Yes, it does matter who Republicans nominate!

After reading polls showing Joe Biden’s popularity at Jimmy Carter levels, Republicans are giddy with optimism about a potential resurgence in November.  I’ve even heard some Colorado Republicans boast, “It doesn’t matter who we nominate.”

Correction: it definitely matters who we nominate.

Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn’t remember the election of 2010.

In Barack Obama’s second year in office, his approval numbers crashed due to massive government spending, a progressive push to nationalize health care, and the rise of the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party movement.  By Election Day, Republicans were plus-11 on the generic congressional ballot.

On election night, Republicans picked up six U.S. Senate seats, including some of the most unlikely places, like Illinois (Obama’s home state) and Wisconsin (the first Republican elected in 24 years).  In Congress, Republicans gained a staggering 63 seats – the largest shift by either party since 1948.

But the Red Wave washed out here in Colorado – partly because Republicans made a catastrophically poor choice in the race for Governor by nominating Dan Maes, who could be described most charitably as an “unknown newcomer.”


Abortion bill illustrates growing polarization of Colorado politics

Democrats at the state legislature made a remarkable choice in recent weeks to burnish their “reproductive rights” bona fides by passing a bill that stakes out perhaps the most extreme position possible on abortion by explicitly depriving an unborn child of any legal rights whatsoever until the moment after birth.

A premature over-reaction to fears that the U.S. Supreme Court may strike down Roe v. Wade, the bill strangely ignores Colorado’s history as one of the most permissive in the nation on abortion.  In 1967 – six years before Roe – Colorado became the first state to union to make abortion legal.  If Roe falls, abortion won’t become illegal.  Instead, Colorado law will govern here.

Even without House Bill 1279, which Governor Polis will sign, Colorado is one of only a few states that puts no restrictions on when a woman may have an abortion.  Since 2000, Colorado voters have rejected multiple pro-life ballot measures ranging from restrictions on late-term abortions to giving full legal rights to an unborn child. (more…)

History backs Lincoln’s role as pioneer for racial equality

Nearly 160 years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, his place in history as “The Great Emancipator” of black slaves is firmly established.  Nevertheless, a defense of Lincoln is a required response to the fallacy-ridden 1619 Project in which the New York Times seeks to rewrite American history through a racist lens.

In 1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project, Peter W. Wood performs documented research that 1619 neglected by citing no sources and providing no footnotes or bibliography.  Readers of 1619, including school children who find its “curriculum” woven into their classrooms, are expected to accept this wholly-biased account on faith.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, lead author of 1619, claims Lincoln was a racist.  She arrives here, Wood writes, not through intense scholarly research, but because in high school she became enamored with the writing of Lerone Bennett Jr., an editor at Ebony magazine who wrote an article titled, “Was Abe Lincoln a White Supremacist?”

Her evidence is Lincoln’s August 1862 meeting with five black leaders in which he discussed shipping freed slaves out of the country. (more…)

Let’s be honest about our elections – and fix them

Confidence in elections is paramount to our system of self-government.  Those we elect have an obligation to work together to build security and transparency in those elections.

Today, both parties are largely failing that test.

After the 2020 election, President Trump’s falsehoods about a “stolen election” set the stage for him to agitate a crowd that gathered on Jan. 6 to “fight like hell” or “you’re not going to have a country anymore.”  At least several hundred demonstrators took those words seriously and broke into the U.S. Capitol intent on disrupting certification of electoral votes.

Remarkably, after justly criticizing Trump’s rhetoric, Democrats are now copying his playbook.  They claim future elections won’t be legitimate unless Democrats pass radical legislation to usurp state control of elections and concentrate still more power in Washington – epicenter of dysfunctional government.

As their public support collapses, President Biden, Sen. Chuck Schumer and other Democrats proclaim that if Republicans win in 2022, “it could be the last election.” (more…)

Indian mascot ban causes needless harm to two tiny schools

Like a demolition team swinging a sledgehammer, legislators intent on purging Native American mascots from Colorado schools smashed their opposition with little consideration of the wreckage they were creating.  So certain of the righteousness of their cause, they denied even mere consideration to the communities upon which they imposed their will.

Two of Colorado’s smallest districts – Arickaree (103 students) and Mountain Valley (153 students) – are being severely harmed by this legislation which isn’t just about mascots but instead prohibits any sort of Native American imagery “used as a mascot, nickname, logo, letterhead or team name” by a school.

Surrounded by prairie and farmland on the plains of Washington County, Arickaree School is one of Colorado’s few remaining country schools, located between Cope (population 230) and Anton (155).

Arickaree derives its name from the Arikaree River, which begins near Cope and was named for the Arikara tribe.  Given its location and history, it’s hardly surprising that the community selected “Indians” as the name for school teams.  Critics could just as easily argue that ignoring the area’s Indian heritage – by changing the name to, say, Arickaree Guardians – would be disrespectful, too. (more…)

Republicans must face the truth about 2020 and move on

Republicans must confront the “elephant in the room” – former President Trump’s persistent claims that the 2020 election was stolen.  Many Republicans believe him.  Most Americans do not.

Trump recently said Republicans “will not be voting in ’22 or ‘24” unless the “Election Fraud of 2020” is “solved.”  Democrats laughed and cheered!  They know the one thing that can rescue them from the growing anti-Biden backlash is Republicans foolishly sitting out elections.

All election complaints are not created equal, so let’s consider them on their own merits. (more…)

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…)