Rep. Justin Everett Called Out For RNC Anti-LGBT Assholery

Colorado Rep. Justin Everett (R).

Colorado Rep. Justin Everett (R).

We’ve talked a couple of times already about the starkly conservative platform adopted last week at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Where the GOP’s official party platform addressed rights for LGBT Americans, as ratified it was so far backward relative to the evolution of national sentiment on the issue that Colorado’s Republican attorney general pronounced herself “ashamed” at the direction her party was taking.

Cynthis Coffman may or may not have known how much of that platform was home-grown right here in Colorado:

The 2012 GOP platform calls same-sex marriage “an assault on the foundations of our society.” With the Republican Platform Committee not yet sharing updated language with reporters, it’s not clear if the 2016 platform will say that as well. But from a hotly debated amendment, it’s clear divisions in the GOP over gay marriage exist. First came an amendment offered by Colorado delegate Justin Everett: “Where it says ‘Children raised in a two-parent household,’ I want to insert before ‘two,’ ‘traditional….” [Pols emphasis]

That’s right: Colorado’s own Rep. Justin “Sleepy Dwarf” Everett was one of the driving forces behind the GOP platform’s hard lurch to the right in 2016, offering an amendment to insert the word “traditional” into a plank about how two-parent households are better off. By “traditional,” Everett of course means “Adam and Eve” and not “Adam and Steve.”

You get the idea.

But as you can see in this video clip from California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Everett’s amendment drew an irate response from at least one Republican on the Platform Committee:

That raised the ire of New York delegate Annie Dickerson, who had lost other battles over same-sex marriage language in a subcommittee meeting earlier. “This is outrageous to suggest that children of a gay couple are more likely to be completely unbalanced and use drugs in droves and be criminals. This is so provocative.”


Other members questioned if the language insults single parents and the adult children of gay parents as well. But the vote of the 112-member committee endorsed adding the word “traditional.”

Like we said about Cynthia Coffman, we do believe that the anger expressed by RNC delegate Annie Dickerson over the unapologetically anti-LGBT language in the Republican Party’s 2016 platform is egitimate. Unfortunately, it appears to be the minority view within the Republican Party. That delegates approving the platform sided overwhelmingly with Everett against Dickerson is the story this year, not the ultra-minority who dissented.

If Republicans want to recover the support their platform will cost them this year by 2020, we suggest fewer Justin Everetts.

Clarice Navarro “Pre-Buts” Crisanta Duran For Trump

Donald Trump, Rep. Clarice Navarro.

Donald Trump, Rep. Clarice Navarro.

Rep. Crisanta Duran, the Majority Leader of the Democratic-controlled Colorado House, scored a big coup with her scheduled address to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this coming Thursday. The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch reports:

[A]lthough she received only a week’s notice to prepare the biggest speech of her political career so far, Duran’s past aligns well with the campaign of presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton.

“It’s an amazing opportunity and an amazing moment, when we’re on the verge of having the first woman president, not because she is a woman but because she has the right vision for America,” Duran said Friday.

Rep. Duran’s speech at the DNC this week is just one of dozens of speeches from Democratic elected officials, activists, and others intended to present Democrats as the more diverse, more mainstream, and above all the more sane and prudent choice for Americans compared to last week’s parade of horrors at the Trump Republican Party’s convention in Cleveland. Duran probably won’t net any more cable news face time in her speaking slot than GOP U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn did, but considering Glenn is a Senate candidate and was speaking much closer to prime time, Duran is still on the receiving end of quite an honor. Also, Duran’s speaking voice doesn’t come across like fingernails of a chalkboard a la former Rep. Libby Szabo’s forgettable RNC speech, so there’s that.

We did want to take note of the “pre-buttal” response to Rep. Duran from what appears to be the Team Trump’s foremost Latina surrogate in Colorado, Rep. Clarice Navarro of Pueblo:

“Latinos across America want the same things I want for my Latino children,” said Navarro, a rising Republican star who introduced Sarah Palin at the Western Conservative Summit on July 1 and has been lauded by the RNC.

“They want a safe America, they want a prosperous America with jobs, they want a smaller government, they want an America that provides a solid education,” Navarro said. “The liberal progressives haven’t done that for Latinos in America for the last eight years, and Rep. Duran, in the majority, hasn’t done it for Colorado.”

First of all, somebody should tell Navarro about the millions of jobs created during the Obama presidency?

But perhaps more important–like having her photo taken with Donald Trump, a photo now certain to be used against her with Pueblo voters–once again the choice of Navarro as the GOP’s countermessenger to Democrats taking the national stage is strategically very questionable to us. However strongly you feel for or against Trump, the simple fact is that Trump is alienating large numbers of Americans, including overwhelming numbers of Latinos. The decision to publicly align with Trump in any even remotely competitive race, especially in a place like Pueblo and southeast Colorado, is fraught with uncertainty that hinges on Trump’s own popularity. If the polls that show Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton in a close race prove accurate, it may not matter as much.

But if Trump gets slaughtered on Election Day, a lot of Republicans who are perceived to have aligned themselves with Trump will go down with him. In that event, Navarro may sorely regret taking on her high-profile Trump surrogate role.

Minimum Wage Increase Campaign Submits Yuuge Signature Haul

2016minimumwageA press release from Colorado Families for a Fair Wage announces their submission of over 200,000 petition signatures in support of their ballot measure to raise the minimum wage in Colorado to $12 an hour by 2020–more than double what was needed to qualify for the ballot in November:

Today, a coalition of business owners, workers and supporters with Colorado Families for a Fair Wage delivered boxes containing petitions with 200,000 signatures to place a ballot initiative that will raise the Colorado minimum wage to $12 by 2020 on the November ballot. The 200,000 signatures is more than double the 98,492 signatures needed to qualify, showing overwhelming support for the measure.

“It’s clear our measure to raise the minimum wage to $12 by 2020 will be on the November ballot,” said Patty Kupfer, Colorado Families for a Fair Wage campaign manager “Raising the minimum wage is fair and smart. It’s fair because people working full time should earn enough to support their families. It’s smart because when working people have more money in their pockets, they spend it here in Colorado, boosting our economy and helping our communities thrive.”

The average age of a minimum wage earner is 35 – and more than 86 percent of minimum wage earners are over the age of 20. A full-time minimum wage worker takes home less than $300/week, not nearly enough to afford food, rent and other basic needs. In Colorado, a minimum wage worker needs to work 80 hours per week to afford a basic two bedroom apartment.

“Even though I work full-time as a nursing assistant, I can’t afford to support us without public assistance,” said Marrisa Guerrero, a mom raising a school-age daughter. “We have no choice but to rely on subsidized housing, can’t afford health insurance and we even struggle to buy enough food for us to eat. I always thought if I worked hard and played by the rules, I’d be able to make it, but that isn’t going to happen until wages are raised.”

Extensive research shows that modestly raising the minimum wage helps the economy by increasing consumer spending – and does not result in job loss in sectors most likely to hire minimum wage workers. Because low and middle-income workers are more likely to spend pay increases than higher paid workers, each $1/hour wage increase creates a ripple effect in spending, generating $1.20 in the local economy, potentially leading to further job growth.

“Gradually increasing Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 by 2020 is the right thing for businesses, said Yoav Lurie, CEO and Founder of Simple Energy. “Higher wages drive better results, give customers more money to spend in our businesses, and create a better business climate. That’s why the majority of business leaders support raising the minimum wage.”

The Denver Business Journal reports that, after considering a smaller minimum wage increase ballot measure of their own, business interests led by the Colorado Restaurant Association are going with straight opposition to any further minimum wage increase:

Leaders of the Keep Colorado Working effort argue, however, that the proposal is an extreme one, especially after a 2006 voter-approved minimum-wage hike has upped the bottom level of pay by 61 percent in the past 10 years.

And while they acknowledge that the issue is a popular populist cause that is likely to draw people to the polls — both presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her former challenger, Bernie Sanders, supported a national minimum-wage hike in their campaigns — they believe that they can reach voters by explaining what they say is the negative impact on local companies.

The effort is likely to spend between $2 million and $3 million, said Loren Furman, CACI senior vice president of state and federal relations.

We expect this to be a good fight. Support for raising the minimum wage is running high after years of organizing by the “Fight for 15” coalition and both Democratic presidential candidates making a call for a minimum wage a central part of their own campaigns. It’s true that Colorado passed a progressive minimum wage increase in 2006, but in 2016 the argument that $8.31 isn’t enough for any worker to survive on is easy to make.

On the other side, you have millions of dollars from opponents with a direct bottom-line interest in the lowest minimum wage possible, not to mention Donald Trump’s infamous view of the minimum wage: “wages are [too] high.” So yes, the fight over raising the minimum wage in Colorado will have a proxy warfare component, as the larger competing ideological poles in this year’s election duke it out for votes. If Trump gets drilled in November, Colorado’s most vulnerable working families could benefit in more ways than…well, than just Trump losing.

Get More Smarter on Monday (July 25)

Get More SmarterCompared to the Olympic Village in Rio, all of the accommodations in Philadelphia are 5-star locations. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► The Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia got underway on Monday with an unexpected jolt of controversy. As Politico reports:

Democrats on Monday struggled to contain the chaos that threatened to take hold in Philadelphia, as Debbie Wasserman Schultz bowed out of plans to gavel in the Democratic National Convention and restless Bernie Sanders’ supporters lashed out.

A day after the resignation of the embattled party chairwoman over a massive leak of emails showing disdain for Sanders’ campaign, the party could not escape the optics of a convention marred by discord, much like the Republicans’ the week before. And once again, Hillary Clinton has found herself ensnared in another email-related controversy.

Trouble started early Monday, when Wasserman Schultz’s debut at the convention proved disastrous. The Florida congresswoman as was heckled as she tried to speak before the Florida delegation breakfast, with some in the room yelling “Shame!”

By Monday afternoon, Wasserman Schultz had wisely decided to step aside as DNC Chair altogether. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the mayor of Baltimore, takes over as the gaveler-in-chief in Philadelphia.

Elsewhere, the Washington Post previews the DNC by asking (and answering) 10 important questions.


► Two prominent Colorado Democrats will be on the stage in Philadelphia for prominent speaking roles. House Democratic Leader Crisanta Duran, likely the next House Speaker should Democrats maintain control of the lower chamber, will tell the story of “Colorado, women, and Latinos” on Thursday evening. Governor John Hickenlooper is also scheduled to speak at the DNC later this week.


► There are conflicting reports about how far Gov. Hickenlooper really advanced in the Veepstakes to become Hillary Clinton’s running mate. Over the weekend, Clinton announced that she had tapped Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine for the VP role.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Tim Kaine: The Better Hickenlooper?

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).

The New York Times reports on the selection of Sen. Tim Kaine as Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton’s running-mate: beating out a number of other “finalist” contenders including Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado:

Hillary Clinton named Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia to be her running mate Friday, selecting a battleground-state politician with working-class roots and a fluency in Spanish, traits that she believes can bolster her chances to defeat Donald J. Trump in November.

Mrs. Clinton’s choice, which she announced via text message to supporters, came after her advisers spent months poring over potential vice-presidential candidates who could lift the Democratic ticket in an unpredictable race against Mr. Trump…

Ultimately, Mrs. Clinton, who told PBS that she was “afflicted with the responsibility gene,” avoided taking a chance with a less experienced vice-presidential candidate and declined to push the historic nature of her candidacy by adding another woman or a minority to the ticket.

Instead, the campaign, which had become concerned about its deficit with white men, focused on Mr. Kaine and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and looked more closely at Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado. [Pols emphasis]

Sen. Tim Kaine is in many ways a safe pick for Clinton, being a relatively moderate white male politician in a key swing state. It’s true that those descriptors could also apply to our own Gov. Hickenlooper, although we’d say excepting Hickenlooper’s soft spot on energy issues he’s probably more of a “progressive” than Kaine is. With Clinton expected to run strongly to the middle in a bid to pick up support from Republicans who cannot bring themselves to vote for Donald Trump, Kaine can be regarded as a “ticket balancer” who will make the choice of Hillary more palatable.

Bottom line: this may not be the more exciting choice for the Democratic base, but Kaine is arguably closest to what Hillary needs to close the deal: with the broadest possible range of American voters.

Cynthia Coffman On The GOP Platform: “I Am Ashamed”

Here’s a clip we didn’t want to get lost in the noise surrounding this week’s now-concluded Republican National Convention: Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, speaking at the American Unity Fund’s “Big Tent Brunch” Wednesday:

While making an attempt to differentiate between her professional responsibilities as the state’s chief law enforcement officer and her personal views,  AG Coffman offers one of the strongest condemnations we’ve seen to date by a high-ranking Republican official of her party’s official platform as adopted this week in Cleveland. This year’s GOP platform was distantly to the right of the mainstream on a host of social wedge issues, including statements of opposition to most of the gains LGBT Americans have made in recent years.

We’ve certainly had our criticisms of Cynthia Coffman, but her sincerity in this moment is above reproach. The fact that this year’s Republican platform does represent at least a large segment of the party rank-and-file shows how great the challenge of any Republican seeking to moderate the party’s position on these issues really is. What will be left of the Republican coalition should Cynthia’s personal views on LGBT rights prevail in the future?

Because with all due respect, it’s too late for 2016.

Get More Smarter on Friday (July 22)

Get More SmarterGoodbye, Cleveland; hello, Philadelphia. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican nomination for President on Thursday to wrap up the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Trump delivered a very long speech that seemed intended to scare voters more than inspire them to jump onboard the Big Orange Bus, as the Washington Post explains:

The language he used was as dark and ominous as in any acceptance speech in recent memory, and what he promised to fix was a mess that he laid directly at the feet of Clinton, the former secretary of state and wife of former president Bill Clinton, as well as at the feet of President Obama.

Running through a litany of problems in the Middle East that have happened over the past seven-plus years, Trump said of his rival: “The legacy of Hillary Clinton is death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”…

…Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, had promised earlier in the week that Trump would campaign on a theme of law and order, a theme that was largely unspoken through much of the early months of Trump’s candidacy.

On Thursday, Trump embraced that message in the opening minutes of his speech, asserting that this is a “moment of crisis” for the country that threatens “our very way of life.” He painted a picture of an America out of control, with rising crime in big cities, police being shot and illegal immigrants streaming across the border.

“Beginning on January 20th of 2017, safety will be restored,” he said.

In a separate story about Trump’s acceptance speech, James Hohmann of the Washington Post summed up the remarks thusly:

Trump essentially used the most important speech of his campaign – and perhaps political career – to yell fire in a crowded theatre.

The Associated Press did some fact-checking on Trump’s acceptance speech, pointing out several problems with his statements on the economy, immigration, and — of course — Hillary Clinton.


► With the Republican Norovirus Convention coming to an end in Cleveland, John Frank of the Denver Post notes the continued defiance from Colorado delegates:

Colorado’s delegates remain reluctant to support Donald Trump, which is to say most of them will vote for the Republican nominee despite their bad history.

This is what it looked like Thursday night —  Donald Trump hit one of his big applause lines in his acceptance speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention and his screaming fans jumped to their feet.

The Colorado delegation, for the most part, remained in their seats. Some clapped. Others sat arms crossed.

“Look at stubborn Colorado,” a Georgia delegate and Trump campaign surrogate snorted from behind the delegation’s seats.

Chris Cillizza of “The Fix” offers up his Winners and Losers from Day Four of the RNC.


► It appears increasingly likely that Hillary Clinton will name Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate. From Politico:

Hillary Clinton’s veepstakes is ending the way it began: with the humble-but-sturdy Tim Kaine sitting at the top of her list.

After an extensive, months-long process during which the campaign considered a host of different options — even vetting a serious candidate from outside the political arena — the squeaky-clean Virginia senator, whose biggest liability to emerge was that he was boring, is emerging as Clinton’s top choice. Kaine has been urged along by two men familiar with the demands of the job: President Barack Obama and former president Bill Clinton, those close to the process say.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


The Final Rose: “Bachelor Ben” Won’t Run in HD-4 After All

Breaking news this morning from Joe St. George at Fox 31:

Donald Trump, Ben Higgins.

Donald Trump, Ben Higgins.

Thus ends the not-quite-weeklong State House candidacy of Ben “The Bachelor” Higgins. For voters in North Denver’s HD-4, this also means that there will be only one reality TV star on the ballot in the fall.

Higgins may be withdrawing from the race in part because of a potential electioneering communications problem related to a reality TV show (“Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After”) that ABC would have been shooting during the campaign, although you would think the Republican consultants who talked Higgins into running would have figure this out beforehand. Perhaps more likely, Higgins finally realized that running as a Republican in the top-performing Democratic House District in the entire state was a fool’s errand no matter what reality television show you hail from.

Friday Open Thread

“Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me.”

–Ray Bradbury

Details of Trump’s Acceptance Speech Begin to Leak Out

Donald Trump will formally accept the Republican Presidential nomination tonight in Cleveland.

Donald Trump will formally accept the Republican Presidential nomination tonight in Cleveland.

As Eli Stokols reports for PoliticoDonald Trump will try to go the “everyman” route in his speech tonight accepting the Republican nomination for President:

Trump declares “I am your voice” throughout the speech.

Blending Nixonian imagery of a dark, divided America and a messianic self-conception of himself as a great leader, the 70-year-old billionaire will accept the Republican Party’s presidential nomination and declare himself to be the only candidate capable of solving the country’s problems.

“I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves,” Trump says, according to the draft, time-stamped Thursday afternoon. “Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.”

Trump’s speech, which one campaign source said was “being guarded like the Colonel’s secret recipe,” should offer a cleaner, crisper articulation of his most deeply held policy positions — his opposition to free trade, his commitment to securing the country’s borders and cutting off the flow of undocumented immigrants and his commitment to strengthening the country’s military and giving more resources to local law enforcement agencies…

Earlier this week, Trump told Bill O’Reilly of Fox News that his acceptance speech was “going to be a relatively long speech,” which is a weird thing to admit if you are trying to entice people to pay attention. The final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland was scheduled to begin at 5:10 pm (MT); when Trump will take the microphone, and when he will finish, is anyone’s guess.

The Ties that Bind: Coffman Lashed Firmly to Trump

Hair by Donald, head by Coffman.

Hair by Donald, head by Coffman.

Tonight in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump will formally accept the GOP nomination for President (unless he doesn’t, which would be really interesting). Colorado Democrats aren’t waiting for Trump to make his intentions official to start lashing the GOP nominee — and his litany of questionable statements and policy ideas — to the side of Colorado Republican candidates such as Rep. Mike Coffman  (R-Aurora).

As Ernest Luning writes for the Colorado Statesman:

State Democrats launched an attack tying U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Thursday — just hours before the former reality TV star is set to accept the GOP nomination — but Coffman says he’s the only candidate in the race who will stand up to whoever wins the presidency.

“Congressman Coffman has not only pledged to support Donald Trump,” the Democrats’ website charges, citing a comment made by a campaign spokeswoman on the day after the Iowa caucuses, “he has spent his entire political career championing the type of reckless, divisive and discriminatory agenda that created Donald Trump.”

Both sides in the hotly contested 6th Congressional District race — Coffman is facing a challenge by state Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora — have been treating Trump like kryptonite, with Democrats eager to lash Trump to Coffman, while Coffman has been distancing himself from the real estate mogul and some of his more controversial statements.

Much like Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), Coffman is clearly trying to distance himself from a nominee who could be more toxic to down ballot races than any Presidential candidate in recent memory. On more than one occasion, Coffman has quite literally run away from reporters asking him about Trump. Unfortunately for Coffman — as is the case with Gardner as well — it is already a matter of public record that Coffman will support “the Republican nominee” for President. Here’s what Coffman campaign spokeswoman Kristin Strohm said about Coffman’s support for the Republican Presidential nominee back in February:

“Will Mike Coffman support the Republican nominee over Bernie or Hillary? The answer is obviously yes.”

No matter what Coffman says to the contrary about Trump, this particular ship has long since sailed. If Coffman doesn’t explicitly state himself that Strohm was wrong in saying that her boss would “obviously” support the Republican nominee, it doesn’t really matter what else he says about Trump. Coffman and Gardner can hem and haw about Trump every chance they get — but they have both already answered the only question that matters in this regard. Everything else, as we said with Gardner, is just semantics.


The Remarkable Conflict of Interest at the Colo. Springs Gazette

Wayne and Dede Laugesen

Wayne and Dede Laugesen

Journalists from mainstream media outlets are often harangued for showing some form of “bias” or conflict of interest in their reporting or writing. Accusations of bias appear often in the aftermath of political reporting, though such charges are often levied just as readily at sports and general news stories (supporters of sports teams in the Western U.S. love to claim that reporters across the country participate in an “East Coast Media Bias” that does injustice to their favorite teams).

In most cases, “bias” depends primarily on the perspective of the accuser and is often misguided or misinterpreted. Stories can be innocently edited to remove important details long after a reporter finishes writing, and incorrect facts or quotes may appear by accident rather than malice. Journalists are also asked to disassociate themselves from any personal beliefs or opinions, which is often harder said than done; as much as reporters and editors may try to be unbiased, it is important to remember that they are all (mostly) human beings who have their own inherent perspectives that can be hard to separate consciously.

But sometimes, bias and conflict of interest does occur. Occasionally, conflicts are easy to uncover and impossible to ignore — as the Colorado Springs Independent notes about the Colorado Springs Gazette and editor Wayne Laugesen:

On Sunday and Tuesday, July 17 and 19, the Gazette again editorialized in support of Darryl Glenn, county commissioner and GOP nominee for U.S. Senate. The editorial was signed by the Gazette editorial board, of which Wayne Laugesen, the editorial page editor, is a member. But it failed to disclose Laugesen’s wife, Dede Laugesen, owns Windhover Media, which was paid $3,147 in consulting fees and expenses by Glenn’s campaign in January 2015.

We asked Wayne Laugesen to comment but didn’t hear back by our press time.

Media Matters has more details on this pretty blatant conflict of interest at the Gazette, with numerous examples of the Gazette praising El Paso County Commissioner and Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn without disclosing this conflict.

You may argue whether or not Gazette editor Wayne Laugesen should be signing off on editorials that offer such praise of a candidate who has paid his wife, Dede Laugesen, for consulting work. But at the very least, the Gazette should run some sort of disclosure along with any editorial that prominently features Glenn’s name.