Top Ten Stories of 2020 #2: Cory Gardner, Out With a Whimper

Former Sen. Cory Gardner (R-ekt)

November 3, 2020, 7:01 p.m.

That was the exact moment when we learned that Republican Sen. Cory Gardner had lost his bid for re-election to Democrat John Hickenlooper. Gardner was so far out of contention in 2020 that the race for U.S. Senate was called literally one minute after the polls closed in Colorado.

It was an ignominious ending for Gardner, who just barely avoided a double-digit loss (53.5% to 44%). This was a startling change of direction from 2014, when Gardner narrowly defeated incumbent Sen. Mark Udall and was widely pegged as a rising star in the Republican party.

After the 2018 mid-term elections, Colorado was primed as the most competitive Senate battleground race in the country. We never got that far. Gardner’s poll numbers were consistently in the toilet, right next to his credibility, and despite tens of millions of dollars spent on his behalf, Gardner was never even really a threat to win re-election in 2020. This bears repeating: Gardner was SO bad at being a Senator and a candidate for re-election that his eventual defeat was a foregone conclusion for months beforehand.

Just before the November 2020 election, we took a long and detailed look at how things went so horribly wrong for Gardner in the years following his 2014 upset victory. We’re not going to repeat that analysis here, but the short version is this: Gardner lost his re-election because he made awful decisions nearly every step of the way.

In the end, it was fitting that Gardner’s Senate career would close with little more than a shrug from local and national observers. Cory Gardner didn’t go down swinging…he just sorta went away.

The word you’re looking for is “anticlimactic.”


Top Ten Stories of 2020 #4: Lunacy Becomes GOP Platform

Republican Rep. Larry Liston (now Senator-elect) during special legislative session on November 30, 2020.

Republicans have not been very competitive in Colorado elections in recent years, helping to turn what was once a swing state into a solid blue rectangle. Republican ineptitude was not a new story in 2020, but there was a different flavor to the Colorado GOP’s brand of nonsense in the weirdest year any of us can remember.

It was perhaps inevitable that Colorado Republicans would further descend into madness in 2020 after spending much of 2019 on rudderless grifting operations they called “recall attempts.” But it still would have been hard to predict just how absurd things would get for GOP politicians in our state. Nobody knew much about Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert at this time a year ago, but now she’s the face of the Colorado Republican Party despite the fact that virtually every news outlet in the state reported that she basically has no idea what she’s talking about on any issue.

The coronavirus pandemic opened up a new rabbit hole for Republicans, who immediately responded to efforts to contain the spread of the virus by declaring that wearing a mask was against freedom and that stay-at-home orders were reminiscent of a “Gestapo-like mentality.” A group of Republican lawmakers, including then-House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, launched a ridiculous effort to convince Douglas County to end its association with the Tri-County Health Department IN THE MIDDLE OF A FREAKING PANDEMIC. Neville, for one, took this as an opportunity to convince a few idiots to give him money so that he could sue Gov. Jared Polis for making people wear masks.

The GOP attack on the Tri-County Health Department also included State Sen. Jim Smallwood, who contracted COVID-19 after inexplicably traveling to California when the state legislature paused all activity in mid-March. In other words, the people who were urging others to disregard health precautions were themselves becoming health risks because they disregarded health precautions. Meanwhile, Republicans were also busy trying to paint the COVID-19 outbreak as a racial issue…up until it turned out that deep red counties were being hit harder than anywhere else.

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, the new face of the Colorado GOP.

Republican attacks on the Tri-County Health Department ended up going nowhere from a practical standpoint, but they had very real and unsettling consequences elsewhere. In May, for example, Aurora police arrested a man for vandalizing a Tri-County Health office and making all sorts of violent threats. It was not a coincidence that these deranged actions happened after local Republicans began rattling cages about health department officials who were just trying to keep people safe.

Things got even weirder in May after global protests that followed the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers created a new opportunity for Colorado Republican leaders to play the fool. While the rest of us were gripped by rallies and calls for social justice, GOP leaders primarily complained about vandalism in Denver. Some Republican county party leaders were pretty sure that Floyd’s death was just a big ruse of some sort. Others fully supported violent counter-protests around the state. There was even a common refrain that the City of Denver was a burning pile of rubble…something that could be easily verified by anyone who just looked around.

It would take us too long to list every absurd thing that Colorado Republicans said or did in 2020, but here are a couple more examples:

♦ Congressman Ken Buck, who also serves as the State GOP Party Chairman, made a complete fool of himself on Fox News in trying to explain his idea that Antifa was funded by George Soros, or something.

Neville compared the killing of Elijah McClain in 2019 to protestors who tried to super glue themselves to a railing at the state capitol.

♦ Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert was far from the only Republican to express belief in QAnon conspiracy theories.

♦ This ridiculous Op-Ed from Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) speaks for itself.

♦ Rather than spend the last weeks of the 2020 election campaigning for Republicans, a group of activists instead devoted their time and effort on once again not recalling Gov. Polis.

Colorado Republicans enter the new year with their party in tatters. Their highest-ranking statewide elected official is CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, and the GOP might just elect disgraced former Secretary of State Scott Gessler as its new Party Chairman. Republicans need to find candidates for five big statewide races in 2022, but it’s hard to envision anyone but the most far-right candidates emerging from the various Primary elections. Heck, it could still be months before some in the GOP finally stop pretending that Donald Trump was re-elected as President.

Colorado Republicans had a lot of problems well before 2020. Thanks to a year of astonishingly-terrible decisions, the future of the state GOP is considerably bleaker today.


Top Ten Stories of 2020 #6: Colorado is a Solid Blue State

Happy Cory Gardner and Sad Cory Gardner. You can plot out Colorado’s shift from a swing state in 2014 to a solid blue state in 2020 with these two images:

Colorado was swept up in a massive blue wave in 2018, handing Democrats all four of the top statewide offices (Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, and Secretary of State), as well as control of both chambers of the state legislature. Democrat Jared Polis cruised to an 11-point victory over Republican Walker Stapleton in the race for Governor. On a federal level, Democrat Jason Crow’s victory in CO-06 gave Democrats the keys to four of Colorado’s seven congressional districts.

In 2020, Democrats solidified their advantage in Colorado, with Democrat John Hickenlooper snatching Gardner’s Senate seat by a nearly 10-point margin. Democrats even managed to add a seat in the State Senate while maintaining a solid majority in the State House.

In the race for President, Democrat Joe Biden easily defeated President Trump by a margin of nearly 14 points, which was a massive increase from Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 5-point victory in 2016. Consider this: Colorado was a swing state for President in 2008 and (sorta) in 2012. In 2020, neither major party candidate for President even bothered visiting our state in the six months before Election Day.

Colorado Republicans have fallen hard since Gardner defeated incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in 2014 by a narrow 47-45 margin. The numbers are staggering: Hickenlooper added 786,911 votes to Udall’s 2014 total, while Gardner’s vote total only went up by 445,601. Democrats now have such an advantage in Colorado that Hickenlooper would have still beaten Gardner if we didn’t count any of the votes from Denver, which is the most heavily-populated area in the state and always a reliably-blue county.

Republicans aren’t just losing in Colorado — they’re not even competitive anymore. In fact, Republicans are so buried in our state that it’s difficult to even come up with plausible names for top ticket races in 2022.

The 2020 election proved that the 2018 Democratic wave in Colorado was no fluke. We are a blue state now, and there’s no way to argue otherwise.


Top Ten Stories of 2020 #8: The Trouble With Andrew Romanoff

Republicans wanted to run against Andrew Romanoff. They didn’t get him.

Now-defeated Sen. Cory Gardner came into 2020 as the nation’s most vulnerable incumbent Republican U.S. Senator up for re-election. Running in a state that has steadily shifted leftward politically since Gardner’s narrow election in 2014, and with Gardner having lashed himself to an unpopular President Donald Trump to preserve his GOP base, Republicans were desperate for any edge to keep Gardner viable.

Through the June 30th primary, Republicans shamelessly exploited someone they thought could give them the edge they so desperately needed–Democratic primary candidate Andrew Romanoff. Romanoff, who served as Speaker of the Colorado House over a decade ago, had lost an unusually bitter Democratic primary against Sen. Michael Bennet in 2010, then ran with full Democratic support in a marquee race against GOP Rep. Mike Coffman in 2014 and lost again. Romanoff’s entry into the 2020 Democratic Senate pack in February of 2019 nonetheless made him the best-known contender at that time against a pack of relatively unknown minor candidates.

But Romanoff was in no position to dominate. When former Gov. John Hickenlooper decided to end his longshot presidential campaign and run against Cory Gardner in 2020, he brought resources and campaign experience to the Senate race that Romanoff simply had no access to. Hickenlooper went on to dominate the primary campaign, outclassing Romanoff by every conceivable metric and blowing out Romanoff by over 17 points on June 30th.



Jeffco Republicans Refuse to Do Thing Nobody Needs Them to Do

As Erik Maulbetsch reports for The Colorado Times Recorder, the Jefferson County Republican Party is mad as hell and they’re not going to pretend to be doing nothing anymore. Instead, they are going to pretend to do something that doesn’t mean anything. So there!

From The Times Recorder:

The Jefferson County Republican Party announced on Facebook today that it “refused to certify the election results.” Election certification is the responsibility of the canvass board and the County Clerk, not political parties.

Reached for comment, Jefferson County Clerk spokesperson Kara Rowland explained that the county’s election results are already certified…

…Colorado Secretary of State spokesperson Betsy Hart confirmed this.

Oh yeah? Well, then, the Jefferson County Republican Party is going to refuse to certify every election this century! Not only that, they’re thinking about refusing to certify future elections!

2020 Election Results in Jefferson County, Colorado. Not exactly a photo finish.

And what is the Jeffco GOP’s particular beef with 2020?

While the Jeffco GOP says it is not alleging fraud, it is basing its demands for “an audit” on unfounded conspiracy theories about the voting machine software company, Dominion Voting, which is used by Jeffco (and nearly every other county in Colorado).

It’s unclear from the public statements and the party’s so-called “Minority Report” if the Jeffco executive committee understands the county election process. Chair Denise Mund did not return a request for comment. [Pols emphasis]

With regards to the Jeffco GOP’s audit request, Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder George Stern explains that it’s already happened.

Oh…so you already did the audit thing…that we are demanding. Okay, well, it’s a good thing we demanded it!

We’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to suggest other potential actions that the Jefferson County Republican Party can take that will serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever.


Professor Seth Masket Gets More Smarter

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Professor Seth Masket, Director of the Center for American Politics at the University of Denver, about the 2020 election results and his new book, “Learning from Loss: The Democrats, 2016-2020.” Masket’s book analyzes how and why Democrats ended up nominating Joe Biden for President in 2020 and how the 2016 election shaped the strategy and thought process for that decision.

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at

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Different Year, Same Mountain: GOP Plants Flag on Denial

UPDATE: In his column for The Denver Post, soon-to-be-former District Attorney George Brauchler explains that there was no blue wave in Colorado because Republican Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert was elected to a Congressional seat that Republicans already held and Democrats only won one extra battle in the State Senate:

The Blue Wave redux appears to have only dampened Republican socks.

Ah, yes, “2020: The Dampening.”

Democrats had another successful election cycle in Colorado, winning a U.S. Senate seat, expanding on their majority in the State Senate, and maintaining a massive advantage in the State House. As Ian Silverii writes for The Denver Post, there was not a lot of suspense last Tuesday after the polls closed at 7:00 pm:

At 7:01 p.m. on Election Day our state was called for Biden and U.S. Senator-elect John Hickenlooper. Most of the statewide ballot initiatives were declared quickly, and most competitive legislative races were called right away as well. Our nationally-renowned and bipartisanly-lauded system of all-options voting with universal mail ballots delivered a doubtless result once again, and our Democratic, unaffiliated, and Republican county clerks and recorders, as well as our secretary of state, Jena Griswold, should be applauded for another competent administration of an incredibly high-stakes election.

Colorado Democrats will continue to dominate state government, as I predicted, possessing the most power Democrats have held in our state since FDR was president. They picked up a seat in the state Senate and held a massive 41-24 seat majority against a demoralized state House Republican minority who only after another punishing defeat grasped their previous leadership was leading them into the abyss.

Republicans currently hold only 24 seats in the State House, which is the lowest number since 1965. Actually, it’s the lowest number since 2018, when the same thing happened.

How are Colorado Republicans reacting to their troubles? As The Colorado Sun reports:

It took only an hour after the first election results posted for Colorado Republicans to start seeing the disaster ahead…

…For the party, the examination about how to move forward centers on a fundamental question: Was it President Donald Trump or was it us?

Oh, wait. Those two sentences were written in 2018.

The Republican bench in Colorado

Here’s the 2020 version:

Republicans in Colorado are facing a real crisis as the state moves further to the left. The bench of future GOP leaders the party hoped to build now is looking thin, one that could rival the Broncos’ injured list…

…No Republican running statewide has won more than 45% of the vote in the past two election cycles.

So, again, how did things get this bad for Colorado Republicans? That’s a question that the GOP asked itself after 2018 but never bothered to answer…and it doesn’t look like much has changed after another drubbing at the polls. This section from the 2020 Colorado Sun article is particularly enlightening:

Colorado House Democrats spent big money aiming to expand their majority this year, including in the Republican stronghold of Douglas County, only to see it maintain the status quo.

“That tells me a lot about the voters in this state,” said McKean, the House Republican leader. “We hear all this talk about how blue Colorado might be getting. I don’t believe it for a second.”

You could say that the recently-named House Minority Leader is looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, but that would be overly generous. In reality, McKean is looking at the Colorado political world through glasses covered in black felt. What he’s doing here is essentially celebrating the fact that Democrats only have a 17-seat majority after the 2020 elections.

Did Republicans hold the line this year? Or did Democrats just finally run out of competitive seats that could be flipped? The answer is closer to the latter than the former. After all, there’s no scenario whereby either political party is going to gain 100% of the seats in the state legislature.

It matters not whether McKean and Republicans “believe” that Colorado has turned blue, because this is not a subjective question. What matters is what Colorado Republicans are going to do about it.

If past is prologue, the answer is obvious: Not much.


Get More Smarter on Wednesday (November 11)

Happy Veterans Day! 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.



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 


► President Trump is still refusing to concede defeat to Democrat Joe Biden, but most Americans are not at all confused about who won the 2020 Presidential election (though many Republicans are yet clinging to a deflated life preserver). As The Hill newspaper reports:

The overwhelming majority of Americans say President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election amid unsubstantiated cries of fraud from President Trump, according to a Reuers/Ipsos poll released Tuesday.

The survey, conducted from Saturday afternoon to Tuesday, showed 79 percent of U.S. adults believe Biden is the winner of the presidential election. Approximately 60 percent of Republicans said Biden won.

Even Ben Ginsburg believes it is ridiculous to challenge Biden’s victory. Think of it like two people racing in a 100 meter sprint in front of a packed stadium; it’s hard to keep claiming that the winner of the race was not the first person across the finish line when everybody watched it happen.

Via The Hill newspaper (11/11/20)


► President Trump isn’t the only Republican elected official refusing to concede an election loss. As Salon reports:

Martha McSally, R-Ariz., refuses to concede her election, even though she trails her Democratic rival by a margin which exceeds the total number of outstanding ballots by the thousands.

The Associated Press projected that Senator-elect Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut and the husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., would win the election nearly a week ago. Kelly has already named his transition team, and he’s been assigned temporary office space

…Though McSally graciously conceded her 2018 race to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., she appears to have latched onto President Donald Trump’s baseless allegations sowing doubt in the election result this go around.

We have no doubt that McSally is thoroughly embarrassed at losing two consecutive races for U.S. Senate in Arizona, so maybe this is just her weird way of dealing with failure. Republican John James, who was unable to unseat Democrat Gary Peters in Michigan, is also refusing to concede a Senate loss.

***Here’s a fun trip down memory lane: Former Republican Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave never conceded her 2008 loss to Democrat Betsy Markey. If Musgrave’s refusal to concede actually meant something, then Republican Cory Gardner could not have gone on to defeat Markey in 2010.***

Meanwhile, as The New York Times reports, another leg of Trump’s precarious fraud stool has been knocked out:

The Postal Service’s inspector general informed Congress on Tuesday that a worker who had made unfounded allegations of ballot corruption inside a facility in Erie, Pa., had disavowed his claims, which Republicans had amplified to suggest there was widespread fraud in Pennsylvania’s voting.

Richard Hopkins, a post office employee in Erie, “completely” recanted allegations that a supervisor was “tampering with mail-in ballots” after investigators questioned him, the inspector general’s office said, according to the Democratic leadership of the House Oversight and Reform Committee…

…The inspector general’s office told Congress that Mr. Hopkins had recanted his allegations on Monday but “did not explain why he signed a false affidavit,” according to the oversight committee’s staff.

If you’re not convinced by that story, there’s more where that came from. The Washington Post breaks down all of the various election fraud claims made by the Trump campaign and associates and notes that NONE of them have been confirmed:

Republicans have made claims of election irregularities in six states where President-elect Joe Biden leads in the vote count, alleging in lawsuits and public statements that election officials did not follow proper procedures while counting ballots in Tuesday’s election.

So far, they have gone 0 for 6.


Democratic Senator-elect John Hickenlooper is in Washington D.C. working on transition efforts after his blowout election victory over Sen. Cory Gardner.

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper, left, meets with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and others.



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




LIVE: Colorado Election Night 2020

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

Welcome to blue statehood.


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.


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…



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.


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 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.



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

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


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…




Rep. Diana DeGette Gets More Smarter

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with the “Dean of the Delegation,” Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-Denver), who is about to become the longest-serving federal officeholder in Colorado history. DeGette discusses the craziest election year ever and the curious candidacy of Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert in CO-03. She also gives us the lowdown on just how close we may be getting to a #COVID-19 vaccine.

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at

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You’ve Just Lost an Election; What Are You Going to do Now?

As The Colorado Sun reports via its Unaffiliated newsletter, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) already has some post-election plans:

Ten days after the election Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner is hosting a fundraiser at Disney World for his Project West PAC, according to his campaign. It’s an annual event.

It’s nice that Gardner can take his family on a Disney World vacation on somebody else’s dime, but this doesn’t seem like it has the makings of a particularly successful event.

In general, we’re not sure we’d want to go to Florida itself anytime soon with the way COVID-19 cases are spiking — let alone rubbing shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of people at a theme park to wait in line for “Splash COVID in Your Mouth Mountain.” And are there a lot of people who want to go to Disney World to write a check to a PAC controlled by a guy who lost a high-profile Senate race a week earlier?

If you just feel like lighting some money on fire, there are plenty of other bumbling organizations that will take your check.


Get More Smarter on Wednesday (October 28)

[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 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.



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

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


As The Denver Post reports, the COVID-19 outbreak is getting worse in the Denver Metro area:

Denver moved to Colorado’s second-highest level of COVID-19 restrictions Tuesday, forcing most businesses to operate at a quarter of their capacity in an effort to curb the virus’ spread and avoid overwhelming hospitals.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced the state health department had asked the city to tighten its restrictions after weeks of climbing coronavirus cases and rising hospitalizations.

Denver Public Schools followed with plans to send many of the district’s elementary students — who just had returned to their classrooms — back to remote learning.

“I don’t believe this is Denver’s failing,” Hancock said, blaming the virus’s resurgence on the lack of a national strategy to contain COVID-19. “It is, rather, a failing by those who still refuse to believe in science, and those who do not take it seriously.”

Adams and Arapahoe counties are also moving to more restrictive measures in an effort to reduce the number of positive cases.

As The New York Times reports, European counties such as France and Germany are moving toward lockdown status because COVID-19 cases are out of control.

Meanwhile, as CNN reports:

Via CNN (10/28/20)

And then there’s this gem from The Huffington Post:

Via The Huffington Post (10/28/20)


Ask yourself this question: Would you wait outside for hours — at night — in freezing cold temperatures to listen to anyone speak? Right…now go ahead and argue that Trumpism is NOT a cult. As NBC News reports:

Hundreds of President Donald Trump supporters were left in the freezing cold for hours after a rally at an airfield in Omaha, Nebraska, on Tuesday night, with some walking around three miles to waiting buses and others being taken away in ambulances.

Many of those at the rally at the Eppley Airfield faced hours in long lines to get in and clogged parking lots and busy crowds to get out, hours after his Air Force One departed around 9 p.m. Crowds cleared about 12:30 a.m.

According to dispatches from Omaha Police department, recorded by radio communications platform, Broadcastify, at least 30 people including the elderly, an electric wheelchair user and a family with small children were among those requiring medical attention after hours of waiting in the cold at the rally at the Eppley Airfield.

As The Washington Post reports, Democrat Joe Biden maintains an advantage over President Trump in two key battleground states:

Former vice president Joe Biden continues to outpace President Trump in two crucial Midwest battlegrounds, currently holding a slight lead over the president in Michigan while showing a much more substantial advantage in Wisconsin, according to a pair of Washington Post-ABC News polls.

The surveys show Biden narrowly ahead of Trump among likely voters in Michigan by 51 percent to 44 percent, with Libertarian Party nominee Jo Jorgensen at 3 percent. In Wisconsin, likely voters favor Biden by 57 percent to 40 percent, with Jorgensen at 2 percent. Among all registered voters, Biden’s edge in Michigan is five points, while he leads by 17 points in Wisconsin.

Wait, what? Biden is up 17 POINTS in Wisconsin?

As Greg Sargent notes in a different story for The Washington Post, Trump is losing ground all across America AMONG WHITE VOTERS. As Colorado Public Radio reports, the Presidential campaigns in Colorado are largely targeting non-white voters in the final week before Election Day.


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




Get More Smarter on Tuesday (October 27)

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 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.



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

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


► The Republican Senate finished ramming through their confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Monday evening. This is the same Republican Senate that hasn’t been able to move ahead on any sort of coronavirus stimulus bill since the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act in May, but they managed to confirm a SCOTUS nominee in a matter of weeks.

We probably don’t need to tell you that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was a ‘YES’ vote.


Voters continue to turn out in record numbers in Colorado and across the country. As The New York Times explains, this is not good news for Republicans:

A week before Election Day, more than 64 million Americans have already voted — and about half of them are in the dozen or so competitive states that will ultimately decide who wins the Electoral College.

Possibly even more significant, early votes in these battlegrounds account for more than half of those states’ total votes in 2016. Nationally, voters have already cast about 46 percent of the total vote counted in 2016, according to the United States Elections Project.

Via The New York Times


The campaigns for President Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, respectively, can telegraph much of their last week strategy based on travel plans. Biden was in Pennsylvania on Monday and will travel to Georgia today before a stop later this week in Iowa; he will also visit Tampa Bay, FL and Wisconsin before Election Day.

As for Trump, he’s traveling to Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Nevada.


The Aspen Daily News endorses Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush in an editorial that contains an absolutely STUNNING comment from Republican Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert:

When asked if she condemned the administration’s policies that allowed for children to be separated from their parents — in the same week that the American Civil Liberties Union reported that the federal government has so far failed to locate the parents of 545 children victims of the “no tolerance” policy — Boebert replied that “when parents break the laws, sometimes things happen.”

She went on to liken a nearly 10% alleged failure to effectively track the parents of children separated at the border, even amid asylum requests, to her anecdotal experience following an arrest for an unpaid parking ticket.

“When I didn’t pay my $100 traffic ticket, I was separated from my kids for about an hour until I got it taken care of,” she said. [Pols emphasis]

We’d call this unbelievable, but we ARE talking about the same Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert. As Alex Burness reports for The Denver Post, many Colorado conservatives think Boebert is the future of the party.


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




Cory Gardner Says Republicans Have a Health Care Plan!

[SPOILER ALERT: There is no Republican health care plan]

President Trump’s somewhat-anticipated interview with “60 Minutes” reporter Lesley Stahl finally aired on Sunday night. This was the interview that Trump cut short last week when he got sad that Stahl was not going to just let him sit there and pretend that a secret laptop that formerly belonged to Hunter Biden was a real thing (last week, even longtime Republican strategist/pollster Frank Luntz proclaimed, “Nobody cares about Hunter Biden … why is [Trump] spending all his time on him?”).

But there was still a surprise ending to the “60 Minutes” interview that hadn’t already leaked out beforehand.

After Trump walked out of the interview, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany emerged with a big ‘ol book-like object that she hand-delivered to Stahl:

As CNN’s Chris Cillizza explains:

The oversized book that drastically under-delivers on its promised contents is, actually, a pretty apt metaphor for the entire Trump presidency…

…But like so much with Trump, the show and the pageantry belie the emptiness of the actual vessel. A big book filled with executive orders is not a comprehensive health care plan. Because there is no plan.

Undaunted by stupid things like facts and truth, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) picked up the baton from McEnany in an interview Monday morning on “The FOX News Rundown.” Behold this amazing baloney:

HOST: The Democrats are arguing [that] Republicans haven’t put forth a health care plan, as they’re trying to take down, effectively, Obamacare. If President Trump secures a second term, if the Affordable Care Act is struck down, whole or in part, we’ve heard discussions about a potential Republican health care plan before, but we haven’t heard a whole lot in terms of what that would look like. What can you tell us about the planning going on for that phase?

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma)

GARDNER: Well, there’s two things that Republicans and Democrats both agree on. Number one, we’re always going to provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Number two, both Republicans and Democrats want to replace the Affordable Care Act with something that works. The Democrat plan is Medicare for All, a public option that turns into Medicare for All. Basically eliminating the private insurance that 136-plus million Americans enjoy today that they receive through their employer. 

Republicans are focused on a patient-centered health care program that is based on decisions between patients and their doctor…the consumer and their doctor…the constituent and their doctor…not Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. And it is about risk pools and reinsurance. It is about liability reforms that delay…you know, it is said right now that unnecessary procedures account for nearly 25% of health care costs because they are driven by liability concerns. That’s part of the plan that we have to address. Things like association health plans, across state lines, telehealth. I helped the Governor of Colorado get a waiver for reinsurance through the Health and Human Services department to drive down the costs in Colorado. 

You know, our plan is there. They don’t agree with our plan because it doesn’t involve a government takeover. [Pols emphasis]

What’s in the box book?

Say what, now?

This is the point in the story where we would provide a link so that you could read for yourself the Republican health care plan that Democrats disagree on because it doesn’t involve a government takeover. But, we can’t, because THERE IS NO REPUBLICAN HEALTH CARE PLAN. You can Google “Republican health care plan,” and you’ll get a lot of results about Republicans and health care — but, alas, no actual “health care plan.”

In August, Gardner introduced a 117-word bill for protecting pre-existing medical conditions that fact checkers agree would not actually protect people with pre-existing medical conditions. Much like Gardner’s political career, this bill is going nowhere in the U.S. Senate, but at least it is an actual thing that does exist.

We have absolutely no idea what Gardner is talking about when he says “our plan is there.” We’d guess Gardner doesn’t know, either. Perhaps he watched Sunday’s episode of “60 Minutes” and got excited when he saw the giant book delivered to Lesley Stahl.

Cory Gardner has seemingly come full-circle six years after winding down his first U.S. Senate campaign. Back in October 2014, Gardner was insisting that there was no such thing as a federal “personhood” bill, which wasn’t true. With just one week left until Election Day in 2020, Gardner is pounding the table in support of a Republican health care bill that isn’t real.

In with one lie, and out with another.


Get More Smarter on Friday (October 23)

Happy Chulalongkorn Day. Please celebrate responsibly. 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.



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

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


The final Presidential debate of 2020 took place in Nashville, TN on Thursday night. A somewhat-restrained President Trump made the debate almost…normal. As The Washington Post reports:

With the two candidates electronically muted for portions of the night, the constant interruptions from the first debate were replaced by a clearer contrast between their competing views for the country and more sharply defined exchanges of attacks and retorts.

When Trump tried to accuse Biden of making money from China, the former vice president pointed out that the president has a bank account in the country and has failed to disclose his income tax returns despite promises to do so.

When Trump argued that stock markets would crash if Biden were elected, Biden responded with his signature line contrasting the gains of Wall Street vs. the cratering Main Street economy.

And when Trump sought to paint Biden as a puppet of socialist forces, his opponent pushed back with a forcefulness that has been absent from much of his campaign. “He’s a very confused guy. He thinks he’s running against somebody else,” Biden said. “He’s running against Joe Biden. I beat all those other people because I disagreed with them.”

Trump attacked Biden on multiple occasions, but his rhetoric was a bit too obscure for the average voter to understand. As Elahe Izadi and Jeremy Barr write for The Washington Post, you’d have to be a regular viewer of Fox News to have understood most of Trump’s shorthand:

During the final presidential debate, President Trump made reference to “the laptop from hell,” “AOC plus three″ and “Russia, Russia, Russia” — yes, said three times in a row.

The material was very familiar to — and maybe only familiar to — regular viewers of Fox News opinion hosts such as Sean Hannity.

“I feel like he almost was speaking the language of Fox prime time,” Chuck Todd, host of “Meet the Press,” said on NBC after the debate. “If you watch a lot of Fox prime time, you understand what he’s saying. If you don’t, you have no idea.”


As NBC News reports, coronavirus cases in the United States are continuing to skyrocket:

The U.S. set a record Thursday as the number of new coronavirus cases rose to over 77,000, topping the previous record in July.

Nationwide, 77,640 new cases were reported for the day, up from the previous record of 75,723 on July 29, according to the latest tally compiled by NBC News.

The record-breaking daily tally comes as the total number of coronavirus cases in the country has reached nearly 8.5 million, with 224,280 deaths. There were 921 coronavirus-related deaths reported on Thursday.

Here in Colorado, COVID-19 cases are also increasing. The situation is enough of a concern in Aurora that officials have decided to move students in grades 1-8 to an online-only instruction model. Elsewhere, a new app will be available this weekend that is intended to allow Coloradans to gauge potential exposure to COVID-19 in their communities.


President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that appears designed to allow him to fire more people who aren’t deemed sufficiently loyal to Dear Leader. As CNN reports:

Trump signed an executive order that appears to provide him and his agency appointees more leeway in the hiring and firing of federal employees deemed disloyal, a move that critics say politicizes civil service and could lead to career officials being pushed out for political reasons.

The President has vilified some career officials as the “deep state” during his term and sought to rid the federal government of people he views as anti-Trump. Critics warn that the order would allow the President to fill the federal workforce with his cronies and reverts the country back to a spoils systems.

The executive order, issued Wednesday, creates a new classification of federal employees titled “Schedule F” for employees serving in “confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions” that typically do not change during a presidential transition.

The White House says the directive will give federal agencies more flexibility to hire “Schedule F” employees but also be able to remove “poor performers” from these roles without going through a lengthy appeals process.


 Governor Jared Polis will visit the sites of several massive wildfires in Colorado today. The two largest wildfires in state history are now in Larimer County. Large portions of Estes Park were evacuated on Thursday.


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




Get More Smarter on Thursday (October 22)

Today is National Nut Day; don’t tell Rudy Giuliani. 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.



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

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


► As The Washington Post reports, a half-filled Senate Judiciary Committee is moving ahead with the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court:

Judge Amy Coney Barrett moved one step closer to a seat on the Supreme Court as the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced her nomination with solely Republican support Thursday. Democrats boycotted the vote in protest of what they viewed as an illegitimate confirmation process.

The vote was 12 to 0, with no Democrats present to officially register their objections. Democratic senators boycotted the proceedings to protest Republicans’ fast-tracking the nomination of the 48-year-old conservative jurist within days of the Nov. 3 election. They argue that the president elected next month should fill the court vacancy.

“That was their choice,” committee chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said. “It will be my choice to vote the nominee out of committee. We’re not going to allow them to take over the committee.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said the full Senate will vote Monday on the Barrett nomination. Republicans, who hold a 53-to-47 majority, have the votes to install her on the court.

While McConnell apparently has the votes to seat Barrett on the Supreme Court, he hasn’t bothered with trying to corral enough Republican support for another coronavirus stimulus package. The lack of movement on a pre-election stimulus package has floored many Republican political observers and left GOP Senators like Cory Gardner with no good answers.


Former President Barack Obama campaigned for Democrat Joe Biden in Philadelphia on Wednesday, offering up a very simple reason why voters should oust President Trump from office. From Chris Cillizza at CNN:

Amid the rhetoric, one specific set of lines jumped out at me as channeling what so many people — including Republicans who voted for Trump in 2016 — feel right now.

Here it is (bolding is mine):

“And with Joe and Kamala at the helm, you’re not going to have to think about the crazy things they said every day. And that’s worth a lot. You’re not going to have to argue about them every day. It just won’t be so exhausting.”

That, for me, is the best and most succinct argument that former Vice President Joe Biden can make in the closing 12 days of this race. Deciding to fire Trump and hire Biden isn’t about any specific policy or even any specific mistake that the incumbent has made. It’s about a country absolutely exhausted by Trump — his norm-busting, his misinformation, his junior high school bullying, and his tweeting, his tweeting, his tweeting…


► Early voting is going very well:

Via The Washington Post (10/22/20)


Here in Colorado, one-third of likely voters have already cast a ballot.


 The final Presidential debate is tonight on NBC News. President Trump reportedly plans to focus on topics that nobody cares about.


► President Trump is still lashing out at “60 Minutes” over an interview recorded this week that Trump felt was not sufficiently sycophantic for his tastes. As he threatened earlier, Trump has released footage of an interview with Lesley Stahl that he apparently thinks makes him look good?

Trump is also asked a question about when his administration is finally going to announce his new health care plan. Trump has been saying for years that the new plan will be announced in “a few weeks.” Guess what he says in this interview?

Oh, and Trump flat-out says that he hopes the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act.


Rocky Mountain National Park is now closed because of the East Troublesome Fire.


This is about as cut-and-dried of a case of “voter intimidation” as you’re likely to find — and it’s happening in Ft. Morgan, Colorado.


Governor Jared Polis has ordered a statewide moratorium on evictions as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Colorado.



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




Ballot Return Update (Through 10/19)

Per the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, 924,735 ballots have been returned in Colorado as of Monday, October 19. As you can see from the chart below, registered Democrats continue to outpace both Unaffiliated and Republican voters.

For comparison, a total of 2,855,960 ballots were cast in 2016. In the 2018 mid-term election, 2,566,784 total ballots were cast in Colorado.

Via Colorado Secretary of State


Get More Smarter on Tuesday (October 20)

Today is 10/20/20! Is that a thing? 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.



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

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


► Be careful out there, Colorado! New cases of COVID-19 have hit a record high in our state, as The Denver Post reports:

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 6,722 cases of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday, more than triple the most recent low of 2,016 in the last week of August. Three times last week, the state recorded more than 1,000 new infections in a single day.

Last week’s total was the highest since the state has had reliable data, though it’s likely there were more cases in the virus’s initial surge in March and April that weren’t found due to lack of testing at the time.

“These numbers are definitely a concern for us. We need everyone to follow public health guidance to control disease transmission and ensure that health care and public health capacity isn’t strained,” Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, said in a statement. “We also want Coloradans who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to get tested.”


Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) doesn’t have a Donald Trump problem; he has a Cory Gardner problem.


Today is the self-imposed deadline for Congress to reach a deal on another coronavirus aid package. As CNN reports, it’s probably not happening:

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said Tuesday that the “window is closing” on a potential deal for a stimulus package, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s deadline arrives for Democrats and the Trump administration to resolve policy differences if they want to pass a bill before Election Day.

“I think there’s still an outside chance something will get done before the elections. But the window is closing,” the South Carolina Democrat told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.”
Pelosi said Sunday that she and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin must reached an agreement by end of the day Tuesday, the last feasible date to get a bill passed through both chambers of Congress by November 3. The two sides have been divided for months on the topline figure as well as what should be in the bill…

…Clyburn, who is the No. 3 ranking Democrat in the chamber, accused Republicans of not being willing to compromise with Democrats and argued that Pelosi “is trying to stand up for people who are being left out of this deal.”

As we’ve written repeatedly in this space, the real hangup in all of these stimulus talks has been SENATE REPUBLICANS.


According to Republican polling outfit Magellan Strategies, which regularly tracks ballot returns in Colorado, roughly one-third of Colorado voters have already returned a ballot. Turnout in Colorado is heavily tilted toward Democratic voters at the moment, with some 35% of registered Democrats having returned their ballots as of this morning. Total ballot returns are at 921,342 (for comparison, more than 2.85 million votes were cast in Colorado in 2016).

The Denver Post has more on Colorado’s massive voter turnout numbers.


Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden addressed Colorado’s wildfires on Monday as part of a warning about Climate Change. As Colorado Public Radio reports, Colorado’w wildfire season in 2020 is unusual…and ominous:

All told, they add up to a fire season that is longer than most on record for the state, the result of extended drought conditions, high temperatures and a monsoon that just never arrived.

“We haven’t gotten any rain. We haven’t got any snow,” said Jennifer Balch, director of the Earth Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder and a fire researcher. “Coupled with hotter temperatures, you’ve essentially got a hairdryer blowing at Colorado right now that’s making our fuels incredibly dry for very long periods of time.”

According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates, precipitation in the state over the past 30 days has been less than 10 percent of normal. Colorado did not receive the usual monsoon rains or snowfall that’s common in the fall.

That kind of weather typically prevents large, destructive wildfires from starting, Balch said and dampens those still burning from the summer like the record-breaking Cameron Peak fire. She said just a dozen wildfires over 1,000 acres have begun in October in the past 35 years.


Can you speak something OUT of existence? President Trump is sure trying. According to CNN, which is keeping track, Trump has claimed at least 38 times that COVID-19 will just “disappear.”



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




Again, Please, Enough With The Cory Gardner Martyrdom

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-ekt).

A column from Colorado Sun reporter Jesse Paul appeared in the much larger forum of the Washington Post yesterday, offering another torrid take on the impending fall of GOP Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado along a theme we’ve been hearing quite a bit the last few days: that Gardner, an “excellent candidate” in his own right, is being set up to lose by President Donald Trump and not Gardner’s own choices:

In 2014, Republican Cory Gardner, a congressman from rural Colorado, parlayed his charm and ability to connect with voters into a Senate seat by defeating Mark Udall, an incumbent Democrat from a Western political dynasty. Liberals feared Gardner’s political talent, and conservatives hoped it would take him far.

Then Donald Trump was elected president. Now, given Trump’s extreme unpopularity in a state whose electorate is generally moving to the left, Colorado Democrats are confident that, come Election Day, they will pick up Gardner’s seat and fill it with the state’s popular former governor, John Hickenlooper…

Making things worse for Gardner is the fact Trump trails Biden by an average of 13 percentage points in Colorado. “Jesus Christ himself couldn’t overperform Trump by double digits,” said Tyler Sandberg, a Republican operative. [Pols emphasis]

It’s a narrative that Republicans seem determined to shape now, with hope of actually saving Gardner’s seat realistically gone for his local supporters and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC)–the proof being in the money flowing to battleground states as Democrats work to run up the score in a growing wave. If Gardner can’t be saved, then perhaps he can be martyred in defeat with a cover story that blames Trump, and in so doing preserves Republican hopes in Colorado that a comeback may be possible in future years against the state’s leftward political trajectory.

We give Jesse Paul credit in this column for laying out some of the most damning moments in Gardner’s embrace of Trump, from Gardner’s initial denunciation of Trump in October of 2016 saying “I cannot and will not support someone who brags about degrading and assaulting women” to Gardner’s metamorphosis after Trump’s victory into one of the President’s most steadfast supporters. The problem with this analysis is blithely dismissing Gardner’s transformation as inevitable. The truth is, Gardner’s decisions to stand closely with Trump through innumerable scandals, impeachment, and the disastrous handling of the COVID-19 pandemic were voluntary choices–not coerced by base GOP support for Trump or any other factor.

To suggest that Gardner had “no choice” but to fall in line behind Trump after Trump won the 2016 elections is a major misreading of Colorado’s political trends since Gardner narrowly won his seat in 2014. In reality, Gardner needed to move to the center from the very beginning of his Senate term in order to have any chance of re-election in 2020, but Gardner’s agenda of hard-right low-information crusades against the Affordable Care Act and social wedge issues like abortion made that impossible. Trump didn’t force Gardner to the right, Trump simply made Gardner’s pre-existing agenda toxic by giving it the chance of actually becoming law–a threat voters in Colorado responded to in 2018 by throwing out Republicans at every level of elected office.

The point here is that Gardner is not some kind of political prodigy brought to earth by factors beyond his control. One of the biggest reasons Gardner’s election to the U.S. Senate in 2014 has inspired such lasting division and enmity within the state’s political class is that Gardner’s politics are so at odds with a majority of Colorado voters that his narrow victory is broadly regarded as a swindle–deception committed by Gardner and many local influencers that allowed Gardner to win a race he should not have won. Since that time, Gardner has had many opportunities to chart a different course for himself, in the mold of respected Western GOP Senators like John McCain or even Mitt Romney–and he never even tried.

For Cory Gardner, a collection of contradictions from the beginning, this is comeuppance a decade in the making. The reason is simple: for all the credit Gardner gets for being a “great candidate,” he’s really not. At least not for Colorado. Gardner’s agenda became more out of step with the state he represents with each election since 2014, and Gardner’s energetic wunderkind persona was effectively turned against him in 2020 by a laconic, more authentic John Hickenlooper.

For Colorado Republicans, any road back starts with understanding what Cory Gardner did wrong, not revising history to salvage Cory Gardner’s reputation. Trump tops the ticket, but Gardner made choices entirely on his own that brought him to ruin.


The GMS Podcast: Laura Packard and Mayor Michael Hancock

We’ve got two big interviews his week on The Get More Smarter Podcast.

First, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Laura Packard — health care activist, stage-four cancer survivor, and a powerful voice against Republicans who want to destroy the Affordable Cara Act. Next, we talk with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to discuss Denver’s lengthy ballot,  rising COVID-19 concerns, Black Lives Matter protests, and right-wing disinformation campaigns (the City of Denver is, in fact, not a smoking pile of rubble).

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at

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