DENVER — Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper continues to try and separate himself from a crowded field of candidates for the Democrat nomination for President.
His tactics may backfire, however, as he continues to attack front runners Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders for being too radical, while at the same time, putting forth some of the same ideas as the popular senators and contradicting his own record while governor.
“I have had enough of the extremism that’s overtaken our Democratic (sic) party’s politics,” Hickenlooper said in a Tweet just hours before round one of the second Democrat debate on Tuesday. “We have candidates calling for things they know they can’t actually achieve: like free college, government jobs for everyone who wants one and even free gifts of monthly income for all citizens.”
During the actual debate, Hickenlooper took several opportunities to tell voters he’s the better choice because he is more moderate — although he stopped short of using those exact words.
“I share their progressive beliefs,” Hickenlooper said in his opening statement. “I’m just a little more pragmatic about it.”
Hickenlooper visibly angered Sanders at one point, who threw his hands in the air after Hickenlooper said he was too extreme to defeat Pres. Donald Trump.
“I don’t just throw my hands in the air,” Hickenlooper Tweeted out on Wednesday. “I roll up my sleeves and get the job done.”
However, Hickenlooper’s Tweets and record contradict his statements.
Just a few days ago, Hickenlooper posted on Twitter his plan to make community college free to “all Americans — young and old — who can’t afford it.”
And during the debate, he told voters he “attacked climate change, beat the National Rifle Association and did not build massive government expansion.”
Yet, under Hickenlooper Colorado applied for an extension from the Environmental Protection Agency because it has not been able to come into compliance with federal air standards. Just before leaving office Hickenlooper bypassed the legislature and mandated through an executive order that Colorado begin following California air quality standards, which do not become effective until 2020.
In 2013, under a Democrat-controlled General Assembly and a Hickenlooper administration, Colorado passed new gun control laws, but those laws led to the recall of two state senators and the resignation of another.
And in 2017, Hickenlooper signed into law a bill that removed the hospital provider fee from the General Fund and placed it into its own enterprise fund, effectively raising the state’s spending limit under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights by more than $500 million.
Hickenlooper doubled his polling numbers from 1 percent to 2 percent between debates but must continue the momentum, as several other candidates are taking on a more “moderate” platform to appeal to unaffiliated voters.
Hickenlooper’s campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comments.
The next debate is scheduled for September 12 and 13. Hickenlooper will have to not only have 2 percent support in three qualifying polls but also at least 130,000 individual donations from a minimum of 400 different donors in at least 20 states to make the stage for the third time.
“If we’re going to force Americans to make these radical changes, they’re not going to go along,” Hickenlooper said to Sanders during the debate. “Us governors and mayors are the ones who have to pick up the pieces when suddenly the government’s supposed to take over all these responsibilities, and there’s no preparation. You can’t just spring a plan on the world and expect it to succeed.”