(Editor’s note: You can listen to this column, read by the author, here.)
One of the biggest losers in Colorado’s election was Jared Polis.
Conventional wisdom was Polis would be reelected governor, but maybe one or two of the other constitutional seats would go Republican, perhaps secretary of state and/or treasurer.
But most importantly, the wisdom said Republicans would make measurable gains in the State House and Senate.
For you who say, “I vote for the individual, not the party,” you might not get how the system works. The party that controls the most seats elects the president of the Senate, the majority leader and the other leadership positions.
The Senate president chooses the fate of most all legislation by deciding what committee each bill goes to die or survive.
That’s the power.
That’s why it is important that even Democrats in Republican clothing, like Kevin Priola, are elected as Republicans so they vote for GOP leadership. And why his defection to the Democrats was so potentially costly, and now moot.
Before Tuesday, Democrats held a stupendous 21-to-14 seat majority in the state Senate. They had an outlandish 41-to-24 seat dominance in the state House.
The expectation was that after the “red wave” Republicans might even get close to taking back the Senate, though they would need the recall of the newly-minted Democrat Priola.
Getting the majority back in the House was a long shot, but the late Hugh McKean believed it possible, and his optimism was infectious. But certainly, Republicans would gain seats there too, especially after redistricting. That would at least mean closer votes in committees and a better chance to kill bad bills.
Hopes were high Tuesday night at 7 p.m., that Colorado might start leaning back toward sanity.
By 8 p.m., the state fell the other direction, over a leftist cliff.
The Senate inflated from 21-to-14 Dem majority to 23-to-12 Dem majority. The house ballooned from 41-to-24 Dem majority to 49-to-19 Dem majority, something never seen in Colorado history.
If you thought the last four years were the most radical of Colorado’s political saga, which they were, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Polis, who is not nearly as economically ignorant as the left wing of his party, sits on top of this craziness as its titular head.
And for the last four years has been batted around like a cat’s play toy by the progressive wingnuts in the Legislature. And those wingnuts just multiplied.
Here’s how bad it is: The state House now has a super majority of Democrats, enough to override any governor’s veto, and the Senate is a mere vote away from a super majority. Meaning if Polis finds the fortitude to veto the avalanche of socialism coming to his desk, he might need to find some old-school, non-capitalist-loathing Democratic legislators of yore, rumored to be extinct.
A progressive super majority has another happy privilege. They can refer constitutional changes to the ballot, no governor’s approval needed. A simple majority can already do this, as they did with proposals like FF, which stole money from rich people to buy free lunches for just slightly lesser rich people’s kids a moral hazard on several levels.
A super majority can put a full repeal of our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), on the ballot and replace it with their holy grail a progressive income tax to steal money from rich people to buy everything for everybody.
Given Polis’s public endorsement of my successful Prop 121, which lowered the flat income tax to 4.4%, and his continued cheering for ending the income tax all together, we’d have to ask if he’d finally show up to fight such a bad idea, or just mumble under his breath that he doesn’t support it, like he did with the economy-crushing family leave initiative.
Had Republicans taken back the state Senate the biggest winner would have been Polis, who would now have been saved from the loony wing of his own party.
Forget the terrifying worries of nuclear Armageddon triggered by Russia or China keeping you up at night. Think of this instead:
The best hope for fiscal sanity and pro-business stability in Colorado rest solely in the ability of the wildly progressive Jared Polis to stop his even much more progressive, super-majority Legislature.
Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.
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