June 28, 2023

Elections are Ruthless

June 28, 2023
Image by Sandy Davidson Voting in Colorado

A very important foundational principle of the United States is separation of powers. Americans are familiar with the three branches of government dividing power among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. But there is an equally important informal mechanism that divides power. Except for the “era of good feelings,” there have always been two major parties vying for power in every election. In today’s world, letting power consolidate to one party makes that party so powerful that it overrides that separation. The result of long-term one-party dominance would inevitably be totalitarianism, where inalienable rights are smashed.

In 2002, Republicans attempted to amend the Colorado Constitution to prohibit gay marriage. The attempt failed, but it ignited a backlash that still haunts the state. The legal maneuvers by Democrats to turn the state from a Republican to a Democratic stronghold are well documented in The Blueprint by Schrager and Wetwer. The main thrust of the plan was that any policy discussions were forbidden until after the election was won. A singular focus of “party above all” replaced traditional campaigning. Even former Democratic governor Dick Lamm condemned the activity in the forward of the book, stating “God save the Republic.”[1]

Since first taking power in 2004, the Democratic legislatures have passed laws that expand the potential for voter fraud. As of 2023, Colorado Republicans find themselves defeated and demoralized. For the sake of the state (and the country), the Republican party must find a way to pull its jaw off the ground and fight back. As anyone who has played sports knows, “we was robbed” doesn’t win games. Republicans need an Apollo 13 (finest) hour.

Elections should be a straightforward process of determining the will of the people, but they now must be viewed as a game. The situation in which Colorado (and other democrat-held states) Republicans find themselves is like a visiting team going into the Superbowl champions’ home field. The odds of winning are poor but visiting teams do win. A team that does not believe it can win won’t.

To win, they must recognize all the rules of the game. The NFL rule book does not cover all the rules. The home crowd will be noisy and raucous when the visitors have the ball and quiet when their team has it. They may throw stuff at the visitors to intimidate and distract them. It’s part of the game. So are the officials’ calls. No matter how objective the book is, the rulings are subjective. In the end, if the visiting team doesn’t succumb to all the obstacles and puts more points on the scoreboard, they win.

Elections are the same. The party that gets more votes wins. Everyone knows “the rules.” These rules may not be the same for both sides, but the side that plays the game better will win.

As of June 2023, the major blocks of registered voters in Colorado are:

  • Unaffiliated: 47%
  • Democrats: 27%
  • Republicans: 24%

The Democrats have an edge on registered voters, but there is a much larger percentage of unaffiliated ones. Sure, more unaffiliates may lean Democrat, but this block is more likely to sit out an election than registered Democrats. Also, the unaffiliates that lean Republican are more likely to vote if the party has esprit de corps. These statistics alone demonstrate there is no real reason that Republicans can’t win elections.

Morale is a key element in any election. Conventional wisdom is that Democrats take down signs promoting Republicans to make it appear there is less support than there really is. It’s illegal, but when is the last time anyone was prosecuted for it? This is a part of the game. I’m not advocating the tactic, but I am promoting the notion that shady tactics must be effectively countered. They cannot be allowed to drive down morale and voting.

Among the laws passed by Democrats is one allowing ballot harvesting.[2] Republicans throw up their hands because Democrats have operatives in rest homes who gather and even fill out ballots for those incompetent to vote. The harvesting is legal. Filling out ballots is not, but it’s now part of the game. The courts don’t like to touch election issues, so it is a bad idea to look to them for any help. It will take a smart and innovative tactic to counter this known travesty, but that is what real Americans do. Estimate what needs to be done to overcome those votes and do it. One of the stupidest things I hear is “why should I vote? It doesn’t count.” That is forfeiting the game. Give people with that attitude a swift kick in the keister.

The Colorado Republican Party also has the same problem as the national party. The party elites have grown too comfortable with what power and wealth they have. In fact, they spend more time and money fighting other Republicans than Democrats. This is to the detriment of the rank and file of the party for two reasons:

  1. Lord Acton’s “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” No one wants to vote for corrupt politicians.
  2. Leadership complacence leads to a lack of awareness and innovation. The result is losing.

Corruption among republican elites has led to infighting. Within the state, El Paso County had to fight the state party to retain its autonomy. The Peak Republicans used funding from big donors to cause an unauthorized split and civil war. On the national level, the Lincoln Project consistently works against the Republican party. This kind of infighting ensures future Democratic victories.

The Republican party has the stigma of being the party of business. At this point, just about every large business is woke—which means they’ll support Democrats over Republicans. The party needs to heavily promote that it is the party of the working class, and that the Democrats are the party of elites (and corporations).

Another possible target is the female vote. Democrats cannot win without it. By supporting transgenderism, the Democrats have handed Republicans a devastating wedge issue, if they can harness it. in general, the logical arguments that Republicans present are ineffective because this is an emotional issue. One cannot just tell women that they are being erased; women must feel it. Use stories that drive it home, not simple statements of fact.

If the Republican party wants to win elections in Colorado, it needs to unite. It also needs to be hungry and determined. Quit the “we was robbed” routine. Elections have become blood sport.

[1] Schrager, Adam, and Rob Witwer. The blueprint how the Democrats won Colorado, and why Republicans everywhere should care. Golden, CO: Speaker’s Corner Books, 2010. Note: the full comment is “Machiavelli lives! A compelling history of a political revolution where winning is everything and there is no moral bottom line. Are there any ethical standards in US politics? God save the Republic.”

[2] Colo. Rev. Stat § 1-7.5-107

Opinion by Dennis Haugh, Colorado Free Press Contributor

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Show Me My Vote Counts

Very well said, but focusing on the ballot harvesting tactic is like everybody focusing on the other team's wide receiver - he's not the only opponent on the field.

We need to do an end run around all the fraud by demanding transparent elections. Election officials must prove to us at every step of the way (with elections that are in person, on paper, hand counted, one day, ID checked against good voter rolls) that legal votes count and only legal votes count.

It's not a strange concept; it's what everybody did only a few years ago.

Dennis Haugh

first, thanks for the comment. we need such challenges.

who said to focus on ballot harvesting? i didn't. i advocate countering all shady tactics.

have you tried to get any election official to act sensibly? it would be nice, and i certainly agree with what you advocate. unfortunately, we have to play the game with the officials we're stuck with - until we can remove them - but that requires winning an election, right?

you might be interested in my article advocating repealing HAVA. To really get what you advocate, we have to change the American mindset.

thanks again

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