A fascinating story from the Colorado Sun’s John Frank today on the three candidates running to be the next chair of the Colorado Republican Party–a daunting position being vacated by outgoing chair Jeff Hays following the worst defeat for the GOP in this state since the Roosevelt era. One of the principal fault lines with the Republican Party remains loyalty to President Donald Trump, with the grassroots firmly backing the President versus a party elite who spurned Trump in 2016 and has spent the last two years trying to live that misjudgment down.
Today, you surely won’t find any candidates for GOP chair scumbagging the President:
“There is some element of anti-Trump in Colorado, but I think it is smaller than has been reflected in some of the surveys,” said state Rep. Susan Beckman of Littleton, one of the candidates seeking to lead the party.
“The reality is, in an off-year election like this, there is going to be a blue wave. … I don’t think it’s fair to blame Trump for what happened,” said U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, the most prominent name in the race.
“I do not blame Trump,” said Sherrie Gibson, the current party vice chairwoman and candidate. But she added, “I do think there is an element of unaffiliateds who were certainly unhappy with the messaging tone and tenor coming out of the White House, so they voted accordingly.”
From there, the conversation turned to embattled Sen. Cory Gardner, who is set (barring anything unexpected) to share the top of the GOP ticket in Colorado with Trump in 2020. Gardner of course publicly broke with the President in October of 2016 after Trump’s rapey remarks from an Access Hollywood shoot some years before became public, but now says that he “likes” the President and says that Coloradans should have the opportunity to like Trump too! To wary Republicans who worry Gardner hasn’t got the chops to represent the state’s stridently conservative GOP base, Rep. Susan Beckman has this to say:
“I know that there are some that are frustrated at Sen. Gardner, and they should voice their concern, but he has become a warrior for President Trump,” [Pols emphasis] said Beckman, referencing Gardner’s recent endorsement of the president.
And there it is, folks–what the Republican base wants to hear, and every other voter in Colorado doesn’t. It distills the truth of why Gardner has been forced in recent months to close ranks with Trump even as the majority of the state’s voters punished Republicans as a proxy for Trump last November. Within the Republican ideological bubble, what looks like madness to the majority is a matter of survival. It’s the same snare that caught Rep. Mike Coffman last year, and in 2020 it looks increasingly like Gardner is next.
No shaking the Etch-a-Sketch now. He’s a “warrior for President Trump” to the bitter end.