Colorado, as we knew you, goodbye

The 2022 midterm election results for Colorado say that the state as it was is no more.  Colorado went even bluer this election, and it will not be coming back.

"The idea that somehow Colorado is still purplish or has a red streak to it, no, I don't see it at all," said  Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute on IITV's Devil's Advocate show.  "All of that was absolutely mind-boggling, but what really got me was in the state Legislature."

Caldara interviewed Marianne Goodland, Colorado legislative reporter for Colorado Politics.  She said, "This is going to be a far more progressive Legislature than we've seen in some time."

Looking at the election overall, Caldara said that nobody saw this coming, that redistricting was thought only to help Republicans.  Senate seats were thought to be more competitive for Republicans because of redistricting, but that turned out not to be the case.

The abortion issue, though moot for a state that allows abortion by law in all nine months of pregnancy, was an issue, according to Goodland.  The Dobbs decision drove people to register to vote, and actually vote, probably.  "I think it had a more significant role than most people are willing to acknowledge. ... I think the messaging on abortion was effective."

Caldara brought up another problem for Republicans: "I still believe the Democrats have the ground game down."

"You do have a point there," said Goodland.  She added that Republicans do the ground game, but in a limited way, and there's considerably more money being spent on these efforts on the left than on the right — two to one.

Caldara posited that there needed to be a strong conservative at the top of the ticket for Republicans.  Goodland did not agree because of the many unaffiliated voters in Colorado; in fact, unaffiliated voters decided the primary.

Caldara brought up what I am personally struggling with in the aftermath of the latest election:

The reality that the character of the state has changed for good.  He said that for those of us who love the state for its freedom, for its limited government, for the ability to go take risks, he wonders if it can ever go back to the way it was.  "I wonder how much of this is a demographic change that you just can't fight."

Goodland responded, "I don't think you can fight it, and I blame political polarization, and it's both sides, and you know it's both sides.  People are being drawn to where they think their political interests are served."

Caldara said, "It breaks my heart.  For those of us who grew up here, it doesn't feel like home anymore, and it feels very unwelcoming."

There are some other factors to consider, which may have affected the 2022 midterms in Colorado, in my estimation.  One is the Colorado media.  It seemed to black out covering Republican candidates in the state in a concerted effort.  Few Democrats heard about Heidi and Danny or Erik Aadland or Dan Montoya.  Did they even hear the few debates?

Also, one might ask if politics in Colorado would have changed this much if voters had never legalized marijuana.  Think about it: many people came for the pot and stayed for a liberal lifestyle.  The voters just legalized hallucinogenic plants and fungi, too.  I wonder who will come to take advantage of them.

We longtime residents used to think migration from different places to Colorado was a good thing.  Coloradoans valued the new people and what they brought to improve our state.  Seems we were naïve; we didn't know they were going to take over the state and alter it beyond recognition when it came to politics and culture.

At the same time, we do remember sayings that went around back in the day — we didn't call them memes then — especially the one in the 1970s: "Don't Californicate Colorado."

We were also defensive of Texans, who spent a lot of time in our state.  Texans did not bring leftist politics.

When I complained about the recent influx of Californians over the last few years, one man said to me that people who were coming from blue states might be coming in search of a conservative state.  That was hopeful but, I have learned to my dismay, not realistic.

This kind of election result — blue all the way — has happened before, and it was disturbing then, too, but there remained hope.  To me, this time, the results demonstrate that there's no going back for Colorado.  It's final; the future of the state looks like California in the Rocky Mountains.

It's time to write an elegy for Colorado.

C.S. Boddie writes for Meadowlark Press, LLC.

Image: Ken Lund via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0 (cropped).

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