This post includes links to old news for some of my more seasoned political activist friends… but I still encounter folks who don’t understand how it is that Colorado turned from red to blue… and how our nation has followed suit. While there are many more important contributing factors that brought us to the current political landscape… I point my readers to one of them here: The Colorado Model. Below, links and some excerpts:
From the Weekly Standard, “The Colorado Model” by Fred Barnes in 2008:
With enough money, its main elements can no doubt be replicated in other states. But a large measure of political shrewdness and opportunism is also required, political traits that have eluded Republicans in Colorado while becoming the hallmark of their opponents. Democrats are wisely running candidates, statewide and locally, who campaign as centrists, not as liberals.
And these from the 2007 Denver Post Politics West 4-part series “Move Over, Christian Coalition: The New Political Kingmakers” by Robert Frank. The articles slant liberal and braggadocious in nature, but provide insight into the recent history behind the Colorado Model that has gone national.
In the early fall of 2004, the state was suddenly flooded with mailings, TV ads and radio spots attacking Republican candidates. Ray Martinez, a popular Republican candidate for the state Senate in Fort Collins, came home one day to find a mailer that showed him peeping into a woman’s bedroom. “Ray Martinez wants to control what goes on in your bedroom,” the pamphlet said, criticizing his staunch pro-life stance. Another mailing portrayed him lounging on the beach in Florida and said he was taking vacations on the taxpayer dime. (As the Fort Collins mayor, he had gone to Florida for a mayors’ conference.)
Other Republican candidates faced similar broadsides. A TV commercial targeting Republican U.S. Representative Marilyn Musgrave showed an overweight blonde in a pink suit stealing a watch from a corpse, picking the pockets of U.S. soldiers in Iraq and dunking a family in toxic waste — highlighting Musgrave’s positions on soldier pay and environmental issues.
With campaigns becoming so expensive, and fund-raising becoming more restricted because of campaign-finance laws, politics has increasingly become a battle of millionaire versus millionaire.
The richest of the New Rich candidates tend to be Democrats. A study by Steen showed that among candidates who spent more than $4 million on their campaigns—what Steen calls “super extreme self-financers” — Democrats outnumber Republicans by three to one. Among “kind-of-extreme self-financiers,” or those who spend $1 million to $4 million, Republicans outnumber Democrats by almost two to one. In other words, the Republicans may rule Lower Richistan, but the Dems rule the top.