Republican Meltdown: News Miner 27
Notes on Republican shortcomings, views on the elections, spoilers, protectionism, the culture wars, and more.
Complete Colorado has published my column on the elections. Here are a few selections:
As I wrote over a year ago, Heidi Ganahl had two main tasks: Support down-ballot legislative candidates and “try to convince suburban centrist voters that the Republican Party is not absolutely bat-guano crazy.” Instead, she blew up the non-issue of “furries” in schools, campaigned with the conspiracist John Birch Society, and spurned a 9News debate in favor of appearances with Steve Bannon and Joe Oltmann, who has suggested that the governor be executed. . . .
Much of today’s Republican party is obsessed with outlawing abortion. [Joe] O’Dea was not, so many Republicans either gave him tepid support or else outright opposed him. . . . Many Republicans today emphasize abortion over all other issues, something former Senator Hank Brown warned about a decade ago. That’s not going to win statewide elections or competitive seats in Colorado. . . .
Many are saying that Colorado is now a blue state. I believe it is still a purple state in that most voters want the fiscal restraint and economic sense that Republicans are supposed to bring to the table. But you can’t have purple without red. And Republicans have been too undisciplined to bring their crayons to the party.
Wadhams on the Election
Dick Wadhams writes: “Conspiracy theorists leave a stench on the entire Republican Party.” Yep!
“The influx of 800,000 people into the state between 2010 and 2020 resulted in a vast reshaping of the electorate.” I’m not sure about that. Another reading is the Republican Party, stuck in agrarian social conservatism, simply has not kept up with the electorate. Maybe try running some candidates who actually know how to speak to voters?
Democratic victories are “ominous for the future of this state which is already experiencing a precipitous decline in its quality of life in the face of rising crime and rampant homelessness.” The quality of life here for most people is very high. Yes, we have a crime problem, as do most other states. Yes, we need to figure out how to handle homelessness. But it’s not like Republicans have good ideas to offer in these areas.
Wadhams seems more interested in blaming voters than in fixing the Republican Party. His defeatist attitude will not help the GOP.
Nicolais on the Election
Mario Nicolais declares the Republican Party dead. I think that’s a stretch. Two Republicans won their U.S. House seats by large margins and another probably won a third seat by a nose. Several state-wide Republican candidates each earned over a million votes out of around 2.5 million ballots cast.
The GOP definitely is in trouble in terms of winning state-wide races and legislative seats.
Nicolais reminds us:
Steve Wells, the Weld County farmer and rancher . . . poured more than $11 million into a gubernatorial race and then watched his preferred candidate get trounced by a 17-point spread.
Ouch. Republicans burned that money and millions more. If they had instead spent that money on building a reality-oriented party infrastructure, they might have laid the foundation for future success.
Others on the Election
Republican Rep. Colin Larson told CPR:
Honestly I think Colorado Republicans need to take this and learn the lesson that the party is dead. This was an extinction-level event. This was the asteroid that ended the reign of the dinosaur, and in this case, the dinosaur was the Republican party.
Reason magazine continues to call Polis “a Democrat with strong libertarian leanings.” This again ignores the great many non-libertarian things Polis has done. See my paper, “The Tax and Regulate Reality Behind Governor Polis’s Libertarian Image.”
“One of the biggest losers in Colorado’s election was Jared Polis,” writes Jon Caldara. “Had Republicans taken back the state Senate the biggest winner would have been Polis, who would now have been saved from the loony wing of his own party.” I think that’s basically right.
Not every Democrat was appreciative of Polis’s coat tails. Adrian Felix, secretary of Denver Democrats, referred to Polis as among the “mediocre white men throwing their wealth around to win races against terrible candidates.”
Outgoing House Speaker Alec Garnett, soon to be chief of staff for Polis, said, “We [Colorado Democrats] had the biggest night in the country. The Republicans are as lost a party in Colorado as I’ve ever seen.”
Democratic State Rep. Jennifer Bacon said of her party’s victories, “I think what this margin makes us really want to do is explore . . . and be bold.”
Representative Elect Javier Mabrey, who was endorsed by Democratic Socialists of America, writes, “Colorado Democrats have won a mandate. We must use it to build an economy that puts working families over corporate profits.”
Democratic activist Deep Badhesha writes, “No excuses. Time to govern and pass policy like a blue state.” (I kinda thought that’s what Democrats were already doing?)
Denver Councilor Candi CdeBaca thinks Democrats should use their “supermajority power” to repeal “the rent control ban.”
Joe Oltmann, who suggested that the governor be executed, does “not accept or believe these election results,” Kyle Clark reports. Big surprise.
Democratic Socialists of America celebrated the victory of their endorsed candidate Elisabeth Epps, “an abolitionist and champion for environmental, housing, reproductive, and economic justice.” (In this contest “abolition” means something like wanting to get rid of police and prisons. One of Epps’s supporters also wants Epps to “abolish poverty.”) Epps enthusiastically embraced the “socialist” label.
Election Odds and Ends
Income Tax: Voters chose to reduce the state’s income tax. Jon Caldara has the map.
Jeffco: “Jefferson County (Jeffco) voters . . . opted to keep taxpayer protections in place,” reports Sherrie Peif.
Denver: “Denver residents voted on a variety of ballot measures. Almost every one affected or would have affected taxes and affordability, and unfortunately, almost every one passed,” Joshua Sharf reviews.
Trumpism: The Cult of the Orange Calf hurt the party. CPR reports, “Jan. 6, 2021, was a turning point for Dana Basquez, a voter from Lakewood” who “normally split her ticket.” She said, “On January 6th it was cemented in my brain that I cannot trust these people,” Basquez said. “That our nation, everything that I hope for my grandchildren is in jeopardy.”
Conspiracies: Some Republicans who promoted conspiracy fantasies about the 2020 presidential election won their races, reports the Colorado Times Recorder.
Kirkmeyer: Barbara Kirmeyer, who narrowly lost her congressional race, “said abortions should be banned except for when a pregnancy threatens a mother’s life, a determination that should be made by a doctor,” reported the Colorado Sun.
Furry Rogan: “Joe Rogan says the story he told to Tulsi Gabbard about public schools allowing students to use kitty litter boxes in the bathroom, had no proof behind it,” reports Mediaite.
Boebert: Good for Alex Burness for defending Lauren Boebert against claims she should join OnlyFans: “Boebert has long been a magnet for extremely classist jokes about her upbringing and education. Now this guy thinks it’s cool to go on TV to sexualize her and joke that she’d make an OnlyFans, as if that would be something to mock. It’s all gross and it’s been going on for years. . . . Trashing someone’s educational resume or treating sex work as ridiculous causes real harm by normalizing such cruelty in general.”
Arizona: Dave Kopel Tweeted: “Ariz. Sen. Mark Kelly is dishonest and is a gun ban extremist. Gov. Doug Ducey could have crushed him in a general election. But Ducey didn’t run because of Republicans who insisted on a candidate who believed Trump’s brazen lies about the election. Trump is the gun ban lobby’s enabler.”
A Libertarian Spoiler?
A Libertarian candidate plausibly changed the outcome of the high-profile District 8 Congressional race. As of preliminary numbers posted by the Secretary of State on November 14, Democrat Yadira Caraveo had 112,258 votes, Republican Barbara Kirkmeyer had 110,576 votes, and Libertarian Richard (Dan) Ward had 9,095 votes—much more than the difference between the major-party candidates.
If Ward had not been in the race, would enough of his voters have instead voted for Kirkmeyer to give her the lead? Maybe. But Ward is a self-described “Libertarian Socialist” (eh?) who runs sound for a heavy metal band, so it’s unclear where he pulled his support. My guess is that almost no one who voted for him had actually ever heard of him.
Meanwhile, the Libertarian in the U.S. Senate race, Brian Peotter, earned less than 2% of the vote. Chase Woodruff was right: Brian Peotter came no where close to being a “spoiler.” (Peotter’s wife Melody, who worked for Mike Lindell, also lost her Republican bid for state senate.)
And Republican Lauren Boebert maintained a narrow lead in her race with no third-party candidates.
But there were some other races with potential spoilers, in all cases possibly costing the Republicans:
* State Board District 8
* State Senate District 11
* State Representative District 16
* State Representative District 25
* State Representative District 50
We need approval voting—for for as many candidates as you want—or at least ranked-choice voting to prevent the problem of “spoilers.” In certain cases, a vote split three ways could result in the election of a candidate that most people hate.
I really wish more people would read and take to heart my 2018 article, “For better politics, let’s separate party and state.”
Protectionism in the Alcohol Business
I thought the three alcohol-related ballot measures would easily pass. Nope. 124 lost badly, 125 barely passed (it seems), and 126 barely lost. 124 would have expanded the number of retail liquor store licenses. I wrote about 125, to allow grocery stores to sell wine.
Why did 124 fail? Pure protectionism. This comment by Michal Rosenoer is I think representative:
People told me small liquor stores in CO are primarily family-owned small businesses, and that a lot are owned by people of color. That mattered to me—I don’t want to take away their livelihood just so I could buy liquor more conveniently.
My retort: Everyone, including people of color who own small businesses, has the right to buy liquor from willing sellers. Convenience is not the fundamental issue; the right to freedom of association is.
Hazony and Hunt on Culture
Yoram Hazony writes:
Orthodox religious traditions—Christian and Jewish—are the only thing that will survive the blast furnace of ongoing cultural revolution. Make sure you’re on the right side of this struggle.
To this Jeff Hunt replies, “This is 100% correct.”
I replied, “Are we supposed to read this as wishcasting or a threat?”
What exactly do Hazony and Hunt think is the current “cultural revolution” that is so terrible? Gay and other LGBTQ people finally have a place in society?
Hunt gives a clue in another comment:
It is heyday of Leftism in Colorado. Highly individualistic, anti-family, anti-church, big-government. Quality of education, community, family has taken a back seat to a worldview that prioritizes individual lifestyle freedom above all else. Drugs, sex, and abortion here we go!
It is completely bizarre that today’s right simultaneously accuses the left of being too collectivist and too individualistic. Also bizarre is that Hunt, who is a hard-core drug warrior and an anti-abortion zealot, pretends he is anything other than “big-government.”
Anyway, thinking that we ought not lock people in cages for getting an abortion or taking drugs hardly is the same as endorsing the careless use of those things.
Here Hunt outlines the same false dichotomy on which religionists have relied for millennia: Faith-based authority versus moral subjectivism. But religious faith is, in the end, just another form of subjectivism. What we need is a culture rooted in objective moral standards grounded in reason and reality. Such a culture will be marked by responsible individuals who rationally pursue their own values in the context of living in a community.
Adoptions: A Colorado Sun report on failed adoptions is just heartbreaking.
Refund the Police: Denver mayor Michael Hancock plans to hire “more officers and prosecutors” and expand the Support Team Assisted Response for non-police interventions, the Gazette reports.
Hate Crimes: “Students at Denver’s South High School were shown a video that explicitly warned against calling the police in the case of a racist or transphobic attack,” the Gazette reports. “Attack” here is ambiguous. In cases of, say, mean comments, I often agree that calling the police is unwarranted. But in cases of serious criminal assaults, people definitely should call the police! We need to get violent people off the streets and into prison. The video in question also offers some good advice about supporting the victim.
Schools: “Jeffco board votes unanimously to close 16 elementary schools,” the Colorado Sun reports. “Declining enrollment . . . accelerated during the pandemic.” Also, the county “had 14% fewer children under 18 in 2020 living within its boundaries than it had in 2000.”
Nazis: Mike Rosen offers his take on the meaning of socialism and fascism. I think he does pretty well until he starts making comparisons to groups in the U.S. Check out my column and follow-up article on the topic.
Housing: Recently I Tweeted, “Colorado’s Progressives see high housing costs and want to punish the providers of housing. They see the fundamental problem as profit-seeking. I see high housing costs costs and want to free people to build and use more housing. I see the fundamental problem as protectionism.”
Auto Theft: Jimmy Sengenberger has had his car stolen three times!
Louisville: The town is banning new gas stations.
Google: Colorado AG Phil Weiser participated in a multi-state action against Google over its tracking practices. The total settlement is “nearly $400 million,” with $8.3 million going to Colorado, reports Colorado Politics.
Image: Jeffrey Beall