Politics

Resolutions for Colorado Republicans and Democrats for 2023

Giant wildlife tramples the nation's capital. Film at 11.
Giant wildlife tramples the nation's capital. Film at 11. YouTube

Bipartisan lists like this one are in some ways archaic — there are more voters registered as Unaffiliated or Third-Party in Colorado than those pledged to either the Democrats or Republicans. Makes one wonder if America in general might be moving toward one of those schisms of the two-party system. After all, there used to be Federalists and Whigs.

Of course, it’s probably not that simple. Some have bandied about the idea that we’re actually currently in a four-party system at this point in American history, even though those four parties are grouped as subsets of the traditional two: the far-right Trump faction and the old-school Republicans on the red side; traditional center-left Dems and progressives on the blue. Statistically, it makes more sense, even if it does little to help resolve existing national divisions.

So what can Colorado’s politicos resolve for the New Year? We already covered Lauren Boebert in her own list, but there’s a lot more to Colorado politics than the rootin’-tootin’ gun mom from Rifle. Here are five suggestions for each of the two parties in our (for now) two-party system in colorful Colorado.

Democrats

Don’t Get Fat and Happy

It might be easy for Colorado Democrats to take a victory lap and get comfy on those laurels, but they really shouldn’t. Yes, the state went mostly blue in the midterm elections, even being competitive (and coming down to the wire!) in the contest to remove Lauren Boebert from her thought-safe throne made of bullet casings and leftover grease from the fry vats at her shuttered restaurant. But nationally, the wolves are still at the door in terms of reproductive rights, civil rights for the LGBTQ+ community, matters of race in policing and opportunity, and so on. There’s a lot of work to do. Don’t assume the win for the next election and get complacent. Winning is just the opportunity to keep working.

No Overreaching
Overconfidence can lead to overreach, which leads to failure, which only makes whatever future solutions that may come about have to overcome even more resistance. Take a lesson from what President Bill Clinton (and Hillary, in one of her first political roles) tried and failed to do with National Health Care back in the 1990s. Bold moves should still be logical and reasonable, and recklessness should never be mistaken for bravery.
Reconcile With the Rural
Where is Colorado more red than blue? Pretty much everywhere but Denver and Boulder. Granted, the majority of the Colorado population is centered in the Denver-Boulder corridor, but still — politics is all local, as the old saw goes. Why are rural voters mostly red? Because they feel excluded from the process and don’t see their issues being addressed. Sure, there are other differences, but fewer than most people may think. The more inclusive the Democratic party can be, the more a left-leaning leadership can address rural issues like land and water rights, and the more color — that’s red, blue, or purple — will become constructively inconsequential.

Keep Pioneering Politics
Colorado was at the forefront of the movement to legalize marijuana, something that’s quickly become status quo for more and more states nationally. The state needs to stay cutting-edge in all the positive ways that it can: by radically supporting freedoms, by doing something concrete and purposeful about housing both the homeless and the underpaid, by funding education from pre-K to college. There’s so much to address, and Colorado should be bold and forthright in how it moves forward.
Work with the Still-Reasonable GOP
There are still rational Republicans out there, and as the Trump era ebbs, more will come out of the shadows and claim to have been standing in the light the whole time. Resist the urge to point out where they chose to follow instead of lead, as did Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney (pictured above): Those two paid a political price that everyone on the right feared. It’s always been solid strategy to reach across the aisle, but perhaps never more so than right now. It’s not just about effective legislation; it’s about healing national wounds. And that starts at home.

Republicans

Dump Trump. Like Now.
You know it’s coming. He’s going down in flames. It took a while, granted, but the guy is toast. He’s going to go down in history books as one of America’s greatest mistakes. It’s the only way that the term “great” will ever be ascribed without irony to the man and his ridiculous dye-sweat administration. Trump conned enough of America to win a national election without winning the majority of votes. He conned the GOP out of its own policies. He continues to steal money from the worn wallets of his waning support base. Trump is a ketchup stain on the bright tapestry of American history. Condemn him now, before the line gets too long for your inclusion to be of any consequence.

Understand the Lesson of Boebert

Lauren Boebert wasn’t supposed to be vulnerable in her race in Colorado’s very red Third District — but still, she almost lost. This should be setting off warning bells all through the GOP ranks: Hate and bullshit does not play in Colorado. Sure, there were (barely) enough voters to keep Boebert in office for another two years, but unless she changes her act, she’s likely to be challenged by someone with a lot more money behind them than Adam Frisch had, and politics in 2023 will be all about setting up for 2024. And Boebert, despite all our efforts to educate her otherwise, is a one-trick Colorado pony if ever there was one.
Update Your Website
As of December 28, the Colorado GOP website had seen no evident updates since just after Thanksgiving (the last post under “News and Updates” was from November 30, which implored Adam Frisch to “do the right thing” and retroactively withdraw from the race he lost to Lauren Boebert by only about 600 votes). The link to “Help Herschel Walker make Georgia RED” was still active. It’s not a good look.

Never Run a Candidate Like Herschel Walker in Colorado
As sports-minded as a lot of Colorado is, stellar stats are not enough to convince us that someone will be great in representing our collective interests in elected office. Herschel Walker was such an evident cynical ploy that a move like that is effectively dead in the water — they’d rightfully or not be equated to Walker and his breathless level of unfitness for office. Long story short: Don’t try to draft Elway into the State House. It wouldn’t be good for either John or you. And really, as long as the Broncos are suffering through losing seasons, it's no wagon to which a political star should be hitched.

Re-embrace Reality
It’s like coming back to work after a long vacation. It feels a little unnatural, way too sudden, and you’re hit with all this stuff you need to do because you weren’t there to do it in the first place. That’s what it’ll probably feel like getting back to a world in which truth matters, in which the random batshit tweet from an orange-faced madman doesn’t become the new credo of your party…only magnified by (let’s say) 5,280. Because re-entering reality sort of bites. But you have to do it, Colorado Republicans. You’re losing more ground with voters for every lie you tell on the belligerent tangerine’s behalf. Please, Colorado GOP: It’s so nice over here in reality. Join us in 2023, won’t you?
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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen

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