2024 Election, Ari Armstrong, Elections, Exclusives, Politics

Armstrong: Colorado voters repudiate party extremists

The big primary election news for Republicans is that Jeff Crank bent Dave Williams over his knee in the 5th Congressional District and delivered a well-deserved spanking.

Williams, who as chair of the state GOP oversaw the spending of $20,000 of party funds on his own campaign, recently sent out hateful messages encouraging people to burn all Pride flags. Then he went crying onto the show of his friend Joe Oltmann, who once “joked” that Jared Polis, the governor of Colorado, should be executed. Voters weren’t laughing.

Meanwhile, Democratic voters also got fed up with the crazies in their ranks. Remember the two teachers who pushed a measure through Colorado’s largest teachers’ union condemning capitalism? One of those teachers, Tim Hernández, also has called for a “forceful cultural revolution” against “whiteness,” promoted the ideals of Marx and Lenin, and apologized for not initially condemning Hamas’s brutal terrorism in Israel. Hernández, appointed to his legislative seat by a small band of party insiders, lost his primary.

The other capitalism-hating teacher, Bryan Lindstrom, who once said that “gangs are the response to racist capitalism and can be good,” also lost his primary.

Finally, Elisabeth Epps, another Democratic Socialist who once proclaimed “from the river to the sea,” a phrase suggesting that Jews be driven from Israel, lost her primary as well.

It would seem that many Colorado voters are tired of the nonsense from both major parties and ready to return to something resembling sanity.

Boebert wins with minority support

Surprising no one, Lauren “Carpetbagger” Boebert handily won the primary in her new 4th Congressional District after torching Republican chances in her old 3rd Congressional District on her way out the door.

Jeff Hurd won the 3rd CD Republican primary in an effort to replace Boebert, but Democrat Adam Frisch has raised tons of money thanks to Boebert’s shenanigans. Boebert almost certainly will win her new seat in Congress, but she might do it by sacrificing her old seat to the Democrats. We’ll see if Hurd is up for the challenge.

The election conspiracy monger Ron Hanks came in a distant second to Hurd. Slimy Democratic ads attempting to boost Hanks, because he would have been a weaker opponent in the general election, seem not to have worked.

Kyle Clark blamed Boebert’s five challengers for not coalescing behind a single alternative. To me, the problem is with our stupid system of voting that allows a candidate to win with minority support. If we had approval voting to allow voters to vote for as many candidates as they want, people could have in effect voted “anyone but Boebert.” Boebert probably still would have won in such a system, but we’ll never know for sure, because in our system voters cannot well-express their preferences when more than two candidates appear on the ballot.

State board of education races

New charter schools may be in for a rougher time given that teachers’ union pet Kathy Gebhardt beat Marisol Rodriguez in a Board of Education primary. But, even though a pro-charter group spent big money on Rodriquez, Gebhardt told the Denver Post that she supports school choice. I’ll believe it when I see it.

It appears that former GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown has won her primary for a Board of Education seat. Generally I disagree with Brown on social issues—she first made a name for herself trying to outlaw abortion in Colorado—but, after watching the majority of the Board denigrate parent-directed education, I think I will deeply enjoy watching Brown push back. Don’t worry; I’ll criticize Brown when I think she deserves it.

Low voter turnout

As I’ve mentioned, I returned a blank primary ballot (okay, I wrote a snarky note at the bottom) because most of the races were uncontested, and I didn’t much like any of the candidates in the contested races. The general problem is that state government favors political parties by giving them special ballot access and even subsidies for their primary elections. Gross.

Apparently plenty of other voters are equally disgusted by our lack of genuinely democratic primaries. The Colorado Secretary of State predicted especially low voter turnout.

Again, we need equal ballot-access rules for all comers, regardless of party, an end to government-run party primaries, and approval voting.

A ballot tweak

A potential problem with returning a blank ballot is that an unscrupulous election worker could mark the ballot for me.

There’s an easy fix: For each candidate, put a “yes” or “no” on the ballot. If a voter does not mark anything, that’s the same as marking “no.” If I mark “no,” there’s no way someone else could mark “yes” and get away with it. Notice that this ballot set-up would work perfectly with approval voting.

Another advantage to this yes/no voting is that voting “no” across the board would be the equivalent of voting “none of the above.”

We have work to do in making our elections more genuinely democratic. For now, though, I’m pleased that Colorado voters mostly have shown the crazies the door.

Ari Armstrong writes regularly for Complete Colorado and is the author of books about Ayn Rand, Harry Potter, and classical liberalism. He can be reached at ari at ariarmstrong dot com.


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