Silverii: Who is to blame for the GOP vote?

The results of the 2022 Colorado Republican Party caucus went off in the best possible way — for every Democrat in Colorado. For the Republican establishment, the outcome of the nomination process was as close to the worst-case scenario as they could imagine.

And, ironically, the establishment has no one to blame but themselves. The Republican Party has spent years coddling the conspirators, promoting cynical opportunism, and refusing to fight the very real threats to democracy that the Republican base poses. So it’s no surprise that the Republican Party has nominated unelected lunatics who will rob them of their best chance of winning in decades in Colorado this November.

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who was indicted by a grand jury for tampering with voting equipment and identity theft, is still under multiple additional investigations. Republicans elected Peters as the top candidate in June’s primary for secretary of state against establishment-elected Pam Anderson, who chose to collect petitions for ballot access rather than oppose grassroots Republicans.

Shortly thereafter, a proud participant in the January 6th uprising, election denier, and nemesis of copiers everywhere, State Rep. Ron Hanks knocked out three far better-funded and much less eccentric candidates from the race for Senate seats. Hanks was the only Republican to pass the ballot in the nomination process and now faces the establishment’s choice of Joe O’Dea in the June primary.

Earlier in the day, Greg Lopez, a former Democrat and sometime mayor of Parker, won first place in the gubernatorial contest over Heidi Ganal by promising to pardon Peters for the crimes she committed against her own office while trying to prove the Big Lie.

And then there’s Attorney General nominee John Kellner, the only known candidate to be in Saturday’s caucus. Kellner proved so unpopular that 42% of the delegates instead voted for someone who is neither a licensed Colorado attorney nor a registered Republican. At least Kellner manages to get past the primaries on these technical issues, but it’s not exactly a vote of confidence from the base.

After all three contested primaries for statehood were voted on by ardent right-wingers, the Republican Party establishment and their media mouthpieces immediately went berserk. Establishment officials screamed from the pages of this newspaper, Newsweek, and virtually every radio station in the state, that the failure to line up for their well-groomed candidates doomed the Republicans this November.

Yet unwavering loyalty to Donald Trump remains a major litmus test for Republicans. Republican and establishment consultants have simply watched Trump destroy their party, content to believe that Trump has been a convenient vessel for many of their longstanding political priorities—hundreds of lifetime judicial appointments for unqualified judges; huge tax cuts for the largest and most profitable corporations; and government lands where gold is drilled for the fossil fuel industry, to name but a few.

Some of the same GOP establishment that today rebukes the base for the crime of believing Trump’s Big Lies are also the same people who literally invited one of the nation’s leading campaign conspiracy peddlers, Congressman Andy Biggs of Arizona, to head the annual fundraising dinner. Republican Party of Colorado. the night before the meeting.

A short list of things that the vast majority of Colorado voters would find objectionable in Rep. Biggs includes his vote against condemning anti-Semitism, his vote against the DREAM Act, his vote against healthcare for 9/11 emergency responders, and his vote against the Violence Act. regarding women.

Establishment-selected gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganal makes sentimental plausible-false claims like “Joe Biden is our president” that deliberately fail to disprove the lie that the 2020 election was stolen. A year ago, the chairman of the state Republican Party ran for his current position on the lie that Dominion voting machines were suspicious and demanded a recount in the 2020 Colorado election (which Donald Trump lost by more than 13 points).

Republicans are rightly terrified of Hanks’ candidacy, but the base will have trouble supporting Joe O’Dea, who has been donating to Democrats for a decade – writing checks to his up-and-coming opponent Senator Michael Bennett, Senator John Hickenlooper, Gov. Bill Ritter, former Senate President John Morse and even the late great ultra-progressive state senator Ken Gordon.

Establishment Republicans wouldn’t have gotten into this mess if they stuck to their principles after Trump first said he would only accept the 2016 election results if he won. You can draw a straight line from their tacit agreement there to Trump’s total takeover of the party and their current political predicament in Colorado. The lunatics may have taken over the orphanage, but it was the Republican Party that handed them the keys.

Ian Silveri is the founder of The Bighorn Company and former director of ProgressNow Colorado. His wife Brittany Pettersen is running for Congress as a Democrat from District 7. Follow him on Twitter @iansilverii.

To email the editor about this article, submit online or see our guidelines for emailing or posting.