CO Republicans Manufacture Outrage Over Critical Race Theory

(It’s not just a river in Egypt – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado GOP chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown.

Colorado Republican Party Leader Kristi Burton Brown and other prominent Republicans in the state have joined the national conservative frenzy around critical race theory.

Critical race theory is the academic concept of structural racism – the idea that racism is not simply a matter of individual prejudice, but is also embedded in our institutions and has a continued impact on our society.

It’s the latest conservative boogeyman, with many on the political right claiming that critical race theory is itself racist, anti-American, and “Marxist.” Some states have gone so far as to limit teaching about history and racism in the U.S. in an effort to ban critical race theory in schools, despite the fact that critical race theory is primarily studied in institutions of higher learning, not a third-grade classroom.

Cue Brown, who took to the radio last week to rile up listeners about critical race theory “being forced on or about to be forced on” kids in Colorado schools:

“One of the biggest issues around the state is critical race theory, without a doubt, because parents, I mean, shocker, parents don’t want their children to sit in school and be told that by virtue of things they cannot help, their race, their ethnicity, they are either the oppressed or the oppressor,” Brown said on 630 KHOW on Friday. “None of their choices matter. None of their character matters. Nothing they choose to do in their behavior can change the fact, according to critical race theory, that they are either an oppressed or an oppressor.”

Brown then praised Deborah Flora, whom she refers to simply as a “Douglas County mom,” for “speaking out” about critical race theory at her local school board meeting.

“As Deborah points out, reading rates and math rates are very, very bad for children here in Colorado,” Brown said. “But that’s not what the school boards in many cases are focused on. They’re focused on critical race theory and teaching children that.”

“Have your children been subjected to critical race theory? Have you testified and given your thoughts on it?” Brown asked listeners, encouraging them to call in to the station and speak up at school board meetings.

But Flora is more than just a Douglas County mom – she’s also a conservative media personality and activist who hosts a radio show on KNUS, the same far-right radio network that allegedly fired Craig Silverman for criticizing Trump on air.

In fact, a report released yesterday by the progressive media watchdog Media Matters for America reveals that many of the parents that conservatives describe as “everyday Americans” speaking out against critical race theory at school board meetings and elsewhere just so happen to be Republican operatives and media personalities.


Get More Smarter on Monday (June 21)

Happy Summer Solstice; 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 


As John Ingold writes for The Colorado Sun, the Delta coronavirus variant is exploding in Colorado…which is bad news for anyone who is still unvaccinated against COVID-19:

The Delta variant, which is believed to have originated in India and is also known as the B.1.617.2 variant, was first identified in Colorado in late April. By the first week of this month — a period of about six weeks — it had grown to account for an estimated 40% of all new infections in Colorado.

For comparison, it took eight weeks for the Alpha variant — also known as the B.1.1.7 or United Kingdom variant — to reach 40% of the state’s total cases. As of early June, that variant made up an estimated 48% of total cases in Colorado, but its share is falling as Delta’s rises.

Nationwide, the Delta variant is believed to account for about 10% of new cases.

Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, said the Delta variant is believed to be about 50% more transmissible than the Alpha variant, which itself was 50% more transmissible than the original form of the virus.

Fully-vaccinated people don’t have to worry much about contracting the new variant.

Meanwhile, Westword looks at how the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging in Mesa County, Colorado, thanks primarily to a stubborn reluctance from many to get vaccinated.


The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of student athletes in the debate over whether athletes should be compensated for the revenue they help generate for their respective universities.


New polling data from Colorado-based conservative pollster Magellan Strategies shows that 60% of Coloradans approve of the way that Gov. Jared Polis has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. The Colorado Sun has more on the Magellan poll, and so does Colorado Pols.


According to an account published in a new book, former President Trump suggested moving Americans infected with COVID-19 TO GUANTANAMO BAY in Cuba. From The Washington Post:

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, as White House officials debated whether to bring infected Americans home for care, President Donald Trump suggested his own plan for where to send them, eager to suppress the numbers on U.S. soil.

“Don’t we have an island that we own?” the president reportedly asked those assembled in the Situation Room in February 2020, before the U.S. outbreak would explode. “What about Guantánamo?”

“We import goods,” Trump specified, lecturing his staff. “We are not going to import a virus.”

Aides were stunned, and when Trump brought it up a second time, they quickly scuttled the idea, worried about a backlash over quarantining American tourists on the same Caribbean base where the United States holds terrorism suspects.

Read those paragraphs one more time.



Click below to keep learning stuff…



Polis Pandemic Approval Hits 60%; Partisan Divide Kills

Gov. Jared Polis (D).

The Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul got the first look at a new poll from nominally conservative but in experience frank and reliable Magellan Strategies, looking at the partisan divide over the personal decision to take the now readily available COVID-19 vaccine and voter approval of Gov. Jared Polis’ handling of the pandemic:

A survey of 545 Colorado adults conducted by conservative-leaning Magellan Strategies from June 3-10 provides more evidence that the state is on track to inoculate more than 70% of its residents with at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by July 4. Gov. Jared Polis said Friday that he believes the goal, set by President Joe Biden, will be reached in Colorado.

The poll from the Louisville-based firm showed that 90% of Colorado adults who are registered as Democrats have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 7% have yet to get inoculated and 3% refused to say. Among Colorado adults who are registered as unaffiliated voters, 76% have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 15% have yet to get inoculated.

But only 57% of Republicans said they have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, with 26% saying they haven’t been inoculated and 17% refusing to answer.

This polling corresponds with the experience of heavily conservative areas of the state like Mesa County, which are seeing new outbreaks of COVID-19 while overall cases across the state decline. Mesa County was at one point championed by conservative opponents of public health orders to slow the spread of the pandemic, but today has one of the highest rates of infection in the state with the county’s hospitals nearing capacity. The willfully unvaccinated are also the populations most vulnerable to the new rapidly spreading variants of the virus.

The short answer is that these politically conservative areas of the state, which have from the beginning been the least compliant with measures to slow the spread of the pandemic and are now reluctant to accept the vaccine, are poised to suffer still more deadly consequences that heavily vaccinated politically liberal areas of the state (hopefully) will avoid. At this point, if you can’t see the connection, you’re willfully refusing to.

Gov. Jared Polis’ 60%-32% approval margin of his handling of the emergency in this poll is clear evidence that Republicans have failed to turn the necessary measures to respond to the pandemic into a liability. A majority of Colorado voters have stuck with Polis throughout this crisis and it’s too late now for that positive perception of Polis’ leadership to meaningfully change. If these trends continue, with conservative areas of the state suffering needlessly while the virus is stamped out where herd immunity can prevail, the political disparity will be underscored in a way that only tragedy can.

Hearts and minds are being won, but not in a way any of us would choose.

Monday Open Thread

“In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.”

–Anne Frank

The Get More Smarter Podcast: Biggest Legislative Session Ever (ft. Speaker Alec Garnett)

This week on Episode #78 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii recap the historic 2021 session of the Colorado General Assembly with Speaker of the House Alec Garnett! The quantity and the quality of accomplishments in this year’s COVID-interrupted legislative session is a pretty big deal that takes some explaining, and we give you the details right from the source.

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

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at

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SoS Griswold Shuts Down AZ-Style Ballot Goose Chase

Rep. Ron Hanks (R) in Phoenix observing the Arizona election “audit” last week.

A press release yesterday afternoon from Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold announces new emergency rules to prevent unqualified, unsupervised partisan hacks from gaining custody of Colorado’s voting equipment and ballots records to engage in the shenanigans presently underway in the state of Arizona:

“Colorado’s elections are considered the safest in the nation, and we must remain steadfast in our dedication to security,” said Secretary of State Jena Griswold. “Along those lines, no third-party person or vendor will be permitted access to voting equipment in our state. We will not risk the state’s election security nor perpetuate The Big Lie. Sham audits have no place in Colorado.”

The new and amended rules, which have been implemented immediately, reinforce who can access state-certified voting systems. In order to access any component of a county’s voting system, a person must have passed a comprehensive criminal background check and be either an employee of the county clerk, an employee of the voting system provider, an employee of the Secretary of State’s Office, or an appointed election judge.

The rules further enable the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office to limit or prohibit the use of, as well as decertify, any voting systems component in the event of a break in its chain-of-custody or other hardware security compromises, such that its security and integrity can no longer be verified.

A third-party vendor with no election experience is currently performing a faulty, unsecure election audit in Arizona and calls for such sham audits have been spreading in other states. Several Colorado counties have been contacted by third parties offering to conduct audits. Colorado already administers post-election Risk Limiting Audits after every statewide election, which gives a statistical level of confidence that the outcome of an election is correct.

Last week after the Colorado General Assembly adjourned for the year, highly imaginative election denier GOP Rep. Ron Hanks reportedly drove straight to Phoenix to observe the so-called “audit” taking place there, after the GOP-controlled Arizona Senate seized the ballots and counting hardware from the 2020 election and handed them to a shady outfit calling itself Cyber Ninjas for what they’re calling an audit but in fact has none of the procedures and safeguards against abuse that the official recounts that already took place did. It was reported that a number of ballots from the Arizona audit have been transported to rural Montana for unknown purposes, and at this point the chain of custody over these ballots has been broken, run over, and peed on to the point they can never be trusted. None of which really matters since the 2020 election is over, and ballots have been officially counted, recounted, and certified all they need to be.

In truth, by keeping Colorado’s election systems and ballots out of the hands of partisan prevaricators with shady methods and confirmation bias, Griswold is the one upholding election integrity. It’s not even close. And if you don’t want to believe a Democratic Secretary of State, in Colorado it was Republican county clerks who took point last November and December in refuting the misinformation about Colorado’s elections systems–which just happened to also refute the Big Lie that the election was rigged in the swing states that decided the presidential race, since Colorado uses Dominion Voting Systems hardware and mail ballots sent “unsolicited” to all active voters.

Griswold, like the GOP clerks in Colorado and Secretaries of State across the country in both parties, is fighting a running battle against a determined campaign of misinformation that, as long as Donald Trump and the enablers of his political afterlife refuse to put a stop to it, will probably never be fully extinguished. It’s therefore even more important for the majority of Americans who believe the 2020 election was not stolen to remain as energetic in their defense of our democratic process as Trump dead-enders are in their assault on it.

Don’t even crack the door for these people.

Weak, Uncertain Heidi Ganahl Running Out Of Time

Republican candidate for something Heidi Ganahl wants to have a totally spontaneous not staged at all conversation with you.

For the past couple of months now, as our readers know and is slowly making its way into political news coverage, Republican CU Regent Heidi Ganahl has been waging a low-intensity public relations campaign centered around a “traveling podcast” to raise her name ID ahead of a run for higher statewide office in 2022. Ganahl, the only remaining Republican holding even a minor statewide elected office in Colorado after Cory Gardner’s ouster last November, is not so much what you’d call a “rising star” as the GOP’s last potential hope for a turnaround after years of defeat.

Unfortunately for Regent Ganahl and beleaguered Republicans hoping she could be their ticket out of the electoral abyss, the recent political tumult at CU–over the conservative Benson Center and professor John Eastman’s role in the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and more recently the departure of divisive CU President Mark Kennedy who Ganahl helped install just two years ago–has created serious obstacles to running on her record there.

Nonetheless, over the past few month it’s become very clear that Ganahl intends to run for something, especially since her statewide at-large seat on the CU Board of Regents may not even exist in 2022. The most common assumption is that she wants to run against Gov. Jared Polis, but as we noted earlier this week in our Big Line 2022 update, Ganahl may be considering a run for Treasurer instead in consideration of Gov. Polis high approval ratings.

And that’s where Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog picks up the story:

Until recently, pretty much every Republican operative and insider in the state has been describing Ganahl as the candidate most likely to challenge Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, the wealthy tech entrepreneur who served five terms in Congress before being elected governor in 2018 by 10 points.

After a brief scare last year when, as she put it in a recent speech, Ganahl “had to fight through a brain tumor”— which wasn’t cancerous but required surgery — she’s sounding again like she has her eye on higher office, though Republican sources say she’s told them in the last month that she’s considering a run for state treasurer or U.S. Senate instead of governor.

Ganahl wouldn’t be the first Republican to walk and talk like a candidate for office without actually filing to run for office, which obliges the candidate to then comply with campaign finance and reporting laws. In 2017, soon-to-be gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton was criticized for hosting fundraisers for the Colorado GOP’s independent expenditure committee and a SuperPAC to support Stapleton’s campaign as a candidate in all but formality. In Ganahl’s case, however, there appears to be a more basic problem: Heidi Ganahl doesn’t know if she can beat Jared Polis.

There’s little question, as Luning’s story continues, that at least up until recently Ganahl has been fully focused on running for governor:

[D]elivering the keynote at a recent meeting of Jefferson County’s Foothills Republicans in a talk titled “What’s the future for the Republican Party and Colorado?” she took aim at Polis throughout, not even mentioning any other state politicians…

After ticking off some of the restrictions imposed by Polis and local officials during the pandemic, Ganahl unveiled a rhetorical device meant to puncture Polis’ generally high approval ratings.

“Was he paranoid? No, it was worse than that. Paranoid people only limit themselves, but Polis limited all of us. That’s not paranoid, that’s Karen-oid,” she said. “Polis is the king of Karens.” [Pols emphasis]

So first of all, if Ganahl thinks anybody is going to miss her loudly blowing a homophobic dog whistle by emasculating Gov. Polis as “king of the Karens,” she’s mistaken. It’s completely contrary to the tolerant image Ganahl wants to project to swingable voters repelled by Republican culture war red meat. And with the public still solidly in support of Gov. Polis’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is just not a message that helps Ganahl outside the “deplorable” Republican base. There’s a lot more we could say about Ganahl’s “Karen” slur against Gov. Polis if we weren’t taking the high road, but we are.

What we will say is this: letting speculation grow about stepping down to a lesser race, as George Brauchler can tell you, is a terrible way to kick off a campaign. If Ganahl can’t beat Polis, she can’t beat Michael Bennet either–and choosing instead to run for a lesser office throws Ganahl’s motivations for that job into question.

What office you want to run for (and why) is definitely something you’re supposed to figure out before you launch your campaign, but for all the aforementioned reasons Ganahl doesn’t appear to have that luxury and the clock is ticking.

So like the gender reveal party you hope doesn’t start a wildfire, we’ll all find out together.

It’s Hot And We Hope You’re Not


It may come as a surprise, but lots of older homes along Colorado’s Front Range were not constructed with the expectation of back-to-back-to-back days of 100 degree weather as we’re seeing this week–which makes sense since 100 degree+ highs have historically happened on less than 1% of summer days in the Denver area. If you know anybody at risk from heat-related illness, this afternoon would be a good time to check on them and make sure they’re staying cool.

And yes it is human-caused climate change, and yes climate change will still exist when it gets cold next winter.

It’s a bit sad we still need to say so.

Boebert Hovers Above CO GOP Leader’s Effort To “Brand” Republicans As Caring

(One of these things is not like the other – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

You have to agree with the leader of Colorado’s Republican Party when she says people think Republicans are white and mean–and this creates problems for them when it comes to winning elections.

“People have a misconception, I think [about Republicans],” Burton Brown said on KHOW last week at 24 minutes, saying it’s her job to re-brand the Republican Party. “They’ve put us in a box. ‘Here’s what Republicans are. They are old. They are white. They are men. They do not care. They only want to give the rich people money.’

Kristi Burton Brown

Yet Burton Brown can’t say enough good things about U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), whose meanness continues to shock even people like me who listen to her all the time.

For example, back in April, when the humanitarian crisis on the border was ramping up and officials were struggling to find ways to help children who crossed the border, Boebert showed no sympathy at all.

With images of destitute kids all over the news, Boebert was asked on conservative radio, what’s the “biggest problem at the border right now that could be addressed right away if you could only do one thing and do it first? What would Representative Bobert recommend doing?”

“Continue construction on the wall. That’s exactly what needs to happen,” Boebert told a KHOW radio host, acting as if the kids in the news didn’t exist. “On day one, Biden issued an executive order to halt construction at our southern border. We need to get the wall built.”

Even if you believe the wall could work, which serious people don’t, you still have the kids, right here right now, who need care that border security, especially a wall, won’t give them.

Then, and now, all Boebert can do is repeatedly mock their plight and offer no help or ideas or anything but…a wall of meanness.

Just this week on Flashpoint, a Christian right podcast, Boebert offered not a word of love or compassion toward immigrant children but instead degraded them with language that served her need for a political attack line but had no basis in reality.

Thousands of migrant children are “wrapped and stacked like baked potatoes” at the border, she said.

Like baked potatoes, because some, at some point, had mylar blankets?


ACA Survives No Thanks To Neil Gorsuch, Cory Gardner

Politico reporting on the big decision from the U.S. Supreme Court this morning rejecting the lawsuit brought by a number of states’ attorneys general seeking to strike down the landmark 2010 Affordable Care Act by a fairly resounding 7-2 majority decision:

The 7-2 decision, which preserves health insurance for millions and the law’s popular protections for preexisting conditions, may serve as the final chapter in the decade-long legal assault on Obamacare, arriving as President Joe Biden seeks to build on the law’s coverage provisions. It’s also the final blow to former President Donald Trump’s pledge to rip up his predecessor’s signature health care law, after his administration had supported the red states who brought the lawsuit…

The red states challenging the law, led by Texas, argued that Obamacare’s so-called individual mandate became unconstitutional after Congress zeroed out the law’s penalty for not having health insurance in a 2017 tax cut package. They said the entire law should fall because the mandate to purchase insurance, which remains on the books, was central to the law’s functioning.

However, the states failed to show how they were hurt by a mandate that had been rendered ineffective, the Supreme Court said.

The battle over the lawsuit dragged on for over three years, after many legal experts and politicians had originally dismissed it as a longshot. But it gained traction with Republican-appointed judges in lower courts and played a major part in shaping Trump’s presidency. Democrats attacked Trump and Republicans down the ballot for threatening health insurance to over 20 million people and popular insurance protections, putting Trump on the defensive over his failure to produce a long-promised health care plan.

The dissenting opinion, signed by Colorado’s own Justice Neil Gorsuch along with Justice Samuel Alito, reads more like a political press release than a judicial dissent:

“No one can fail to be impressed by the lengths to which this Court has been willing to go to defend the ACA against all threats. A penalty is a tax. The United States is a State. And 18 States who bear costly burdens under the ACA cannot even get a foot in the door to raise a constitutional challenge. So a tax that does not tax is allowed to stand and support one of the biggest Government programs in our Nation’s history. Fans of judicial inventiveness will applaud once again. But I must respectfully dissent,” the dissent said.

Everyone is still trying to make sense of the sweeping changes on the U.S. Supreme Court during Donald Trump’s presidency, in which Republican treachery against Barack Obama following the death of one Justice combined with the untimely death of another to cement what’s broadly believed to be a 6-3 conservative majority. But as Chief Justice John Roberts has taught us several times in his 15 year term, neither side always gets what they expect from Justices once they’re liberated from the political tensions at the time of their confirmation. We’ve said as much about Gorsuch himself, but yesterday’s weak and politicized dissent is both a disappointment and an embarrassment to Coloradans who boosted Gorsuch’s nomination.

Then-Rep. Cory Gardner complains about pro-ACA advertising in Congress in 2013.

As for the Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare,” or whatever you want to call it, it’s the law of the land. After years of fact-free demonization of the ACA failed to slow its steady gain in popularity as more Americans experienced its benefits firsthand, Republicans had a wide-open shot at replacing the ACA with Trump’s fabled better deal–and their failure to accomplish this long-promised objective severely damaged the GOP’s credibility ahead of the 2018 midterms in which Democrats retook control of the U.S. House. Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner, whose career in federal office was as much as anyone in Congress built on assailing the ACA with misinformation, promised to take action to protect patients with pre-existing conditions had this case been successful, but after Republicans tried and failed to keep their promises on health care when they had total control in Washington there was simply no reason to believe him.

Asked if he supported the lawsuit, Gardner replied: “That’s the court’s decision. If the Democrats want to stand for an unconstitutional law, I guess that’s their choice.”

At this point, Republicans–at least Gardner personally–have lost far more in their decade of total war on what amounts to the right-wing Heritage Foundation’s proposal for market-based health care reform than they ever gained in short-term political support. Slamming the door on even the ACA’s modest reforms as the problem of health care affordability worsens has put Republicans hopelessly on the wrong side of a problem that millions of Americans need solutions for, not more empty rhetoric. A realistic discussion of the country’s next necessary steps on health care can only begin once we admit that the reforms enacted ten years ago did not result in the catastrophe half the country has been taught to believe took place.

We’re here for that discussion any time you are.

Why You Don’t Hear From Ryan Call Anymore?

Former Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call.

Former Colorado Republican Party chairman Ryan Call, who was a major player in Colorado politics before being ousted in 2015 at the onset of a major scandal that scrambled the state GOP for years afterward, has been relatively quiet in recent years. In September of 2020, Call basically eighty-sixed himself from a future in Republican politics by signing onto a Lincoln Project roster of Joe Biden Republicans.

Well folks, as Colorado Newsline’s Chase Woodruff reports, there may be a more straightforward explanation for Call pulling back from the GOP spotlight:

The former chair of the Colorado Republican Party is facing potential legal disciplinary sanctions over allegations that he “misappropriated” nearly $280,000 from a pro-Donald Trump super PAC between 2016 and 2019.

The allegations against Ryan Call, who served two terms as state chair of the Colorado GOP between 2011 and 2015, were disclosed in a complaint filed against him this month by the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, a division of the Colorado Supreme Court that handles attorney disciplinary matters. The OARC’s complaint was obtained by Newsline through a public records request…

Filed with the state Supreme Court’s Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge on June 2, the complaint alleges that Call embezzled nearly $280,000 from Rebuilding America Now through a variety of methods, including by secretly awarding himself a $5,000-per-month consulting contract and reporting false campaign-expenditure information to the Federal Election Commission. The complaint describes Call’s actions as criminal theft. [Pols emphasis]

“Respondent knowingly misappropriated $278,169.45 from (Rebuilding America Now),” the complaint states. “Specifically, he transferred $278,169.45 of RAN funds to himself, knowing that the funds belonged to RAN, and knowing that he was not entitled to the funds and that RAN had not authorized him to take the funds for his own purposes.”

Call, a formerly prominent figure in Colorado Republican circles who has maintained a low profile since 2019, did not return multiple calls and emails seeking comment.

That’s all bad news for Ryan Call, and it could be just the beginning–as the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party’s independent expenditure committee both during and long after he served as state party chairman, Call faced intense scrutiny from rival factions over his money and strategic management. Revelations that Call was cutting himself in on cash flow from the Rebuilding America Now PAC may mean it’s time for the GOP IEC and every other entity Call had fiduciary influence over to reopen its books–or let infamous red-on-red gadfly Matt Arnold do it for them.

If you were funding Colorado Republicans in the last decade, results clearly show you wasted your money.

Ryan Call may have helped waste money a little more, you know, efficiently.