As a formerly conservative friend of mine put it, 2018 was a squirmy time to be a Republican, requiring twisted and back-breaking logic to even attempt to defend the daily tweet-storm of nonsense. And here in Colorado? A blue tsunami took the state GOP almost completely out of the seats of power, leaving scant scarlet remaining — mainly those lawmakers not (yet) up for re-election.
The GOP is locked in a legal and political nosedive with the POTUS and his cronies, and the rest of the world is watching it all happen. But Republicans have options, even here in suddenly-cerulean Colorado. Here are seven things the state GOP can resolve to do in 2019:
1. Dump Trump
First and foremost, Colorado Republicans should read the writing on the wall and work hard to separate themselves from the walking, lying and constantly golfing disaster that is the Trump administration. Respectful debate is important for our democracy; we need rational discourse on the right as well as the left. But nothing will get better until the GOP recognizes that its intellectuals have fled the party: the Bill Kristols, the George Wills, the Jennifer Rubins, the David Brookses and the Charles Krauthammers. What you have left are the Limbaughs and Hannitys, the Ingrahams and Coulters, the toadies and blowhards. Take a note from Walker Stapleton’s feckless campaign: He embraced Trump and was left with nothing more than swamp muck on his face. And speaking of the swamp…
2. Retire the Swamp Metaphor The president himself has admitted that his now-ubiquitous “Drain the Swamp” slogan was a dumb line that he hated and didn’t think would work. The fact that it caught on does not speak well of those who still chant it. The Colorado GOP would do itself some good by leading the charge in cutting out all the swamp-talk, because Trump’s remaining fan base, including some politicos and pundits, can’t help but trot it out now and again even though its unintended irony is by now despairingly apparent. After all, you can’t drain the swamp if you are the swamp.
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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.