06 October 2014

Wake Up People! Vote For Democrats In Colorado.

There are three big candidate races in the 2014 election in Colorado, for which ballots will hit mailboxes in less than two weeks.

In the Governor's office, incumbent Democrat John Hickenlooper, a popular centerist former Mayor of Denver, faces Republican Bob Beauprez, a Tea Party Republican who thinks that IUDs are murder and doesn't believe in climate change.

In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Democrat Mark Udall faces Republican Congressman Cory Gardner.  He has spent most of his career favoring an extreme "personhood" amendment that would put U.S. law on a par with the extreme anti-abortion stance of El Salvador as a matter of constitutional law, but recently made an about face to support over the counter status for birth control pills on the theory that if it can't be banned, that employer provided health insurance and tax breaks for medical expenses shouldn't support it.

In the highly competitive 6th Congressional District, incumbent Republican Congressman Mike Coffman faces Democrat Andrew Romanoff, former speaker of the state house of representatives who served at that time from a Washington Park district.

Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman are the local embodiment of a Republican majority in the House of Representatives that has shut down the government, played games with our national credit rating by threatening to default on the national debt, shut down immigration reforms essential to improving our economy simply to deny President Obama a legislative success, and in general, have stood in the way of any positive change through legislative channels in our nation's capital for the last four years.

I have met both John Hickenlooper and Andrew Romanoff personally, and they are the two most extraordinary people in Colorado politics today bar none.  These are people who can walk into a room where a compromise, let alone positive progress, seems impossible, and produce a deal that everyone would have assumed was impossible.  Each man is exceedingly intelligent, extraordinary civil across partisan lines, a good judge of character, and has a strong commitment to doing what is right.  Both are moderate Democrats, who nonetheless generally do the right thing and when they do recognize conservative political impulses do so in a moderate way.

Mark Udall is a reliable Democrat supporter, who has gone to bat for priorities that matter to Coloradoans, although in a legislative environment of split political control, he hasn't always gotten major initiatives of his own passed.

Colorado's U.S. Senate seat is the closest race in the nation according to poll analyst FiveThirtyEight, and our Governor's race and 6th Congressional District race, according to other poll analysts are likewise among the closest in the country.

Right now, Democrats hold just 52 seats in the Senate, while Republicans hold a slim majority in the House.  If Democrats lose control of the Senate, we will have deadlock on federal judicial appointments for the next two years, and national policies will tilt sharply towards Republican priorities:

* Making it harder to vote.
* Doing everything in their power to block women's rights and gay rights.
* Reducing federal spending that benefits the poor and the unemployed.
* Ending the guarantees of the Social Security and Medicare system.
* Enlarging the ranks of the uninsured.
* Crush all unions.
* Reducing the remedies of those injured through negligence or fraud.
* Encouraging the teaching of bad science and fake history in our schools.
* Reducing funding for education.
* Reducing taxes on the rich and big corporations.
* Making it harder to immigrate to the United States or claim asylum here.
* Saying no to reforms of a broken criminal justice system.
* Making it easier to gain access to guns with no purpose other than to commit crimes.
* Gutting protections for the environment.
* Undermining the freedom of religion's establishment clause.
* Gutting campaign finance regulations.
* Letting our roads and bridges crumble.
* Shutting down funding for public transit.
* Allowing our economy to be gridlocked with excessive intellectual property protections.
* Punishing efforts to decriminalize marijuana.
* Increasing spending on wasteful military programs.
* Stopping U.S. efforts to hold war criminals accountable.

There are down ticket races as well.

A Democrat committed to improving access to the ballot box wants to replace our current notoriously corrupt Republican Secretary of State.

A Democrat who believes in the public employee retirement system wants to improve on the state's lackluster 1.4% return on investment during the incumbent's tenure.

A Democrat who believes in protecting civil rights, consumer rights, and a balanced approach to the criminal justice system, wants to replace the outgoing Republican attorney general, and his anointed successor who's signature point has been opposition to gay rights until that position was made futile by today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling denying further review for U.S. Court of Appeals rulings invalidating gay marriage bans.

Democrats very narrowly control the state house and the state senate right now.  Republican candidates, including one from a safe Republican district in Colorado Springs who the County Republican Chairman says reflects the value of the Republican party in the state, thinks that we live in a world where everything from homosexuality to the Federal Communications Commission's policies are a result of demon possession, and tried to exorcise the "demon" from a lesbian woman while he was a Navy Chaplin.

If you want gridlock and want to give power to people like him and like the extremists who have taken control of the Jefferson County School Board, vote for Republicans in the state house and state senate races.  If not, vote for Democrats who have been working for positive change in this state.

Keep in mind too, that in Colorado, neither Democrats nor Republicans can pass new taxes or increase state spending (even due to increased revenues from existing taxes) above an amount accounting for inflation and population, without a vote of the people.  Democrats in state office couldn't raise your taxes even if they wanted to do so.

Colorado Democrats are overwhelmingly moderates relative to their party as a whole.  Colorado Republicans are overwhelmingly extremist Tea Party advocates who bear the intellectual legacy of the John Birch Society and the KKK that was once powerful in Colorado.  The "County Club Republicans" of the 1950s have been driven out of the Republican temple in favor of people who see it as the party of conservative, Evangelical Christian white men with Southern roots and Confederate values.

A Democratic President backed by a U.S. Senate controlled by Democrats and legislation passed by Democrats in the first two years of the Obama administration, have allowed our economy to recover from years of corporate excess, inequality and Wall Street fraud.  A Democratic Governor together with a Democratic party controlled Colorado General Assembly, has brought the state prosperity, tolerance and justice that has made it an attractive place to live nationally.

People of the State of Colorado.  Wake up!  We are in a swing state, and if we want to preserve our prosperity and desirable way of life, we need to defeat Republicans who want government to fail and care more about preserving outdated and hateful prejudices than our economic and moral progress.

In 2014, no state in the union is more purple than Colorado.  This is the nation's swing state once again and your vote matters very deeply to the future of our country.

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