Did Colorado's Liberal Experiment Pave the Way for Gov. Tancredo?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
June 14 2013 2:49 PM

Did Colorado's Liberal Experiment Pave the Way for Gov. Tancredo?

The 2010 election in Colorado was a mess for Republicans. While their comrades in Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona waged brilliant comebacks, Colorado Republicans accidentally nominated their least electable candidates for governor and U.S. Senate. The governor's race turned into a fait accompli for John Hickenlooper, the mayor of Denver, after conservatives abandoned their nominee and embraced the third party candidacy of Tom Tancredo. Hickenlooper still nearly lost, and had to spend two years negotiating with a Republican legislature.

This made him look good. The Democratic brand shined in 2012 in Colorado; defying some polls, Barack Obama won the state by 5 points. Democrats swept back into power in the legislature. Hickenlooper could work with liberals again.

Colorado voters say 69 - 24 percent that the death penalty should stay on the books and not be replaced by life in prison with no chance of parole, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. At the same time, Gov. John Hickenlooper finds himself running neck and neck with possible challengers in the 2014 governor's race.
Advertisement

One of them's Tancredo! Tancredo's only down by a point! But how flukey is this? Republicans want to credit Hick's drop to the raft of liberal bills he's signed, starting with the only background checks bill to make it through a "purple" state. Quinnipiac didn't poll that, and its general quality-of-life questions are of the sort incumbents should like. By a 34-point margin voters say the economy's improving; by a 12-point margin they're "satisfied" with the state's direction.

No, probably too early to say "Hickenlooper went too far left and destroyed himself. And that's stupid anyway, because why win power if not to ram your changes into place? But there's been a strange tendency to pronounce change Done in states captured by the left, and Temporary in swingy states that have gone right, like North Carolina, which has turned into a libertarian petri dish. In Connecticut this week, a low-turnout state legislative race went to the Republican, the first time a Republican won the district since the Nixon presidency. It was the first election since the state passed post-Newtown gun measures. Republicans made sure people noticed.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 23 2014 12:43 PM Occupy Wall Street How can Hillary Clinton be both a limousine liberal and a Saul Alinsky radical?
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 1:04 PM Which States Should Secede From the Union?
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 23 2014 11:33 AM High-Concept Stuff Designed to Remind People That They Don’t Need Stuff  
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 11:13 AM Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 11:48 AM Punky Brewster, the Feminist Punk Icon Who Wasn’t
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 10:51 AM Is Apple Picking a Fight With the U.S. Government? Not exactly.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 23 2014 11:00 AM Google Exec: Climate Change Deniers Are “Just Literally Lying”
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.