Apres campaign 2014 – Democrats are their own worst enemies

The 2014 midterm election cycle was a Throwback Tuesday to the 2004 presidential election. The Democrats blew it with their finesse game. The Republicans are way better at campaigning using brute force and they have way more money.

The big quasi surprise was Mark Udall getting defeated. I think it was largely at his own hand. His ground game wasn’t good enough. I think if he had Obama come to Denver and Boulder, that would have been positive for him. Nationally, the Democrats bought into the Republican anti-Obama story. Instead of staying home, president should have been been out there making whistle stops. I don’t care what anyone says, when the President of the US shows up it is a BFD!

I wait until election day to turn in my vote.

I wait until election day to turn in my vote.

Udall let Gardner position his campaign as single issue, which it wasn’t. Udall originally was elected because of his name. He was a political carpetbagger when he first came to Boulder and ran for the U.S. House. Gardner did a good job framing Udall as a career politician with no heart.

Gardner played the “grandma card” and the “tractor card” which both played well. Plus he was only joshing about his past personhood and anti-women views. Udall didn’t show any emotion. He followed the Gore and Kerry playbooks which talked about data and votes and little about his story and about his vision for the country.

I did see a blog post on his campaign site about he being a kid in the southwest, but that didn’t do anything to show him “in touch” with Colorado. Same thing happened to John Kerry when Bush shaped the election and Kerry just followed along with being painted as a rich kid and a swift boater.

The Bill and Hillary road show helped close the gap for Udall, but their star power is fading. The Clintons showed up in Kentucky many times but Alison Grimes was thoroughly stomped there by Mitch McConnell.

Hickenlooper eked one out. That should be a wake up call. He tried to keep everyone happy, but ended up ticking everyone off. Bob Beauprez playing the “mass murderer” card backfired. I imagine families in Colorado would feel safer without edible marijuana on the market. Both Ways Bob is a sore loser and likely waiting for a recount before conceding.

Meanwhile, in Wyoming – the Republicans held serve. The state legislature lost a Democrat in Lee Filer from Cheyenne, but picked up Charles Pelky from Laramie. I think the mix in the Wyoming State House of Representatives is 51 Red to 9 Blue. The Democratic Party in Wyoming doesn’t have a candidate grooming strategy.  The Tea Party, on the other hand, is good at making all politics local by getting their folks to get on city parks boards and planning commissions. In Jefferson County, Colorado, the conservative majority members of the school board were sneaked in there and nobody really noticed until the recent flap over the move towards revisionist history.

In Wyoming, if a person gets elected to any office or appointed to a board or commission, it makes them immediately available for other elective offices. Former Mayor turned State Legislator Del McOmie at out a cycle or two and was elected as mayor Lander for his second go-around. He’s thoughtful and asks around before he makes decisions. When I worked for him it was during some tough times – the U.S. Steel mine closed, the bottom dropped out of the uranium market just after the 3-Mile Island meltdown. I hope he resurfaces in statewide politics again.

Senate Majority Leader In Waiting Mitch McConnell has been talking big after the election and it doesn’t sound like there will be any conciliatory offers. He’s already threatening Obama on immigration reform. Working with the Democrats, according to McConnell, is total capitulation to the GOP perspective. I don’t see much happening in the next two years. I doubt there will be any meaningful conference committees unless a bunch of Republicans break ranks – which is what happened when the Democrats had control of both houses. Not much got done when congress was controlled by Democrats either.

I can hardly wait until 2016 to hear about why Hillary and Jeb both are too extreme for my own good.

Election day thoughts 2014

Election day 2014 is tomorrow. I voted early but not casting my ballot until tomorrow – election day.

Based on all the “too extreme” for Colorado ads still running on TV, apparently there is still too much money flowing and voters still haven’t made up their minds.

I find it amazing that there are voters out there who are so uninformed they are actually swayed by the nonsensical mudslinging messages. If you’re one who hasn’t made up your mind, I want to know who you are and get your information from TV ads, I want to know who you are!

Who has the most toys doesn’t translate into victory. House majority leader Eric Cantor spent $168,000 at three restaurants while eventual winner David Brat spent $123,000 on his entire campaign. At the end, Cantor spent 40 times more money than Brat and lost by 10 points.

Here’s how I voted on issues and candidates this year. I follow politics in Wyoming and Colorado where I have stakes. I tend to support people with whom I have some sort of connection and that bears out this election cycle.

US Senate Colorado – Back in the mid 1970s, I went to Washington DC for a student political science institute. I befriended over a couple days Morris Udall. He’s the father of Senator Mark Udall, who is in a neck and neck race with Cory Gardner. I got to know Mo Udall, however briefly during the conference. I met Mark Udall when he moved to Colorado to run for Congress. He’s a career politician and that reputation is catching up with him. i voted for Udall mostly for the good of the order of keeping the federal system split. I think Udall will prevail, much like Senator Bennett did when he defeated Ken Buck.

US Congressional District 2 – I’ve known incumbent Jared Polis for a number of years, mostly through non-profit organization circles when I worked for Assets for Colorado Youth and he was on the Colorado Board of Education. Since he was elected to the US House, I don’t run into him as much as I once did. I voted for Jared again. His opponent is a Chinese guy named George Leing – he pronounces his name in Anglicized fashion “Lang”. He’ll get votes in east and north Boulder County, Weld and Gilpin counties.

Colorado Governor – John Hickenlooper was one of the first people I met when I came to Colorado. He and I served on the Chinook Fund board of directors for a number of years. He’s had to govern to the middle and “Both Ways Beauprez” has had to grasp at straws to find issues that would make John look bad. Recently, Beauprez played the “soft on murderers” card, which I don’t think have played very well. I voted for John again.

68 – I voted for gambling expansion at the Arapahoe County horse track. Not because I want to fund education, but to encourage more gaming.

105 – I voted for the GMO labeling. The proponents came up with a little over $500,000 while the opposition raised over $12 million from multinational corporations like Monsanto, Pepsi Cola, Kraft, Coca Cola. With a cast of characters like that I pretty much had to vote for it.

In Wyoming, competitive elections went away in the mid 1990s when the Democratic main stays were all soundly trounced and never resurfaced – former Governor Mike Sullivan, former Secretary of State Kathy Karpan; former state Senator John Vinich. Since then, the laws were changed to suppress voter registration and voting. In a red state like Wyoming, there end up being various shades of red. I don’t know how long it will take for Wyoming to become competitive again – maybe never.

US Senate Wyoming – My first job out of school was with the city government of Gillette. I was in a class at the University of Wyoming called the Human Services Project. Multidisciplinary students worked together to solve problems arising from rapid population growth during the coal boom there. I worked for then Mayor Mike Enzi and City Administrator Flip McConnaughy – now Senator Enzi’s Chief of Staff. Mike’s wife Diana and I were both members of the Wyoming Private Industry Council charged with administering federal job funds. Mke is running against a former Catholic priest, Charlie Hardy, who’s been logging a lot of road miles in Wyoming and has become a bit of a media darling. Enzi will win this one big. I’ll be surprised if he runs for a 5th term after this.

US Congressional District Wyoming At Large – The incumbent is Cynthia Lummis. She and I, as well as her siblings, all grew up together. Cynthia’s husband, Al Wiederspahn passed away suddenly last week. I don’t even know who is running against her, but she’ll win in another landslide, maybe getting 90 percent of the vote.

Wyoming Governor – I’ve gotten to know Matt Mead and his family over the past four years,  He’s been in a couple videos I’ve made for his art’s awards celebration and for the 75th anniversary of the Wyoming state parks system. It’s election season, but nonetheless, he’s had to govern to the middle, which means something totally different than other places. He’s running against a guy from Pinedale, Pete Gosar. I think he’s the Wyoming State Democratic Party chairman. Matt Mead should win with no problem.

State House District 21 – A friend of mine, Albert Sommers is running for reelection. He’s a level headed and thoughtful guy who should win again. His wife, Sue, is quite the graphic artist. He funds his own campaign and refuses contributions from others.

Lander Mayor – former mayor and state legislator Del McOmie is running for Mayor again.  My second job was working for the city of Lander as Del’s assistant before I worked for the Northern Arapaho Tribe on the Wind River Indian Reservation. I don’t know who he’s against, but he should win this one.
There you have it, I’m not trying to influence you, since my opinions are clearly too extreme to help anyone change their minds and I approve of this message