Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 9)

Get More SmarterJust when Donald Trump supporters thought last week was the worst it could get… 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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump is trying to hit refresh after an awful week on the campaign trail, but things aren’t looking much better for His Hairness after a tough day on Monday. Democrat Hillary Clinton is consistently extending her polling lead to double-digits now as high-profile Republicans are increasingly finding their voice of opposition.

Colorado Republicans in high-profile races — such as Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) and state Sen. Laura Waters Woods (R-Arvada) — may soon have to pay the political piper when it comes to their statements about Trump. The Aurora Sentinel published an editorial today calling on Colorado Republicans to immediately and irrevocably denounce Trump:

Either GOP elected officials have such poor judgment that they cannot themselves be trusted to represent their more rational constituents, or they are so cowardly that they will not risk their own political jobs by angering the tea party inmates that are now running this surreal GOP asylum. It is this very same cowardice and poor judgment that allowed for segregation and Jim Crow laws in the South, the Holocaust, apartheid and a long list of odious regimes in places like Russia, China and all over the Middle East.

Don’t miss former Rep. Tom Tancredo’s biting criticism of Coffman’s Trump dance.

 

Donald Trump says he doesn’t plan to change anything about his campaign, including his awkwardly-received economic policies. At least he knows he can count on the “Balloon Boy” family.

ICYMI, Trump did not show up in Colorado on Monday.

 

► Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton continues to rise in national polls, and her campaign is expanding its list of battleground states to include Arizona and Georgia.

 

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Coffman, Woods Missed Their Exit on Trump

Mike Coffman, Donald Trump, Laura Woods (not actual size)

Mike Coffman, Donald Trump, Laura Woods (not actual size)

August 8, 2016. Mark it down.

History will record Monday as the moment when the full-scale revolt against Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump began in earnest. Trump had an absolutely terrible week of campaigning last week, causing collateral political damage across the country and here in Colorado as well. If Monday is any indication of how the rest of the election cycle will unfold, things are going to get a whole lot worse for Trump and Republicans.

On Monday, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) penned a strongly-worded editorial for the Washington Post to explain why she cannot, and will not, vote for Trump for President. As CNN explains:

“With the passage of time, I have become increasingly dismayed by his constant stream of cruel comments and his inability to admit error or apologize,” she said.

However, there were three incidences in particular that led her to make her decision: when Trump mocked a disabled reporter; when he said Judge Gonzalo Curiel could not be fair about Trump University because of his Mexican heritage; and when he attacked a Gold Star family, the Khans, after they spoke out against him at the Democratic National Convention.

The editorial from Sen. Collins came on the same day that a group of 50 former Republican intelligence and military staffers made their opinions known that Trump is unfit for the Presidency. From Politico:

Donald Trump’s effort to appeal to establishment Republicans suffered another setback on Monday as 50 senior GOP national security officials warned in a new letter that Trump would “risk our country’s national security and well-being.”

The signatories of the letter, which was first reported by The New York Times, all worked in Republican administrations, with many serving as top aides to President George W. Bush. They said none of them would be voting for Trump.

“Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be President,” they wrote. “He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world. He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary.”

Here in Colorado, the Aurora Sentinel published a blistering editorial calling on Republicans like Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) to finally dismiss Trump once and for all:

The moment of truth, and I do mean truth, for Colorado Republican elected officials is now as they must either unequivocally denounce the catastrophic candidacy of Donald Trump or suffer the inevitable consequences.

Eject!

Eject!

For many Colorado Republicans, including Coffman and state Senator Laura Waters Woods (R-Arvada), it may be too late to abandon Trump now. We should clarify: It may be too late politically to abandon Trump, though there are still plenty of moral reasons to make the switch.

Coffman’s half-assed attempt last week to kinda, sorta distance himself from Trump was widely panned; Coffman took withering fire from the likes of former CD-6 Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo, who said of Coffman that “The only thing authentic about him is his passionate desire to keep that House Member pin on his lapel.” As the New York Times wrote over the weekend, Republican officials are not happy with how Coffman completely botched his #MaybeTrump rollout:

In the past week, the campaign of Representative Mike Coffman of Colorado, who represents suburban Denver, began airing a television ad in which he pledges to stand up to Mr. Trump if he becomes president. Other Republicans are expected to follow suit as early as this month.

But even that approach may be insufficient. House Republican officials were furious at Mr. Coffman for not being prepared to answer predictable follow-up questions about whether he still supported Mr. Trump. [Pols emphasis] Democrats responded with an advertisement showing photos of Mr. Coffman and Mr. Trump side by side and urging voters to reject them both.

As we’ve discussed before in this space, Coffman has been trying to walk a fine line between showing manufactured disdain for Trump while refusing to say whether or not he’ll actually support the Republican nominee (lest he anger constituents in CD-6 who are staunch Trump supporters). Obviously, this approach is not working.

With support for Trump now in rapid decline, it’s clear that Coffman, Woods, and other pro-Trump Republicans such as Rep. Clarice Navarro miscalculated in their efforts to stand next to Trump and still emerge unscathed in a General Election. Republicans are terrified that Trump’s plummeting support will cost them — at the very least — control of the U.S. Senate.

Losing just the Senate may have been a best-case scenario for the GOP.

 

Get More Smarter on Friday (August 5)

Get More SmarterThe Summer Olympics in Rio are already underway, with the Opening Ceremonies scheduled to take place tonightIt’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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) imploded in spectacular fashion on Thursday, making a ham-handed attempt to explain that he isn’t a huge fan of Donald Trump before inexplicably backpedaling and making it (un)clear that he might still vote for Trump or might also support Libertarian Gary Johnson for President.

Marshall Zelinger caught up with Coffman and found him to be…confused on how to respond to his own TV ad. From Denver7:

The ad doesn’t reveal who he currently plans to vote for on Nov. 8.

“Do people ask you, ‘Are you going to vote for Trump?'” asked Denver7 political reporter Marshall Zelinger.

“I’m running my own campaign, and the purpose of the ad is not whether I’m voting for Trump or not, the purpose of this ad is to send a message to the people of my Congressional District that I will represent them whoever is in the White House,” said Coffman.

“They’re going to want to know, who are you going to vote for based on not liking either?” said Zelinger.

“Donald Trump has not earned my support. I’m not going to vote for Hillary Clinton. (I’ve) talked to Governor (Bill) Weld on the Libertarian side, and I wouldn’t rule that out,” said Coffman.

This is an absolute disaster for Coffman, who hoped to distance himself from Trump but ended up instead looking like a spineless fool who can’t even stick to one simple answer. Negative TV ads about this episode will be devastating for Coffman as we enter the final months of the fall campaign.

 

► Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is hoping for an end to what has been the worst week of his campaign thus far. A new McClatchy-Marist poll released late Thursday shows Democrat Hillary Clinton surging to a 15-point lead in the race for President:

Clinton not only went up, but Trump went down. Clinton now has a 48-33 lead, a huge turnaround from her narrow 42-39 advantage last momth.

The findings are particularly significant because the poll was taken after both political conventions ended, and as Trump engaged in a war of words with the parents of Army Capt. Humayun Khan, killed in the Iraq War 12 years ago.

Trump’s terrible week, coupled with Clinton’s surge, has opened up new opportunities for the Democratic nominee to court disillusioned Republican voters.

 

► Pundits may disagree on whether or not Colorado is still a swing state this Presidential election, but that isn’t stopping the campaigns from making regular visits to our state. Donald Trump will be back in Colorado on Tuesday, less than a week after his running mate, Mike Pence, visited Denver and Colorado Springs (Democrats Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine were in Colorado on Wednesday as well). Trump will reportedly make stops in Grand Junction and Pueblo (Trump will not visit Pueblo after all).

 

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Democrats Crushing Republicans in State House Fundraising

We’ve been going through the fundraising reports for state legislative candidates, and the numbers are pretty astonishing.

Take a look at the chart below for the Top 20 House campaigns with the most cash-on-hand as of August 1. As you can see, Democratic candidates account for 18 of the Top 20 campaigns with the most money in the bank.

We know that Republicans are spending a lot more money on soft money efforts than in recent years, but it is still pretty crazy to see Democrats just dominating in the cash-on-hand numbers as we enter the home stretch of the election season. Also note that while there are a couple of relatively-safe seats in this chart, the vast majority are in competitive districts.

State House Fundraising August 1

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (August 3)

Get More SmarterSo, how about that Donald Trump character? Heh, heh…ugh. 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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► It’s difficult to decide where to start with all of the recent news about Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, but this seems like as good a place as any: Trump reportedly has questioned — repeatedly — why it would not be a good idea for the United States to use nuclear weapons.

We’ll pause here for a moment to let that sink in…

Moving on…Trump said Tuesday that he would not support House Speaker Paul Ryan or Arizona Sen. John McCain for re-election, which is an odd thing to do when you are the Party’s nominee for PRESIDENT. Just to make things weirder, Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, today gave a full-throated endorsement of Ryan. This should make for an interesting conversation between Trump and Pence.

Trump is also convinced that the election is going to be rigged against him; in other words, he’s already laying the foundation to explain losing to Hillary Clinton in November.

Meanwhile, Colorado Republicans like Rep. Mike Coffman are still wrestling over how much to condemn Trump — or really, whether to speak his name at all — while also avoiding publicly abandoning their Presidential nominee altogether. Except for state Sen. Laura Waters Woods (R-Arvada), of course, who is instead doubling-down on her support for His Hairness.

Oh, and President Obama called Trump “unfit” to be President.

Other than that, it’s been a solid 48 hours for Trump.

 

► Trump himself is not in Colorado today, but everybody else at the top of the Presidential race is making a stop in our state. Pence is in Denver and Colorado Springs today, while Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, will visit Adams County and Denver.

Hillary and Bill Clinton will be back in Colorado next Tuesday for a fundraising event in Aspen.

 

 

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Rep. Clarice Navarro (R-Trump) In Trouble?

Donald Trump, Rep. Clarice Navarro.

Donald Trump, Rep. Clarice Navarro.

As the Pueblo Chieftain reports, the Democratic challenger to incumbent GOP Rep. Clarice Navarro in House District 47, Jason Munoz, has kicked his campaign into high gear after a bit of a slow start:

Munoz, a political newcomer and bartender, noted contributions for the last filing period, June 23-July 27, of $6,317 to Navarro’s $6,282.

Munoz’s largest contributors were Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 58 Small Donor Committee of Colorado Springs, $2,000; and the Pueblo Fire Fighters, IAFF Chapter 3, $2,000. He received $400 from philanthropist and Democratic activist Pat Stryker of Fort Collins. Munoz listed expenditures of $77, mostly for gasoline for a political trip. He has $8,796 cash on hand.

Navarro, running for her third term in the House, reported her largest contributors this period as Dan Thurlow Leadership PAC of Grand Junction, $400; the Colorado Bankers Association State PAC, of Denver $400; Colorado Business Education PAC out of Denver, $400; James Cole Colorado Legislative Services, Arvada, $300; and the Apartment Association of Metro Denver PAC, $400.

Her $4,629 in expenditures included Westbrooke, LLC of Denver, consultants, $832; Kessler Creative of Jacksonville, Fla., for stationary $548; the Colorado State Fair Foundation, for registration fees, $450; Renaissance Hotel, Nashville, Tenn., $360, for lodging. Navarro has $6,322 cash on hand.

We’re not talking about large amounts of money here, but Munoz outraising Navarro is a significant development in this race–elevating his campaign from obscurity into, well, a campaign on political radars. That’s bad news for Navarro, and what we’ve heard is that her recent cozying up to Donald Trump–even becoming a spokesperson on Trump’s behalf during the Democratic National Convention–has made Pueblo-area Republicans exceedingly nervous. With Trump working overtime to alienate Latino voters, Navarro’s support for Trump could become an enormous liability.

And it looks like Navarro has an opponent ready to take advantage.

Get More Smarter on Monday (August 1)

Get More SmarterHappy Birthday, Colorado; if you’re feeling old today, talk to Wayne Williams and he’ll help you shave a few years off of your total. 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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Colorado is still recovering after a Friday visit from Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. As Ernest Luning reports for the Colorado Statesman, Colorado Republicans were effusive in their praise for His Hairness…including state Sen. Laura Waters Woods (R-Arvada):

“I am not considering running away from him,” Woods said. “He is the people’s candidate. [Pols emphasis] The people have spoken across this country — 14 million voters. I heard the other day that 86 percent of Republicans say they will vote for Donald Trump. That doesn’t say to me I should run away from him. Why would I do that?”

“The people’s candidate?” The weirdest comment from the Trump events, as reported by Luning, probably comes from Republican Congressional candidate Casper Stockham (the GOP’s 2016 sacrificial lamb in Denver):

When he had the opportunity to shake hands with Trump after his Denver speech, Stockham said he told the candidate about his 86-year-old mother.

“She voted for Obama twice, and she’s voting for Trump, she loves Trump,” he said. “Trump gave me an autographed note to give to her. Racists don’t do that, you know what I’m saying?”

And there you have it: Racists do not autograph notes for elderly black women.

Joey Bunch of the Denver Post has more from Trumpalooza on Friday.

 

► Elsewhere in Trump news, Chris Cillizza of “The Fix” is perplexed at the “strategy” behind attacking Khzir and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a Muslim-American solider killed in Iraq in 2004:

For the life of me, I can’t figure out what Trump is doing here — and whether there is absolutely any strategy behind it.

Going back and forth with a family who has lost a son in combat is, on its face, the height of stupidity, politically speaking. [Pols emphasis] Even if you don’t agree with the Khans’s view of Trump, it’s hard to feel anything but sympathy for their loss. Losing a child is every parent’s nightmare — and that is a feeling that transcends politics.

As has been mentioned time and again over the last 72 hours, George W. Bush’s response to Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son in Iraq and then camped in front of Bush’s Texas ranch to protest his policies, seems to be the appropriate one for a politician dealing with such a difficult situation.

You know things are bad when you manage to make George W. Bush look like the “compassionate conservative” he once claimed to represent. Today is “Day Four” of Trump’s verbal beef with the Khan family.

 

► Congressman Mike Coffman is trying really, really, really hard to convince voters that might oppose Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for President. What Coffman won’t do is answer the only question that really matters here: Will you vote for Trump?

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Get More Smarter on Friday (July 29)

Get More SmarterWe hate to bring it up, but when you return to work on Monday…it will be August. 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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Democrat Hillary Clinton formally accepted her party’s nomination for President to conclude the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Thursday evening. As the Washington Post reports, Clinton’s acceptance speech was tailored to a much broader audience than Republican nominee Donald Trump’s speech week earlier:

If you already support the former Secretary of State, you loved her speech to the Democratic convention last night. If you’re skeptical of her but trying to convince yourself to get to yes—whether because you backed Bernie Sanders or you’re uncomfortable with Donald Trump—there was plenty for you.

Trump’s acceptance speech in Cleveland was all about shoring up his base. He could have given it last summer. Clinton’s speech here was about winning the general election. That will require shoring up recalcitrant Bernie Sanders boosters, making gains with independents and running up the score with women.

In an attempt to accomplish all three aims, Clinton carefully threaded the needle on issues big and small.

Trump responded to Clinton’s speech by Tweeting a bunch of angry stuff. He is still mashing away at the Twitter this morning.

Oh, and Trump publicly criticized retired four-star General John Allen because he supports Clinton.

 

► Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was his familiar former-businessman self in his prime time address at the DNC on Thursday. As the Denver Post reports:

Using his own life as a foil, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday blasted the business record of Republican Donald Trump — mocking the former star of The Apprentice for his famous catchphrase.

“Now I’ve never hosted a reality TV show, but I know the true mark of a successful businessman is not the number of times you say ‘you’re fired,’ ” Hickenlooper said, riffing off an attack that’s been used all week at the Democratic National Convention. “It’s the number times you say ‘you’re hired.’ ”

Hickenlooper wrapped up his remarks a few hours before Clinton took the stage to accept the Presidential nomination.

 

Donald Trump is in Colorado today for a fundraiser and public event in Colorado Springs as well as a gathering in Denver. For more information on how you can try to get a glimpse of The Great Orange Hope, check out this guide from Denver7. As the Colorado Springs Independent reports, not everybody in the Republican stronghold of Colorado Springs is pleased that Trump is coming to town.

Oh, and sorry, kids: No field trip for you!

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 28)

Get More SmarterWorld War I began on this day 102 years ago. 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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► President Barack Obama stole the show in his final appearance as President at a Democratic National Convention. As Politico reports from Wednesday:

Obama’s convention speech in Philadelphia framed the 2016 election in a very Obama way: the audacity of hope over the politics of fear, optimism over darkness, solutions over slogans, togetherness over division, a supremely qualified public servant in Hillary Clinton over an amateur-hour con artist in Donald Trump. America, he declared, is already great, and Clinton will make it greater.

The president gave a stirring but fundamentally defensive speech, fighting back against the Republican convention’s dystopic vision of America as a crime-infested, porous-bordered, militarily weak, economically stagnant hellscape that only Trump can fix. Where Trump sees chaos and decline, the president said, “I see engineers inventing stuff.” Trump may see a strongman in the mirror, but Obama scoffed, “We don’t look to be ruled.” Obama reprised the themes of the speech that catapulted him to fame at the 2004 convention, contrasting his vision of a unified America that rises above red-against-blue with Trump’s rhetoric of fear.

Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will formally accept her Party’s nomination tonight as the DNC in Philadelphia comes to a close. Clinton is scheduled to speak at about 8:00 pm (MT).

Two Colorado politicians, House Democratic Leader Crisanta Duran and Gov. John Hickenlooper, will also speak on the main stage earlier this evening.

 

► The campaign of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump continues its systematic blockade of journalists who have not pledged to produce only positive press for His Hairness. As “The Fix” explains:

Jose DelReal is one of a small team of people who covers Donald Trump’s presidential campaign for the Post. On Wednesday, he was in Milwaukee to cover an appearance by Trump running mate Mike Pence.DelReal was barred from covering the event as a reporter, in keeping with Trump’s long-standing ban on the Washington Post.  DelReal then tried to enter the event as a citizen. He was told no one could enter with a phone and a computer. He put them in the car and again tried to enter. He was refused — again — and patted down. “I don’t want you here. You have to go,” the security official told him.

That should scare the hell out of you.

It’s easy to let this whole episode fall into a partisan trap. He deserved it!, Trump allies will argue.  Reporters at mainstream outlets are biased against Mr. Trump!  Maybe if you told the truth sometimes, he would let you in!

Righto.

Here’s the thing: If we start banning citizens — like Jose or me or Michelle Malkin or Rachel Maddow or anyone else — from attending public events for one of the two people who will be our next president, we are sliding down a slippery slope to a future reality that is a very, very bad thing for our country.

 

► Donald Trump is coming to Colorado tomorrow for a fundraiser in Colorado Springs and public events in the Springs and in Denver. The Colorado Republican Party will not benefit from the Trump fundraiser because His Hairness is still angry at the State GOP.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 27)

Get More SmarterIn two more days, there will be just 100 more until Election 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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► History was made — again — in Philadelphia on Tuesday when Hillary Clinton officially became the first woman in American history to capture a major party nomination for President.

Day Two of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) also involved a Clinton. Former President Bill Clinton delivered a powerful speech intended to help humanize his wife, Hillary. For more DNC coverage from Tuesday, check out winners and losers from “The Fix.” Or check out this story for more on how Colorado supporters of Bernie Sanders are encouraging their brethren to come together for Hillary Clinton.

 

► Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump publicly called on Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails in attempts to expose negative information about the Democratic Presidential nominee.

Let’s say that one more time: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump publicly called on Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails…

 

► Colorado Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn is getting a firsthand look at one of the oldest lines in politics: The cover-up is (almost) always worse than the crime. Glenn is defending his own remarks to reporters that an old altercation with his father — dating to 1983 — may have involved someone else named Darryl Glenn. A different Darryl Glenn who somehow ended up with the same social security number as the Republican nominee for Senate. Seriously.

 

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Republicans Try to Make Martyr of Ben the “Libertarian” Bachelor

Guess which reality star was a registered Libertarian as recently as April?

Guess which reality star was a registered Libertarian as recently as April?

The short-lived candidacy of Ben “The Bachelor” Higgins made for an interesting story last week, but it was not the kind of news that we thought we’d still be talking about today. Yet while Higgins’ official candidacy is finished after he withdrew from HD-4 last week, the conspiracy theories continue to grow. The GOP is working hard to make Higgins look like a martyr whose only crime was being a Republican, but as it turns out, the facts tell a much different story.

Ben Higgins is not a Republican martyr. Higgins is barely a Republican at all.

Late Sunday, the conservative website The Blaze published an “exclusive” story essentially accusing the television network ABC of forcing Higgins out of the race in HD-4 because he is a Republican (yes, really, because he is a Republican). Joey Bunch of the Denver Post then published his own follow-up story, which includes a particularly strange quote from an official with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office (more on that in a moment). The story that Republicans are peddling now is that of a poor reality-show martyr who was denied a chance to be the frontrunner in a State House race purely because of his political affiliation.

Now, there is a much different version of this story, including an important fact that hasn’t yet been mentioned: Ben Higgins may not have been legally able to run as a Republican in HD-4 because he had been a registered LIBERTARIAN as recently as April 18, 2016.

First, let’s back up. In case you missed the news last week because you got norovirus at the RNC and haven’t been reading anything that wasn’t conveniently near a toilet, here’s the short and sweet of our story:

Ben Higgins is a former star of the ABC TV show “The Bachelor,” a show he headlined in Season 20 after losing out to another guy in a previous ABC TV show called “The Bachelorette.” Higgins ended his “Bachelor” run by proposing to Lauren Bushnell, and sometime afterward, they apparently moved to North Denver. The final episode of the 20th season of “The Bachelor” began in January and ended in mid-March, 2016.

Rumors had been circling for a few weeks that Higgins was contemplating making a run in HD-4. It was reported on Friday, July 15, that Higgins had officially signed paperwork to run as a Republican candidate in HD-4 against incumbent Democratic Rep. Dan Pabon. We thought this was odd for a number of reasons, primarily the fact that HD-4 is the single best Democratic-performing district in Colorado. Pabon won re-election in 2014 with 80% of the vote, for crying out loud; you could resurrect Ronald Reagan and he’d still lose to a Democrat in HD-4.

Less than a week later, on Friday July 22, it was announced that Higgins would be withdrawing from the race because of some legal and contractual issues associated with his upcoming reality TV show: “Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After.” There were two announcements sent to the media, actually: One from Disney – the parent company of ABC – and the second from Higgins’ own campaign.

And that, dear readers, seemed to be that. But now Republicans are attacking ABC and something called the “Freeform” channel (formerly ABC Family, and the network that will carry Higgins’ new reality-TV show). In a statement issued by the Colorado Republican Party on Sunday, Chairman Steve House puts on the tin-foil hat for a long rant about how The Man is keeping Republicans down:

“Disney and ABC’s decision to reportedly threaten Ben Higgins’ future with the network and even his wedding if he did not drop out of the (House District) 4 race is downright despicable…Their stunning about-face the week of our national convention after months of being aware of Ben’s political pursuits is incredibly suspect…

“The reality is Ben would have entered this race as the front-runner. ABC’s thuggish tactics send a message they care far more about suppressing the voice of conservatives and protecting a left-wing politician who displayed grossly unethical behavior during a recent DUI arrest than Ben’s selfless interest in serving his community…

…It is hard to imagine ABC would have delivered a similar ultimatum to Ben if he were a Democrat, and that is shameful.”

The ultimatum that Disney/ABC/Freeform delivered to Higgins isn’t as nefarious as House makes it sound. The network had grown uncomfortable with the potential legal ramifications of promoting a reality TV star who is running for public office, and they told Higgins that they did not want him to be a candidate at the same time they were filming “Ben and Lauren.” Higgins obviously decided that making tons of money for a reality show was sufficiently more important to he and his fiancé than running for the state legislature, and we can’t say we blame him there. The decision may have also helped him avoid some inevitable legal problems with his voter registration…

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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.

Cynthia 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.”

Nonetheless,

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 legitimate. 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.

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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► 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.

 

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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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► 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.

 

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