So Much For #RadiCalifornia: Electric Cars Go Bipartisan

Gov. Jared Polis (D).

The Greeley Tribune’s Trevor Reid reports on executive orders signed today by Gov. Jared Polis to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles in Colorado, including shifting funds from the emissions fraud settlement with Volkswagen to building out electric charging infrastructure:

Gov. Jared Polis signed Thursday morning an executive order to support a transition to electric vehicles.

The executive order establishes a work group of 17 members from 13 state departments to develop policies and programs supporting the transition to electric vehicles, as well as a revision to the state’s allocation of the remains of $68.7 million it received from the Volkswagen emissions settlement to support electrifying transportation including transit buses, school buses and trucks. The work group will report to the governor beginning July 1 on its progress.

Polis pointed to transportation as a key contributor to local air pollution, causing health complications for children and adults with asthma and other chronic conditions.

“Nationwide and in Colorado, transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions,” Polis said.

Among the attendees at the press conference today was Republican Sen. Kevin Priola, who spoke immediately after Gov. Polis:

Sen. Priola’s high-profile appearance at today’s press conference in support of Polis’ executive orders to encourage the switch to electric vehicles, part of the new governor’s plan to move the state to 100% renewable energy sources, scrambles the politics for Republicans looking to take their inevitable potshots on behalf of the fossil fuel industry. During the 2018 gubernatorial campaign, Republicans lambasted Polis for his “radical” campaign pledge of a transition to 100% renewable energy.

After Polis trounced his Republican opponent and Democrats triumphed in the legislature last November, here’s a swing-district Republican up in 2020 turning over a new (Nissan) Leaf.

As they say, elections matter.

Unshutdown: State Department Finds Pot of Gold

President Trump reportedly “remains resolute” in his determination to keep the federal government closed for as long as it takes to build his big ol’ border wall. So…explain this one, would you? As the Associated Press reports, the U.S. State Department somehow has money to pay people to return to work:

The State Department on Thursday instructed all U.S. diplomats in Washington and elsewhere to return to work next week with pay, saying it had found money for their salaries at least temporarily despite the ongoing government shutdown…[Pols emphasis]

…It was not immediately clear where the money was found, but the department said it would use “existing funds as well as other available fiscal authorities to shift existing balances to restart payroll funding.”

Salaries cannot be guaranteed beyond the next pay period, which ends on Feb. 14, if the shutdown does not end by then, the department said. However, it said it would “review its balances and available legal authorities to see if other flexibilities may be available.”

The department said it was taking the step because it had become clear that the lapse in funding is harming essential diplomatic and national security objectives.

Well, yeah, of course the shutdown is “harming essential diplomatic and national security objectives,” but where in the hell did all of this money come from?

Perhaps, as TIME magazine noted on Wednesday, Trump’s resoluteness might not be as firm as he would have you believe:

In recent days, the Trump Administration has taken several moves to soften the effects of the shutdown. Some measures have been targeted broadly, allowing taxpayers to receive refunds, banks to process mortgages and airports to be inspected. Others are aimed at key Trump constituencies, ensuring that hunters can access federal lands and farmers can receive loans. And some seem designed to hit particularly close to home: the Administration went out of its way to keep park rangers staffing a historic clock tower at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

It’s not entirely surprising Trump is looking for ways to limit the costs of what is now the longest-running shutdown in U.S. history. No doubt the president has seen the polls showing the majority of the public blames him and disapproves of the shutdown. And with the effects of a shuttered federal government only growing — airport lines, agricultural woes and costs to the economy are getting worse by the day — the political price of his face-off with Democrats is rising, too.

Perhaps this is how the shutdown really comes to an end. We might be only a few weeks away from Trump answering questions about the shutdown with, “What shutdown? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Down Ballot Turn Out in 2018 vs. 2014

First off, Democrats were across the board more popular in 2018. However, the size of their wins down ballot depended on better turn out. While there are still fewer people voting for the down ballot races those gaps all narrowed in 2018 when compared with the turn out in the Governor’s race.

2014 Down Ballot Drop-Off
Secretary of State: -7.65%
Treasurer: -3.82%
Attorney General: -4.51%

2018 Down Ballot Drop-Off
Secretary of State: -1.28%
Treasurer: -2.01%
Attorney General: -1.31%

 

Many voters who went for Hickenlooper at the top of the ticket in 2014 split their votes for the other races or (mostly) decided not vote in down ballot races. This tendency was cut by about 2/3rds in 2018.

2014 Democratic vote vs. Governor’s Race
Governor: 49.30% : 1,006,433
Secretary of State: -11.96% : -120,390
Treasurer: -12.32% : -123,996
Attorney General: -17.91% : -180,251

2018 Democratic vote vs. Governor’s Race
Governor: 53.42% : 1,348,888
Secretary of State: -2.61% : -35,172
Treasurer: -4.02% : -56,607
Attorney General: -4.70% : -63,424

 

Republicans did benefit from ticket splitting in 2018 with their down ballot candidates getting more votes down ballot than they did for Governor. Their problem was that the whole Republican brand was much less popular compared to 2014 and the relative size of their advantage diminished with greater turn out. In order to win something down ballot they need at least a 3% swing in the total statewide vote and for Democratic leaning voters to not vote down ballot races.

2014 Republican vote vs. Governor’s Race
Governor: 45.95% : 938,195
Secretary of State: -0.60% : -5,607
Treasurer: +4.38% : +41,086
Attorney General: +6.87% : 64,431

2018 Republican vote vs. Governor’s Race
Governor: 42.80% : 1,080,801
Secretary of State: +3.06% : +33,126
Treasurer: +4.38% : +41086
Attorney General: +4.07% : +43,956

 

The lower amount of ticket splitting also shows up in the third party vote. Making a direct comparison is a bit more apples and oranges due to the different mix of parties from year to year, but in 2014 a there were more voters for 3rd parties down ballot than for governor. In 2018 this was reversed.

2014 Third Party Votes
Governor: 4.75% : 96,977
Secretary of State: 7.68% : 151,203
Treasurer: 5.19% : 101,826
Attorney General: 6.19% :120,745

2018 Third Party Votes
Governor: 3.78% : 95,373
Secretary of State: 2.61% : 64,992
Treasurer: 2.85% : 70,475
Attorney General: 3.28% : 81,733

 

Now the one exception. The At-Large CU Regent’s race. Both major parties lost votes due to switches to 3rd parties as protest votes and due to people skipping the race entirely. The Democrats lost more votes than Republicans, but in a similar enough ratio to give this race a wider margin (8.93%) than the AG race (6.45%).

CU Regent At-Large
51.95% Democratic 1,246,318
43.02% Republican 1,031,993
1.21% Unity Party 29,128
3.82% Libertarian 91,586
Total votes: 2,399,025
Total Drop-off: -4.99% : -126,037
Dem Drop-off: -7.60% : -102,570
Rep Drop-off: -4.52% : -48,808

I personally suspect that without Jared Polis and Republican dark money this year would have looked more like the Regent’s race. Still a solid win for team blue, but not as overwhelming a win and with lower turn out for both.

Trump, Republicans Still Own the Shutdown

UPDATE: As the New York Times reports, Trump is feeling the pressure:

President Trump has insisted that he is not going to compromise with Democrats to end the government shutdown, and that he is comfortable in his unbendable position. But privately, it’s sometimes a different story.

“We are getting crushed!” Mr. Trump told his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, after watching some recent coverage of the shutdown, according to one person familiar with the conversation. “Why can’t we get a deal?”…

The president is confronted by a divided and partially shuttered government with an untested staff that has undergone yet another shake-up. Polls show that most Americans blame him for the government shutdown, and his advisers are warning him of its negative effects on the economy. And as the shutdown enters its 27th day on Thursday with no end in sight, most of his top aides would like him to find a way out.

Mr. Trump has told them he believes over time the country will not remember the shutdown, but it will remember that he staged a fight over his insistence that the southern border be protected. He wants Democrats to come back to the table agreeing with his position on a wall, and he does not understand why they have not.

—–

Watch out for falling approval ratings.

There are no “winners” in a government shutdown. We are all losers when the government ceases to function, but Americans still have their own opinions on who should receive most of the blame. Despite efforts to shift responsibility for the shutdown to Democrats, Americans are consistently pinning this one on President Trump and Republicans.

As CNBC explains, Trump’s approval ratings are plummeting — even among his base:

President Donald Trump is hemorrhaging support amid a political standoff over his proposed border wall that has resulted in the longest government shutdown on record, according to polls.

As the shutdown of about a quarter of the federal government lumbers toward its fifth week, the president even appears to be losing favor with his core constituents, whose support for Trump until this point has been rock-solid since the 2016 campaign.

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll published Thursday found that Trump’s approval rating has slipped 3 percent from last month to 39 percent, while his disapproval has climbed 4 percentage points to 53 percent. [Pols emphasis]

And unlike in past political fights, the poll and other recent surveys indicate that some of the groups thought to comprise key parts of Trump’s base are not immune from the broader downward trend.

Trump’s approval rating among suburban men, long one of his strongest blocs of support, dropped from 51 to 42 percent, according to the NPR/PBS/Marist poll*. It’s probably no coincidence that a good chunk of suburban men have federal government jobs for which they are not receiving a paycheck. Trump is also underwater with Cardi B (presumably).

President Trump is still holding onto the idea that he could declare a national emergency to secure funding for his great big wall, but voters don’t like that idea, either. From Politico:

Only 36 percent of voters say they support Trump’s re-allocating money to pay for the border wall through a national emergency, while 51 percent oppose such a declaration.  [Pols emphasis] Twice as many voters strongly oppose a national emergency, 41 percent, as strongly support it, 20 percent. And, as with much of the fight that has resulted in a government shutdown lasting more than three weeks, Trump has the support of the vast majority of Republican voters, 72 percent, but very few voters outside his political base.

Trump took his case for a border wall to the American people last week, delivering his first prime-time, Oval Office address in his two-year-old presidency. But the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll suggests that the president’s speech didn’t move the needle.

If President Trump wants to see better polling numbers, he’s going to have to pay for them. As Stephen Collinson writes for CNN, Trump is soon going to have to choose between preventing economic disaster and building his big wall.

*Pols note: All polling data should be considered (+/-) Laura Woods

Nancy Pelosi Shuts Down State of the Union

Don’t mess with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D).

AP reporting–House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who if you weren’t aware is third in line of succession to the Presidency after Donald Trump and Mike Pence, just slammed home a presidential-grade power play that reminded all of Washington how Congress is a separate and (key word here) equal branch of government:

The partial government shutdown threw a prime Washington ritual into question Wednesday as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked President Donald Trump to forgo his Jan. 29 State of the Union speech, expressing doubts that the hobbled government can provide adequate security. Republicans saw her move as a ploy to deny Trump the stage.

In a letter to Trump, Pelosi said that with both the Secret Service and the Homeland Security Department entangled in the shutdown, the president should speak to Congress another time or he should deliver the address in writing. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen denied anyone’s safety is compromised, saying both agencies “are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union.”

Inviting the president to give the speech is usually pro forma, and Pelosi issued the invitation in routine fashion, in consultation with the White House, several weeks ago. But with the shutdown in its fourth week, the White House and Democrats in a stalemate and the impasse draining the finances of hundreds of thousands of federal employees, little routine is left in the capital.

With nationwide polling showing clearly that Trump and Republicans are losing the battle for public opinion during the longest government shutdown in American history, there’s little incentive for Pelosi to allow business as usual to proceed–including the State of the Union address, which would only give Trump a platform to whinge from. Even setting aside the security concerns while hundreds of thousands of federal employees are furloughed, going ahead with the pomp and circumstance of the SOTU while federal workers borrow money from their parents and raid their retirement accounts to pay the mortgage seems like a toxic enough visual that Republicans shouldn’t want to do it either.

There’s still time for business to return to usual, but that will require Trump to do something he doesn’t like.

Lose. To a woman.

Colorado GOP Begs Lawmakers To Keep “Party Poll Tax”

Rep. Dave Williams (R).

As the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Conrad Swanson reports, Republican Rep. Dave Williams–best known for his anti-immigration antics in the Colorado House among other distasteful misadventures–has introduced a piece of legislation that we think everyone should be able to support:

A Colorado Republican legislator is gathering support from Democrats on a bill one GOP leader calls “sinister” and others say has the potential to bankrupt the party.

That Republican, state Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs, defended his House Bill 1046 Tuesday in the House Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs, of which he is a member, saying it would prohibit political parties from from preventing delegates or alternates from voting in caucuses or party assemblies unless they cough up what are commonly known as ‘badge fees.’

…For years, Colorado Republicans have arrived to county, state and other district assemblies with their checkbooks in hand because the GOP charges fees – ranging from a few bucks to $70 per assembly – to serve as delegates and alternates.

Rep. Williams is reportedly co-sponsoring House Bill 19-1046 with Democratic Rep. Susan Lontine, and the bill passed out of the House State Affairs Committee yesterday on a unanimous 9-0 vote:

Swanson reports that opposition to the legislation came entirely from Republican Party officials from the state and county organizations, who warned that the loss of these fees could bankrupt county parties in particular. It’s possible that some of Williams’ motivation for introducing this legislation traces back to ongoing tensions within the El Paso County Republican hierarchy, but you just can’t argue with the idea that participation in the caucus and assembly process, an important part of our representative small-d democracy, should not carry a fee. Williams’ description of this as a “pay to play” scheme is objectively pretty close to the mark–with no analogue on the Democratic side, where we’re pretty sure attempting to charge such a fee would prompt a revolt on general principles.

And if ending the practice is really going to bankrupt the local GOP, maybe it should.

Neguse to Serve on House Judiciary Committee

Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish)

Freshman Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) scored a big committee assignment when it was announced late Tuesday that he was selected to serve on the House Judiciary Committee.

The House Judiciary Committee is where any impeachment proceedings would begin. Though Democrats are not generally expected to pursue impeachment of President Trump, the House Judiciary Committee is also a prime launch point for any number of investigations into the current administration. For better or for worse (in this case, probably better), Democratic members of the committee will have a significant media platform with which to raise their national profiles.

Neguse’s office issued the following statement on Wednesday morning:

“It is an honor and privilege to be appointed to serve on the Judiciary Committee in the 116th Congress. The Judiciary Committee will take up incredibly important work to ensure that our immigration community is treated with respect, our voting rights are protected, our communities are protected from gun violence and that Congress remains an independent check on this President’s continued attempts to reach outside of his constitutional jurisdiction. As a lawyer, former Executive Director of Colorado’s regulatory department and a first generation American, I hope to bring my unique perspective and voice to this body. I commend Chairman Nadler and the work he has done leading this committee and I am tremendously grateful to serve alongside him.”

Colorado is well-represented on the House Judiciary Committee; Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) was already an existing member.

The Nuggets Lost. We Blame Ben Higgins

The Denver Nuggets were in first place in the Western Conference entering last night’s highly-anticipated home game against the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors…and then they promptly lost by 31 points.

The Warriors set an NBA record by scoring 51 points in the first quarter, a 12-minute span during which they shot a ridiculous 76% from the field. How did things get off to such a bad start for Denver?

Is it a coincidence that the Nuggets were blown out in a game in which former “Bachelor” and brief State House candidate Ben Higgins took the ceremonial first shot?

Yes, it’s just a coincidence. Probably.

At Least She’s Not Your State Senator Anymore

Gah!

Former State Senator Laura Waters Woods was always a difficult problem for Republicans. Woods is nuttier than a bag of trail mix, but she played an important role for the GOP in the 2013 recall attempt of Sen. Evie Hudak (D-Arvada) that ultimately resulted in Hudak’s resignation. Woods used that recall organizing effort to get herself elected to SD-19 in 2014 to fill the remainder of Hudak’s term, and she spent the next two years engaged in any number of crazypants legislative strategies as a member of the GOP’s “Hateful Eight.”

The “Laura Woods Problem” was more or less solved in the 2016 election cycle when Woods lost her bid for re-election to Democrat Rachel Zenzinger in a rematch of their 2014 race. That battle in SD-19 was the single most-watched state senate race of the cycle for Democrats looking to regain a majority in the State Senate and to right a wrong that had ended Hudak’s legislative career.

Woods hasn’t left politics behind entirely; she still Tweets under the handle @SenLauraWoods because of course she does. On Tuesday evening, Woods shot off a take on the unreliability of polling data that proves, once again, that SD-19 voters were right to get rid of her:

Most polls include a disclaimer for margin of error based on sample size, demographics, etc., but perhaps they should also start including a note on whether or not they attempted to contact Laura Woods.

Indeed, philosophers have long wondered: If a tree falls in the forest and it doesn’t hit Laura Woods, does it still make a sound?

“Staple” GOP Donors Won’t Even Return Beckman’s Calls, Says Buck

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley)

Shortly after calling Democratic Congressman Joe Neguse of Boulder “another Cory Gardner,” as in a “ray of sunshine,” U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) took shots at one of his opponents in the race to be leader of the state Republican Party.

“I understand that Susan Beckman wants this job. It pays a lot of money. And I understand that she is concerned about competition for this job. Susan Beckman cannot get return calls from a lot of the donors that are friends of mine, who have donated to my campaigns in the past, and who are a staple of this party,” Buck told KNUS radio host Craig Silverman Saturday, in a meandering and entertaining interview. “Susan Beckman has never run a statewide race, or a race outside of a small jurisdiction in Arapahoe County. And I look forward to offering a contrast with her for the State chair position.”

Beckman has said the Colorado GOP should not be lead from someone who spends so much time in Washington DC. Buck

Buck had kinder words for Neguse than Beckman, who’s a Colorado state representative.

“The one Congressman who I’ve gotten to know a little bit better, a freshman Congressman, is Joe Neguse, who took Jared Polis’ position,” said Buck on air. “And I am thoroughly impressed with Joe. Joe is a – just a – he is a ‘Cory Gardner.’ He is a ray of sunshine. He just has this bubbly personality. He is really friendly and a nice person. And I think, while we disagree politically, and we disagree on policy, he’s exactly the kind of person that you want to see in politics.”

While siding firmly with Trump and other Republicanssaid said Trump had nothing to do with former U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman’s (R-CO) loss to Democrat Jason Crow in November, insisting that Trump had nothing to do with Coffman’s loss in November.

“I think the bottom line was that Jason Crow is an outstanding candidate.” said Buck, adding that “moderate Democrats” like Crow will be “forced” to the left once they enter Congress–or watch their Democratic colleagues.

It’s unclear if Buck would count talk radio as a valid news source, given his response to Silverman’s question on where people should get news.

“I think the best place to get our news is to actually go and watch what goes on,” replied Buck. “If you’re interested what goes on in Congress, watch C-SPAN. If you’re interested in what goes on in, you know, the Denver Broncos game, go watch the Denver Broncos game. I don’t think that having people who claim to be journalists, who are actually editorial writers and write in ways that are misleading — I think — is positive.”

Listen To excerpts of Buck’s KNUS interview here:

The Little Bomber That Could

(Anthropomorphism gone rather awry – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

It’s been nearly a century since The Little Engine That Could first charmed children with its cheerful smile and can-do attitude. These days, kids love characters such as Thomas the Tank Engine and the cast of “Toy Story,” all of whom continue the tradition of entertaining young minds while teaching fundamental lessons about overcoming life’s challenges.

Author and Air Force wife Liesl Ross just published her children’s book to help kids –like her own who are growing up on military bases– cope with a challenge that’s especially familiar to families in the armed services: moving to a new home.

The Colorado native and daughter of Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO), wanted to tell a story that would resonate for the kids on the base. The hero of Ross’ story is also a kid who’s faced with moving away from the only friends and neighborhood she has ever known. And like Thomas the Tank Engine, she’s also a vehicle with a cute smile.

Meet Bonnie the B-1 Bomber:

Bonnie B-One’s Supersonic Move is on a mission to show children the importance of being kind and brave no matter where life takes them! Bonnie B-One is a young United States Air Force B-1B bomber jet who must navigate the emotions that come with moving to a new home and making new friends. Readers of all ages will enjoy Bonnie’s adventure and lesson in resiliency.  —Barnes & Noble overview
B-1B bomber

The B-1B Lancer is a supersonic heavy bomber that carries the largest payload of both guided and unguided munitions in the Air Force. It has served in combat over Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and most recently in Syria. Initially designed to carry nuclear weapons, it was converted to strictly conventional use in the 1990s.

The Air Force currently retains an active inventory of 62 aircraft assigned to squadrons at Dyess AFB, Texas and Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, where Ross’ family resides.

Ross and her illustrator, airman Alexander Buchanan who is also stationed at the base, were featured in a story about their book last Friday by the Rapid City, South Dakota NBC affiliate.

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Call Gardner and Bennet right now: put the brakes on William Barr

Today in Washington, the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned William Barr, Donald Trump’s nominee for Attorney General.

With new revelations being uncovered by the special counsel practically every day, the prospect of Trump successfully hand-picking the next man to preside over the investigations into Trump’s campaign is deeply troubling. It doesn’t matter what Barr tells the Senators and media, what matters is his record—and what he’s told Donald Trump, who is currently under investigation.

Call our Colorado Senators, Cory Gardner at (202) 224-5941 and Michael Bennet at (202) 224-5852, and urge them to vote against William Barr.

“RussiaGate” is just the beginning of the problems with William Barr. Barr called the backwards former Attorney General Jeff Sessions “outstanding.” Serving under former President George H.W. Bush, Barr was a major proponent of mass incarceration policies that resulted in the United States having one of the highest rates of imprisonment in the world–disproportionately impacting communities of color. Barr’s documented views on abortion, LGBTQ+ rights, and immigrant rights show his just how backwards his views are.

Call Sens. Cory Gardner at (202) 224-5941 and Michael Bennet at (202) 224-5852, and tell them to vote against William Barr. He’s the wrong man at the worst possible time.

Thanks for your timely help. However this fight ends, speaking truth to power is always the right thing to do.

Anti-LGBT Hate Group ADF Among Colorado Combined Giving Campaign Charities

(Charitable hate? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Every year, Colorado state employees have the opportunity to make charitable donations through the Colorado Combined Campaign (CCC). Last year this workplace giving program raised $945,000 for nearly 700 different non-profit groups.

One of those nonprofits was anti-LGBT hate group Alliance Defending Freedom, which has equated being gay with pedophilia, incest and bestiality.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is adflawrence.jpg

Text from ADF’s Supreme Court amicus brief arguing to uphold Texas’ law criminalizing gay people.

How did this group get approved? According to the CCC, most charities participate as part of a federation of similar groups. The CCC Advisory Committee then vets the federations.  

State employees may designate their donations to one or more charities or groups of charities known as federations. An Advisory Committee, made up of representatives of most state agencies, sets and enforces campaign guidelines, called bylaws. The advisory committee reviews the 25 federations who sponsor the more than 600 charities in the campaign to determine if they are fiscally responsible and provide the services they say they do.

As part of the vetting process that the CCC conducts, applicant groups are required to have a “non-discrimination policy protecting, at minimum, the classes listed in the CCC bylaws: “race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, gender and sexual orientation applicable to persons served by the organization.”

ADF signed a document affirming it has such a policy. An email sent to ADF Vice President Jeremy Tedesco requesting a copy of the policy and some clarification as to its scope was not returned.

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