A fundraising email from Rep. Mike Coffman’s campaign today warns potential donors about the similarities between positions held by his Democratic opponent Morgan Carroll and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton:
With Hillary Clinton visiting Colorado today, it’s a stark reminder that our opponent, Morgan Carroll, has yet to articulate a single policy difference on any issue between her and Clinton.
Morgan Carroll might as well be running for Clinton’s vice-president. [Pols emphasis] By endorsing Clinton, Carroll has wholeheartedly endorsed her radical agenda.
• When Hillary Clinton breaks the law, Carroll is happy to line up behind her.
• When Hillary Clinton proposes massive tax hikes, Carroll is happy to line up behind her.
• And when Hillary Clinton says she wants to expand Obamacare, Carroll lines up behind her.
Hillary Clinton and the Democrats have made winning Mike’s seat a top priority this election. We need your help to stop them. Can you chip in $50 tonight to help us fight back?
Our state needs strong leaders like Mike that will hold politicians in Washington accountable for their actions. If Clinton becomes president, the House will be our last line of defense against her reckless policies.
It’s true that these totally generic anti-Hillary talking points are not very persuasive, though we expect they will pry open the wallets of at least some Republican donors. But there’s a larger question that needs to be asked: who does Coffman want to be President?
Yesterday, under continuing pressure from inquiring reporters over Donald Trump’s ongoing war of words with the parents of a dead American soldier, Coffman spokesperson Cinamon Watson told Politico that Coffman “is not campaigning” with Trump. The statement was carefully worded only to say that Coffman is not campaigning with Trump in the present tense, with no insight on how that might change between now and November. Critically, Mike Coffman’s splashy criticisms of Trump have never once indicated how he plans to vote in the presidential election.
Well folks, it looks rather unlikely that Coffman is going to vote for Hillary Clinton!
So, why can’t Coffman come out and say clearly who he supports for President? It’s simple really: Coffman can’t declare full-on opposition to Trump without jeopardizing his support with the significant percentage of Republican voters who back Trump. If even a relatively small percentage of CD-6 Republicans abandon Coffman for Trump, Coffman loses the election. But at the same time, Trump’s snowballing outrages oblige Coffman to say something.
Bottom line: Coffman has to get off the fence. If he plans to undervote the presidential race, he needs to say that. If he plans to vote Libertarian or some other minor party, he needs to accept the consequences for doing so from his own party. And if he plans to swallow all of the things he’s complained about with Trump and “hold his nose,” voters need to know that too.
Because by attacking Trump, while at the same time attacking Carroll for backing Trump’s opponent, Coffman is trying to have it both ways. And that can’t last forever.