LP Colorado: On Setting Precedents and Winning the Long Game

 

Posted on the Libertarian Party of Colorado website on September 11, 2013: 

It sure is a good day to be a Libertarian.

We’ve watched the Feds back off of marijuana enforcement, DOMA gets struck down as unconstitutional, the Nobel prize-winning president’s war proposal is shot down by pretty much everyone on the planet. And now two successful local recalls later, legislators everywhere are finally on the ropes.

 

We are winning.

With everything that has been thrown at not just LPCO but all of the people in the Rocky Mountain State, it’s a wonder how we made it this far. Cynics might say that John Morse barely won his seat to begin with, a Democrat in a conservative-leaning Colorado Springs district. So where’s the big win?

Well for one thing, 1,800 people in Morse’s district wrote in a different candidate in Tuesday’s recall election. That means that 17% of the people who voted yes to this recall wanted an option other than the one person on the ballot, a Republican. It’s unknown how many of those votes went to our candidate, Jan Brooks, but the point is clear nonetheless: people want more choice.

We tried to give them that choice, and we came pretty close. Everyone here worked really hard through long, sleepless nights. We’ve gone through hell to get this far.

But they were arrogant.

Senate Democrats used their majority to steamroll everyone else with one bill after another. Over 700 bills total in this last session, nearly twice the norm. Many of those bills were almost identical, because changing and tweaking a bill in committee takes more time and political capital than just writing a new, slightly different bill and voting again until it passes. This likely would have continued with an unsuccessful recall of two of the majority’s key players.

It was Giron who sponsored the bill that would ultimately fail to save her, when it came time for her to be judged by the people. She was the one that passed the law, which was determined to be unconstitutional via a ruling given in response to our lawsuit. She, like other Senate Democrats, was likely aware of the backlash she would face from allegedly “doing what is right.” If doing what is right means ramming gun control legislation through the Senate under the catchy “common sense” moniker, despite the lack of support among law enforcement officials, constituents or anyone else (including much of her own base in Pueblo, nearly a quarter of whom helped give her the boot on Tuesday), then she must be a saint.

Already, they are playing the victim card.

“We were outspent.” It is the only excuse they have to give to explain why they lost. It couldn’t possibly be that they are arrogant, and that people feel it demeans them when their lawmakers speak of them like they are children. They just don’t get it.

Just look at John Morse in this interview. He doesn’t get it. When asked what it would mean if he lost, he immediately goes below the belt. He calls us liars, cheaters, and stealers. He says a plumber with $20,000 presents an unfair advantage to an incumbent with $350,000 of New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s money. Do you really want to go there, Mr. Morse?

To be fair, the NRA did fund part of the effort. But a former Republican Party chairman, after acknowledging that both sides received outside funding for and against this recall effort, puts him in his place later in the interview by pointing out that his tendency to demean the opposition probably has more to do with why he’s being recalled than money. He’s right.

But in case you’re getting all caught up in the party bickering, take pride in knowing that if it hadn’t been for LPCO, this recall would have failed. There are two reasons for this.

For one, our lawsuit changed the rules (or, should I say, corrected the fixed rules) late enough in the game to make establishment strategists on both sides panic. The Democrats most certainly stood to gain from a by-mail-only election, not to mention the fact that incumbents fare much worse in elections with low turnout. Because the election now had to be in-person (as it always would have and should have been), active military notwithstanding, “turnout” would be lower. Lower turnout likely aided the success of the recall.

But another reason is the 1,800 people I mentioned earlier who otherwise would not have shown up to vote. If just half of those people didn’t show up for this recall, Morse would have kept his seat. Another way of stating it would be to say that the Republicans would not have been able to recall Morse alone. They needed help from independents and third parties, like us. And there’s no telling how much higher that 17% would have been with another name on the ballot.

So we’ll let the Democrats make excuses for why they lost, and play the victim card. And if the Republicans want to pat themselves on the back for winning an election in which they were unopposed, so be it. It doesn’t matter in the long run.

This is a bigger win for us than it could ever be for either of them, because the newly-elected Republican faces the same new unprecedented political landscape we’ve helped to create with this recall. The first recall election in our state has ousted two lawmakers from their seats, and the message it sends to lawmakers everywhere is a big one.

You see, we’ve always said here at LPCO that we may lose battles, but we are winning the war. Many came to view our lawsuit as a battle in the war to win this election, but they had it backwards. We won the war by making all future elections fairer than this one would have been. To those who lament how the system is rigged, I say to you: we are the bomb squad, and we’re more concerned with un-rigging it than with winning an election.

Not that winning elections isn’t important, but you have to apply ointment before you can bandage a serious wound, or it will fester. In other words, had we lost that lawsuit, there would be no end to the butchery in our legislature. It would have validated the establishment’s desire to keep power by arbitrarily dictating law instead of following the Constitution of our state, and the recall likely would have failed. It would have sent the very tragic, opposite message to lawmakers everywhere that they can carry on with business as usual. Legislators would see our loss and breath a sigh of relief, and the toxic atmosphere of political derangement would endure everywhere.

It’s the long game we’re playing, folks, and we’re winning. Let’s keep ’em quaking in their rented boots.

4 thoughts on “LP Colorado: On Setting Precedents and Winning the Long Game

  1. Andy

    “Well for one thing, 1,800 people in Morse’s district wrote in a different candidate in Tuesday’s recall election. That means that 17% of the people who voted yes to this recall wanted an option other than the one person on the ballot, a Republican. It’s unknown how many of those votes went to our candidate, Jan Brooks, but the point is clear nonetheless: people want more choice.

    We tried to give them that choice, and we came pretty close. Everyone here worked really hard through long, sleepless nights.”

    The LP of Colorado could have gotten a candidate on the ballot for that race if they had brought in an experienced pro petitioner. Somebody from the LP of Colorado did call Paul about this, and they said that they were going to call him back but they never did. That’s a shame, because having an experienced pro petitioner there would have been the difference maker in getting that Libertarian Party candidate on the ballot.

  2. Mike Kane

    The LP Colorado is doing an excellent job and is leading by example in terms of how a state party should be run. Tons of candidates, tons of outreach.

    Bravo

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