24 November 2014

Mile High Times Have Changed

You know that you have won the cultural battle, if not the entire war on drugs, when a blog promoted by the Denver Post, the leading daily newspaper in Colorado, is offering a video recipe at its website, on how to make marijuana infused pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.

Some of the families enjoying their Thanksgiving dinners will be same sex couples married this fall, for the first time it has been legally possible to do so, under Colorado law.  Numerous leading politicians in recent Colorado history, including one of our seven sitting Congressmen, are openly gay.

Neither gay rights nor marijuana legalization turned out to be important issues in the 2014 election in the end, and Coloradans once again overwhelmingly defeated an anti-abortion ballot issue, just as it had several times in past elections, despite the fact that they voted a U.S. Senate candidate who had strongly supported similar measures in the past.

Yet, despite these liberal social issues stances that would have been unthinkable when I graduated from high school, it is also worth noting that Colorado, overall, is not a particularly liberal state in terms of partisan politics.  Instead, Colorado is the quintessential purple state right now.

Colorado was the swing state in the 2012 Presidential election that put President Obama in office by a narrow margin.

This year, Colorado simultaneously elected Republicans to statewide office as U.S. Senator, Secretary of State, State Treasurer and Colorado Attorney General, and gave Republicans narrow control of the state senate and state congressional delegation, while re-electing a popular Democratic governor and giving Democrats narrow control of the state house.  Six statewide partisan election measurements went to the GOP, while two went to the Democrats.

All were reasonably close.  Fewer than 900 votes in one Adams County State Senate District decided control of the State Senate in an election where roughly 2,000,000 votes were cast statewide.  With the higher turnout of a Presidential election year, some of those eight statewide partisan tests might have gone the other way.

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