Colorado is back as a national bellwether.
Earlier this year, a Democratic-led push to enact stricter gun-control measures cost two state senators their jobs and tarnished once-popular Gov. John Hickenlooper’s bipartisan sheen. Last week, voters overwhelmingly rejected a sweeping measure to raise the state’s income tax. And now, Hickenlooper is in a fight with some of his core supporters over a ban on a process of natural-gas drilling known as “fracking.” As Denver-area Fox31 News reported Friday, three municipalities last week voted to ban fracking within their limits, a decision the governor has previously sued to stop.
Taken together, the moves are a course correction for a state that seemed to be drifting inexorably to the left. And they’ve caught the attention of the Democrats up for reelection in 2014, Hickenlooper and Sen. Mark Udall, both of whom have begun plotting their own paths back toward the political center.
Colorado had leaned right only a decade ago, when President George W. Bush won it by a relatively comfortable 4-point margin. But driven by a booming population of Hispanics and highly educated whites, the Centennial State voted decisively for President Obama in 2008 and 2012. Its three major statewide office holders, Hickenlooper and Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, are all Democrats, the latter of whom survived reelection in the Republican wave of 2010.
But voters are less enthusiastic about the party now. The governor’s approval rating was a lukewarm 48 percent in August, according to a poll from Quinnipiac University, and a plurality of voters said he did not deserve reelection. Their disapproval offers a political explanation for Hickenlooper’s support for fracking, which has broad support from most voters but is derided by some environmentalists as unsafe. Backing it allows the governor, a former geologist, to recapture some of the middle ground lost during his support for gun-control measures.
“The fracking issue certainly complicates Hickenlooper’s political fortunes,” political analyst Eric Sondermann, told Fox31 News. “He has staked out some independent ground — to his credit, in my estimation — but it does pit him against a whole lot of his liberal, environmental, Democratic base.”
Udall, whose own approval rating is comparatively better off than Hickenlooper’s, has been among the earliest and most aggressive senators to ask Obama extend the Obamacare enrollment period. He and a group of Democrats — including Bennet, now chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee — met with the president last week to voice their concerns with the health care law’s botched rollout.
Both men are keenly aware the state’s political climate is volatile enough to push them out of the office. But so far, they’ve also caught a key break: Neither has a top-tier Republican opponent. Udall, who has more than $4 million in the bank, has drawn a motley group of foes, including 2010 GOP nominee Ken Buck, the district attorney who infamously compared homosexuality to alcoholism during a debate against Bennet.
Hickenloooper, meanwhile, could face former Rep. Tom Tancredo, the anti-illegal-immigration leader.
- 1 Hillary Clinton Will Win the Nomination, But Then What?
- 2 How Washington Derailed Amtrak
- 3 Smart Ideas: Criminal Justice Reform, Cybersecurity and Fighting ISIS
- 4 State Department Releases More Hillary Clinton Emails
- 5 Secret-Money Group Tied to Marco Rubio Super PAC Has Been Researching Presidential Primary Voters
What We're Following See More »
Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”