The 2020 election is 665 days away. In the meantime, let’s “Get More Smarter.” If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Democrat Jared Polis will officially take over as Colorado’s Governor today. Polis’ 2018 opponent, Republican Walker Stapleton, will be reporting for jury duty. Denver7 has more on today’s inauguration festivities.
► President Trump will deliver a prime time address tonight about his fictional border crisis; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will follow with a Democratic rebuttal. As James Hohmann writes for the Washington Post, Trump’s rhetoric on immigration is not at all related to facts on the ground:
Leaks from inside the government continue to undercut the administration’s misleading spin on crime and terrorism vis-à-vis immigration:
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered only six immigrants at ports of entry on the U.S-Mexico border in the first half of fiscal year 2018 whose names were on a federal government list of known or suspected terrorists, according to CBP data provided to Congress in May 2018,” NBC News’s Julia Ainsley reports.
Six people. Six. That’s quite a bit fewer than the 4,000 that White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted were stopped at the border in 2018. And then there’s this:
“Despite their portrayal of Mexico as a teeming portal for terrorists,” the AP’s Calvin Woodward reports this morning, “the State Department issued a report in September finding ‘no credible evidence indicating that international terrorist groups have established bases in Mexico, worked with Mexican drug cartels or sent operatives via Mexico into the United States.’” (Read the State Department report for yourself.)
Here in Colorado, we’ll be anxiously waiting to see how Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) responds to Trump’s speech tonight. Gardner’s recent shutdown waffling has angered his Republican base (or what’s left of it) and prompted new talk about a “circular firing squad.”
► The New York Times examines the toll of the government shutdown on day 17:
The impact of a partial government shutdown began to ripple across the economy as it stretched into Day 17, with mortgage applications delayed, public companies unable to get approval to raise capital and thousands of Secret Service agents expected to show up for work without pay.
President Trump and congressional Democrats have made little progress in negotiations to end a shutdown that has affected about 800,000 federal workers, many of whom will miss their first paycheck this week, and who owe a combined $249 million in monthly mortgage payments, according to the online real estate firm Zillow…
…The standoff is beginning to inflict pain on Americans, whose lives are affected, in one way or another, by the federal government. It is already the second-longest shutdown in history, behind the one that started in December 1995 and lasted 21 days.
More than 600 federal employees in Colorado have now filed for unemployment benefits, as 9News reports.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► As Stephen Collinson writes for CNN, President Trump’s biggest obstacle tonight is President Trump himself:
Trump has spent years exploiting immigration — one of the nation’s most divisive fault lines — during an insurgent campaign and a presidency sustained by the fervor of his committed political base.
But now, the downside of that strategy is becoming evident. In his attempt to convince the nation that a genuine crisis is unfolding at the southern border, the President’s arguments face extreme skepticism from those not already in his camp.
About 57% of Americans oppose Trump’s wall compared with 38% in favor, according to a December CNN poll conducted by SSRS. Those numbers are similar to where they were just after Trump took office in 2017.
Trump is growing increasingly isolated in his determination to find money for a border wall; as Politico reports, House GOP leaders are worried that several dozen Republicans may cross the aisle to side with Democrats on legislation to re-open the government.
► Colorado Republican Party Chair Jeff Hays will not seek another term in 2019, but there are no shortage of people interested in what seems like a pretty awful job.
Republican Rep. Susan Beckman of Littleton is also pursuing the job of GOP Party Chair; she would have to resign from the legislature if she succeeds.
► Colorado Republicans have their own idea for a “family leave” bill that wouldn’t actually help anyone.
► Republican Rep. Lori Saine is leading the charge for no-hope legislation to repeal a limit on gun magazine sizes. Saine is probably not the best choice to sponsor this kind of bill.
► The Colorado Sun catches up with Cynthia Coffman, Colorado’s outgoing Attorney General who was once thought to have a very bright political future.
► Colorado lawmakers are considering legislation to get rid of the electoral college.
► The Colorado Independent examines the first batch of education-related legislation at the State Capitol.
► President Trump is having trouble finding a new Secretary of Defense.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► President Trump can totally relate to people not receiving paychecks. Totally.
► Vice President Mike Pence is having trouble explaining the border wall lies perpetuated from his boss. From the Huffington Post:
Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday struggled to back President Donald Trump’s lie that former presidents have affirmed their support for his proposed border wall, claiming that Trump meant that they support “border security.”
On Friday, Trump falsely boasted that his predecessors “have told me that we should have” built the wall…
…Pressed by NBC News’ Hallie Jackson in an interview Tuesday, Pence hesitated, before attempting to claim that the president meant that it had been “his impression” and that he meant “the importance of border security.”
► Abraham Lincoln did not chop down a cherry tree, he did not fight vampires, and he was not the 14th President of the United States.