Trump Picks Pence

FRIDAY UPDATE #3: Colorado LGBT political leaders respond to Gov. Mike Pence’s selection:

“Mike Pence’s extreme record in Indiana is as damaging and divisive as Donald Trump’s record” said Congressman Jared Polis. “Pence’s personal leadership of a law that legalized discrimination against LGBT Americans was not only a moral embarrassment but also lost the Indiana economy millions of dollars in business and investments. Pence embodies exactly the same kind of divisiveness and intolerance as Donald Trump, and we cannot afford to have him a heartbeat away from the Presidency.”

“From Congress to the governor’s mansion, Mike Pence is a man who has worked his entire career to limit the rights of LGBT Americans,” said Colorado State Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman. “We simply can’t let that form of discrimination endure by having it embodied in the Vice President’s office.”

“Mike Pence is as extreme and dangerous as Donald Trump,” said former Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives Mark Ferrandino, the first openly gay Speaker of the House. “He doesn’t believe that families like mine are entitled to the same rights and liberties as all other Americans. That type of hate has no place in the United States – and certainly not in the Vice President’s office.”


Mike Pence, Donald Trump.

Mike Pence, Donald Trump.

FRIDAY UPDATE #2: LGBT advocacy group One Colorado decries Trump’s choice:

“Once again, Donald Trump has proven he is no friend to the LGBTQ community. From his opposition to the Supreme Court’s decision to bring the freedom to marry to all Americans, to his agreement with the staunchly anti-LGBTQ Republican platform, and now his nomination of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his Vice President, Trump continues to demonstrate his willingness to rollback the victories our community has made over the years.

“While in the Indiana legislature, Mike Pence co-sponsored an amendment to ban same-sex marriage and voted against the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, which would have made it illegal to fire someone just because of who they love. In Congress, Mike Pence voted against the repeal of the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. Finally, as governor, Pence lost the state of Indiana $60 million in revenue after signing a broad religious exemption bill into law last year.

“Multiple legislative efforts to allow individuals and businesses to claim their religion gives them permission to ignore the law — similar to the bill Governor Pence signed in 2015 — were blocked in the last two years in Colorado thanks to the Democratic majority in the State House, and a coalition of businesses, chambers of commerce, faith leaders, law enforcement, and community organizations that came together to oppose them.

“With his announcement of Mike Pence as his running mate, Donald Trump has solidified his commitment to erasing the LGBTQ community’s advancements over the past several years. Trump has given us a sneak-peek of his vision for LGBTQ people in America and it is a future that looks dangerously like the past. We have come too far to see it all undone. We are better than this. America and Colorado are better than this.”


FRIDAY UPDATE: It’s apparently official, that is Twitter official:


UPDATE (6:20 pm): Check out these bullet points on the front page of the Washington Post: PenceWaPo


UPDATE (6:00 pm): Er, maybe not? From Politico:

Donald Trump will postpone the announcement of his vice presidential pick due to an apparent terror attack in Nice, France. Trump was scheduled to announce and introduce his selection Friday morning in Manhattan, but he tweeted Thursday evening that he would postpone the event…


Friday Open Thread

“We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out.”

–Winston Churchill

Colorado GOP Chair Praises Trump’s “Nationalist” Campaign

The United States is in a dark place at the moment: Rising gun violence. Mass shootings. Astonishingly vivid deaths of minorities at the hands of law enforcement officers. Targeted killings of police officers in Dallas.

At the same time, we are in the midst of a Presidential campaign with a presumptive Republican nominee in Donald Trump who is often accused of being blatantly racist and appears, at best, to be almost indifferent to the racial and class tensions that are straining virtually every community in America.

“Donald Trump is running a Nationalist campaign.”

— Steve House

As the Republican National Convention in Cleveland approaches next week, there remain vocal dissenters within the Party who are still trying to prevent Trump from claiming the GOP Presidential nomination. Colorado delegates such as Kendal Unruh are feverishly trying to figure out a way to stop Trump; at the same time, an increasing number of Republican establishment figures are lining up in support of Trump and actually praising the divisive, racially-tinged rhetoric spewing from their Great Orange Hope.

Colorado GOP chairman Steve House.

Colorado GOP chairman Steve House.

On Wednesday, Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve House spoke with Ryan Warner of Colorado Public Radio from the RNC convention site in Cleveland, and his comments were, frankly, stunning. House was effusive in his praise of a Presidential campaign that he repeatedly called “Nationalist.” You can listen to House’s comments in the links below, but here’s the transcription (all emphasis per Colorado Pols):

STEVE HOUSE: One of the things that he’s doing that I think a lot of Republicans haven’t completely grasped yet – including Kendal [Unruh] and her conversation about Party platform…

Donald Trump is running a Nationalist campaign. He’s not running a campaign based on ideology. 

A Nationalist campaign starts with, “How do you restore pride in America?” And what do you do about peace through strength and military, and how do you create prosperity? Those things don’t necessarily, talking-points wise, align with what you would describe as a specific ideology, then I think there’s some confusion about that.

When people get confused and say, hey, you know, he’s not talking about limited government. He’s not talking about things that we normally talk about in the Party. The reason why is that he is running a Nationalist campaign. And I think that works for a guy like Donald Trump.


RYAN WARNER: You say “Nationalist.” Some might say “racist.” How do you respond? 


STEVE HOUSE: Well, I haven’t seen anything that I would categorize specifically as racist. People bring up the issue of, you know, banning Muslims. I mean, I’ve talked to Donald Trump and I’ve talked to his team about this. What he’s really trying to tell us – and he’ll continue to detail it – is, as President, he would be responsible for our property rights. For our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness and our protection of those rights.

And I think what you have to do…when you let people immigrate into the country, you’ve got to know, what’s their background, what’s their intention, what are they capable of? Because in those three questions, you’re going to determine who should come – because we need workforce enhancements continuously in this country – and you also should determine who is not coming. And I think if he was a little bit inarticulate about how he said it up front, so be it. But I think his intention is, how do I protect you and your property rights and your right to life? And that’s what he’s all about. He’s not about racism.

Now, let’s be VERY clear about what we’re talking about here regarding “Nationalism.” The definition of the word “Nationalism” relates to a feeling of national pride and exceptionalism, but also:

“a desire by a large group of people (such as people who share the same culture, history, language, etc.) to form a separate and independent nation of their own.”

There is another, more sinister side to the idea of “Nationalism,” however, and it’s difficult to separate the racial undertones of Trump’s Presidential campaign with the form of “Nationalism” that was a driving ideal behind the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany.

Take a look at what Nicholas Confessore wrote in The New York Times on Tuesday, under the headline For Whites Sensing Decline, Donald Trump Unleashes Words of Resistance:

In countless collisions of color and creed, Donald J. Trump’s name evokes an easily understood message of racial hostility. Defying modern conventions of political civility and language, Mr. Trump has breached the boundaries that have long constrained Americans’ public discussion of race.

Mr. Trump has attacked Mexicans as criminals. He has called for a ban on Muslim immigrants. He has wondered aloud why the United States is not “letting people in from Europe.”

His rallies vibrate with grievances that might otherwise be expressed in private: about “political correctness,” about the ranch house down the street overcrowded with day laborers, and about who is really to blame for the death of a black teenager in Ferguson, Mo. In a country where the wealthiest and most influential citizens are still mostly white, Mr. Trump is voicing the bewilderment and anger of whites who do not feel at all powerful or privileged.

But in doing so, Mr. Trump has also opened the door to assertions of white identity and resentment in a way not seen so broadly in American culture in over half a century, according to those who track patterns of racial tension and antagonism in American life.

Now, let’s go back to more of what Steve House said on Wednesday. House had just finished talking about the aftermath of the Colorado State Republican Convention in April — during which Texas Sen. Ted Cruz swept the delegate field and shut out Trump completely — and was sharing anecdotes of receiving “5,000 phone calls” and several death threats from Trump supporters:

RYAN WARNER: You don’t see that as reflective of the kinds of folks who support Trump?

STEVE HOUSE: I do not. There’s a mix of people out there who are very, very angry about the status of America right now. They’re tired of 7 and a half years of a guy [Obama] apologizing for who we are. And I think that’s ridiculous. We should be proud of what we do for the world and for ourselves, and I think there’s a group of people that are just dissatisfied with low wages and health care costs…they’re very, very angry, and sometimes they take that anger out in ways that is a little bit [sic] abrupt and unexpected, but in general I think you’re going to see the mainstream Republican Party support Trump very well.

Go ahead and try to hide your comments behind some sort of make-believe shield of anti-political correctness if you’d like, but there’s really no way around the racial undertones in what Steve House is saying about Donald Trump and his campaign for President. This is the CHAIRMAN OF THE COLORADO REPUBLICAN PARTY explicitly endorsing a racially-tinged definition of “Nationalism” as a political campaign strategy for his Party’s presumptive Presidential nominee.

For Steve House and supporters of Donald Trump who embrace these ideas, there are only two explanations: Ignorance or Acceptance. Either House truly doesn’t understand what he’s saying in espousing a strategy of “Nationalism” — which is terrifying enough in itself — or the State GOP Chair is completely supportive of this movement. 


[Listen to the audio clips of the Steve House interview after the jump]…


Libby Szabo(?) Gets Big Stage Speaking Role at GOP Convention

Jefferson County Commissioner Libby Szabo

Jefferson County Commissioner Libby Szabo

Congratulations to Jefferson County Commissioner Libby Szabo…though we can’t even begin to try to explain the logic behind this decision. As Ernest Luning reports for the Colorado Statesman:

The heavy presence of Coloradans on stage could draw attention to the perennial swing state, which was swept by Trump primary rival U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas when Republicans selected delegates to the RNC. One of the speakers — Szabo — is even a Cruz delegate, and Glenn won a five-way Senate primary at the end of June after winning an endorsement from Cruz…

…Szabo, a former House minority leader from Arvada and a delegate to the RNC, said she was stunned when she got the call on Wednesday asking her to speak on Monday night at the convention.

“‘At the real convention, not just at a luncheon or something like that?’” Szabo said she asked the RNC official. “She said, ‘Yeah, on the stage,’ and I said, ‘Well, little Libby’s all grown up,’” Then, after a hearty laugh, Szabo added, “What an opportunity, huh?”

This is a tremendous opportunity for Szabo, who apparently isn’t quite sure herself how she ended up being selected for a main stage speaking role at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. After all, Szabo is barely a household name in her own home.

Gail Schwartz Raising Big Money in CD-3 Challenge

Gail Schwartz

Gail Schwartz

This just in…according to a press release from the Congressional campaign of former state Senator Gail Schwartz:

Gail Schwartz, candidate for Congress in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, continued to demonstrate the strength and momentum of her campaign by raising a very impressive $622,960.02 in contributions. As a testament to the efficiency of her grassroots campaign, Schwartz for Congress has $549,421.46 cash-on-hand. Notably, Colorado residents accounted for roughly 70 percent of the individual contributions in the most recent report…

…Fundraising is not the only area in which Schwartz is demonstrating strength. She has received a number of key endorsements, including the League of Conservation Voters, EMILY’s List, Colorado AFL-CIO, Colorado Women’s Leadership Circles of Influence, Blue Dog PAC, and the Sierra Club. She is well known in southern and western Colorado, since she has already represented the counties of the 3rd Congressional District as an elected University of Colorado Regent, and went on to represent 12 of the 3rd Congressional District counties as the State Senator from Senate District 5. And as a tireless campaigner, she will be on the road until Election Day to meet as many residents of the District as possible.

If incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) wasn’t sweating Schwartz’s campaign already, he certainly is now. Since jumping into the race for CD-3 in April, Schwartz has quickly racked up high-profile endorsements and big checks in her bid to unseat Tipton. Schwartz has been mentioned in prior years as a potential challenger in CD-3, and as we’ve said before in this space, she is a savvy candidate with deep money connections who would not have finally entered the race without some strong indications that she could win.

Support for Schwartz’s campaign ramped up quickly, and she should only continue to gain more momentum after such a tremendous fundraising quarter.

Thursday Open Thread

“Censorship, like charity, should begin at home, but, unlike charity, it should end there.”

–Clare Boothe Luce

Gardner Eyes NRSC Title (Co-Title?) in 2018

I'll take the easier route for $200, Alex.

I’ll take the easier route for $200, Alex.

Timing can be everything in politics, and few Colorado elected officials understand that better than Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

Gardner was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014 for a number of reasons — foremost the fact that he ran a strong campaign while incumbent Sen. Mark Udall did not — but also because he picked the right year to make the leap from the House of Representatives. His political timing has always been impeccable, whether cruising into his prior Congressional seat in the Tea Party wave year of 2010 or getting his start in the state legislature by way of a Republican vacancy committee.

Gardner is not a risk-taker, politically-speaking, which is why this news from Politico about the 2018 Senate cycle makes perfect sense:

Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Cory Gardner of Colorado are floating a novel idea: Sharing the job of leading the Senate GOP’s campaign arm.

The freshmen lawmakers are gauging support for a proposal to become co-chairmen of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 2018 election cycle, a prime opportunity for the GOP to pick up seats or recapture the Senate if they lose it this year. [Pols emphasis] Democrats will be defending 25 seats vs. just eight for the GOP, and Tillis and Gardner are aggressively pursuing a leadership role at the organization to capitalize on the opportunity.

It is certainly true that 2018, a non-Presidential election year, appears to be a better cycle to be heading up campaign operations for Senate Republicans. Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker won the job in 2016 with a close insider-election over Nevada Sen. Dean Heller; considering the fractured nature of the Republican Party and its less-than-ideal Presidential nominee (Donald Trump), Wicker probably wishes he had a do-over.

Should Democrats re-take control of the U.S. Senate this year, Gardner (and Tillis) would be well-positioned to emerge as heroes if they are able to wrestle back the Senate in 2018. And by serving as “co-chairs” of the NRSC, both could avoid the brunt of the blame in case things don’t turn out so well for the GOP. Either scenario helps Gardner prepare his own fundraising efforts in advance of his 2020 re-election bid.

There’s another good reason for the NRSC to go with a “co-chair” lineup in 2018: Gardner may be good at managing his own political career, but he really sucks at identifying other strong candidates to support.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 13)

MoreSmarterLogo-SunscreenJulius Caesar may or may not have been born on this day a long time ago; we’re not doing the math regardless. 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.


A new poll from Monmouth University has Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by 13 points in Colorado — the same margin that Sen. Michael Bennet holds over Republican nominee Darryl Glenn. Both Clinton and Bennet are also doing well in Colorado according to data from Republican polling outfit Harper Polling. As the Denver Post reports:

The survey by Harper Polling found that Sen. Bennet had a 46 percent to 40 percent advantage over Republican rival Darryl Glenn. Clinton, the Democrats’ presumptive nominee for president, was ahead 45 percent to 38 percent over presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump…

…“Glenn receives less support from Republicans (78 percent) than Bennet does from Democrats (83 percent), a result of lower name identification for Glenn among party voters,” noted Harper Polling. “Bennet holds a comfortable lead among Democratic-leaning moderates (32-48 percent) but Glenn narrows his lead to just 4 percent among independent voters (33-37 percent).”

Less comforting for Bennet, however, is that it was a tie at 38 percent as to whether he deserves re-election versus the feeling that it’s time to give someone new a chance.

We’d take that last caveat with more than one grain of salt, since poll respondents are often inclined to be more interested in something new when the question is this generic. The fact that Glenn receives less support from Republicans than Bennet does from Democrats is much more relevant in our mind, because those numbers aren’t likely to improve for Glenn given his low name ID and far-right policy beliefs. And with the Monmouth University poll showing Bennet with a 13-point lead, it’s safe to say that Bennet is comfortably ahead at this point in the race.

The Colorado Springs Independent ponders whether Glenn will continue to exceed expectations in his bid for U.S. Senate or ultimately flame out in November. If you’re playing at home, go with choice #2.


► We’re still waiting to hear who Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump will choose as his running mate in advance of next week’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland. While the list of potential Vice Presidential candidates hasn’t been particularly robust for Trump — many top names in the Republican Party want no part of this mess — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence may need Trump more than Trump needs him. From the Washington Post:

Pence risks looking desperate as he all but pleads for the job. During their joint appearance outside Indianapolis, it felt at times like the governor wants to be rescued from having to stand for reelection this November…

…A major reason Pence wants to be Trump’s running-mate so badly is that he could lose his bid for a second term.

— All along, the Democratic theory of the case to beat Pence this fall has been to define him as “distracted.” He ran promising to focus on jobs and education, but his tenure has been overshadowed and defined by culture war clashes, from a botched religious freedom bill (which he had to “fix” under pressure) to new restrictions on abortion.

If you aren’t catching the whiff of desperation from Pence, consider this comment from Pence during a Trump rally on Tuesday: “Trump understands the frustrations and the hopes of the American people like no other American leader in my lifetime since Ronald Reagan.”

Just 10 weeks ago, Pence endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz for President.


► Colorado delegates may be at the front of the line in an “anti-Trump” movement during next week’s GOP National Convention. Shaun Boyd has more for CBS4 Denver.



Get even more smarter after the jump…


Poll: Who Will Be Hillary Clinton’s Running-Mate?

Here’s a highly informal poll, meant purely for discussion purposes among our readers, of potential choices by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to serve as her vice president. Who is the right complement to Clinton to represent the ideologically fractious Democratic Party and become the next President of the United States? If your favored candidate isn’t listed, feel free to suggest one in comments.

As always with our reader polls, we’re looking for your honest prediction–not your personal preference. Happy voting!

Who will be the Democratic vice-presidential nominee in 2016?
Xavier Becerra
Cory Booker
Sherrod Brown
Julian Castro
John Hickenlooper
Tim Kaine
Deval Patrick
Tom Perez
Bernie Mothaf*cking Sanders
Elizabeth Warren
Better not be Bill/not sure/other (specify)
View Result

Poll: Who Will Be Donald Trump’s Running-Mate?

Here’s a highly informal poll, meant purely for discussion purposes among our readers, of potential choices by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to serve as his vice president. Who brings the right combination of…whatever the hell it is Trump needs most to pull this thing off and become the next President of the United States? If your favored candidate isn’t listed, feel free to suggest one in comments.

As always with our reader polls, we’re looking for your honest prediction–not your personal preference. Happy voting!

Who will be the Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2016?
Chris Christie
Newt Gingrich
Joni Ernst
Mike Pence
Larry Mizel
A Trump family member
Other/not sure (specify)
View Result

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 12)

MoreSmarterLogo-SolsticeIf you’re in Northern Ireland and Protestant, Happy Orangemen’s Day! 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.


► Today’s top story in politics is the long, long, long-awaited endorsement by defeated Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders of Hillary Clinton:

So ends the most bitter Democratic campaign rivalry since Barack Obama beat Clinton for the 2008 presidential nomination. Republicans have sought refuge from the unfolding catastrophe at the top of their ticket by playing up disunity between Sanders’ grassroots supporters and the “mainstream” Democratic party personified by Clinton. Now that Sanders has delivered this unequivocal endorsement, all but the most ardent Bernie supporters–in many cases “low propensity” voters anyway–should come back into the fold after an appropriate period of grieving and coping.

And yes, that’s bad news for Republicans. It’s true they don’t need more bad news. Sorry about that.

Donald Trump responds with a quixotic appeal to disaffected Sanders supporters:

Good luck with that! We’re just not foreseeing a mass exodus of Bernie backers to Trump.

► On the Trump side in Colorado news, defeated GOP U.S. Senate candidate Robert Blaha is taking his blowhard trademark rhetoric to the Make America Great Again campaign as Trump’s Colorado campaign co-chair. After Blaha made a big splash with his wild “out-Trumping” comments as a Senate candidate, this seems right as rain.

Get even more smarter after the jump…


Bernie Endorses Hillary

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton.

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton.

NBC News reporting, ranks in the Democratic Party have now officially closed with a strong endorsment from Bernie Sanders for presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton:

Bernie Sanders officially endorsed Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, capping off a contentious presidential primary and solidifying the former secretary of state’s hold on the Democratic party.

“I have come here to make it as clear as possible as to why I am endorsing Hillary Clinton,” Sanders said while standing next to Clinton at an event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

“This campaign is not really about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. This campaign is about the needs of the American people and addressing the very serious crises that we face,” Sander said. “And there is no doubt in my mind that as we head into November, Hillary Clinton is far and away the best candidate to do that.”

So ends the most bitter Democratic campaign rivalry since Barack Obama beat Clinton for the 2008 presidential nomination. Republicans have sought refuge from the unfolding catastrophe at the top of their ticket by playing up disunity between Sanders’ grassroots supporters and the “mainstream” Democratic party personified by Clinton. Now that Sanders has delivered this unequivocal endorsement, all but the most ardent Bernie supporters–in many cases “low propensity” voters anyway–should come back into the fold after an appropriate period of grieving and coping.

And yes, that’s bad news for Republicans. It’s true they don’t need more bad news. Sorry about that.