Win Back The Colorado Senate

Why I Joined the Ranks of the Unaffiliated Voter

 

I know that many have given up on a political solution to what’s happening in this state, and that’s OK. To be honest, I’m increasingly doubtful we’ll see a political solution in any normal sense. I’m just not ready to give up trying until, if we find no solution, the inevitable finally arrives.


In trying to secure the future, there are many things important to do outside of politics. We’ve always said that if you are raising your kids and helping with the grandkids, there is nothing more important for preserving the ideals of America. You have the most important job of all.


Some are focusing locally, and that is required; so are we. It’s where we live and where things are felt the most. Some are taking very important steps in building relationships and community structures, common-interest groups, outside of normal government structures. I think everyone should consider those efforts.


Many are still politically active but are finished with the political parties for a whole host of reasons, and every one of those reasons is valid. Years ago, I used to think Unaffiliateds (UAs) were people who couldn’t make a decision, but like everything else I knew before, I was wrong. I’m not talking about the blissfully uninformed UA or the preachy “look how middle of the road I am” UA. Rather, it’s the people we know who are engaged but who are just doing it differently, that I’m “woke” too. Actually, I had thought of switching to the engaged UA ranks years ago, but I felt there were still some things that were worth trying under a Party label.


No matter where you are today, I want to share what follows. If you believe it has no merit or it’s a waste of time, that’s OK. Wish us luck, as we do you. Maybe we can have coffee and catch up. Baseball starts soon and the Cardinals will give me something useful to complain about and bore you with.


Last Saturday, I attended my last Central Committee meeting as a member of the Republican Party and came home as an Unaffiliated. Ten years ago, wildly motivated to change things, I moved from rank and file voter to a member of the Party Central Committee. I became a precinct leader, a House and County Commissioner Chairman. I have been a Party Bonus member and have been elected to attend every State GOP Assembly I asked our caucus goers to elect me to participate in.


As Colorado has radically changed, I must too, and I now ask many others to consider one more political action. Not as a Party, but for us. One more, because it’s likely this is the one last shot that could allow us to recover.


Today, Colorado is in the grasp of those pushing and ready to implement the most radical local and national agenda you can find anywhere. With Socialist Democrats controlling both legislative branches, there is no normal legislative process to stop them from radically transforming our home over the next two years. And beyond. Our home certainly cannot survive an additional four to six more years of what we are seeing today. These are not the same Democrats we squared up against in 2009/2010. They aren’t afraid of us individually, and they aren’t afraid of recalls or political action against their radical legislation.


They know once something is signed into law we can't easily get rid of it.


To thwart this onslaught, we must change our short-term political strategy and tactics. Our GOP state “strategy”, really just a “process”, has been to try mightily to elect every republican house and senate candidate we’re given, with resources allocated and spent almost regardless of whether that race affected control of the CO House or Senate. Our effort to take the governorship has been a winner-take-all bet on a media-driven personality race that puts all our eggs in one basket. Our efforts have been spread indiscriminately across many races – so have our losses. But the reality is that we consistently loose the Governor’s race, and the radical majority in the CO House is so large that they cannot be overturned in the short term. The only vulnerable target is the small radical majority in the Senate. Logically, we MUST target regaining control of the Senate, and short-term tactics MUST target those Senate races that can be flipped to Republican. If we regain majority control of the Senate, we regain control of key committees that can stop or "kill" the radical bills. We have no other legislative means of restoring balance.


But if this is a political action, why can’t the GOP do it? The reality is, the Party can’t, and here’s why.


The GOP party structure is charged with the administrative support of GOP candidates. Their charter is to get candidate Republicans elected to office, not to advocate for any particular candidate, nor to strategically support a particular contest at the potential expense of another contest, for a bigger state-wide goal. The state party does not have authority to requisition or direct county party resources to support state-wide strategic objectives. For individuals, if you are acting as an official part of the Party infrastructure, Central Committee or Party officer, there are restrictions placed on you through by-laws and general expectations. While often ignored, those restrictions are there and essentially prohibit activism in support of objectives outside your local structure.


As currently defined, the Colorado GOP cannot strategically challenge the Democrats keeping control of both houses of the legislature beyond 2020. We cannot change the current administrative focus of the Colorado Republican Party in time to meet that immediate threat. To do so would take a complete revamping of not only Party by-laws, but a complete re-evaluation of why the Party infrastructure exists, and the eventual buy-in of members and donors. We don’t have that time.


The shortest path to blocking the radical agenda after 2020 elections? Take back the state senate.


We need a very targeted, short-term focus on very specific state Senate races to give us some breathing room after the 2020 elections. Breathing room for what? If the first few weeks of this 2019 legislative session didn’t convince you that things have radically changed against us...  If those in this legislature maintain control through 2024, radicalism becomes as entrenched as the extremist one-party rule of California, and any talks or hopes of changing anything, anywhere is reduced to mere talk of better times.


What I am asking is that we stop and look at political reality, each of us who calls Colorado home and who is up for another political effort – whether you are UA, Republican, Libertarian, or even Democrats who see their Party has left them, too. There is no question that there are long-term ideological, spiritual, and political battles to win. But it is also true for Colorado that those longer-term earthly goals may well slip out of reach if we do not obtain the short-term win of stopping what is happening now in our legislature.


If the Colorado GOP structure prevents it from strategically engaging in this Senate battle, we must confront the problem ourselves.


If you are a Republican rank and file member, I am not asking you to become unaffiliated. If you are a member of the GOP infrastructure, I am not asking you to walk away, but you may have to act in both your official capacity as well as a rank and file member because they are not the same. I’m not even asking anyone to put aside bad feelings they may harbor for the Party or those in it. And this is especially not a call for a new Party.


Is it even possible? We have organized outside the Party before and done so with stunning results. In 2009 and 2010 there was a perfect storm of citizens, not Party, rising up to change the political landscape. We must do so again, even in the short term, but this time we must, as we have said before, create the storm. We must come together as liberty-minded individuals who will not accept the full socialist transformation of our home and will react to the real threat as it surfaces.


Currently, we are speaking with others across the state, some who have worked with us before and some who are new, as to how best to gain our must-achieve 2020 goal. We want to have the conversation with you. We want to save our home. We cannot fail.


So, why did I go unaffiliated? The quick answer: Colorado’s insanely liberal affiliation laws can be a great activist’s tool since you can move in and out of parties as circumstances warrant. Being an engaged UA opens doors for action not available to me before.


The long-term answer: while acting as an official part of the Party infrastructure, Central Committee or Party officer, restrictions were placed on me through by-laws and general expectations that essentially prohibited the activism needed to accomplish the short term goal of recapturing the Colorado Senate. Being unencumbered by a Party label and especially free of Party by-laws and expectations, frees me to support only those candidates and officials with whom my views align. Can’t you do that anyway? Most times, but when I was the House Chair for HD16 a few years ago, I was prohibited from doing that.  It still haunts me.