of an election that no reasonable observer has found any reason to question the results of.

Free of the obligation to defend a unified Republican ticket in a state Republicans have been losing for 15 years and at an accelerated pace since Trump took office, did Gardner finally summon up the spine to admit the obvious, and call for the peaceful transfer of power he assured us would take place when Trump suggested delaying the election back in July?

Sorry to disappoint you, folks.

The only thing we can say in response to this latest and perhaps final refusal by Sen. Gardner to keep the promise he made to voters in 2014, “when my party is wrong, I’ll say it,” is that it strongly indicates something more than political expedience at work in Gardner’s loyalty to Donald Trump. After Gardner called on Trump to pull out of the presidential race in October of 2016, Gardner’s swift about-face into one of Trump’s most indefatigable defenders ran directly counter to the preference of a majority of Colorado voters–even many Colorado Republicans, who had tried to make the state an example of Republican resistance to Trump by locking down for Ted Cruz at the 2016 GOP state assembly.

Cory Gardner had countless opportunities to meaningfully separate from Trump, plotting a careful course like neighboring Sens. Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse to exit the Trump era with their reputations intact in much redder states. Trump’s divisiveness created a bright white line between his supporters and the rest of the country, and Gardner stayed with his President even though that clearly meant aligning with a minority of Colorado voters. In setting the stage for Gardner’s widely anticipated defeat, there was a rush to make excuses for Gardner’s very deliberate choice to stay loyal to Trump over Colorado.

None of those excuses explain why Gardner is still covering for Trump now.

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Lobbyists Who Joined Gardner and Mickey & Goofy Could Be Seeking Access to Another Character: Donald

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

While trips to Disney World following hard-fought contests are generally associated with the winners, lame-duck Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) nevertheless spent last weekend in Orlando in what has become an annual tradition of his own: schmoozing with lobbyists at the “Happiest Place on Earth.”

Last year Gardner’s campaign committee and his PAC spent nearly $40,000 at the resort according to Federal Election Commission records. That may sound like a lot to spend on a fundraiser, until you consider that in 2017, tickets to Project West PAC’s “Family Weekend at Disney World” cost between $1,500 and $5,000.

The event is similar to another Gardner tradition, the annual ski weekend at Beaver Creek, for which tickets started at $2,500. Over 70 lobbyists attended that January event, representing a variety of corporate interests, such as oil & gas, law firms, health insurance, transportation companies, and pharmaceutical makers. Even at the minimum ticket price for each of them, the Beaver Creek event would have brought in $175,000. Gardner himself wasn’t able to attend this year’s ski weekend, but it’s believed he did make it to Orlando.

Gardner’s weekend at Disney World actually began last Friday. On an earnings call with investors the day before, Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced the park was upping its attendance limits by 40%. The park is now operating at 35% capacity, up from the 25% limit it had in place since reopening in July. Two weeks ago Disney laid off 11,350 workers from the Orlando resort.

Florida is experiencing a severe spike in coronavirus cases, reporting over 10,000 new cases and 29 deaths yesterday.

It’s unclear whether the Senator’s recent election loss caused any fiscally conservative lobbyists to withdraw from the fundraiser. And while Gardner may be a lame duck, those who did pony up to eat and play with Cory and Mickey and Goofy are likely more interested in his remaining access to another character: Donald.

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Professor Seth Masket Gets More Smarter

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Professor Seth Masket, Director of the Center for American Politics at the University of Denver, about the 2020 election results and his new book, “Learning from Loss: The Democrats, 2016-2020.” Masket’s book analyzes how and why Democrats ended up nominating Joe Biden for President in 2020 and how the 2016 election shaped the strategy and thought process for that decision.

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

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

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

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Different Year, Same Mountain: GOP Plants Flag on Denial

UPDATE: In his column for The Denver Post, soon-to-be-former District Attorney George Brauchler explains that there was no blue wave in Colorado because Republican Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert was elected to a Congressional seat that Republicans already held and Democrats only won one extra battle in the State Senate:

The Blue Wave redux appears to have only dampened Republican socks.

Ah, yes, “2020: The Dampening.”

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Democrats had another successful election cycle in Colorado, winning a U.S. Senate seat, expanding on their majority in the State Senate, and maintaining a massive advantage in the State House. As Ian Silverii writes for The Denver Post, there was not a lot of suspense last Tuesday after the polls closed at 7:00 pm:

At 7:01 p.m. on Election Day our state was called for Biden and U.S. Senator-elect John Hickenlooper. Most of the statewide ballot initiatives were declared quickly, and most competitive legislative races were called right away as well. Our nationally-renowned and bipartisanly-lauded system of all-options voting with universal mail ballots delivered a doubtless result once again, and our Democratic, unaffiliated, and Republican county clerks and recorders, as well as our secretary of state, Jena Griswold, should be applauded for another competent administration of an incredibly high-stakes election.

Colorado Democrats will continue to dominate state government, as I predicted, possessing the most power Democrats have held in our state since FDR was president. They picked up a seat in the state Senate and held a massive 41-24 seat majority against a demoralized state House Republican minority who only after another punishing defeat grasped their previous leadership was leading them into the abyss.

Republicans currently hold only 24 seats in the State House, which is the lowest number since 1965. Actually, it’s the lowest number since 2018, when the same thing happened.

How are Colorado Republicans reacting to their troubles? As The Colorado Sun reports:

It took only an hour after the first election results posted for Colorado Republicans to start seeing the disaster ahead…

…For the party, the examination about how to move forward centers on a fundamental question: Was it President Donald Trump or was it us?

Oh, wait. Those two sentences were written in 2018.

The Republican bench in Colorado

Here’s the 2020 version:

Republicans in Colorado are facing a real crisis as the state moves further to the left. The bench of future GOP leaders the party hoped to build now is looking thin, one that could rival the Broncos’ injured list…

…No Republican running statewide has won more than 45% of the vote in the past two election cycles.

So, again, how did things get this bad for Colorado Republicans? That’s a question that the GOP asked itself after 2018 but never bothered to answer…and it doesn’t look like much has changed after another drubbing at the polls. This section from the 2020 Colorado Sun article is particularly enlightening:

Colorado House Democrats spent big money aiming to expand their majority this year, including in the Republican stronghold of Douglas County, only to see it maintain the status quo.

“That tells me a lot about the voters in this state,” said McKean, the House Republican leader. “We hear all this talk about how blue Colorado might be getting. I don’t believe it for a second.”

You could say that the recently-named House Minority Leader is looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, but that would be overly generous. In reality, McKean is looking at the Colorado political world through glasses covered in black felt. What he’s doing here is essentially celebrating the fact that Democrats only have a 17-seat majority after the 2020 elections.

Did Republicans hold the line this year? Or did Democrats just finally run out of competitive seats that could be flipped? The answer is closer to the latter than the former. After all, there’s no scenario whereby either political party is going to gain 100% of the seats in the state legislature.

It matters not whether McKean and Republicans “believe” that Colorado has turned blue, because this is not a subjective question. What matters is what Colorado Republicans are going to do about it.

If past is prologue, the answer is obvious: Not much.

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Judging Gardner’s Legacy

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Written by Madeleine Schmidt & Erik Maulbetsch

After a decade in Washington as a public official, Colorado’s Republican Senator Cory Gardner is going home. The hundreds of judges he voted to approve, however, many of whom are anti-choice extremists, will continue their work interpreting American law for decades to come.

Gardner’s time in the Senate was historically unproductive by the traditional measuring stick of legislation passed. That was never more true than over the last two years, when the upper chamber’s “legislative graveyard” resulted in only one percent of the 15,000 bills becoming law.

On the other hand, under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate accomplished one specific task at an unprecedented rate: confirming judicial nominees to the federal bench, with a total of 220 judges, including 53 circuit judges and three Supreme Court justices.

In fact, nearly a quarter of all active federal judges in the U.S. are appointees of President Donald Trump.

Looking at only the appellate and SCOTUS judges, nearly all of these lifetime appointments were selected from lists prepared by the Federalist Society, a far-right legal organization that has only become more extreme during the Trump Administration.

Criteria by which the Federalist Society compiled those judges cover a broad range of conservative policy issues, but none more significant than a consistent anti-choice record.

(more…)

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Once Again, Mitt Romney Speaks Out While Cory Gardner Hides

Donald Trump, Mitt Romney.

The Hill:

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Friday pushed back against President Trump’s baseless claim that the election is being stolen, warning that his rhetoric is only inflaming partisan tensions.

Romney, in a statement posted to Twitter, said the president was “right” to “exhaust legal remedies,” including asking for recounts and that alleged voting irregularities be investigated, but “wrong to say that the election was rigged, corrupt and stolen.”

“Doing so damages the cause of freedom here and around the world, weakens the institutions that lie at the foundation of the Republic and recklessly inflames destructive and dangerous passions,” Romney added.

With President Donald Trump’s rhetoric increasingly detached from reality, insisting he has won an election that at this point we can say with some certainty he did not win and making so-far totally unsubstantiated claims of election fraud, most Republicans are taking the middle ground of acknowledging Trump’s legal rights while reinforcing in the abstract that American elections are safe and sound.

As has been his trademark since winning Utah’s Senate seat in 2018, Sen. Mitt Romney has once again gone farther to condemn Trump’s irresponsible statements and actions than any of his Republican colleagues. Romney’s consistency in holding Trump accountable, including being the only Republican Senate vote to convict Trump in the impeachment trial, directly undermines the spin that now-defeated Sen. Cory Gardner of neighboring Colorado was a hapless victim of anti-Trump sentiment he could not avoid. Gardner made a deliberate choice to ride Trump’s ship down, and the debate will go on whether taking a Romney-like path of distance from Trump from the beginning might have saved Gardner in an election that wasn’t as big a Democratic wave as predicted.

But alas, even now…nothing. Presumably there are future career considerations.

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Colorado Did Its Duty Again–Sorry, Rest Of America

Small-wave surfing.

John Ingold writes for the Colorado Sun:

For the first time in 84 years in Colorado and for only the fourth time in state history, Democrats have won … everything. The governor’s mansion. The secretary of state’s, treasurer’s and attorney general’s offices. Both chambers of the state legislature. The balance of power in the state’s U.S House of Representatives delegation. Both seats in the U.S. Senate. And the state’s electoral votes for president.

As we expected going in and proved to be the case, Colorado witnessed another massive victory for Democrats in 2020 to follow up a landslide in 2018 that itself pushed the margins of what was achievable in the most favorable circumstances. With the exception of failing to capture the “reach goal” R+6 CD-3 seat despite an extreme and unqualified surprise Republican nominee, Democrats won every race they prioritized in Colorado, and eliminated the last two vestiges of Republican statewide power by toppling Sen. Cory Gardner and winning a Democratic majority on the University of Colorado Board of Regents.

Remember how Donald Trump promised Republicans they would someday be “tired of winning?” In Colorado, Democrats are approaching an electoral ceiling caused by, well, too much winning. Inevitably, Colorado Democrats will find themselves more on the defensive in 2022 than in previous years simply because there is little additional ground left to gain and so many offices to defend.

Outside of Colorado, although Joe Biden appears to be consolidating his win over Donald Trump by a smaller-than-expected margin, this was not a great election for Democrats despite great hope of an historic landslide going in. And as Politico reports, we’ll be figuring out why for some time to come:

Democrats’ path to a Senate majority has narrowed dramatically as the party underperformed expectations in a handful of the most expensive races in the country, but control of the Senate remains undecided with a handful of states still too close to call.

Democrats’ chance for retaking the upper chamber slipped further Wednesday afternoon after GOP Sen. Susan Collins defeated Democrat Sara Gideon in the Maine Senate race…

Democrats went into Election Day expecting to pick up several seats. Yet Republicans remained optimistic as they clung to a slim Senate majority, buoyed by victories in those states and a key victory in Iowa. Sen. Joni Ernst won a second term against challenger Theresa Greenfield despite being badly outspent by the Democrat throughout the race. The GOP also held a narrow lead in North Carolina, where GOP Sen. Thom Tillis was fending off Democrat Cal Cunningham, with votes still coming in.

We know readers have a lot to say about the results of this election both inside and outside Colorado, so we’ll introduce a couple of important factors that may have been decisive in changing the expected narrative last night and yield the floor. Trump and Republicans do not seem to have taken as much of the political blame for the COVID-19 pandemic from voters as many anticipated, despite America having suffered disproportionately and public polls showing broad dissatisfaction with Trump’s handling of the crisis. What’s more, COVID-19 safety considerations restricted Democratic field campaigns to a far greater degree than their Republican counterparts–fewer doors knocked, fewer public events. Despite it being reasonable and appropriate for Democrats to pay heed to pandemic best practices that Republicans routinely disregard, it may not in retrospect have been the most politically expedient decision.

There’s more, of course. A lot more. To the extent that Democrats had hoped for a generational landslide victory that would have reset American politics, stopped rampant gerrymandering that gave Republicans undeserved legislative majorities for the last decade, and provided a clear mandate for bold changes, it’s evident at this point that they will not get what they wanted. Mitch McConnell retaining control of the U.S. Senate, which is as of now the most likely outcome pending the resolution of outstanding races and runoff elections in Georgia, is a sobering reminder of the continuing division and gridlock that besets the nation.

As of now, it looks like Biden will be the next President, and Colorado has progressed even further along its maturation from purple state to blue state. In the wave of 2018 and again last night in an unexpectedly different political climate, Colorado voted consistently blue.

Our advice is to celebrate that; and leave what cannot be helped for a day when you’ve had more sleep.

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LIVE: Colorado Election Night 2020

UPDATE: Colorado called for Joe Biden and John Hickenlooper by national outlets at 7:01pm.

Welcome to blue statehood.

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Wondering where to watch tonight’s election returns? Well, wonder no more!

Your friends from “The Get More Smarter Podcast” will be LIVE tonight for an Election Night Extravaganza. Special guests will be dropping by throughout the evening to discuss 2020 election results in real time. We’ll kick things off at 6:30 pm on Facebook and Periscope. Check us out on YouTube or CLICK HERE FOR THE FACEBOOK LINK.

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“When My Party’s Wrong,” “Paid Protesters,” and More: Cory Gardner’s Greatest Quotes

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

With the election so close, and Trump driving so many voters away from Republicans, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) promise to speak out against his own party stands out among everything he’s said from 2014 till today. It’s been oft-repeated, but how can it not top Gardner’s quote list?

“When my party is wrong, I’ll say it. When something is broken, I’ll fix it. I’m Cory Gardner, and I approve this message. I’d be honored to have your support. ” October 15, 2014.

Ranking other statements from Gardner doesn’t make sense, because he’s said so much that’s memorable. But here’s a list to chew on.

RESPONDING TO HIS OPPONENTS

“What I worry about though, of course, is the paid protesters from out of state who are crowding out those Colorado voices. That’s a big concern of mine. It’s a concern of my colleagues when they can’t hear the voices of their constituents because paid activists from out of state are getting in the way.” September 14, 2018.

Fox 31 Denver: “As you know, there’s been protests outside your office. There’s a protest outside this hotel, people wondering, during this week of recess, why aren’t you hosting a town hall?” Gardner: “Well look, we’ve had a number of opportunities to engage with a number of Coloradans around the state. And we’ll continue to do that….” February 22, 2017

“Obviously, voter motivation and intensity is important in elections. And if more on the radical left, the loony left, get out and vote than the right, that’s a problem.” September 19, 2020.

“This is nothing more than a revenge majority. They want to fight against a president that they believe never should have been elected in the first place, and so the policies that they are pursuing are all going to be based on revenge: investigations, cutting border security, doing everything they can to provide that revenge.” December 12, 2018.

(more…)

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How Cory Gardner Destroyed Cory Gardner

(Bumped into November)

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 never 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…

(more…)

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“Senator, You’re No Jack Kennedy”

Nowhere near JFK on his best day.

The Hill’s Julia Manchester reports as the clock ticks down to the final hours of Sen. Cory Gardner’s all-but-over-but-the-shouting re-election campaign–a final pitch from Gardner making a comparison that has Democrats seeing red:

Gardner is one of the most vulnerable incumbent Republican senators. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race as “lean Democratic.”

The incumbent’s campaign juxtaposed clips of Gardner with old footage from a 1962 speech that former President John F. Kennedy gave in Pueblo, Colo., in which he called for funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

“It took 50 years to get it done, and it took Cory Gardner,” the narrator says in the ad titled “Next Generation.”

The Colorado Springs Gazette’s Ernest Luning reported a week ago when the ad was originally released:

In its closing weeks, Colorado’s grueling U.S. Senate race between Cory Gardner, the Republican incumbent, and John Hickenlooper, his Democratic challenger, witnessed a surprise guest appearance by a politician in an unexpected role — President John F. Kennedy, stumping alongside Gardner in a TV commercial.

JFK is only the latest prominent Democrat to land a starring role in a Gardner commercial, joining Gov. Jared Polis, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, former President Barack Obama and even Hickenlooper, who gets a nod for some nice things he said about Gardner before they were running against each other.

Running in a state that has steadily “walked away” from the Republican Party in every election since his own six years ago, most of Cory Gardner’s positive campaign messaging has focused on Gardner’s supposed bipartisanship–despite Gardner’s record of closely toeing the Trump line with his votes in the Senate, and refusing to criticize the increasingly unpopular President even at the expense of his own reputation. Contrasted against Gardner’s deeply ingrained public image of “no waver” loyalty to Trump, these appeals to “bipartisanship” have fallen flat with Colorado voters, and done nothing to avert his double-digit downward slide in the polls.

But Gardner did manage to do one thing this time: draw the wrath of the Kennedy family.

As we’ve said before when Sen. Michael Bennet pulled the rug out from under Gardner in a previous similarly messaged ad, using favorable words of opponents and their allies is an inherently risky business. But a Trump Republican invoking one of the preeminent icons of the Democratic Party in a race against a Democratic candidate, in the most politically polarizing election season of our lives so far, is hubris that simply cannot be allowed to stand.

Based on the polls, it won’t. But as necessary as it was for Lloyd Bentsen to say it to Dan Quayle, the Kennedys had an obligation to inform Cory Gardner themselves–he is not now and will never be.

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