The Get More Smarter Show: June 23, 2016

This week on Get More Smarter: Jason Bane and Alan Franklin talk Donald Trump, followed by a deep dive on next week’s primary elections! Then stay tuned for more great discussion on the primary as we interview Ernest Luning–that’s LUH-ning for those of you pronouncing it wrong like we have for years–of the Colorado Statesman.

To skip directly to Luning’s interview, jump to 11:22 in the video above or click here.

Thanks for watching! If you missed last week’s episode, click here. Also, don’t miss episodes 1 and 2.

Poll: Who Will Win The CD-5 GOP Primary?

With the June 28th primary election now less than a week away, we’re rolling out informal polls for our readers in a number of races around the state. Safely Republican Congressional District 5 centered on El Paso County, is witnessing an unexpectedly vigorous GOP primary between longtime incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn and challenger Calandra Vargas.

As with all of our polls, we’re interested in knowing who you actually think will win this election–not your personal preference.

Who will win the CD-5 GOP primary?
Doug Lamborn
Calandra Vargas
View Result

Poll: Who Will Win The Denver DA Democratic Primary?

With the June 28th primary election now less than a week away, we’re rolling out informal polls for our readers in a number of races around the state. The Denver District Attorney’s Office, currently occupied by term-limited DA Mitch Morrissey, features an intense three-way Democratic primary between Kenneth Boyd, Michael Carrigan, and Beth McCann.

As with all of our polls, we’re interested in knowing who you actually think will win this election–not your personal preference.

Who will win the Denver DA Democratic primary?
Kenneth Boyd
Michael Carrigan
Beth McCann
View Result

Poll: Who Will Win The Adams DA Democratic Primary?

With the June 28th primary election now less than a week away, we’re rolling out informal polls for our readers in a number of races around the state. Adams County District Attorney Dave Young is being challenged next Tuesday in the Democratic primary by Boulder Deputy DA Caryn Datz.

As with all of our polls, we’re interested in knowing who you actually think will win this election–not your personal preference.

Who will win the Adams County DA Democratic primary?
Dave Young
Caryn Datz
View Result

Darryl Glenn Picks Up Another Prominent Endorsement

Darryl Glenn appears to have the momentum in the GOP Senate race.

Darryl Glenn is in good shape entering the final days of the race for the GOP nomination.

UPDATE: Well-known conservative commentator Erick Ericsson throws his hat in the ring for Glenn as well.

—–

El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn certainly appears to have the momentum in the Republican U.S. Senate race as we enter the final weekend before the Primary Election.

Glenn already has the support of the staunch right-wing conservative group Senate Conservatives Fund — an organization that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell regularly trashes — and today FreedomWorks PAC announced that they are jumping aboard the Glenn bandwagon. From a press release:

“Darryl Glenn will fight for economic freedom and constitutionally limited government. He has the enthusiastic support of the grassroots in Colorado because they can count on him to stand on principle,” said FreedomWorks PAC Chairman Adam Brandon. “We need more people in Washington willing to boldly take on the establishment and fight for limited government. That’s what Darryl Glenn will do, and we encourage Colorado primary voters to support him.”

The FreedomWorks PAC endorsement of Glenn comes pretty late in the game, but nevertheless with enough time to potentially make a difference in a five-way Republican Primary. Ballot return numbers are sitting at 20% as of this morning, which means plenty of potential GOP voters are still making up their mind about the field hoping to challenge incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet in November.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (June 23)

Get More SmarterYour weather forecast for Thursday is as follows: Partly Sunny, Party Cloudy, Mostly Hot, Potentially Rainy. 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…

Get those ballots returned, people! If you haven’t received a ballot or have run into other Primary-related problems, go to JustVoteColorado.org for more information.

 

House Democrats have ended their “sit-in” protest at the refusal of the Republican-controlled chamber to even consider voting on new gun safety measures. As Chris Cillizza reports for “The Fix”:

House Democrats staged one of the most dramatic moments in recent congressional history Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, holding a sit-in on the floor of the lower chamber to demand that votes be held on a series of gun-control measures.

It drew wall-to-wall coverage on cable television and lit up Twitter even as much of the East Coast went to bed. A number of those talking and writing about the sit-in insisted that the high-profile moment marked a major turning point in the political fight over gun control.

“This may turn out to be a Selma-like moment,” said Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) on the House floor just before midnight Eastern time.

Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) participated in the sit-in, and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) stopped by to lend support.

 

President Obama’simmigration-reform plan hit a major speed bump today when the Supreme Court stalled out on making a decision on a lower court ruling. Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) is a co-sponsor of a new immigration bill; the legislation would allow immigrant children who have been in the U.S. since 2010 to stay in the country. Coincidentally, 2010 was the last year in which Coffman voted against the DREAM Act, just one stop on a long journey in which Coffman has basically taken every side available on immigration reform efforts.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Democrats Flummox GOP with House Sit-In on Gun Violence

Democrats in the House during their "sit-in" demanding votes on gun violence legislation.

Democrats in the House during their “sit-in” demanding votes on gun violence legislation.

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives — including Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter — ended their “sit-in” effort to force Congress to vote on new gun violence legislation, but not without succeeding in raising the level of political importance for the issue. As the New York Times reports:

The Democrats ended their sit-in about 1 p.m. on Thursday, about 25 hours after it began. Mr. Ryan interrupted them on Wednesday by personally reclaimed control of the House, pounding his gavel and muscling through a major appropriations bill without debate. He and the Republicans, who hold the majority, then declared the House adjourned with no votes until after the Fourth of July holiday — leaving Democrats to continue their protest effort in a dormant chamber.

Still, Democrats finally relented several hours later. They gave speeches all through the night, which they broadcast using Periscope, the live streaming feature of Twitter. And they said they would continue to press their case throughout the recess for votes to tighten the nation’s gun control laws…

…By pushing through the appropriations bill — it included $1.1 billion in emergency financing to combat the mosquito-borne Zika virus — on a largely party line vote without any debate, Mr. Ryan had to abandon his commitment to regular order in the House. That was a step that he said he had taken with absolutely no remorse, given the Democrats’ efforts at obstruction.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has been trying hard to spin the Democrats’ move as a “publicity stunt,” conveniently ignoring the obvious point that the reason this move earned so much media coverage is precisely because of the Republican response. As the Washington Post reports:

Republicans, unsure about how to deal with a sit-in that started on the House floor yesterday at 11:30 a.m., tried to talk over Democrats and hold routine votes. Then, around 3:30 a.m., they adjourned the chamber until after July Fourth – two days earlier than planned. In so doing, they’ve guaranteed that the debate about gun control will roil the congressional recess and remain a dominant storyline for the next two weeks.

“This isn’t trying to come up with a solution to a problem; this is trying to get attention,” the Speaker complained on TV late last night. That is neither true nor fair. In fact, nearly two weeks after the mass murder of 49 in Orlando, Democrats are merely trying to secure up-or-down votes on a variety of very specific gun control proposals – including a measure that would prevent suspected terrorists from being able to buy firearms and another that would expand background checks. [Pols emphasis]

Speaker Ryan can bellyache about this maneuver as much as he wants, but any claims that Democrats are interfering with the daily matters of the House are falling on deaf ears thanks to his Senate colleagues. When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared earlier this year that the Senate would refuse to even hold a hearing on selecting a new Supreme Court judge — blatantly ignoring the Constitution — he ensured that Republicans alone would own the title of obstructionists.

Republicans will likely continue to dig-in on the issue and refuse to do anything related to guns, but the massive amount of media coverage generated by House Democrats ensures that such a move is more than just a political gamble in 2016 — for a number of Republican candidates and incumbents, their future in elected office is now tied directly to Congressional inaction on gun violence.

 

Conservative African American set to address Delta County GOP, after its leader compared Obama to a chimp

Derrick Wilburn, founder of Rocky Mountain Black Conservatives, will deliver a keynote address Saturday at the annual Lincoln Day dinner of the Delta County Republican Party, whose leader, Linda Sorenson, found herself in the national spotlight this month for sharing a Facebook Post comparing Obama to a chimpanzee.

After Sorenson’s promotion of the racist meme came to light, the local NAACP and Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance (GMDMA) called for her resignation,

But while state GOP leaders, like Rep. Scott Tipton, denounced racism in general, they did not join in asking Sorenson to go. After meeting with Sorenson, GOP State Chair Steve House promised racial sensitivity training.

Wilburn, who’s African American and also the vice chair of the Colorado Republican Party, told me his keynote address to Delta Republicans was planned long ago, and he will not push for Sorenson’s resignation. He pointed me to his June 8 Facebook post addressing Sorenson’s situation:

Wilburn: Typical procedure in these situations is to fire the person or request they resign, let the dust settle & smoke clear and then, having added another body to the scrap heap, move on. And what have we really accomplished?

Is Ms. Sorenson “a racist?” I don’t know her but I tend to doubt it. But can a person who is not a racist be guilty of saying or doing something racially insensitive or offensive? Absolutely.

This time rather than demanding a head, how about we say, “This has been going on for too long, let’s use this as an opportunity to teach, edify, grow.”
We can get her canned, everyone’s happy, we move on. But then what’s really changed? What have we affected? Then the next time someone does something similar get rid of them too. As concerned as I am with what happened last week, I’m more concerned with next. And the one after that, and after that… How do we affect those??

Outside of the understandable hurt and justifiable anger -which I do feel, I don’t like the President’s POLICIES but he nor any black man should EVER be compared to a chimp-perhaps we have an opportunity here. We can send one (who may be deserving) to the gallows, or we can use this as an opportunity for advancement. I vote for the latter.

Wilburn’s post promises more information “very soon” about what he’s going to do, but his Facebook page states that he’s talked with the GMDMA and Denver Urban League officials about it.

As for his presentation Saturday in Delta County, at Zack’s BBQ in Hotchkiss, Wilburn does not plan to make the Chimp-meme issue a “focal point” of the presentation, but he does plan to “communicate to the people in Delta County that there are very real disconnects in America, and you have to learn to be sensitive to those,” Wilburn said.

“If you do something that is insensitive or offensive, you have to own it,” Wilburn told me. “You can’t just sweep it under the rug and pretend it didn’t exist and hope it goes away.”

Wilburn’s approach may be greeted with  hostility from some Delta Republicans themselves Saturday night.

Here’s what one Delta Republican, Tom Huerkamp, had to say in a letter-to-the-editor of the Delta County Independent:

As a 76-year-old lifelong registered Republican and fiscal conservative, I am totally mortified to think that Linda Sorenson is speaking for me. I, too, am very unhappy with our current U.S. administration. However, she not only needs to step down, our elected county officials need to publicly and collectively disavow what has taken place. Furthermore, those members of the Central Committee who will not vote to replace Linda also need to step down and make room for a more responsible representation of our party.

Another letter writer, Delores Wilson, opined:

The fact that Linda Sorenson is “stunned” at the vitriol and hatred directed at her for posting a racist meme on Facebook points to her obvious need to educate herself on the history of civil rights in America. Her suggestion that she is somehow the victim in this incident would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetically sad. The fact that she resorted to using Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous quote in defense of herself is appalling under the circumstances.

While Ms. Sorenson may call racist imagery “silly” it is anything but “silly.” Imagery has the power to promote fear, prejudice, discrimination and hate. There is a long history in this country of blacks being depicted in art, advertising, greeting cards, sheet music, cartoons, etc., with extremely grotesque exaggerated features. Printed material depicting them as intellectually inferior, lazy, ugly, etc., was the accepted norm. Depicting a black person as a primate is nothing new; it is a part of historical imagery suggesting that they are less than human. It is an insidious form of racism that perpetuates more racism. When such material is accepted as the norm it bolsters the lie that the viewer is superior to the caricature they are viewing. Unless, of course, the viewer is black and then it bolsters feelings of humiliation, denigration, shame and more.

Also in the Delta County Independent Bruce Hovde, Chairman of Delta County Commissioners wrote:

Rhetoric that concerns the elected officials of Delta County is the stereotyping of our county as “racist.” The people of Delta County, the elected officials, and the Republicans as a whole are by no means racist. It is not who we are, nor how we conduct business.

We’ll see what comes of Wilburn’s speech on Saturday at Zach’s BBQ.

Supreme Court Ruling Blocks Obama Immigration Plan

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

UPDATE: Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) reacts to the news:

“The Supreme Court’s split decision in U.S. v. Texas is incredibly disappointing and leaves millions of individuals and families hanging in the balance. President Obama’s executive actions were an attempt to move the country forward in light of Congressional inaction on comprehensive immigration reform.

“Today’s split decision also reiterates the need for a full 9 Justice Supreme Court. It is time for Senate Republicans to do their job and move forward with hearings and a confirmation vote for Judge Garland.”

—–

As the Associated Press reports:

The Supreme Court deadlocked Thursday on President Barack Obama’s immigration plan that sought to shield millions living in the U.S. illegally from deportation, effectively killing the plan for the rest of his presidency.

The outcome underscores that the direction of U.S. immigration policy will be determined in large part by this fall’s presidential election, a campaign in which immigration already has played an outsized role.

People who would have benefited from Obama’s plan face no imminent threat of deportation because Congress has provided money to deal with only a small percentage of people who live in the country illegally, and the president retains ample discretion to decide whom to deport. But Obama’s effort to expand that protection to many others is effectively stymied.

As you might expect, immigration-reform activists are not particularly pleased with today’s ruling. Here’s what Marilena Hincapie, the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, had to say in a press release:

“This politically driven lawsuit should never have made it this far: Two of the four Fifth Circuit judges who have considered the case noted rightly that Texas and other states simply did not have standing to bring it. Other state-driven anti-immigrant lawsuits were thrown out on the same grounds.

“With this case, the Court had an opportunity to provide clarity and guidance on executive power and to free up programs that would have tremendous social and economic benefits. Instead, they followed a troubling trend this term of failing to do the job the American people and the Constitution entrusted to them, due in part to the politicized vacancy on the Court.

The stakes are now even greater for the November elections as the next president will have the opportunity to appoint several Supreme Court justices in their first term, shaping our country’s future for decades to come.  Immigrant communities are committed to continuing our fight for our families.”

We will continue to update this story as it progresses today.

Ballot Return Numbers Pick Up

votebuttonWe’re continuing to pass along the latest turnout numbers from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office for the June 28th Primary, and for the first time since daily updates began last week, things seem to be picking up a bit (numbers are accurate as of 7:55 a.m. on Thursday):

Democrats

Ballots sent: 990,506;
Ballots returned: 173,916;
Percent: 17.55%

Republicans

Ballots sent: 997,338;
Ballots returned: 189,079;
Percent: 19%

How does this compare to 2014? In the June 24, 2014 U.S. Senate Primary, there were 213,746 Democratic ballots cast, compared to 338,324 for Republicans.

For more information on turnout based on a county-by-county basis, click here (PDF).

Thursday Open Thread

“The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and these are ignorance, superstition and incompetence.”

–Elbert Hubbard

Plunkett Replaces Carroll as Editorial Page Editor at Post

(No comment — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rumors are swirling about which Denver Post reporters are accepting a buyout offer from the newspaper, which seeks 26 editorial staffers to volunteer to leave, even though, according to sources cited by Michael Roberts at Westword, The Post made $25 million last fiscal year.

One confirmed departure is Vincent Carroll, editorial page editor, who will be replaced by current Post politics editor Chuck Plunkett.

Here’s an announcement of the move from The Post:

Politics editor Chuck Plunkett has been named The Denver Post
editorial page editor, effective July 2, where he will oversee print and online content for the daily opinion page and the Sunday Perspective section.

He will replace Vincent Carroll, who joined The Post in 2009 and became editorial page editor in 2013. Carroll also spent 27 years at the Rocky Mountain News, including 19 years as the editorial page editor. His last day will be July 1. He plans to remain in Denver.

“It’s been my pleasure to work with Vincent Carroll over the past couple of years. We appreciate the contribution he has made to The Denver Post and wish him good fortune in his future endeavors,” said chief executive and publisher Mac Tully. “And I look forward to working with Chuck as Vincent’s successor. Chuck has a long and rich history in journalism.”

A professional journalist for more than 20 years, Plunkett joined The Post in 2003 after reporting for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. He became editor of the politics desk in 2011.

“I am humbled — and also enormously thrilled — to be trusted with this chance to continue The Post’s contribution to the Colorado conversation,” Plunkett said.

Coffman Sponsors “Nightmare” DOA DREAM Act

Rep. Mike Coffman.

Rep. Mike Coffman.

Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald reports on new legislation introduced by two vulnerable Republican members of Congress that would, in the extremely unlikely event that it were to pass the GOP-controlled House, protect children of illegal immigrants in the country since 2010 from deportation–similar to the failed DREAM Act.

Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo on Tuesday filed legislation that would allow people brought into the U.S. illegally as children before 2010 to remain in the country — a new version of the so-called DREAM Act.

Under the proposed law, immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally before Jan. 1, 2010, and were 16 years old or younger, could follow a path to U.S. citizenship.

The “Recognizing American Children Act” would offer high school graduates without a serious criminal record or dependence on public assistance conditional immigration status for five years. During that time, they could follow one of three ways to remain in the country permanently. If they receive a higher-education degree, serve in the military or remain employed, they could apply for permanent residency — and, later, citizenship. Those enlisted in the military would get an immediate chance at naturalization…

Who’s the other primary sponsor of this bill, you ask?

Curbelo filed the legislation with a fellow Republican, Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado. Both represent two of the most competitive swing districts in the country, in states with a significant proportion of Hispanic voters. Coffman has received money from Curbelo’s political committee, What a Country PAC, intended to support Republican members of Congress who like Curbelo back immigration reform. Curbelo’s Westchester-to-Key West district leans in Democrats’ favor.

That’s right, folks! Rep. Mike Coffman, once the heir to anti-immigrant firebrand Tom Tancredo’s congressional district now representing a diverse and competitive district centered on Aurora, is co-sponsoring this new version of the DREAM Act along with another vulnerable Republican in a swing district. With that said, there are some important differences between Rep. Carlos Curbelo and Coffman–such as that Curbelo has consistently supported the DREAM Act, whereas Coffman once said “the DREAM Act will be a nightmare for the American people.”

In the past, we’ve seen Coffman’s gestures toward immigration reform lavishly rewarded by immigrant rights groups. This time, however, the praise is notably absent:

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (June 22)

MoreSmarterLogo-SunscreenGood news: it’s still hot outside, but for today, at least, we should be able to stay below 100°F. 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…

► One week from today, the Colorado Primary Election will be complete. If you haven’t yet received a mail ballot, you should check your registration or address status ASAP. Go to JustVoteColorado.org for more information.

If you haven’t yet voted, you might want to get moving — turnout numbers are still pretty weak thus far.

 

► Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has reversed course and will seek re-election for the U.S. Senate after months of “unequivocal” statements that he would be a “private citizen” in November. Rubio is not a big fan of the Senate — he barely bothers to show up to vote — but since his Presidential aspirations didn’t work out this year, he doesn’t have anything else to do until his next bid for the White House in 2020. National Republicans aren’t opposed to the idea, since an incumbent Rubio gives them a better chance to keep that Senate seat in Florida.

 

► The Aurora School Board member and State House candidate whose resume appears to be almost entirely fictional remains defiant despite calls from the Aurora School Board asking him to resignEric Nelson is doubling tripling quadrupling down on the validity of his personal biography — which has largely been disproved by the Colorado Statesman and Denver7.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Primary Turnout Still Wheezing Along Slowly

votebuttonWe’re continuing to pass along the latest turnout numbers from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office for the June 28th Primary, though things haven’t changed much since Tuesday morning (numbers are accurate as of 7:55 a.m. on Wednesday):

Democrats

Ballots sent: 989,879;
Ballots returned: 154,941;
Percent: 15.65%

Republicans

Ballots sent: 997,073;
Ballots returned: 163,550;
Percent: 16.40%

How does this compare to 2014? In the June 24, 2014 U.S. Senate Primary, there were 213,746 Democratic ballots cast, compared to 338,324 for Republicans.

For more information on turnout based on a county-by-county basis, click here (PDF).