“Overreach”–What Losers Always Say To Winners

With Democrats about to take charge of the governor’s office, the statewide offices of treasurer, attorney general, and secretary of state, and in full control of both chambers of the Colorado General Assembly, the narrative from defeated Republicans has shifted to dire warnings of the “overreach” in store from Democrats without a Republican majority somewhere along the line with veto power to check their aspirations.

The Greeley Tribune recently editorialized:

Five years ago, Democrats in Colorado controlled all the levers of power. They held majorities in the House and Senate. The governor also was a Democrat.

As leaders of political parties in the U.S. often do when they find themselves in this position, the Democrats pressed their advantage — passing gun control legislation and a controversial renewable energy standard. They also pursued tight regulations on the oil and gas industry.

In Weld County, which remained steadfastly red, the consequences of all this were almost unimaginable. A group of activists and elected officials — led by the Board of Weld County Commissioners — began to push a secession movement. The group pointed to a divide between the urban Denver metro area and much of the rest of the state…

As all sides in Colorado politics take stock of this year’s landslide victory for Democrats up and down the ballot, we’re seeing reactions that closely parallel–at least on the surface–the response to the last big Democratic surge in Colorado in the 2012 elections. Hand-wringing about the supposed horrors of life under Democratic control in Colorado leads to talk of certain areas of the state either seceding or (new in 2018) joining Wyoming.

And that’s how it’s spun: Democratic “overreach” prompts a completely unhinged secession movement that is nonetheless taken at least somewhat seriously. And of course, in 2013 Democratic “overreach” led to recalls! Some variation of this faux concern warning  to victorious Democrats has been the conclusion of the majority of post-election opinion from conservatives, as well as the state’s crop of aging white male “centrist” opinionmakers.

But does it have any basis in reality? In a word, no.

For starters, the 2013 recalls would be impossible to reproduce in 2019. There is simply no issue with the ability to mobilize militant far-right support like guns. The 2019 Democratic agenda on guns in Colorado, a “red flag” bill with broad bipartisan support and a possible ban on “bump fire” stocks, is nowhere near 2013’s ambitious agenda that most states have yet to catch up with. Today, Democrats have retaken all of the Senate seats lost as a result of the 2013 recall campaigns, and the politics of the issue have steadily shifted since 2013 away from the gun lobby and toward gun safety.

Once you get under the hood of these warnings of “overreach,” it’s readily apparent that the term is being misused to forestall basically anything the warner didn’t support before the election. The Greeley Tribune is predictably worried about oil and gas regulations. Likewise Doug Friednash, a nominal Democrat and big-money corporate attorney, says Democrats must avoid “overreach” with bills that would “hurt business.”

Business groups invested about $3 million in trying to keep a Republican Senate majority. As in 2009 and 2013, those groups will now face the consequences of a Democratic trifecta, including the proposition of a mandatory paid family medical leave bill that they successfully stopped in 2018 becoming law. As a candidate Polis championed this issue, but he is an entrepreneur who would be wise to think long and hard before supporting supporting bills with significant business opposition, like a bill to allow local communities to raise their minimum wages; another to replace the Labor Peace Act with a new law that would make it much easier for employees to unionize.

Folks, if the idea of a recall campaign against Democrats for a law allowing local communities to raise their minimum wage sounds completely outlandish to you–as outlandish as the idea of Weld County forming a new state or joining Wyoming over the same thing–that’s because it is. The political danger for Democrats is not in failing to please Doug Friednash, or sparking another idiotic secession campaign–the danger would be to fail to deliver on their campaign promises.

It’s been a long time since Republicans had anything like the unimpeded control of Colorado politics that Democrats now enjoy, but the zeal that Republicans display in prosecuting their agenda when in majority power here or nationally–and get away with it–makes warnings about Democratic “overreach” seem not just hypocritical, but self-serving to the point of absurdity.

In 2019, even more than in 2013, the time is ripe for the winners to act like winners–and Democrats to live up to the charge of being Democrats.

51 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DENependent says:

    I agree that is classic loser to winner editorializing. I expect that if I went back and was able to look at editorials by liberals in 1998 or 2002 when the Republicans won a trifecta of House, Senate, and Governorship there would be a similar tone.

    The goal for Democrats, just like Republicans in years where they had control, will be to find the issues they can "lock in" a win for their side that will be hard to force an "undo" on should the lose the Senate in 2020 or 2022. Probably laws rather than spending programs, nothing that will need a renewal, stuff with a warm fuzzy sound.

    Trying to do popular things is harder. Most things that voting public likes are not something a candidate can then run on in two years. The public will be asking, "Okay, but what are you doing to do for me next session?" A campaign of "Stay the course" only works when everything seems awesome in those brief periods between economic downturns/recoveries.

  2. RepealAndReplace says:

    It won't be official until Moderatus suddenly reappears to warn us of overreach.

    He will tell us that this wasn't a vote for Democratic candidates and policies but instead, a vote against Stapleton who should never have been the Republican candidate. If only the Republicans had nominated the candidate we Democrats really needed to fear….YADDA, YADDA, YADDA.

    • unnamed says:

      If it's a vote against Stapleton, it could be a vote against any Republican that ran and lost.  To say nothing about it being a vote against Trump by that logic.  What does that say about Republicans that Coloradoans would rather elect those eeevul socialist Democrats?

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        That's the beauty of speculation. We can never disprove Moderatus' premise that Cynthia Coffman would have been a stronger candidate vis-a-vis Walker Stapleton.

        But who gives a damn! Fluffy is gone and she will soon go away herself!

  3. RepealAndReplace says:

    I don't know if you can still call the red-flag bill bipartisan since the only Republican to support it went down to defeat.

    Farewell, Cole the Mole…. And thank you, Dudley Brown, for helping to make that possible.

    • mamajama55 says:

      yes  Y'all, we'll have a First Annual Dem Overreach gun seizure canvass and beating-into-plowshares party next Tuesday. (Don't worry, we'll remove the magazines prior to beating). If you have nothing to plow, you can share.  All proceeds will go to re-settling Central American migrants in your neighborhood.

      Negev, hope you have coffee ready for us. I take mine strong with coconut milk, in a compostable cup. Diversity and gender sensitivity re-education sessions are optional, as long as we don't put davebarnes in charge. 

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        smiley   Negev will need some Xanax after reading that!

      • Negev says:

        Haha Mama I have your coffee ready! Its a little weaker since Pablo is tied up in TJ at the moment. Appears you will be getting your red flag law soon enough! Looks to be working well in other municipalities, where the "Death by Protective Order" rate exceeds the nations death by gun rate significantly in that municipality. Keep up the good work I eagerly await a evil black rifle ban so I can parlay all these dirt cheap lowers into a Maserati. 

        • mamajama55 says:

          The case you cited looks like a clear case of Suicide by Cop to me. Unless you can think of any other reason why someone would answer the door to two police officers, while carrying a loaded gun, and aiming it at one of the officers?

          Probably it would all have been over much quicker had Mr. Willis been black or brown; the police would have shot first, talked it out over the body later.

  4. Voyageur says:

    Let it be known that a democratic majority is no proof against dumbass ideas.  Local minimum wages are among the dumbest of the dumb.   A $50 minimum in Wray and $3 minimum in Haxtun, say?

    Frankly, I favor a uniform national minimum wage, though not the present pauper pay.  But at minimum, we need a state standard.

    • DENependent says:

      ??? Where are you getting the idea that the Democrats would allow localities to set a lower minimum than the statewide? Also, what the he is wrong with a higher minimum in places where the cost of living is, you know, higher? Like Denver. Or Vail.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      I agree but allowing localities to raise their minimum wages, while stupid, is also harmless. If Denver wants to enact a "living wage," let it. But don't be surprised if a lot of small businesses relocate to Aurora or Lakewood at the same time. It will sort itself out.

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Voyageur — research is by no means as absolute as the climate science research, but what has been written up seems to bend in favor of municipal minimum wages not having a deleterious effect.  One example, covered in a short press release with links to the full study:  http://irle.berkeley.edu/high-minimum-wages-in-six-cities/

      • Voyageur says:

        The laws of economics don't go away just because liberals want them too, john.  But in the few cases sttudied, we are looking at very low minimum wages , i.e. $7.25 , versus like $10 in some cities.   The minimum wage is so low nationally that it doesn't mean much except in backwaters like arkansas.  In California it was pretty much below the market clearing wage — the wage you had to offer to actually hire somebody.

        To illustrate with an extreme example:  assume a legal minimum wage of $1 an hour in a market where economic force make the practical minimum wage $10.  Raising a municipal minimum wage to $10 in such an example does no harm.   But if you were crazy enough to raise it to $50, you'd see an economic collapse.  

        Colorado, properly in my judgment, is phasing in a statewide minimum wage of $12.  Many socialists want $15.  Others demand $20.  A Denver minimum of $15 would drive many thousands of jobs out of the city to aurora, englewood, adams county, lakewood, etc.  Not just minimum wage workers but their higher paid supervisors would go with them.

        And Denver workers wouldn't necessarily benefit, because the wage law applies at the job site, it doesn't ask where the worker lives.  If I have to pay $15 an hour in Denver, why should I hire an unskilled poorly educated denver resident when I can get a better educated community college graduate from lakewood for the money ?

        Municipally variable minimum wages are a truly dumbass idea.

  5. 2Jung2Die says:

    "Overreach" is a completely relative term, factually near-meaningless except in the eyes of the beholders. But it can have effectiveness if the media or the masses buy in. Rs have already tipped their hand far in advance of the first bill dropping, that they'll fight back post-whupping with threats of recalls, threats of secession, and messaging of overreach. Ds will probably face these threats and accusations whether they run a really aggressive-progressive agenda or if they stick to a moderately strong and fairly predictable package of bills. So, Ds need to make sure they're getting their reasoning out to the media and the masses soon to win the war of wordsmithing, since pundits are already re-spreading the memories of 2013 while conveniently forgetting the more recent Jeffco School Board overreach recalls of 2015. But I still think Ds would be foolish to assume the 2018 wave election with that heavy sulfur/rotten eggs element of "I can't believe how bad Trump stinks" means their gains are permanent – IMO they should be smart with stats, keep dialog open, and edit or amend bills or stances when necessary. Otherwise, they have as solid a mandate as I've seen in recent history for strong action.

  6. Diogenesdemar says:

    “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”  Proverbs 16:18

    . . . sometimes it’s not easy to be an athiest . . .

    If you find yourself believing that Democrats got to where they are today because the Colorado electorate suddenly woke up to, and are enamored by, the good ideas they have (as opposed to just finally being sufficiently repulsed and fed up with the repulsives, one in particular), then you just might be enough of a deluded chucklehead yourself to qualify for membership in today’s Republican party?!?


  7. davebarnes says:

    Are FEMA reëducation camps overreach?

  8. Davie says:

    Paul Krugman has a great analysis of Republican anti-science methods and motivations.  You could substitute the Gun lobby and ammosexuals for climate science deniers and Tobacco lobbyists and reach the same conclusions.

    If important players opposed climate action out of good-faith disagreement with the science, that would be a shame but not a sin, calling for better efforts at persuasion. As it is, however, climate denial is rooted in greed, opportunism, and ego. And opposing action for those reasons is a sin.

    Indeed, it’s depravity, on a scale that makes cancer denial seem trivial. Smoking kills people, and tobacco companies that tried to confuse the public about that reality were being evil. But climate change isn’t just killing people; it may well kill civilization. Trying to confuse the public about that is evil on a whole different level. Don’t some of these people have children?

    And let’s be clear: While Donald Trump is a prime example of the depravity of climate denial, this is an issue on which his whole party went over to the dark side years ago. Republicans don’t just have bad ideas; at this point, they are, necessarily, bad people.

    Why else would they feel the need to pass legislation prohibiting liability lawsuits against gun manufacturers and distributors, or scientifically gathering and analyzing gun violence data?  Knowledge and effective solutions are bad for their profits.

    Claiming there is nothing that can be done to save lives, or laughing that their own rube clients will use their rent money to buy more guns and ammo is just their way of whistling past the graveyard.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      This is an issue on which his whole party went over to the dark side years ago.

      Remember that idiot who brought a snowball onto the Senate floor to prove there was no climate change a/k/a global warming? 

    • Negev says:

      Davie what gun violence data would you like scientifically gathered and analyzed? I think everyone can agree on effective solutions it's the ineffective ones labeled as "common sense" that seem to be the area of dispute. Current gathered evidence and analysis has already validated this yet you seem to deny it with the vigor of a flat earther and continue to promote proven ineffective measures while demeaning those that disagree with you. Based on the existing data I would submit your quest for more analysis will not provide you with the results you need to support your accusations. 

      • JohnInDenver says:

        Don't know about Davie's priorities,  but I'd be interested in the CDC doing a full-scale effort on the use of guns in suicide.  Not only the obvious, like what types of weapons & ownership, but some of the more subtle elements: what mindset pushes suicide by gun? Is there a way to identify that mindset early enough to intervene? What can we know about those who begin the path to suicide by gun and then deviate to survive? Is there a technology to introduce to limit self-harm/suicide by gun?

        • mamajama55 says:

          The CDC won't do it, because the NRA is an effective lobby against funding for such a study, as I noted below; however, other agencies such as HHS and private medical organizations such as PubMed have undertaken this work.

          They compile lists from the morbidity and mortality database which the CDC does keep; and here is an article on firearm deaths by homicide and suicide written by university and HHS-affiliated authors. As far as I can tell, the article does not probe into the psychological questions you raise. Yes, that "Smart Gun" technology exists; again, the NRA has lobbied strongly against its wide adoption.  You can't buy a Smart Gun in the US.

      • mamajama55 says:

        Negev, you know darn well what gun violence data is blocked from scientific research. We're not allowed to know  how many people die each year from suicide by gun, accidental discharge of a gun, intentional homicide with a firearm. Since 1996, the NRA has blocked this research by the Center for Disease Control, the Federal agency tasked with compiling scientific data on death and disease.

        Privately funded  organizations have painstakingly compiled lists of death-by-gun by perusing state-by-state records. However, even they cite giant "gaps" in the data, due to the CDC funding blockage.  Obama specifically asked the CDC to research firearm violence in 2012; however, the NRA has lobbied against any funding for this work, leading to a paucity of studies across states. One effect of this is that insurance companies won't adjust for firearms in the home; they'll insure the replacement cost of your firearms, but not insure homeowners / renters against injury claims from firearms.

        The one big Federal agency whose job it is to compile evidence on deaths by firearm has not been able to do its job in this area, because the gun lobby has seen that it is not in its interest to allow it.

        • Davie says:

          It’s just a total fluke that we happen to have easy access to cheap guns and ammunition. As his tired rebuttal always goes “Nothing to see here folks, move along”

          So using Negev's logic, I guess the only rational explanation for all the gun deaths unique to the US (is it the air, water, or in the dirt?) is that we're a nation of depressed, homicidal maniacs, so he's just helping us fulfill our birthright and destiny to live and die by the gun.

          • mamajama55 says:

            El Salvador,  Venezuela, and Swaziland have US beat on gun homicides, but that's not really something to be proud of….

          • Powerful Pear says:

            Would be interesting to see the graph without the numbers from Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, St. Louis and Houston. 

            Not terrified or overly concerned.

          • Negev says:

            There is no doubt easy access to guns make it the method of choice in suicide however you will find that those countries with fewer guns do not see a lower rate of death by suicide…clearly illustrating that guns don't cause suicide or depression, nor does their lack of availability reduce the suicide rate. 

            And while murder rates are down, they spike in major cities:

            Again illustrating that environmental issues have an adverse affect on humans in higher density in America that is not seen in less populated areas….

            Then you see a clear correlation between homicide rate and poverty, with Detroit being the poorest city:

            With the highest homicide rate:

            And then consider the measures taken on gun control and their affect on the homicide rate:

            And you will find that the problem does not solve itself with gun regulation. Fact is we have a gang problem

            Which is due to poverty, lack of employment and education, drugs, racism and the breakdown of the family. These are environmental issues that are met with violence. Increase the value of life to those that are desperate and the problem will fix itself. 


        • Negev says:

          Uh, here are the CDC stats on how many people die each year from suicide by gun…

          Here are the CDC stats on intentional homicide with a firearm….

          And here is a nice query program straight from the CDC that allows you to search accidental discharge by a multitude of options for your perusal….

          Now I understand the Dicky Amendment and its flaws in funding to the CDC, but if you are looking for the solution from CDC research, you will find they are not historically effective in solutions or accurate in their reporting, so you may find more useful data from privately funded organizations like Bloombergs study you referenced, which as biased as the old mayor is on the subject provides adequate data to craft informed policy. You just have to read it and quit pretending you have the right answers when you don't. Clearly. It does not take the CDC to report the abject failure of these measures you call "common sense". 


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