Colorado: The Morning After

September 15th, 2013

Everyone's scrambling to interpret the consequences of last week's recall elections in Colorado. Ousted Senator Angela Giron went on CNN last Thursday and tried to play the voter suppression card before Brooke Baldwin cut her off. It was obvious that Giron was utterly blindsided by the results.

She refuses to accept that her vote for hasty and onerous legislation had anything to do with it. Arrogance towards her constituents? Nah. This was a conspiracy by the NRA and the Koch brothers. I kid you not.

Governor Hickenlooper tried to play down the importance of the vote, claiming "outside money coming in is generally not welcome." Does he mean the ~$350,000 from the NRA to support the recalls or the ~$350,00 coming from Michael Bloomberg to oppose them? I guess the $2 million in other contributions to Morse and Giron doesn't count as "outside money" either.

Gun owners won because they did the work. They got the word out, and they mobilized the voters. The simple, uncluttered answer is that impassioned, focused grassroots efforts can still beat money and political clout.

Will it happen elsewhere? Not this way. Neither Connecticut, New York, or Massachusetts have provisions for recalling state legislators. California does, but the last successful effort was the recall of assemblymen Allen and Horcher in 1995. While Governor Davis was recalled in 2003, circumstances were different. I don't see that happening over gun control.

Does that blunt the impact? Hardly. In the weeks immediately following the Newtown shooting, politicians felt unprecedented pressure to get on the Guilt and Shame Bandwagon. They were assured that Bloomberg's money would keep them safe. They were coerced into believing that a vote for gun control safety was the only safe vote.

That is emphatically no longer the case, and here's hoping they're smart enough to see that.

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