It’s Official: “Q*Bert” Doesn’t Want To Debate

Colorado Public Radio reports on two more debates in Colorado’s red-hot Third Congressional District race that aren’t happening, and once you sort through the back-and-forth it’s clear why: because Republican candidate Lauren Boebert doesn’t want them to happen.

“We challenged Lauren to a debate to be hosted by the Pueblo Chieftain and a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters, but Lauren hasn’t accepted either challenge,” [Diane Mitsch Bush] communication director Caleb Cade said.

While both campaigns agreed to the Chieftain debate in principle, they have struggled to settle on a date. The campaigns originally asked for different weeks: Boebert wants the first week of October, while Mitsch Bush said she couldn’t do that and asked for the second week in the month. When the Mitsch Bush campaign agreed to a date in the Boebert campaign’s preferred week, they said they heard nothing back…

As for the LWV general debate, [Boebert campaign manager Laura] Carno said via email that Boebert participated in their primary debate and “didn’t feel the need to do this one a 2nd time.”

Playing hot potato over debates is an old game that campaigns always try to turn to their advantage, but here’s the score in CD-3 as of this writing: Democratic candidate Diane Mitsch Bush, along with even more fellow Democrats than in previous years, bailed out of the Club 20 debate for a variety of reasons. Any points awarded to Republicans for that were given up, however, when Lauren Boebert herself refused to show up to Club 20’s annual conference even to take questions in a friendly forum.

Now we have two more debates, one in Pueblo and one hosted by the League of Women Voters–and in both cases it’s Boebert’s campaign making excuses for why she can’t appear. Diane Mitsch Bush’s campaign drove this home in a press release today:

Diane challenged Lauren to a debate with the Pueblo Chieftain during the week of October 5-9 in a press release on August 19th. The two campaigns had previously agreed to debate that week in conversations with the Pueblo Chieftain, but Boebert’s spokeswoman Laura Carno never accepted the challenge. Boebert’s team now says that she has already scheduled events for the week of October 5-9th and won’t be able to fit a debate into her schedule.

The Mitsch Bush campaign worked with the Boebert campaign and the League of Women Voters to schedule a virtual forum. The two campaigns settled on October 8th, and then Boebert informed the League of Women Voters that she would not participate in the forum at all.

“Campaigns are busy, but they’re all about priorities. Lauren Boebert is ducking debates in Pueblo and before the League of Women Voters because she’s afraid to go toe-to-toe with Diane: a battle-tested independent leader with serious policy chops,” said Diane Mitsch Bush’s communications director Caleb Cade. “Lauren’s refusal to debate Diane shows that she is not prioritizing Pueblo or southern Colorado: a community often forgotten and ignored by politicians. We are committed to making this debate happen because Pueblo matters to Diane—whether that’s the first week of October or any other date.”

Everything we’re seeing here is consistent with what we’ve already heard: there is grave concern among Republicans that the more exposure Boebert gets, the more unqualified she appears to CD-3 voters putting the seat in jeopardy. As a result, it may well be that keeping Boebert out of sight is the better approach in an R+6 congressional district that elected Scott Tipton more or less on inertia for ten years.

Trouble is, hiding the candidate only broadcasts your worst fears. As a candidate starting at a credibility deficit with any swingable voter paying attention, Boebert needs every opportunity to refute this growing impression–which means skipping debates is a major missed opportunity, as long as what her critics allege, you know, isn’t true.

Either way, there’s nothing good for Republicans coming of this. It is weakness playing out.

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Trump Struggles to Contain Fallout from Military Remarks

Via “The Atlantic” (9/3/20)

As POLITICO reports, President Trump is desperately trying to minimize the damage from a blockbuster story in “The Atlantic” on Thursday (comments that have been independently verified by The Washington Post):

President Donald Trump and his aides scrambled Friday to contain the fallout from reports that he made denigrating remarks about U.S. service members and America’s war dead, as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden went on the offensive against a newly embattled White House.

Addressing reporters in the Oval Office, Trump again attacked The Atlantic for its account of him allegedly calling fallen Marines “losers” and “suckers,” and sought to defuse the escalating controversy…

…Trump’s latest repudiation of The Atlantic’s report came hours after top Biden surrogates denounced the president in a press call — seizing upon a potential inflection point in a general election campaign that in recent days has left the Democratic nominee emphasizing his opposition to violence at protests against racial injustice and police brutality.

On Friday, however, it was Trump who found himself playing defense, having to explain his support for the military less than two months from an election in which he will rely on a political base of voters made up of a disproportionately high percentage of veterans.

“And while the service of our fallen will remain the last full measure of their devotion, the comments of this president are the last full measure of his disgrace. It’s time for all Americans of conscience to repudiate this man.”

   — Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora), former Army Ranger who served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As Chris Cillizza explains for CNN, Trump’s claims that he didn’t say disparaging things about the military are tough to maintain given how often he has indisputably disparaged service members in the past:

Had this report come out about, say George W. Bush or Barack Obama, and they had denied it forcefully — as Trump has — it would be a near-certainty that most people (and the media) would accept that the story was just flat wrong. Because there was no indication in any of their past behavior that would indicate they might ever utter such sentiments about the military.

That’s simply not the case with Trump. And that fact complicates his defense of himself against The Atlantic in a major way.

Trump is scheduled to hold a press conference at 5:00 pm (EST) where he will presumably discuss these allegations at greater length. Trump was already bleeding support among military members, as The Military Times reported earlier this week.

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What Would You Like My Opinion to be Today?

Sen. Cory Gardner’s teeth.

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner continues to trail Democrat John Hickenlooper in the polls with two months to go until Election Day. According to new data from Morning Consult, Hickenlooper maintains a 9-point lead over Gardner, with an astounding 29-point advantage among Independent/Unaffiliated voters.

Gardner’s well-worn strategy of trying to be all things to all people doesn’t appear to be convincing many voters to back him for re-election to the U.S. Senate. Anyone who has followed Gardner’s political career is well aware of his penchant for changing his message depending on his audience; all politicians do this to some extent, but few are as blatant about it as Gardner.

Last weekend, Gardner was in Beaver Creek to take part in a COVID-19 panel discussion as part of the Steamboat Institute Freedom Conference Festival. Gardner vomited out an incredibly string of falsehoods to appeal to a conservative audience, including his belief that scientists were “politicizing” COVID-19 and that businesses were being forced to close their doors when competitors were allowed to stay open.

You can watch Gardner’s comments below, but we took the time to transcribe his remarks to give you a better sense of what Gardner is really saying about COVID-19 when he speaks in front of a right-wing audience (Gardner’s fellow panelists were two advisers to President Trump: Dr. Scott Atlas of the Hoover Institution and economist Arthur Laffer).

 

We’ll start with a question from moderator Hadley Heath Manning, who wanted the panel to comment on why the coronavirus response seems to have become so politically-charged. Here’s what Gardner said in response:

Colorado is a place where the work/life balance is what we live for, right? And we fight hard to work. We fight hard to live. And if we lose this economy — the damage will be catastrophic. Yes, we have a health crisis that we have to address and get through it, but we can’t do it while we tell people, Wal-Mart can be open, but you have to be closed.

I can’t tell you the number of people who came to me in tears [and said] I’ve been in business for 40 to 50 years. I’ve lost everything. But the business down the road that’s open? They do the same thing that I do and they’re fine. What have we done?

According to Gardner, the “government” is picking and choosing between competing businesses, allowing some stores to stay open while forcing others to close. It’s important to understand that Gardner isn’t talking about bars and restaurants versus other retailers; he’s saying that two different businesses that offer the same products are being treated differently. Gardner provides no evidence of this other than anecdotal conversations.

Cory Gardner in Beaver Creek last weekend.

Gardner then pivots to another deeply-irresponsible and unproven allegation: That scientists and health professionals are telling Americans that the dangers of COVID-19 are different depending on your political preferences:

You want to talk about trust? Trust is when you hear health experts say, that, ‘I don’t agree with what you’re doing because it’s against the health rules.’ [Turns head as if talking to someone else] ‘But what you’re doing is just fine, because it agrees with me philosophically and politically.’ That destroys trust, and when we’re trying to base things on science, and the same scientists come up and say, ‘Well, if you were just of this political belief, you’d be okay.’ Because to me, and to many Americans, that’s what the message seemed to be for a very long time. That’s not right. That’s not fair. And that…kinda…has to stop. [AUDIENCE APPLAUSE]

What? Gardner says that “scientists” are telling the American people, “If you were just of this political belief, you’d be okay.” Who is saying this? When? Where?

From here, Gardner insinuates rather clearly that the coronavirus pandemic is some sort of political conspiracy — just before he accuses OTHER people of politicizing the virus:

This is something that I am passionate about, because I have more and more people come to me — my 8-year-old came to me and said, ‘Dad, I know when the pandemic ends.’ And I said, ‘You do?’ And he says, ‘Yes, the day after the election.’

Now, he picked that up somewhere or he heard that somewhere, or maybe mom and dad were talking too much around him. This is a serious crisis. A serious pandemic that created a serious economic crisis. We can’t have people toy with it on the national news for their own agendas or outcomes for November 3rd.

This is classic Gardner obfuscation. First he implies that COVID-19 will go away after the November election and then he immediately states that the coronavirus is “a serious pandemic that created a serious economic crisis.” Seriously?

 

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Yes, The Magic Fairy Candle Folks Are COVIDiots Too

No free advertising for COVIDiots.

Although the opposition to public health measures to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be an overwhelmingly conservative Republican affair in terms of political affiliation, as the Boulder Daily Camera’s Kelsey Hammon reports, there is that peculiar phenomenon wherein the irrational fringes of American society on both wings of the political spectrum join forces at the back side of the moon–otherwise known as eastern Boulder County:

A Longmont candle shop that county officials said defied compliance with coronavirus public health orders has removed a sign that said wearing masks was against their “spiritual beliefs.”

Magic Fairy Shop, 634 Main St., replaced the sign with another one reading: “Please find us online,” said Chana Goussetis, spokesperson for Boulder County Public Health, on Wednesday…

Goussetis said officials found the store closed Wednesday, which she said would “constitute as compliance.”

Indeed.

Not that we welcome the closure of any Colorado going concern, but we suspect there are plenty of alternatives when it comes to magic fairy candles that magic fairy candle consumers can turn to for safe shopping. At the interface between the liberal mecca of the city of Boulder and conservative stronghold of Weld County, East Boulder County is a fascinating place where “fairy-candle” anti-maskers, like ostensibly liberal anti-vaxxers, occur at a slightly higher rate than the norm–just enough to be a noticeable mutation.

It’s possible that over the nearby county line in Weld County, things might have gone differently for the Magic Fairy Shop. But in Boulder County, they got the same treatment as any other COVIDiot. And that’s an outcome we can all (literally) live with.

Please don’t cast a spell on us or whatever.

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Cory Gardner Likes Talking Secession, Sometimes

The flag of Cory Gardner’s State of North Colorado.

We took note last week of an interview of Sen. Cory Gardner by CBS4’s Shaun Boyd, in which Gardner cited the failed 2013 secession movement by 11 rural Colorado counties as evidence of a “silent majority” that would rise up to help him beat John Hickenlooper in the November elections. It’s a head-scratching claim to say the least, since we broke down the actual votes in 2013 in favor of secession, and not only did secession go down by a majority of individual votes, but a majority of the counties that participated including the most populous, Weld County, voted no.

And as the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reports in today’s edition of The Spot newsletter, this interview wasn’t the only time Gardner has mentioned the secession movement as some kind of ace in the electoral hole:

Gardner, who lives and votes in one of the 11 counties that considered seceding in 2013, has invoked that quixotic attempt at creating a new state on several occasions this year – and blamed Hickenlooper for the fact that it happened.

“Remember what happened in rural Colorado,” Gardner said during a virtual event in late May. “You had a whole bunch of counties that tried to secede under his leadership and what he did.”

On June 30, the night Hickenlooper won the Democratic primary, Gardner told Colorado Politics, “He needs to explain why 20% of the state tried to secede when he was governor.”

In response to all these mentions, the Post tried to get an answer to a germane question: how did Gardner of Yuma County vote on secession?

Gardner’s Yuma County voted to secede but Gardner has never said how he voted. He was a congressman at the time and claimed that it would be inappropriate to comment on state issues. When asked this week whether Gardner voted to secede, his campaign did not respond. [Pols emphasis]

It seems that secession is strictly a red meat for the base affair–and when reporters ask follow-up questions about Gardner’s resurgence of support for one of the greatest jokes of the 2010s in Colorado politics, he can’t be reached for comment. After Gardner’s CBS4 interview, we wondered if secession had become a regular part of his stump speech as opposed to a one-off throwaway line. And sure enough, it’s in his script.

We hope every interview with Gardner “goes deep” on secession now. There’s so much to unpack.

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Support “Law and Order?” Shut Down Bandimere Speedway

Denver7 follows up on Tuesday night’s disturbingly large “Stop the COVID Chaos” rally, headlined by GOP House Minority Leader Patrick Neville and fringe-right columnist Michelle Malkin and drew thousands of “anti-maskers” to Jefferson County’s Bandimere Speedway near Morrison:

Video of the event left some people asking if the rally put people at risk. It showed large crowds, little social distancing and few masks. But rally participants didn’t see any danger.

“COVID is a concern, but I don’t think it should be restrictive to the point of hindering lives,” said Brian Albee.

Rep. Neville questioned why no one tries to stop the Black Lives Matter protests over COVID-19 concerns, but are raising questions about the Stop the COVID Chaos rally. [Pols emphasis]

“If they (county/state) come back and are very punitive on Bandimere for having what was a peaceful protest, yet there were vandals that were throwing molotov cocktails that were totally let off the hook (during BLM protests),” Neville said.

Let’s be frank from the outset about a few things: there’s a very simple reason why Tuesday night’s “COVID Chaos” rally represents a greater public health threat for spreading the pandemic than Black Lives Matter protests that have gone on for months now–although we are not intending here to downplay the risks inherent to any large public gathering. The difference is, at the “COVID Chaos” rally attendees were making a deliberate effort to flout basic best practices to avoid spreading the disease among themselves, unlike BLM protesters who to a much greater degree do wear masks and try to practice such social distancing as is possible under the circumstances. Look at this photo of the crowd brought together at Bandimere Tuesday night for posterity:

No masks, not even a pretense of social distancing. It’s a willful disregard for public health that simply has no analogue among lefty protesters. And while it’s true that we’ve seen plenty of lawbreaking by protesters on all sides in these months of protests over police brutality, thousands of people at Bandimere Speedway Tuesday night broke the law too. They broke the law, and the licensed owners of Bandimere Speedway broke the law, and at the Colorado Republican House Minority Leader encouraged them all to break the law. As a result of this en masse lawbreaking, it is virtually certain that some number of “COVID Chaos” attendees will contract COVID-19–and some fraction of those cases mathematically will be fatal.

With all of this in mind, if you believe that the streets of America’s cities should be militarized to put a stop to lawbreaking, you are morally obligated to also support punishing Bandimere Speedway for putting thousands of people at risk of contracting a deadly disease Tuesday night. If you like a majority of Americans believe that both police brutality and COVID-19 are problems to be addressed instead of scoffed at, you might even conclude the only correct course of action is to shut down Bandimere Speedway, and it’s offensive to draw any equivalence between these two “movements.”

Either way, either the law matters or it does not. And plenty of rioters are facing charges.

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Hickenlooper or Gardner…and by How Much?

Sen. Cory Gardner and John Hickenlooper

We haven’t asked readers this question since early July, when the consensus seemed to be that Democrat John Hickenlooper is headed for a comfortable victory over Republican Cory Gardner in November.

What say you now, Polsters? Who is going to win Colorado’s marquee race? Senator Cory Gardner or former Governor John Hickenlooper?

As always, we want to know what you think will happen here — not what you want to happen or who you personally might support. If you had to place a bet — right now — on one of the following options, what would you select?

Click after the jump to cast your vote…

(more…)

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 3)

The Denver Nuggets begin their second-round playoff series tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers. 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

► President Trump told voters in North Carolina on Wednesday — TWICE — that they should vote by mail AND in person. You, uh, can’t do that.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Bill Barr is totally on board with whatever election security nonsense President Trump dreams up. From The Washington Post:

For example, claiming that expanding mail-in balloting is “changing the rules” is like saying that restaurants moving to outdoor service is “changing the rules.” There’s a reason for the shift: limiting the risk posed by the coronavirus. Admittedly, it’s not ideal, but it’s also something that could have been done all along.

Then there’s Barr’s citing “logic” to dismiss mail balloting as risky. He did so again at another point in his interview with Blitzer:

BLITZER: You’ve said you were worried that a foreign country could send thousands of fake ballots, thousands of fake ballots to people that it might be impossible to detect. What are you basing that on?

BARR: I’m basing — as I’ve said repeatedly, I’m basing that on logic.

BLITZER: Pardon?

BARR: Logic.

You know who else falls back on “logic” as a defense of their beliefs? QAnon adherents.

Chris Cillizza of CNN calls Barr’s “defense” of scaring people about ballots “indefensible.” Barr repeatedly claimed that he wasn’t sure if it was legal to vote twice in the United States, but what would he know? He’s only THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES.

 

Colorado Republicans are going all-in on President Trump’s re-election message that everything is on fire and we’re all going to be killed if Joe Biden wins in November.

 

Hey, Jefferson County Department of Health: WTF?

As Denver7 reports, the Jeffco Health Department has still not commented on Tuesday’s COVID CHAOS superspreader rally.

 

As The Nation reports, the coronavirus response among major health-related agencies in Washington D.C. is a full-on “clusterfuck.” POLITICO can confirm said “clusterfuck.”

 

The real killer of police officers in the United States? COVID-19. As The Washington Post explains:

In a speech this week in Pittsburgh, Joe Biden linked the Trump administration’s mismanagement of the coronavirus to its handling of protests and riots with a surprising statistic: “More cops have died from covid this year than have been killed on patrol,” he said.

The Democratic presidential nominee’s claim is true, according to data compiled by the Officer Down Memorial Page and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, two nonprofits that have tracked law enforcement fatalities for decades.

As of Sept. 2, on-the-job coronavirus infections were responsible for a least 100 officer deaths, more than gun violence, car accidents and all other causes combined, according to the Officer Down group.

NLEOMF reported a nearly identical number of covid-related law enforcement deaths. It also noted that fatalities due to non-covid causes are actually down year-over-year, undermining President Trump’s claims that “law enforcement has become the target of a dangerous assault by the radical left.” [Pols emphasis]

 

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

 

(more…)

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President Trump Tells NC Voters To Commit Election Fraud

Donald Trump.

ABC News reports–and seriously, frontal disclaimer, don’t try it:

In the battleground state of North Carolina Wednesday, Trump suggested to supporters that they should attempt to vote twice — first by mail and then in person.

“They will vote and then they are going to have to check their vote by going to the poll and voting that way because if it tabulates then they won’t be able to do that. So, let them send it in, and let them go vote,” Trump said Wednesday in an interview with a North Carolina news station WECT.

He continued: “And if the system is as good as they say it is, then they obviously won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they will be able to vote. So that’s the way it is, and that’s what they should do.” [Pols emphasis]

Here in Colorado, the question briefly arose during the Democratic presidential primary this year whether voters might rush to a vote center and cast a ballot to supersede a vote cast by mail they had come to regret in the intervening period. The answer of course is no, you can’t do that–and in North Carolina, what President Donald Trump suggested his supporters try just to ‘see what happens’ would be felony election fraud. Back in 2013, local right-wing huckster Jon Caldara narrowly avoided prosecution for faking a move to Colorado Springs to vote in a local election, for the similar purpose of “investigating” a defect in the law that doesn’t actually exist.

But hey, it’s just the President of the United States, who can’t seem to finish a thought these days without the words “law and order,” telling Americans to commit crimes!

We’d call that “Peak 2020.”

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“Yosemite Samantha” Leaves Gardner High, Dry at Club 20

Yesterday, Sen. Cory Gardner once again complained about the decision by former Gov. John Hickenlooper to skip the Club 20 annual conference debates, which as we’ve discussed at length in this space have faded from prominence in recent years due to stilted politics and equally antiquated execution in the digital campaign era:

Cory Gardner, Lauren Boebert.

It’s nothing new, of course–ever since Hickenlooper announced he would skip Club 20 following now-Gov. Jared Polis‘ precedent for skipping it, Republicans have done all they could to exact a toll politically. But after Polis’ spurning of Club 20 didn’t affect his blowout win over Walker Stapleton in 2018, this election year Hickenlooper was joined by plenty of other Democrats who decided kissing this particular ring wasn’t worth the trouble.

And then yesterday evening, as the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Joey Bunch reports, a funny thing happened:

On Tuesday evening, the Republican nominee in the House race also pulled out. [Pols emphasis] Rifle restaurant owner Lauren Boebert had defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in a GOP primary upset…

Club 20 said it had already adjusted the format to feature Boebert in the absence of the Democrat, when the Republican nominee asked to send a prerecorded video answering submitted questions.

Without a Democratic opponent to debate, this could have been a golden opportunity for Lauren Boebert to demonstrate something in the way of qualifications for the job of serving in Congress. A reason we’ve heard for Boebert perhaps not wanting to attend Club 20, with or without an opponent, is the presence there of old-school Western Slope Republicans who are not happy that five-term incumbent Scott Tipton has been ousted by a fringe candidate who has directly placed this seat in jeopardy. Another is that under even slightly adversarial questioning, it’s our understanding that Boebert folds up like an accordion–which would explain a strong desire for scripted answers to scripted questions.

Either way, we do believe the “question” of Club 20’s relevance, which has consisted entirely for the last few years of Republicans carping that nobody pays attention to Club 20 anymore, has been settled. By a Republican that fellow Republicans can’t say a thing negative about, at least in public, until November 4.

Them’s the breaks, folks.

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Colorado Republicans: Welcome to Thunderdome!

Clockwise from left: Your office, Gary Busey (“Under Siege” reference), your favorite restaurant; your car

The Colorado Republican Party is going all-in on President Trump’s new narrative that everything you know and love has been destroyed because of Joe Biden and the Democrats.

“Small businesses are being burned to the ground,” says a Colorado Republican Committee email. “Homes are under siege. Families are in danger.”

Colorado Republicans are absolutely insisting that “this is the reality…in Democrat-controlled cities across America.”

If you are looking around yourself and wondering why you don’t see everything on fire and your home being looted, you are not alone. According to a new poll from Reuters:

By contrast, most Americans do not see crime as a major priority and do not think it is increasing in their communities, the poll showed. [Pols emphasis]

Only about 8% of American adults listed crime as a top priority for the country, compared with 30% who said it was the economy or jobs, and 16% who said it was the healthcare system.

But that’s not all. To the degree that people do believe in the Republicans’ doomsday scenario, they mostly blame…Republicans. New polling from Quinnipiac University shows that 6-in-10 active voters believe that the United States is worse off than it was in 2016. All of those respondents are presumably aware that Joe Biden has not been the President of the United States since 2016.

Actual email from the “Colorado Republican Committee”

Colorado Republicans are nevertheless following Dear Leader Trump down this bizarre hole. Last week, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway openly admitted that scaring voters is basically the plan. Via The New York Times:

Kellyanne Conway, President Trump’s departing counselor, said on Thursday that Mr. Trump stood to benefit politically from the kind of unrest that erupted this week in Kenosha, Wis., after the police shooting of an unarmed Black man, Jacob Blake.

“The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order,” Ms. Conway said on “Fox & Friends.”

She had been asked on the program to respond to criticism from the Biden campaign and Pete Buttigieg, the former Democratic presidential candidate, that Mr. Trump was responsible for societal divisions that have been magnified by the protests this summer over police brutality and racial injustice. She told the interviewers she had seen a quote from a Wisconsin restaurant owner to the effect that protesters were actually helping to get Mr. Trump re-elected.

The next step for Republicans is to prop up a specific villain…if they can find one. Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley), who moonlights as the State Republican Party Chairman in Colorado, wants an investigation to find out “who is funding these violent riots” (cue George Soros accusation in 3…2…) According to the previously mentioned GOP email, Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert is also calling for an investigation into something. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul went one step further, threatening to subpoena “Antifa,” which is both sad and hilarious because “Antifa” is not an actual organization with a business address or a phone number.

If all of this sounds new and terrible, you’re only half-right. As Paul Waldman writes for The Washington Post, Trump’s doomsday scenarios are just an extension of the same sort of fear-based politics that Republicans have boosted for decades:

“A lot of people are looking at what’s happening to these Democrat-run cities and they’re disgusted,” Trump said before he traveled to Kenosha, Wis., where he walked in front of rubble to illustrate the destruction.

The scene, he would have you believe, is the same everywhere Democrats are in charge. “Portland has been burning for many years, for decades it’s been burning,” he claimed, which would be news to the city’s residents, who somehow manage to get from their small-batch locally sourced kombucha cafe to their artisanal bike shop without being engulfed in flames.

And it’s not just Kenosha and Portland, Ore. “There is violence and danger in the streets of many Democrat-run cities throughout America,” Trump said in his convention speech…

…But facts are irrelevant here; what matters is creating anger and fear. And the only difference between Trump’s rhetoric and what we’ve heard from Republicans for a long time is that the implied and the explicit have been reversed. Trump talks constantly about the nightmare of “Democrat” places but leaves out the flip side that Republicans usually emphasize: the superiority of small towns and rural areas and the people who live there.

This is also why Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is once again talking about that idiotic failed attempt at secession in 2013, despite the fact that the math absolutely does not add up in his favor. And yes, it’s completely counterintuitive; if you believe that American cities are burning to the ground, then you definitely don’t live anywhere near an American city. Unfortunately for Gardner, the vast majority of Colorado voters do live near cities.

This fearmongering campaign style might help Trump pick up support in certain parts of the country, but it’s not going to be very effective in Colorado. So why do Colorado Republicans do it?

Simple: They don’t have anything else to say.

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Big Buy: DMB Snaps Up $1.8 Million In CD-3 Airtime

CD-3 Democratic candidate Diane Mitsch Bush.

A press release from the surging Diane Mitsch Bush for Congress campaign marks the next step in her increasingly determined bid to win Colorado’s Third Congressional District: a TV ad buy that should saturate media in this mostly rural and small media market district:

Today, candidate for Colorado’s Third Congressional District Diane Mitsch Bush announced that her campaign has reserved more than $1.8 million in television ads for the remaining two months until election day.

The reservation includes all four media markets that cover the district: Denver, Albuquerque (which covers Durango), Grand Junction, and Colorado Springs (which covers Pueblo). This announcement comes after EMILY’s List endorsed Mitsch Bush on Monday. The DCCC added her to their list of Red to Blue candidates on the same day.

“I’m excited to share more about my vision for Colorado’s Third District in the closing months of this campaign,” said Diane Mitsch Bush. “I have heard from Coloradans across this district about the need to lower skyrocketing health care costs, protect people with pre-existing conditions, defend our public lands, and create an economy that works for everyone. Our campaign has grassroots support across all 29 counties in this district, and we’re doing it all without taking a single penny from corporate PACs. I am going to spend the next two months earning every single vote.”

Buying into the Albuquerque media market in order to reach voters in southwest Colorado is an annoying perennial anachronism for CD-3 candidates–but with the kind of money Mitsch Bush is throwing down as a nationally prominent “Red to Blue” star, she’s assured the upper hand in the screen time war. For perspective, this $1.8 million ad buy is just short of the $1.9 million Mitsch Bush brought in for her entire 2018 campaign against outgoing Rep. Scott Tipton–not just for ads, we’re talking all receipts. On the other side, Republican Lauren Boebert has struggled mightily to raise money so far, and is likely to find herself heavily dependent on third parties to keep her message on the air.

“DMB” needs every advantage to win this seat back for Democrats after a decade of Republican control.

Since the June 30th primary, it’s been 100% advantage DMB.

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Gov. Jared Polis Has Finally Gone Too Far

Pueblo chiles are the best, but hopefully we can all agree this gastronomical error is not the best way to prove it to New Mexico. Chalk it up to Gov. Jared Polis’ lovable oddity, along with the polo shirt bow tie.

And then forget it ever happened.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 2)

Today is the official anniversary of the formal end of World War II. 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

► As The Colorado Sun reports, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner still very much wants to get rid of Obamacare…but that’s about the extent of his health care plan. Gardner and other Republicans are finding that ACA opposition is not very popular with voters.

Via The Colorado Sun (9/2/20)

 

In case you missed it, this happened on Tuesday:

As we noted yesterday, the White House is facing increased pressure to explain why the President really made an unscheduled visit to Walter Reed Hospital last November.

 

Democrat Joe Biden raised $364.5 million dollars IN AUGUST. Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden is expected to announce that his campaign raised more than $300 million IN AUGUST. As The New York Times explains:

The sum would shatter past monthly records as small donors have poured money into Mr. Biden’s coffers, especially since the selection of Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, and big contributors, from Silicon Valley to Wall Street, have given checks that can be as large as $721,300.

In a sign of the financial momentum behind Democrats, ActBlue, the main site that processes donations to the party, reported the second-biggest fund-raising day in its history on Monday, with more than $35 million donated. A majority of Mr. Biden’s August total came from online grass-roots donors, according to another person familiar with the figures.

The people familiar with Mr. Biden’s fund-raising did not know the exact final figure for the month of August, or how much higher than $300 million it would be.

Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign holds the current record for fundraising in one month at $193 million. Biden will OBLITERATE that number.

 

Senate Republicans and President Trump’s campaign have announced new ad buys in several states…none of them in Colorado. In other words, it sucks to be Cory Gardner.

 

 If you know anyone who attended the “Covid Chaos” event at Bandimere Speedway in Jefferson County on Tuesday, you should probably not go anywhere near them for the next 14 days.

Gah!

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

 

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Senate Republicans Still Spending…In Other States

Sen. Cory Gardner and John Hickenlooper.

We noted in early August that the main Senate Super PAC — Senate Leadership Fund — was spending heavily in several states OTHER than Colorado, which was a bad sign for the re-election hopes of Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

On Tuesday, Senate Republicans announced another big television ad blitz. Once again, Colorado is not on the list. From POLITICO PRO [subscription required]:

A cadre of groups run by allies of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have added heavily to their TV buys in five battleground Senate races, a spokesperson for the groups confirmed to POLITICO.

Three different organizations run by McConnell allies, which fall under the same umbrella, added $41 million in five races: Arizona, Iowa, Georgia, North Carolina and Maine [Pols emphasis], Jack Pandol, a spokesperson for the groups, confirmed. Outside groups in both parties are invested heavily in all five races, which are critical to the battle for the majority.

There’s no good way to spin this news for Gardner. Senate Leadership Fund has now declined to invest in Colorado for the second time in the last four weeks, and we know from available public polling data that they aren’t holding back because Gardner is winning. The top of the ticket isn’t spending in Colorado, either; President Trump’s campaign on Monday announced new ad buys in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Minnesota.

The only reason not to throw money at Colorado NOW, with just 6 weeks to go until mail ballots go out, is if Senate Republicans don’t think Gardner can win.

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TUESDAY TUESDAY TUESDAY: “COVID Chaos,” Aptly Named


Photo by CD-7 GOP candidate Casper Stockham


Photo by Randy Corporon

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Pretty close to an epidemiological worst-case scenario, reports Denver7:

Thousands of supporters gathered at Bandimere speedway on Tuesday night, though they did not gather to watch racing. This, in many attendees’ words, was a peaceful protest.

The Stop the COVID Chaos Rally was held to promote two lawsuits being filed against Colorado policies related to COVID-19. The first is being filed by Bandimere Speedway against Jefferson County for its health regulations on businesses. The second is being filed by Colorado House minority leader Rep. Patrick Neville against Gov. Jared Polis’s emergency mask mandate…

We’re not sure what Denver7 is talking about with the second lawsuit from Patrick Neville, since his appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court was rejected last Friday–perhaps he intends to file a different suit, but we haven’t seen confirmation of that as of this writing.

As for the thousands of COVIDiots swapping droplets with one another last night, now comes the incubation period.

—–

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, columnist Michelle Malkin.

As the Denver Post’s Shelly Bradbury reports, sometimes the jokes write themselves:

The Jefferson County racetrack that health officials took to court for violating social distancing requirements at its events is hosting a “Stop the COVID Chaos” rally Tuesday, renewing concerns from the county health department about public safety amid a pandemic.

Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville and right-wing activist Michelle Malkin are slated to attend the evening rally at Bandimere Speedway, according to a statement on the racetrack’s website.

Attorney Randy Corporon, who has represented the racetrack, and members of the Bandimere family will also attend the event, which will include speeches and a presentation on why public health orders regarding coronavirus precautions are unconstitutional, according to the statement.

Jefferson County’s Bandimere Speedway has been a vanguard of “COVID resistance” throughout the pandemic, repeatedly going to court to keep their stands full(ish) with and without any semblance of best practices to contain the spread of the disease. At tonight’s rally, it’s our guess that face masks will be unfashionable at best, and the proper six feet-plus of distance always to be observed in public will be more of an exercise in futility than a rule.

When the “COVID Chaos” becomes less of a laughing matter, of course, is in the days to couple weeks after–when the outbreak you can set your watch to starts exacting its toll among the freedom fighters attending tonight’s festivities. Much like Donald Trump’s misguided Tulsa rally that claimed the life of Herman Cain a few weeks later, or the Sturgis motorcycle rally now blamed for at least 20 new COVID-19 cases in Colorado alone, these are fully predictable tragedies–and the attendees, high-ranking GOP elected officials among them, are the only ones who don’t get that.

As always, avoid the area downwind if possible–and roll your windows up if you have to take C-470 this evening.

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Colorado and Arizona are Looking Blue

Nope

The re-election campaign for President Trump seems to be having trouble raising more money than it spends these days. As The Associated Press reported, Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden is outspending Trump by a 10-to-1 margin on political advertising.

The Trump campaign made it known on Monday that it is preparing to go on TV with ads in a handful of states — which says plenty about how the campaign is feeling about 2020. As NBC News explains:

The Trump campaign is going on the air this week with TV ad buys in five key states: Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Minnesota, senior adviser Jason Miller told reporters on Monday, returning to the airwaves in battleground states it pulled out of during the GOP convention.

All but Minnesota are seen as essential to Trump’s path to re-election as he trails Democrat Joe Biden nationally and in most battleground state polls.

You may have noticed that Colorado is not included on that list. This isn’t a huge surprise — Colorado has appeared to be out of reach for Trump for some time now — but it’s still interesting to see that the Trump campaign isn’t even feinting in our direction anymore.

It’s also worth noting that Arizona doesn’t appear on this new ad buy, but Georgia remains in the mix; that’s not good news for Trump, who shouldn’t have to worry about a traditionally-red state like Georgia but should be more competitive in traditionally-red Arizona. It would appear that these 6-week-old numbers from Morning Consult are still fairly accurate:

None of this is welcome news for Trump or Senate Republicans, who desperately need somebody on the right to invest more coin in saving Arizona Sen. Martha McSally and Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner. As we wrote in early August, Senate Republicans aren’t investing heavily in Colorado to help Gardner, who has steadily trailed Democrat John Hickenlooper in the polls for many months. Republicans also seem to be backing away from Arizona, where McSally is behind Democrat Mark Kelly in both the polls and in fundraising.

If the Trump campaign isn’t going to play much in either Arizona or Colorado, then McSally and Gardner are basically on their own now. Trump was already an albatross for both Senators, but now he’s an albatross that isn’t even spending money to excite the base.

This could also be a major factor in Colorado’s most competitive congressional district in 2020: CO-3. Like Gardner, Republican Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert has tied herself firmly to Trump; unlike Gardner, Boebert doesn’t have many millions of dollars to spend on advertising and really needs a national effort to keep Trump supporters engaged in Colorado.

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Who Said It?

We don’t want to spoil the ending, so read this quote and then click to see who said these words in response to a question about when/if Congress will finally approve another coronavirus stimulus package:

Well, you know, I think it needs to have additional assistance to individuals and this additional assistance to businesses and additional assistance to health care. You know, we may not get all of that in one package. I hope that we do. But we can also vote on things that have everything that people like, but maybe just not, you know, all of the things that people like. [Pols emphasis] Let’s move forward. Let’s pass them. Unfortunately, people like Nancy Pelosi, she called millions and millions of Americans, “Enemies of the state.” Enemies of the state. Her fellow Americans, she called enemies of the state. That hardly sounds like somebody who wants to actually make a deal on a relief package.

Who said it? The answer is after the jump…

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Trump To Somebody, Kidding We Hope: “They’re All Going To Die”


Here’s a clip from Fox News Channel prime-time propagandist Laura Ingraham’s interview of President Donald Trump, which aired last night. Although this video is being widely scrutinized today for its many baffling and outrageous moments, such as the “plane loaded with thugs” Trump claims evidence-free was headed to Washington to bust up his superspreader event Republican National Convention acceptance speech, there’s a particular bit of word salad at 7:15 into the interview that has left us genuinely stumped:

It’s not only the Democrats, it’s the media, the fake news. The news is so fake. Like I told you with the mayor, where they make them look like it’s a great unity thing, when actually they were cursing at him and they would’ve done big numbers on him, but they don’t show that. They just show the mayor standing with these very tough thugs, and he was gone, OK? They saved him. But NBC shows it like it’s unity with the people. I don’t get it. I don’t know why they’re doing it. And I say — I will say this, at some point I will not be president. Hopefully, that’ll be in five years from now, but I will not be president. And they’re going to die, they’re all going to die. [Pols emphasis] Can you imagine if they had to cover Sleepy Joe Biden? It won’t be very much fun. But much more importantly, our country would go to hell; our stock markets will crash as sure as you’re sitting there. We will have problems like you’ve never had…

Help us out here: “they,” as in the people are “all going to die”–that’s the press, right? If Trump is talking about the press, we could give him the benefit of the doubt that he means “they’re all going to die” some kind of metaphorical sense, perhaps of boredom from having to cover “Sleepy Joe” Biden instead of Trump’s bull-in-a-China-shop presidency. But the part right after about the country going to hell makes it seem, once again, less metaphorical?

And aren’t the press “the enemy of the people?” Or was that a metaphor too?

We realize we may be trying too hard to derive meaning from the actual words of the President of the United States. It’s just that when the President says “they’re all going to die,” we feel like it’s important for Americans to know who, you know, “they” are.

We’ll presume the best and say a fair number of people in 2020 would welcome a little boredom.

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 1)

Four more months, and we’re done with this wretched year. 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*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 

 

► President Trump says that…wait, what?

As The Washington Post explains:

As the nation grapples with volatile protests, President Trump on Monday night claimed in a Fox News interview that “people that are in the dark shadows” are “controlling the streets” and manipulating his Democratic opponent Joe Biden to sow chaos.

When host Laura Ingraham suggested the claim “sounds like conspiracy theory,” Trump doubled down, launching into a tale of a plane that allegedly flew from an unnamed city to Washington, D.C., this weekend loaded with “thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear.”

The strange exchange prompted head-scratching from prominent Trump critics and produced few clear answers about what precisely Trump was referring to.

Seriously…what?

The Fox News host then asked who the president believed was pulling the strings. Trump replied, “People that you’ve never heard of. People that are in the dark shadows.”“What does that mean?” Ingraham asked. “That sounds like conspiracy theory. Dark shadows — what is that?”

“No, they’re people that you haven’t heard of,” Trump continued. “They’re people that are on the streets, people that are controlling the streets.”

Trump then described a plane “from a certain city this weekend, and on the plane it was almost completely loaded with thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms with gear.” Ingraham asked where the plane was coming from, but the president demurred.

“I’ll tell you sometime,” he said. “It’s under investigation right now.” [Pols emphasis]

Trump, the actual President of the United States of America, appears to be promoting debunked conspiracy theories of airplanes full of protestors — Antifa Airlines! — descending on cities across the country.

 

Speaking of Trump, the White House is facing increased pressure to explain why the President really made an unscheduled visit to Walter Reed Hospital last November. As Chris Cillizza reports for CNN:

Days before Thanksgiving 2019, President Donald Trump made an unscheduled visit to Walter Reed hospital, a trip the White House later dismissed as nothing more than a “quick exam and labs” as part of his annual physical.

Even then, the explanation was fishy. Presidents don’t make trips that members of the press don’t know about almost ever — unless they are flying into a war zone and their safety is at risk. And the leader of the free world certainly doesn’t just pop in to the hospital to get an early start on his annual physical — especially without the medical staff at the hospital being given a heads up.

And now, thanks to a new book by New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt, we now know that Vice President Mike Pence was put on alert to take over the duties of president if Trump had to be anesthetized during the trip. [Pols emphasis]

Maybe Trump just gets a different kind of physical examination than every other person in America. Yeah, maybe.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is out with a new re-election ad in which he takes credit for a Paycheck Protection Program that was approved by a 96-0 vote in the U.S. Senate. Just think: If not for Gardner, the vote might have been 95-1!

 

Denver police officials are making it clear that they do NOT want self-appointed militia members showing up to “help” them deal with protests.

 

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

 

(more…)

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Cory Gardner Milks 96-0 CARES Act Vote Dry


A new TV spot began running today across Colorado from Sen. Cory Gardner’s re-election campaign, and it’s all about one thing:

Watching this ad, you might get the idea that Cory Gardner played some kind of particular role in the passage of “forgivable loans for small businesses,” which was a component of the CARES Act coronavirus economic relief package passed in March. That’s certainly what is intended.

“But wait,” you’d then reasonably ask if you’re the type who follows political news in detail, “didn’t the CARES Act pass the U.S. Senate unanimously?”

And the answer is yes–the CARES Act passed the Senate by a 96-0 margin on March 25th.

If you’re waiting for the payoff here, the additional thing that Cory Gardner did beyond joining a 96-0 vote to approve the CARES Act, you’re not going to find it. Had Gardner voted the other way, the loans that kept Rosie’s Diner afloat would have still passed by a 95-1 margin. Gardner’s campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) are promoting this ad with the tagline, “no one works harder for Colorado than Cory Gardner,” but in this case literally every other Senator worked as hard as Gardner did.

Although there’s nothing wrong with Gardner’s vote with the entire Senate to approve the CARES Act, building an entire ad campaign around this 96-0 vote only demonstrates once again how little Gardner has to offer voters as he asks them for another six years in office.

Cory Gardner. He’s the incumbent.

That’s it. That’s the whole pitch, with Trump’s pic if you’re outside Colorado.

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