Despite the potential for Colorado Republicans to win in 2022, a group of self-proclaimed “principled” Republican activists are determined to embroil the party in stolen electoral conspiracy theories and alienate the 1.6 million uninvited voters. affiliates who represent 43% of the electorate.
Which is a shame given that Democrats have left the political door wide open for Republican victories.
President Joe Biden’s confused incompetence catches up with the tragic human disasters in Afghanistan and on the southern border. Inflation is on the rise as a result of rampant federal spending. Crime is skyrocketing across the country as Democratic majorities in Congress, including American senses Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, curl up in fear of a demented left that seeks to fund the police and pamper criminals.
Here in Colorado, Governor Jared Polis shamefully allowed our Colorado State Capitol to be vandalized night after night by rioters without any comment from him for days let alone any effort to protect this historic building. Polis presided over the gross negligence of his health department which, according to a Colorado Public Radio investigation, likely resulted in hundreds of preventable care home deaths from COVID-19. Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment was a bureaucratic mess when tens of thousands of Coloradans needed to access their unemployment benefits due to COVID shutdowns. Crime is rampant in the Denver subway, and homeless camps are taking over sidewalks and parks.
Republicans are virtually unanimous in supporting President Donald Trump’s consequential achievements such as historic tax cuts and deregulation that have spurred massive economic growth; make more than 200 conservative judicial appointments – including three to the United States Supreme Court – that will impact the federal justice system for decades; and finally to gain control of illegal immigration at the southern border.
But Trump squandered that record of achievement by refusing to accept defeat, fanning the flames of stolen electoral conspiracy theories, and his shameful behavior in the Jan.6 attack on the United States Capitol.
Sadly, a large number of Republican activists across the state are more interested in fighting the 2020 presidential election than they claim to have been stolen. They refuse to accept the fact that former President Donald Trump lost not because of voter fraud, but because of his own actions and words which alienated many voters who voted for him in 2016.
Trump increased his percentage of Hispanic and black voters across the country, but those numbers were more than offset by the hemorrhaging of voters in previously Republican suburbs, including here in Colorado.
These Republican activists embrace the ever-evolving conspiracy theories that cross the political horizon to be discredited until the next one can be brought up.
Many of them are convinced the election was stolen from Trump here in Colorado despite public polls showing his disapproval rating was in his 50s and he lost the state by 14 points. And he was strongly hated by the hundreds of thousands of new voters, largely young and unaffiliated, who have moved here over the past decade.
Now, the Republican State of Colorado Central Committee will vote on Sept. 18 on whether or not to cancel the 2022 Republican primary elections and give a few thousand activists the power to nominate Republican candidates in caucuses and national assemblies. uncrowded party rather than in primary elections where hundreds of thousands vote for party candidates.
Unaffiliated voters have exploded in recent years and now represent 43% of the electorate while Democrats have 29% and Republicans only 26%. If Colorado Republicans cancel the primary election, 1.6 million unaffiliated voters will not receive a Democratic ballot until the 2022 primary.
Restricting the ability of 1.6 million unaffiliated voters to vote in the Republican primary, let alone 1 million Republicans who will not attend party caucuses, is not the way to build a campaign that can win general elections.
When Wayne Allard, then a congressman, asked me to manage his campaign for the US Senate in 1996, he said something very clear:
“I don’t want to be just the Republican candidate. I want to be the next US Senator from Colorado. Everything we do and say to win the primary must be done with the goal of attracting the unaffiliated voters that we will need to win the general election, otherwise the nomination is not worth the effort.
Allard was clearly the underdog of the Republican nomination against a respected attorney general. After winning that primary, Colorado Democrats dismissed the Loveland vet as a definite loser to the powerful and wealthy Denver 17th Street lawyer-lobbyist who would spend more than Allard in the general election.
Contrary to what some conservative activists today seem to think, it was not easy to win a prominent position statewide, even then. When Allard ran in 1996, Colorado Republicans had lost 11 of 14 governor and senatorial elections between 1972 and 1994. Only US Senator Bill Armstrong in 1978 and 1984 and US Senator Hank Brown in 1990 won. that time.
But Allard ran on a traditional Republican agenda to reduce tax and regulatory burdens on families and small businesses, balance the federal budget, and return power to state and local governments, a program that would attract, rather than repel. , the very unaffiliated. voters we needed to win. And we contrasted very aggressively the personal antecedents of the two candidates, “the vet versus the lobbyist”.
Two years later, in 1998, state treasurer Bill Owens adopted the Allard model and broke the Democratic six-game winning streak for governor by also crafting an effective program to cut taxes, reform the education and improve transport. Owens won a tough primary over a respected state Senate president and became the first Republican governor to be elected in 28 years. He remains the only Republican governor for the past 50 years.
Allard and Owens were re-elected in 2002, but since then Republicans have lost 9 of 10 elections for governor and senator, the lone winner being U.S. Senator Cory Gardner who toppled Democratic incumbent Mark Udall in 2014. Gardner has been overthrown in 2020 in Trump’s anti-landslide.
Several of those nine elections were highly winnable, but the Republican candidates failed by waging an unruly campaign that made politically fatal mistakes, or waging a narrow ideological campaign that pushed out unaffiliated voters, or by failing to set an agenda. clear and dominant conservative who could win a primary. and a general election.
Not once in the 19 years that I worked for United States Senator Bill Armstrong, United States Senator Hank Brown, United States Senator Wayne Allard, and Governor Bill Owens have I heard any of them say hitting the chest as morally superior or declaring themselves “in principle” while attacking other Republicans as unworthy if they disagreed on certain issues.
They understood that politics is the art of addition, not of subtraction. They didn’t need to boast of being “principled”. They have shown it every day during their campaigns and in the way they have served their state and nation in power.
Conspiracy theories and restricted access to the nomination process are sure losers for Colorado Republicans in 2022.
Dick Wadhams is a former President of the Republican State of Colorado who worked for American Senses Bill Armstrong, Hank Brown, Wayne Allard, and Governor Bill Owens.
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