Colorado GOP is losing UA voters even in El Paso, Douglas counties

The first rule of the hole says, “When you’re in a hole, stop digging!”

As Colorado Republicans consider whether to continue to allow unaffiliated voters to participate in the Republican primary election, they should consider the hole we’re already in with unaffiliated voters whose votes are essential to electing our candidates in statewide elections.

Even in Republican strongholds of Douglas and El Paso counties, unaffiliated voters are breaking hard against Republicans.

In Douglas County, Joe Biden won 65.7% of ballots cast by voters who were neither Republican nor Democrat, piling up 27,011 more votes than Donald Trump. Two years earlier, Jared Polis won 64.2% of those ballots over Republican Walker Stapleton.

In El Paso County, long considered vital for any Republican to win statewide, Biden won 59.1% of ballots cast by unaffiliated voters in 2020, and Polis won 60% of those ballots in 2018.

Other metro countries were much worse for Republicans.  In both Denver and Boulder, Biden won more than 80% of the unaffiliated vote – a 4-to-1 margin.  In former bell-weather counties, Biden won 70.8% of unaffiliated votes in Arapahoe, 67.7% in Jefferson, and 69.3% in Larimer.  In fact, Biden actually racked up bigger margins of raw votes among unaffiliateds in Arapahoe and JeffCo than he did in Boulder.

Of the dozen largest counties in Colorado, Trump won more unaffiliated votes than Biden in just three: Pueblo (65.9%), Mesa (53.7%) and Weld (52%).  However, Trump’s combined margin of 13,409 more unaffiliated votes in those three counties were less than Biden’s margin in any one of the largest counties except Adams (13,245) and Broomfield (9,200).

What about the other 52 smaller counties?  Surely unaffiliated voters in more rural counties provide fertile territory for Republicans?  In certain of those counties, yes.  But overall, Biden won the 52 smaller counties with 55.8% of the unaffiliated vote and a margin of 21,520.

Colorado Republicans already find themselves in a deep hole with swing voters.  What could they do to dig that hole even deeper?  Telling those unaffiliateds who still want to vote in our primary election that they aren’t welcome would just about turn that hole into a bottomless pit and seal the fate of Republicans running for statewide office.d

Mark Hillman served as Colorado’s Republican National Committeeman from 2008 to 2012.

9/11 taught us lasting lessons in courage, vigilance and humility

On Sept. 11, 2001, Islamic terrorists on a murder-suicide mission flew commercial airliners into the two World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington.  A fourth crashed in a Pennsylvania field.

The attacks against our country unified Americans in a sense that’s almost inconceivable today.  Together, we mourned the 2,600 people killed in the collapse of the twin towers and were horrified to watch many leap to their deaths to escape the inferno.

We celebrated the courage of the emergency workers who rushed into the burning towers to save lives, and we grieved for 400 who died while bravely working to save others.

We admired the selfless courage of the passengers on United Flight 93 who, having learned that other planes had been crashed into buildings, confronted their hijackers, resulting in their plane ultimately crashing in a Pennsylvania field killing those on board but not killing hundreds more at the U.S. Capitol, its intended target.

Today, nearly one in three Americans has only a textbook knowledge of that day.  Either they were not yet born or were too young to remember it.  They should learn from us that  9/11 was a tragedy that pulled Americans together and often brought out the best in us. (more…)

Democrats will celebrate – and win – if Colorado GOP snubs unaffiliated voters

Elections are about addition.

In Colorado, neither Republicans nor Democrats can win an election purely by turning out their own base.  To win, each party must add to its own turnout by persuading voters who are unaffiliated, members of “minor” parties or disaffected members of the rival major party.

Consider the share of ballots cast by Republicans and Democrats in the past three general elections:

  • In 2016, Republicans cast 33.4% of all ballots to Democrats’ 32.7%.
  • In 2018, Republicans trailed 31%-33%.
  • In 2020, Republicans trailed 29%-31%.

In the last two elections, Republicans running statewide have started with a turnout deficit, so they needed to persuade more unaffiliated voters than did their Democrat opponents.  But instead of improving their strategy to win the hearts and minds of unaffiliated votes (UAVs), Republicans have been falling further behind.  Barack Obama won 60% of UAVs in 2012; Hillary Clinton won 62% in 2016; Jared Polis won 65% of UAVs in 2018; and Joe Biden won 65% of UAVs in 2020. (more…)

Progressive Dems dare Colorado voters to hold them accountable

Governor Jared Polis and Progressive Democrat majorities at the State Capitol have spent the past three years ignoring clearly-expressed voices of Colorado voters on tax and economic issues.  In fact, Progressive Democrats’ disregard for many of the same voters who elected them has become so brazen that they seem to be daring voters to hold them accountable.

With commanding majorities of 41-24 in the House of Representatives and 20-15 in the state Senate, it’s understandable that Democrats are developing a sense of invincibility.

However, it remains to be seen if the Democrats’ recent surge – in 2017, they held a 34-31 margin in the House, while Republicans had an 18-17 majority in the Senate – is due to their own popularity or because Donald Trump irritated many Colorado voters. (more…)

The True Meaning of Independence

As we observe the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence this Fourth of July, we should consider the unique form of government for which our Founding Fathers chose to risk “their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor” against the seemingly-invincible British.

The definitive passage in the Declaration reads:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

In these 57 words, the Founders established that:

  • Our rights — better understood as “freedoms” — are given to us by a power higher than government. No matter what you believe about the origins of life, it is undeniable that government did not give us life.
  • Government’s legitimate purpose is to protect the rights of the people. Just as government did not give us life, it did not give us our rights.
  • Because freedom is ours as individuals, government’s only legitimate powers are those which the people choose to allow.

(more…)

Only tone-deaf reporters could be shocked by ‘unfriendly’ designation

Reporters who cover the State Capitol recently learned that the House Republicans’ media office keeps a list of which media outlets are considered “unfriendly.”  To some in media, this was newsworthy.

To anyone on the center-right, this is entirely unremarkable.  It is remarkable that any astute reporter could be truly surprised.

Republicans still hold to the quaint notion that a reporter’s job is to lay out facts and responsibly present arguments by both sides.  Increasingly, however, reporters seem uninterested in the work of examining both sides, especially if doing so puts Democrats in a bad light. (more…)

Country folks can survive – if city politicians will leave us alone

Horses on our farm didn’t get the memo about COVID-19 so in the past year we’ve traveled with them through blue and red states where an inescapable pattern distinguishes rural communities from suburban or urban ones.

Near large cities, people reacted to the pandemic with purposeful social distancing and meticulous wearing of masks.  But in rural towns, evidence of a pandemic was typically two-fold: food-service and store clerks wore masks as directed by employers and advisory mask signs were both ubiquitously posted and frequently ignored.

This isn’t to argue that either approach is better but rather that people and communities can be trusted to adapt to our own unique situations.

This spring, rural Coloradans are increasingly fed up with the onslaught of top-down directives that impose Denver-Boulder “solutions” on every community.  These mandates disregard Coloradans’ competency to govern ourselves.  Even though some have been derailed, the Legislature’s relentless drumbeat of paternalism is creating a swelling tide of resentment.

The assault on agriculture by lawmakers and activists with no stake in our business is especially infuriating. (more…)

Remembering Rush Limbaugh

In memory of Rush Limbaugh, I wanted to share a few memories.  In May 1993, a few “dittoheads” from my church headed to Fort Collins for Dan’s Bake Sale, an impromptu gathering of Rush Limbaugh fans who converged on Fort Collins to help Dan Kay raise $29.95 to buy a subscription to Rush’s newsletter.

We didn’t know what we were in for until we reached northbound I-25 in Denver for what should have been a 45-minute drive to Old Town Square.  We realized something was different about this day when the drive slowed to more than two hours because the freeway was flooded with fans of Rush from across the country.

The Coloradoan newspaper estimated attendance at 20,000 – about the number who attended CSU football games at old Hughes Stadium.  Believe me, Rams traffic never backed up I-25 like we experienced on this day.  Attendance was surely several times greater.

Like the Tea Party Rally in Washington 30 years later, conservatives gathered, conversed and celebrated, picked up their trash, and generally “practiced what we preached.”  Those were literally the good ol’ days! (more…)

Coloradans should demand accountability from judges

Originally published in The Denver Post:

Colorado’s courts have long lacked the transparency demanded of other branches of government.  Deadlines require the state legislature to act on bills in a timely manner and allow citizens to easily monitor their progress.

But the court system operates behind a veil.  Lawyers can access certain information as a case moves toward trial, but once a case is heard by a judge – especially a civil, or non-criminal, case – the parties involved have no way to know when to expect a verdict.  The public is completely in the dark.

Media watchdogs who would decry lack of accountability by legislators, city councilors or county commissioners seem to accept without question that courts issue opinions whenever they get around to it.  News reports about judges failing to produce timely decisions simply do not exist.

A particularly egregious case recently came to a head in Denver District Court where Judge Ross Buchanan issued a ruling nearly three years after trial.  Worse still, Buchanan’s ruling smacks of vindictiveness against a defendant who had the temerity to complain about this unconscionable delay. (more…)

Lawmakers should focus on doing their jobs, not becoming social media celebrities

Even politicians with the largest social media following don’t run campaign ads touting their tweets and posts as a qualification for holding office.  And for good reason.

Last July, Pew Research found that 55% of all social media users were “worn out” by political posts and discussions.  These numbers grew markedly worse over the past four years, but applied to both parties: 63% of Republicans, 49% of Democrats.  Only 15% actually liked seeing a proliferation of political posts.

Mind you, this was a survey of social media users who, by definition, choose to be more politically engaged than the average person.  Yet, even most of these “political junkies” were weary of social media skirmishes.

Some politicians in both parties seem more pre-occupied with building their social media profile than doing the job for which they were elected.  Still others can’t resist using their electoral “fame” as an occasional platform for snarking at the opposition.

Sooner or later, it comes back to bite them. (more…)