Do elections matter? Ask Coloradans

For this month’s Issue Monday on Oct. 14, Centennial Institute hosted a mixed panel to discuss current issues in Colorado, addressed through the larger lenses of policy and public attitude.

Radio commentator Ken Clark proclaimed that “every election matters” as the public’s opportunity to voice their views unequivocally; election results also are politicians’ and policy-makers’ opportunity to hear the voters’ voice and respond appropriately. Voters pay their salaries.

Ken opined that the recent recall election, which ousted two Democrat state senators, demonstrates that Coloradans have had enough. These two senators – and too many of their colleagues in both houses – utterly ignored testimony, correspondence and phone calls from thousands of Coloradans. It is hoped that the 2014 General Assembly took notice.

Jason Bane, Colorado Pols blogger, believed that Amendment 66, authorizing a massive permanent tax increase, and Proposition AA, stipulating taxes to fund regulation of marijuana sales, will both fail.

I agree, and it will be because Colorado voters have learned to discredit that much-overused plea that ever-increasing taxes are “for the schools, for the children.”

Bane also asserted that Republican voters are factionalized, and thus the party remains ineffectual.

It seems to me, however, that the strong current of Tea Party principles may uplift the party, restore its zeal and vision, and thus draw disaffected voters – Republicans and others – into a vigorous and visionary team.

Independence Institute scholar Todd Shepherd expressed optimism that Coloradans – indeed Americans – share the Conservatives’ love for liberty. Nonetheless, he noted that Republicans’ factious internecine squabbles weaken and embarrass the party, whereas Democrats cooperate despite differing views. Thus, as with recent state elections, Democrat candidates, specifically Hickenlooper and Udall, will be victorious.

Lynn Bartels, Denver Post blogger, agreed that Amendment 66 will fail. She acknowledged that the recall elections demonstrated many Coloradans’ disgust with government over-reach. However, she averred that the recalls were insignificant, repeating that assertion often during the evening.

That the Left and the media contend the recalls’ unimportance so often and adamantly proclaims their profound significance.

Then the panelists responded to questions from the audience and took the opportunity to express additional comments.

Ken Clark hoped that Republican leadership, in Colorado and nationally, will rebuild the party’s traditionally strong stance for the principles of limited Constitutional government and fiscal responsibility.

The 2014 gubernatorial election drew Lynn Bartels’ attention. Although most pundits predict that the governor will be re-elected, she observed that Coloradans are displeased with the legislation produced by the single-party monopoly – the gun-control measures in particular. Despite his Centrist image, Hickenlooper signed numerous Leftist bills that most Coloradans do not want.

Ken Clark questioned whether the Democrats recognize their mis-match with the majority of Coloradans. Ignoring the recalls’ significance, the Democrats did not adapt their legislative leadership but merely replaced the ousted Leftists leaders with other Leftists. He predicted, though, that they will pose as moderates in 2014 to woo voters, having already accomplished their far-Left agenda.

As Todd Shepherd noted, much of that far-Left agenda worsened our state economy, contrary to the Democrats’ pretense of espousing jobs and economic development. In particular, Colorado needs to focus on energy development, which the Left opposes. Energy-development would promote greater prosperity and thus state sovereignty.

Cogently, Ken Clark concluded that Coloradans – and Americans nationwide – need to focus on principles and less on political party or faction. “Party is a path that we can use to get where we want to go.”

However disillusioned or discouraged one may be, it is essential that we participate vigorously in the political process, attending our local caucus and voting in every election. We need to select and promote ethical causes and principled candidates. Withdrawing from the arena leaves the field to the mediocre or corrupt. “Again, every election matters.”

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