Are We There Yet? Almost…

UPDATE 5:20PM: In a speech best described as incoherent and so packed with misinformation that most news networks cut away early on, President Donald Trump again declared himself the winner of the 2020 election and vowed “tremendous litigation” would put a stop to “illegal voting”–for which no evidence exists:

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If this needs a caption, you’re reading the wrong website.

An outcome of the 2020 Presidential election is getting ever closer. As The New York Times reports, Pennsylvania may announce results this evening:

With much of the presidential race hinging on the outcome in Pennsylvania, the state’s top election official said that she expected the “overwhelming majority” of the state’s 550,000 remaining votes to be tallied by Thursday and that a state winner “definitely could” be announced by the end of the day.

President Trump’s lead in the state over Joseph R. Biden Jr. has dwindled since Wednesday from more than 10 percentage points to less than two points, with fewer than 115,000 votes now separating the candidates. If Mr. Biden wins the state, he wins the presidency.

We’re still awaiting word on ballot counts in Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada, but Pennsylvania’s 20 Electoral Votes — if they are awarded to Democrat Joe Biden — would make these deliberations moot in terms of determining the next President of the United States. If Pennsylvania goes for Biden it will put the Democratic nominee at 273 Electoral Votes.

Results in Arizona may be available on Friday, and a new batch of numbers is expected today out of Nevada — though counting in that state will continue well into the weekend. Biden may also yet take Georgia.

The bottom line: It’s possible that we will know the winner of the Presidential election as soon as tonight.

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“Yosemite Samantha” Is Going To Washington (For Now)

Rep.-elect Lauren Boebert (center).

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s veteran political reporter Charles Ashby reports, Republican Rep.-elect Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert did the thing every winning candidate has to do–run up the score in your strongholds (with one notable exception, see below), and don’t lose too badly in the places you’re going to lose:

Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush didn’t pull in as many votes as she was expected to in many of the left-leaning counties in the expansive 3rd Congressional District…

Boebert, who ended up winning the seat in Tuesday’s election by about 5.5 percentage points, did as expected in such heavily right-leaning counties as Mesa and Delta. She also amassed impressive numbers in such left-leaning ones as Alamosa, Conejos and Huerfano, where there are more registered Democrats than Republicans.

But while Boebert lost her home county of Garfield by more than 6%, she only lost the dominantly Democratic Pueblo County by 2.5%.

Although Lauren Boebert underperformed overall in the general election compared to her ousted predecessor Rep. Scott Tipton, the deep red areas of this rural and mountainous district came out solidly in the end–and in the Democratic stronghold of the district in Pueblo, another tepid showing for Democrats in general failed to provide Democratic candidate Diane Mitsch Bush the boost she needed in this nominal Democratic stronghold. It’s very interesting to note the big margin by which Boebert lost her home Garfield County, however–as the location of most of Boebert’s bad press prior to her run for Congress, it’s a telling reminder that those who know Boebert like her least.

Rep.-elect Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (center).

Some of the failure to take full advantage of the opportunity Boebert’s unexpected primary win over Tipton, who had held the seat with sufficient ease in prior elections that it would not have been nearly as contested by Democrats in 2020, does lie with Mitsch Bush. Trying again in 2020 after losing in the Democratic wave 2018 elections, Mitsch Bush received a massive infusion of support after Boebert won that doesn’t appear to have helped her much. For one thing, that spending was countered at every step by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and independent groups supporting Boebert, compensating for Boebert’s own inability to compete in fundraising on her own. While both sides spent heavily on the air, Boebert’s relentless in-person campaigning in open defiance of COVID-19 health orders, like in Republican races across the state and nation, does appear to have given her an advantage over Mitsch Bush’s low-energy but safe “all virtual” campaign.

So what happens next? Well, Lauren Boebert goes to Congress for at least one two-year term, where she faces an extremely steep learning curve. We suggest starting with the word “compact,” which as the Grand Junction Sentinel humorously explained means different things depending on the context. One of the things we’ll be watching to see is who she hires in terms of top staff–either taking cues from Washington Republicans and bringing in qualified people, or elevating the local fringy “semi-pros” who ran her campaign. One of the principal knocks on Boebert during the campaign was her almost complete vacuum of policy depth or agenda, so it’s fair to say that her chief of staff will exercise a very large degree of influence.

In the fairly likely event that Boebert fails to distinguish herself in this first term, we do believe she will face a primary challenge from “establishment” Republicans in 2022. The longtime political consultant who ran Tipton’s campaign and failed to anticipate Boebert’s primary victory, Michael Fortney, was hugely embarrassed by the result along with Tipton himself. Democrats will be watching Boebert closely for weakness to exploit, but so will local Republicans ready to oust her from this seat if she stumbles in any way. Depending on what happens to the map of CD-3 during the upcoming redistricting process, either side or both sides could be gunning (pun intended) for Boebert in two years.

The one thing we can say for sure is the AOC Jello wrestling match is never going to happen. Sorry, boys.

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Election Day…Still

UPDATE: Biden wins Wisconsin and Michigan. Assuming that Arizona and Nevada remain in Biden’s column, he will be the next President of the United States.

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While you were sleeping, President Trump kinda sorta declared victory and media outlets pushed back vociferously.

Then, Democrat Joe Biden pulled ahead of President Trump in Michigan and Wisconsin. In Pennsylvania, some 1.4 million ballots have yet to be counted…but those ballots appear to be favoring Biden by a wide margin.

Via The New York Times (11/4/20)

Meanwhile, Biden maintains his lead in Arizona, and Georgia is still in play as votes are still being counted in heavily-Democratic Atlanta. Biden also still leads in Nevada, which won’t release new numbers until Thursday. Team Biden is projecting confidence:

We will update this space as more information becomes available.

 

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Colorado Did Its Duty Again–Sorry, Rest Of America

Small-wave surfing.

John Ingold writes for the Colorado Sun:

For the first time in 84 years in Colorado and for only the fourth time in state history, Democrats have won … everything. The governor’s mansion. The secretary of state’s, treasurer’s and attorney general’s offices. Both chambers of the state legislature. The balance of power in the state’s U.S House of Representatives delegation. Both seats in the U.S. Senate. And the state’s electoral votes for president.

As we expected going in and proved to be the case, Colorado witnessed another massive victory for Democrats in 2020 to follow up a landslide in 2018 that itself pushed the margins of what was achievable in the most favorable circumstances. With the exception of failing to capture the “reach goal” R+6 CD-3 seat despite an extreme and unqualified surprise Republican nominee, Democrats won every race they prioritized in Colorado, and eliminated the last two vestiges of Republican statewide power by toppling Sen. Cory Gardner and winning a Democratic majority on the University of Colorado Board of Regents.

Remember how Donald Trump promised Republicans they would someday be “tired of winning?” In Colorado, Democrats are approaching an electoral ceiling caused by, well, too much winning. Inevitably, Colorado Democrats will find themselves more on the defensive in 2022 than in previous years simply because there is little additional ground left to gain and so many offices to defend.

Outside of Colorado, although Joe Biden appears to be consolidating his win over Donald Trump by a smaller-than-expected margin, this was not a great election for Democrats despite great hope of an historic landslide going in. And as Politico reports, we’ll be figuring out why for some time to come:

Democrats’ path to a Senate majority has narrowed dramatically as the party underperformed expectations in a handful of the most expensive races in the country, but control of the Senate remains undecided with a handful of states still too close to call.

Democrats’ chance for retaking the upper chamber slipped further Wednesday afternoon after GOP Sen. Susan Collins defeated Democrat Sara Gideon in the Maine Senate race…

Democrats went into Election Day expecting to pick up several seats. Yet Republicans remained optimistic as they clung to a slim Senate majority, buoyed by victories in those states and a key victory in Iowa. Sen. Joni Ernst won a second term against challenger Theresa Greenfield despite being badly outspent by the Democrat throughout the race. The GOP also held a narrow lead in North Carolina, where GOP Sen. Thom Tillis was fending off Democrat Cal Cunningham, with votes still coming in.

We know readers have a lot to say about the results of this election both inside and outside Colorado, so we’ll introduce a couple of important factors that may have been decisive in changing the expected narrative last night and yield the floor. Trump and Republicans do not seem to have taken as much of the political blame for the COVID-19 pandemic from voters as many anticipated, despite America having suffered disproportionately and public polls showing broad dissatisfaction with Trump’s handling of the crisis. What’s more, COVID-19 safety considerations restricted Democratic field campaigns to a far greater degree than their Republican counterparts–fewer doors knocked, fewer public events. Despite it being reasonable and appropriate for Democrats to pay heed to pandemic best practices that Republicans routinely disregard, it may not in retrospect have been the most politically expedient decision.

There’s more, of course. A lot more. To the extent that Democrats had hoped for a generational landslide victory that would have reset American politics, stopped rampant gerrymandering that gave Republicans undeserved legislative majorities for the last decade, and provided a clear mandate for bold changes, it’s evident at this point that they will not get what they wanted. Mitch McConnell retaining control of the U.S. Senate, which is as of now the most likely outcome pending the resolution of outstanding races and runoff elections in Georgia, is a sobering reminder of the continuing division and gridlock that besets the nation.

As of now, it looks like Biden will be the next President, and Colorado has progressed even further along its maturation from purple state to blue state. In the wave of 2018 and again last night in an unexpectedly different political climate, Colorado voted consistently blue.

Our advice is to celebrate that; and leave what cannot be helped for a day when you’ve had more sleep.

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LIVE: Colorado Election Night 2020

UPDATE: Colorado called for Joe Biden and John Hickenlooper by national outlets at 7:01pm.

Welcome to blue statehood.

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Wondering where to watch tonight’s election returns? Well, wonder no more!

Your friends from “The Get More Smarter Podcast” will be LIVE tonight for an Election Night Extravaganza. Special guests will be dropping by throughout the evening to discuss 2020 election results in real time. We’ll kick things off at 6:30 pm on Facebook and Periscope. Check us out on YouTube or CLICK HERE FOR THE FACEBOOK LINK.

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How Bad Do You Think It’ll Get?

Boarded-up souvenir shop on the 16th Street Mall, Denver.

FOX 31’s Aimee Lewis reports on one of the bigger questions on everybody’s mind today:

Hoping for the best and preparing for the best, is how Executive Director of the Department of Public Safety for the County and City of Denver, describes the response plan headed into election week.

“I believe the people of Colorado and Denver will respect the results of the election,” said Murphy Robinson on Monday…

“If you cause destruction or damage, we will handle you appropriately,” said Robinson. “We will arrest you and you will be taken into custody. We have no tolerance for that in Denver.”

Colorado State Patrol will also be out in full force this week in and around the Capitol.

After a spate of unconfirmed rumors in recent days, we appear to have the first report of something like voter intimidation at an Arapahoe County drop box–Colorado Public Radio:

Arapahoe County officials on Monday called police on two men, one of them carrying a gun on his hip, who were standing outside of a Littleton drop box location filming voters as they returned ballots.

The incident occurred at the drop box outside the main Arapahoe County building on Prince Street in Littleton, which includes a Department of Motor Vehicles office. Several county employees saw the men, said Peg Perl, Arapahoe County Elections Director.

“We had some concerns from voters who felt unsafe and we had to involve law enforcement,” Perl said. “They are now gone.”

Although it’s legal to openly carry guns in most parts of Colorado outside the City and County of Denver, offenders can still be charged with enhanced crimes like felony menacing if they openly carry a weapon while engaging in other activity that constitutes intimidation–that in addition to the misdemeanor offense of voter intimidation that can be earned by any action “to impede, prevent, or otherwise interfere with the free exercise of the elective franchise of any elector.” It’s our expectation that here in Colorado, any documented case of this kind of thing will be swiftly dealt with.

As for civil disturbance tonight and in the coming days? It’s necessary to be honest here, and admit that the potential exists for violence from either left- or right-wing extremists depending on the results–and how the results are accepted by President Donald Trump and his supporters. Joe Biden is overwhelmingly expected to carry Colorado by a wide margin, so the motivation for unrest in either direction is likely to be external in nature to events here. We’ll add that it’s on balance less likely for the Antifa left to take to the barricades for Joe Biden than the MAGA right to do so for Donald Trump, strictly based on the relative enthusiasm for the two candidates with the extreme wings of their parties. And of course, if Trump refuses to accept the results of an election he has clearly lost, a massive and entirely legitimate peaceful protest mobilization could ensue.

The one thing everybody agrees on? The wider the margin, the better for the country. We will be watching anxiously like most Americans. Let democracy and cool heads prevail.

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Bennet Taps Brakes On Cabinet Speculation

Sen. Michael Bennet (D).

As the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reports:

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet said Monday that he doesn’t want to be education secretary — a job he was considered for under the last Democratic president — if Joe Biden is elected president this week.

In an interview, the Denver Democrat and former superintendent of Denver Public Schools said “no” when asked if he was interested in the job, which former President Barack Obama considered nominating him for after the 2008 election…

“My plan is to run for reelection to the Senate, and that’s what I’m going to do,” Bennet said.

We took note in October that Sen. Bernie Sanders was floating interest in serving as Labor Secretary in a Joe Biden White House, which naturally provoked a round of speculation about the suitability of Colorado lawmakers like Sen. Michael Bennet to be called up for administration jobs. There’s a bench full of qualified Democrats ready to take over in the event Bennet or other local officials do get the call, but we can also understand Bennet wanting to remain in the U.S. Senate for a longer period than he would likely serve in the Cabinet by seeking what should be comfortable re-election in 2022.

With that said, like soon-to-be Sen. John Hickenlooper can tell you, people change their minds. After a decade in the Senate, Education Secretary isn’t the only job Bennet would be qualified to fill.

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Election Day 2020 Open Thread #1

“This process of election affords a moral certainty that the office of President will seldom fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”

–Alexander Hamilton

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Colorado Ballots Surge Past 2018 Total

Coloradans continue to vote in staggering numbers, as evidenced by the latest ballot return data from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. Through Sunday, Nov. 1, more than 2,573,699 million Coloradans have cast a ballot; this surpasses the total number of ballots cast in all of 2018, when 2.56 million Coloradans circled their ovals.

When all is said and done, Colorado should have little trouble setting a new total vote record — well more than the 2.86 million who voted in 2016. In fact, we might blow by that mark sometime today.

Via Colorado Secretary of State (through 11/1/20)

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How Cory Gardner Destroyed Cory Gardner

(Bumped into November)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-ekt).

It appears likely that Sen. Cory Gardner will not be re-elected to the U.S. Senate next week. If months and years of polling data are accurate, Gardner will be handily defeated by Democrat John Hickenlooper. It will be a loss of his own making. 

Like many Republicans, Gardner might have been dragged down by Trump in 2020 no matter what he did. Democrats certainly would have tied the two together whenever possible, but Gardner made it easy by getting stuck in a quintessential quagmire; instead of trying to extricate himself from Trump’s backside, Gardner just kept stepping closer and closer and closer.

But Gardner also made decisions that would have been wrong under any president. His quest to abolish the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was his central campaign message in 2014, became untenable as Americans decided that the ACA was actually pretty useful. Gardner’s refusal to engage with constituents and his persistent ducking of reporters fed a narrative of aloof indifference. “Cardboard Cory” was a brilliant counter to Gardner’s detachment from the public, but it wouldn’t have worked so well if Gardner hadn’t been such a perfect foil. 

Gardner was haunted by his infamous 2014 ad in which he said, “When my party is wrong, I’ll say it.” This was the type of grand statement that helped him defeat incumbent Sen. Mark Udall, but eventually the bill came due on his promises. Gardner never tried to earn any equity with Colorado voters since that 2014 victory; by the time the 2020 election really started to heat up, his metaphorical wallet was empty.   

Policy-wise, Gardner put a lot of time and effort into undertakings that were not as politically-useful as he might have calculated. He made a big deal about moving the Bureau of Land Management headquarters to Colorado, but nobody cared. His push to fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) didn’t resonate with voters who were more concerned about the coronavirus outbreak and, later, social justice protests; nobody who was worried about the general state of the country was going to side with Gardner because of LWCF.   

The truth about Gardner is that he was never the brilliant rising star that he was portrayed to be in 2014. He made a lot of objectively dumb decisions that began to pile up over time. He never altered his path to reflect Colorado’s changing electorate

Gardner was good at being the opposition candidate, as he was in 2014, but he never adjusted as Republicans gained more power in Washington DC. Gardner’s shtick only works if he has a villain to oppose, which is why he needed Hillary Clinton to win the Presidency in 2016. When a Republican majority forced him into the position of actually trying to govern, Gardner was lost. 

We took a rather exhausting spin through Gardner’s full term in the Senate to identify precisely where things went wrong for Gardner. You can read through the full timeline after the jump, but the short version breaks down into 13 key moments in time:

♦ October 2016
Following the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Donald Trump brags about sexually assaulting women, Gardner calls on Trump to withdraw from the race and says, “I will not vote for Donald Trump.” [SPOILER ALERT: This doesn’t age well].

♦ Early 2017
Trump takes office and immediately promotes a “Muslim travel ban,” signals his full support for repealing the ACA, and nominates Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Gardner makes two big statements that he will eventually abandon: a) Promising not to repeal the ACA without a replacement plan, and b) Opposing Trump’s call for a wall along the US-Mexico border. 

♦ July 2017
After months of pretending that he hadn’t decided how he would vote on repealing the ACA, Gardner casts TWO separate votes to do just that. Gardner never adjusts his talking points even after Arizona Sen. John McCain’s famous “thumbs down” on the Senate floor.

♦ August 2017
Two things happen this month that will not happen again: a) Gardner holds his last town hall meetings, and b) Gardner speaks out against President Trump following the racial violence in Charlottesville, VA. 

♦ Early 2018
President Trump calls Haiti and other African nations “shithole countries.” A few months later, Trump implements his “family separation” policy for immigrants. Gardner is silent.

♦ November 2018
As Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign (NRSC), Gardner relies on a largely pro-Trump message in campaigns around the country. Back in Colorado, a massive blue wave sees Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) defeated by double digit margins. It should have been clear at this point that a pro-Trump message wasn’t going to work in Colorado.

♦ January 2019
Gardner becomes one of the first U.S. Senators to formally endorse President Trump’s re-election campaign. Whatever once bothered Gardner about Trump’s “Access Hollywood” moment no longer troubles the Yuma Republican.   

♦ March 2019
Gardner flips on his previous opposition to a border wall and backs Trump’s efforts to fund the project by declaring a dubious “national emergency.” The editorial board of The Denver Post demolishes Gardner in an Op-Ed that is widely referred to as an “un-endorsement” (The Post endorsed Gardner in 2014).

♦ August 2019
“Cardboard Cory” goes on a statewide bus tour and generates significant media attention, highlighting Gardner’s refusal to engage with constituents.

♦ October 2019
Gardner absolutely implodes in front of a gaggle of Colorado reporters when pressed to respond to reports that President Trump tried to extort the President of Ukraine. It’s hard to overstate how much this moment damaged Gardner’s credibility, both with the media and with voters in general.

♦ February 2020
Gardner votes to acquit President Trump after a Senate impeachment trial in which he gets national press for pressing Senate Republicans NOT to call on additional witnesses. Later, Gardner appears at a Trump campaign rally in Colorado Springs in which Trump says that “Cory never wavered” in his support of the President. Gardner finishes the month by jetting to a $1,000-a-bottle champagne tasting party in Palm Beach, Florida…right at the time that the coronavirus pandemic is becoming big news in the United States.

♦ June 2020
The Trump administration has now completely botched the response to COVID-19, and Black Lives Matter protests are taking center stage in the news. Gardner refuses to speak a negative word about Trump on either issue. Gardner also spends millions on TV advertisements critical of Democrat John Hickenlooper, who handily wins a Democratic Primary Election regardless.

♦ October 2020
Gardner sides with Senate Republicans on confirming a new SCOTUS nominee, which is completely at odds with his 2016 comments on Obama nominee Merrick Garland. Given one last chance to stand up to Trump, Gardner fails; he is asked in a Senate debate whether or not he believes that President Trump is a “moral and ethical man.” Gardner answers, “Yes.”  

 

And now, the full details of Gardner’s demise…

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BREAKING: A Few Thousand Trump Supporters Also Have Cars

Lots of cars, but do the math.

CBS4 Denver reports, though if you were on Denver-area freeways Sunday, you probably couldn’t miss them:

Thousands of cars filled Colorado’s interstates on Sunday as Trump supporters took to the streets at the “MAGA Drag the Interstate” rally two days before the 2020 election. From Pueblo to Fort Collins, and everywhere in between, people on two wheels and four weeks came to the Denver area and rallied at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, then made a loop around the metro area decked out in red, white and blue.

Supporters came from all over the state including Pueblo and Fort Collins.

“I think people quietly support Trump, but since he’s been getting out raising heck, we’re doing the same thing for him today,” said T.J. Stockton, a supporter.

Yesterday’s “Drag the Interstate” road rally for President Donald Trump had a carbon footprint nothing short of yuge, excitedly reports the Phil Anschutz-owned Colorado Springs Gazette:

Thousands from across the Front Range gathered Sunday at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, the gathering place for other similar causes, including protesting the governor’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Twitter lit up with reports of hundreds of cars, trucks and SUVS clogging Interstate 25 touting Trump flags, American flags and “Don’t Tread on Me” banners…

The Trump Colorado event was similar to others for the president across the country. Sunday in New York and New Jersey, Trump supporters halted traffic on two major highways.

Estimates we’ve seen ran as high as 11,000 cars and trucks participating in yesterday’s road rally, effectively clogging C-470 and Interstate 25 through the western suburbs and south Denver for several hours–certainly a big enough event for organizers to feel like they’ve kept up with the “motor MAGA madness” that swept the country this weekend.

To be sure, when you put 11,000 cars together, it makes for an impressive visual. But in the context of massive demonstrations like the 2017 Women’s March in Denver that drew hundreds of thousands of people, and the millions of Coloradans casting ballots in 2020, even 11,000 cars filled to capacity (which they were of course not) is not a particularly impressive number of actual voters. Much the same way Republicans mistake “land mass” for people when celebrating the vast stretches of dirt Republicans represent in the hinterlands, to mistake 11,000 cars, as impressive as that may appear all in a row, for “momentum” in a state Trump is losing by double digits would be a Pollyannish error.

On the upside, if they all stayed in their cars this might not become another COVID-19 “superspreader.”

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Who Will it Be in CO-03?

Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and Diane Mitsch Bush

When we last asked Colorado Pols readers to divine the election results in CO-03, the consensus seemed to be that Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush was headed toward a narrow victory over Republican Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert. With Election Day coming tomorrow, does that prognosis still hold?

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 the outcome in CO-03, where would you put your money?

Click after the jump to cast your completely un-scientific vote…

 

(more…)

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“Senator, You’re No Jack Kennedy”

Nowhere near JFK on his best day.

The Hill’s Julia Manchester reports as the clock ticks down to the final hours of Sen. Cory Gardner’s all-but-over-but-the-shouting re-election campaign–a final pitch from Gardner making a comparison that has Democrats seeing red:

Gardner is one of the most vulnerable incumbent Republican senators. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race as “lean Democratic.”

The incumbent’s campaign juxtaposed clips of Gardner with old footage from a 1962 speech that former President John F. Kennedy gave in Pueblo, Colo., in which he called for funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

“It took 50 years to get it done, and it took Cory Gardner,” the narrator says in the ad titled “Next Generation.”

The Colorado Springs Gazette’s Ernest Luning reported a week ago when the ad was originally released:

In its closing weeks, Colorado’s grueling U.S. Senate race between Cory Gardner, the Republican incumbent, and John Hickenlooper, his Democratic challenger, witnessed a surprise guest appearance by a politician in an unexpected role — President John F. Kennedy, stumping alongside Gardner in a TV commercial.

JFK is only the latest prominent Democrat to land a starring role in a Gardner commercial, joining Gov. Jared Polis, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, former President Barack Obama and even Hickenlooper, who gets a nod for some nice things he said about Gardner before they were running against each other.

Running in a state that has steadily “walked away” from the Republican Party in every election since his own six years ago, most of Cory Gardner’s positive campaign messaging has focused on Gardner’s supposed bipartisanship–despite Gardner’s record of closely toeing the Trump line with his votes in the Senate, and refusing to criticize the increasingly unpopular President even at the expense of his own reputation. Contrasted against Gardner’s deeply ingrained public image of “no waver” loyalty to Trump, these appeals to “bipartisanship” have fallen flat with Colorado voters, and done nothing to avert his double-digit downward slide in the polls.

But Gardner did manage to do one thing this time: draw the wrath of the Kennedy family.

As we’ve said before when Sen. Michael Bennet pulled the rug out from under Gardner in a previous similarly messaged ad, using favorable words of opponents and their allies is an inherently risky business. But a Trump Republican invoking one of the preeminent icons of the Democratic Party in a race against a Democratic candidate, in the most politically polarizing election season of our lives so far, is hubris that simply cannot be allowed to stand.

Based on the polls, it won’t. But as necessary as it was for Lloyd Bentsen to say it to Dan Quayle, the Kennedys had an obligation to inform Cory Gardner themselves–he is not now and will never be.

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Lauren “Q*bert” Boebert: A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

Lauren Boebert.

In an interview Wednesday with Southern Colorado’s FOX 21 News, embattled CD-3 GOP candidate Lauren Boebert tried once and for all, presumably under the advice of national Republicans worried she may actually lose this R+6 seat next Tuesday, to put this “QAnon thing” behind her–awfully late in the game, given the number of votes already cast:

Following her upset in the June Primary, much of the national and regional attention media outlets gave her, was over her ties to the baseless conspiracy, QAnon. The conspiracy claims groups of political elites are kidnapping children and drinking their blood for immortality. She has attributed her knowledge of the group to her mother, but in the interview with FOX21, walked that back.

“I’m not a follower of QAnon,” Boebert said as she ended the interview. “My mom is not a supporter of QAnon, she just talked to me about it one time.”

While this new line is consistent with most of the Republican primary victors of 2020 who willfully trafficked in the QAnon conspiracy theory to gain Republican base support before having to walk it back under ridicule before a general election audience, unfortunately for Boebert it’s just not what she told QAnon whackadoodle Ann Vandersteel on camera:

VANDERSTEEL: Do you know about the Q movement? Are you familiar with what that is?

BOEBERT: I am familiar with that. That’s that’s more my mom’s thing. She’s a little fringe. I try to I just try to keep things on track and, and positive. I’m very familiar with it though. [Pols emphasis]

VANDERSTEEL: Do you think Q is a bad thing or or is it just sort I mean, what’s your opinion?

BOEBERT: No, uh honestly, um, everything that I’ve heard of Q, I hope it, I hope that this is real because it only means America’s getting stronger and better and people are returning to conservative values. And and that’s what I am for and so everything that I have heard of this movement is only motivating and encouraging and bringing people together stronger. And if this, if this is real, it could be really great for our country.

Obviously, there’s just no way to reconcile these two versions of events. No one coerced Boebert into claiming that she is “very familiar” with QAnon, or forced her to suggest that a movement the FBI has declared a domestic terror threat “could be really great for our country.” And yes, stating that Boebert’s mom only talked to her about QAnon “one time” after saying QAnon is “my mom’s thing” is…implausible.

Look, we get it. She’s politically clueless and now that she’s in a big league race she naturally regrets lumping herself in with a fringe conspiracy theory–or at least somebody tasked with getting her elected does. But in the era before Trump’s obdurate brand of never admit wrongdoing politics, the way you handled a gaffe like this was to actually apologize and promise to do better–not tell the voters something they can watch you say on video was never said.

If Boebert does hang on Tuesday, it’s not due to any favors she did herself.

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Mitch McConnell Says Eat Cake For Christmas, America

CNN’s Manu Raju reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing back the possibility of another economic stimulus bill even further, from right after election as President Donald Trump promised if he wins to after the New Year no matter what happens Tuesday:

It’s “unfathomable,” Sen. Cory Gardner didn’t say. But for economists and public health authorities warning of a nightmarish winter ahead, and millions of Americans who needed help many months ago while Gardner pretended to hear them, this is very tough news.

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Sickly-Sweet Smell of Desperation Hits Colorado’s Senate Race

From a Colorado GOP mail piece attacking John Hickenlooper.

Westword’s Michael Roberts reports on an ugly new mail piece hitting Colorado’s U.S. Senate race from the Colorado Republican Committee, provoking significant backlash over their employment of “Willie Horton”-style racially charged scare tactics:

Accusations of racism and more have arisen over a series of fliers supporting Senator Cory Gardner’s reelection bid. Among other things, the mailers are accused of demonizing Reverend Promise Lee, a prominent Colorado Springs religious leader and criminal reform advocate who’s also serving as spokesperson for the family of De’Von Bailey, who was fatally shot in the back while fleeing from a Colorado Springs Police Department officer in August 2019; the incident has spurred a lawsuit.

Echoing the infamous Willie Horton ad employed by supporters of George H.W. Bush during his 1988 race for the presidency, the fliers attack Gardner’s opponent, former Governor John Hickenlooper, for pardoning, granting clemency or commuting the sentences of supposedly dangerous criminals, most of them people of color.

At the center of five photos is a contemporary snapshot of Lee, whom Hickenlooper pardoned in 2018. But while Lee did indeed commit a murder during a drug deal gone wrong, he was just fifteen at the time — and afterward, he turned his life around, as outlined in his book Pardoned: A Judicial Memoir, which details his inspiring path to redemption.

Using Reverend Promise Lee out of context to bash John Hickenlooper for “putting dangerous convicts back on the street” is deeply offensive to anyone familiar with his story and Colorado Springs-based ministry. Using his image and truncated version of life story to attack Hickenlooper earned this scathing reply from Rev. Lee:

The picture of me and the others lack context. And ironically, showcasing me in the center might acknowledge that reform actually works. However I doubt that this was Mr. Gardner’s intention.

It’s unfortunate that this attitude and strategy to divide people is not only interwoven in Mr. Gardner’s campaign and psyche but is also obviously rooted in his heart.

Do you want to see such a person holding a political office and perpetuating the current toxic climate of racism in our state? I certainly don’t. Mr. Gardner, your attempt to dehumanize people of color to advance your political career has backfired on you. Your party should be ashamed at your desperate divisive tactics.

Another individual depicted in this mail piece is a man named Renee Lima-Marin, who this mailer says was “pardoned to stave off deportation.” What it doesn’t say is that Lima-Marin was pardoned after the Colorado legislature passed a unanimous 99-0 resolution calling for him to be pardoned. Some of the biggest supporters of Lima-Marin’s pardon and sponsors of this unanimously approved resolution were far-right Republican hardliners like Rep. Dave Williams and Sen. Owen Hill.

This isn’t the first time that Hickenlooper has been hit with grossly distorted attacks accusing him of being “soft on crime,” such as in 2014 when his opponent in the governor’s race Bob Beauprez ran ads implying Hickenlooper was responsible for the murder by white supremacists of Hick’s friend and Colorado Department of Corrections director Tom Clements. In 2020, Colorado Republicans are no less factually off base–and piling on racism and xenophobia for good measure.

In the end, this is noteworthy only because it is so pointlessly shameful. In a race where the outcome is as close to a foregone conclusion as politics affords in the modern era, this was an unnecessary act of desperation that robs Colorado Republicans of honor in defeat.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (October 30)

[We’re just going to keep this here]: STOP! If you still have a mail ballot at home, DO NOT DROP IT IN THE MAIL. We are close enough to Election Day that you now need to take your completed ballot to a local collection box; visit GoVoteColorado.com for more information. 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 New York Times reports, the United States just recorded its worst week yet regarding the COVID-19 pandemic:

The country reported a record of more than 500,000 new coronavirus cases in the past week.

It’s not just a few areas driving the surge, as was the case early on. Half of U.S. counties saw new cases peak during the past month. Almost a third saw a record in the past week.

Meanwhile, as POLITICO reports, Vice President Mike Pence hasn’t been participating in coronavirus task force meetings FOR MORE THAN A MONTH.

Locally, the Jefferson County Public Health Department has issued new COVID-19 guidelines. Summit County and Mesa County have also added new restrictions.

 

This is crazy. As The Washington Post reports:

Early voting in Texas on Friday surpassed the total turnout from the 2016 election, with four days left until Election Day.

More than 9 million people have cast ballots early in Texas, according to the secretary of state’s office. In 2016, the Lone Star State’s total turnout was just shy of 9 million.

Texans flocked to polling centers when early voting began on Oct. 13, forming long lines that stretched for blocks in some places. The Biden campaign has narrowed its gap in Texas in recent weeks, trailing President Trump by about three percentage points, thanks to a surge in early voting by Democrats.

The Colorado Sun has more on massive voter turnout here in Colorado.

 

 Westword spends some time going through the not-so-greatest hits from Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert. 

 

Democrat John Hickenlooper closes out his 2020 Senate campaign with another solid ad:

Meanwhile, Sen. Cory Gardner’s closing ad is that spot you may have seen that opens with a speech from former President John F. Kennedy.

 

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

 

(more…)

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