The Colorado House of Representatives has been at the forefront of a disturbing new trend. This phenomenon has spread to at least 30 other states in the last year: Rather than allowing voters to decide whether the people they elected should continue to represent them, Democrat lawmakers believe they should decide.
The ubiquitous #MeToo movement has been used to force 32 male state lawmakers from office, who either resigned, were expelled, or did not seek re-election. There were also two related suicides: Republican state Rep. Brandon Hixon of Idaho in October 2017, and Democrat state Rep. Dan Johnson of Kentucky in December 2017.
The facts in every case were as different as the people involved, but in each case, voters weren’t the ones who decided whether that official should stay or go. Democrats in leadership made the decision.
Here in Colorado, the trend began with the bizarre case of then State Representative Steve Lebsock. A flurry of sexual misconduct allegations were made public in November of 2017. Within 48 hours, leading Democrats called for his resignation. Lebsock later alleged that he received a call from Congressman Ed Perlmutter who asked him to resign and then offered him a job so he could “land well.”
Lebsock confounded the plan by refusing to resign and adamantly denying the charges. His attempts to defend himself were called retaliation and he was expelled from the Colorado Legislature on March 2, 2017. There hadn’t been an expulsion from this body in 102 years.
Now, we have another sudden public fury about two charges of domestic violence involving State Representative Jovan Melton that are one and two decades old respectively. Once again and in less than 48 hours, many of the same Democrats in leadership have called for Melton to resign.
Democrats have a familiar pattern of leaking stories to a friendly press and using them to take actions which further their political goals. Watch Nancy Pelosi as she freely admits that this is a strategy.
It strains credulity to think Democrats just learned about Melton’s past. A simple Lexus Nexus search could have told them. We can only speculate as to why they want Melton out now and why, but if they are successful in forcing his resignation they would once again get to appoint his successor who will run as an incumbent.
One of the most fundamental differences between liberal and conservative thought concern boundaries. What should the role and scope of government be? When should bureaucrats and lawmakers refrain from using the power and force of government to make decisions for the citizenry? Some of the most historic political fights have been about that kind of overreaching power and when we must restrain it to afford citizens the greatest freedom.
Republicans shouldn’t fall for the Democrats’ newest enticement to pile on in the Melton case. They should call for Melton to face the voters in November. As in the Lebsock case, this is just a foreshadowing of for whom the bell will toll next. It tolls for Republicans to be accused once again of charges to be sprung at a politically expedient moment.
Jovan Melton may or may not deserve a fourth term in the Colorado State House but it’s not up to Democrat leaders to decide that. It’s up to the voters in his district.
Karen Kataline (Karen@KarenKataline.com) is an author and commentator, Columbia University-trained social worker, and frequent guest host on AM talk radio. Her work has appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, The Daily Caller, Town Hall, Western Journal, & The American Thinker. She is the producer and host of Spouting Off, a live internet call-in talk show, heard Tuesdays at 4 P.M. E.T. at www.KarenKataline.com.