The old saying that “Democrats are the party of Evil, but Republicans are the party of Stupid” has never been more clearly illustrated than over the course of the historic effort to Recall a pair of Colorado state legislators (Democrat Senators John Morse of Colorado Springs SD11 and Angela Giron of Pueblo SD3) mounted this year by grassroots groups in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, respectively.
As usual, the “Party of Evil” got a head start by passing elections legislation (HB 13-1303) intended to give them an advantage in the looming recall vote (the Senate sponsors, ironically, are the targets of the recall vote — Morse and Giron). As noted in a recent editorial, the new elections law not only favors incumbents due to the “all-mail-ballot” provisions, but arguably opens the door to various other forms of vote fraud and/or “strategic vote-shifting” (a.k.a. “gypsy voting”).
Thanks to a recent successful constitutional challenge (mounted by much-maligned Libertarians), the “all-mail-ballot” provisions of the recently-enacted election law were set aside due to constitutionally-mandated timelines for ballot access by prospective candidates. Other provisions of the election law (specifically, district residency requirements) were clarified in Election Rules issued by the Colorado Secretary of State, reducing the opportunities for vote fraud or “gypsy voting” allegedly opened up by the new election law.
Seemingly intent in living up to the “Party of Stupid” label, the Colorado Republican Party condemned the lawsuit that set aside the “all-mail-ballot” provisions and led to rules changes that reduced the chances for vote fraud in the Recall elections (which changes may have saved the Recall effort).
The “Party of Stupid” has also joined the “Party of Evil” in decrying supposed “disenfranchisement” of military voters due to setting aside the “all-mail-ballot” provisions – ignoring the significant (and even award-winning) improvements in ballot delivery via electronic and other means implemented by the Secretary of State’s office prior to the 2012 elections.
The worst canard promoted by the “Party of Stupid” is the ignorant argument about “vote-splitting” – which, whatever the validity in “normal” elections, is completely non-applicable in a Recall election. Since the Recall vote (Part 1) is separate from the vote to choose a successor (Part 2), it is impossible for additional pro-Recall candidates to “split the vote” on Recall. Arguably, the presence of additional pro-Recall candidates actually enhances the prospects for a successful Recall, by providing those who might favor Recall, but for whatever reason might be hesitant to support a Republican, an incentive to vote.
Given the registration numbers in the respective districts, to the extent that Democrats are able to frame the Recall vote as an election between the Democrat incumbent and the Republican challenger – they win.
It is blindingly apparent that this is the Democrat strategy in the Recall elections – their advertising and messaging has sought to divert attention from the incumbents’ records (particularly, but not exclusively, the so-called “gun control” legislation that sparked the Recall petition drives) and attack the Republican successor candidates, attempting to shift focus from Recall and make the Republicans the story.
It also explains the Democrats’ resolute opposition to the attempt by other individuals to assert their constitutional rights to gain access to the ballot as alternative successor candidates – they are desperately afraid of allowing another pro-Recall choice on the ballot to dilute their attack messaging.
Ironically, the Democrat “Party of Evil” has been assisted by the Republican “Party of Stupid” in these endeavors (with the notable exception of the Pueblo County GOP, which appears to have less fear of competition in the battle for Recall votes).
It’s unfortunate that a genuine grassroots movement to hold our elected officials accountable stands at the brink of being hijacked for typical party politics. The real issue is whether the senators subject to a Recall vote overstepped their mandate and ignored (even rejected) the will of the people they represent – that is the question which should be foremost in the minds of voters on September 10th.
Matt Arnold is a Citizen-Soldier (Infantry officer) who in 2009 started the grassroots judicial reform and accountability organization ‘Clear The Bench Colorado’ – as an NRA-certified firearms instructor, he is also active in the gun-rights (self-defense) movement and has extensively covered Colorado’s historic Recall elections