During the 2020 campaign, I door-knocked around Colorado Springs on behalf of President Donald Trump. I had many conversations with local Republicans and Independents about their opinions of Trump and how they intended to vote in November. Over and again, the common theme I kept hearing: “I like his policies but not his personality.”
It wouldn’t have tipped the scales for me, but I could understand how Trump’s brashness and candor was off-putting for some people. There was a sense that many milquetoast Republicans and Independents around Colorado just wanted calm and a return to a time where the office of the president wasn’t in their newsfeed 24/7. Simply put, many longed for the promise of a “return to normalcy” under a Joe Biden administration.
My experience of Republicans pledging to vote against Trump — not for Biden — wasn’t just anecdotal. Colorado election result totals show a deviation between Trump and former Republican Sen. Cory Gardner. In El Paso County, Gardner received over 9,200 more votes than Trump. Statewide, that difference was more than 65,000 votes.
This sentiment and desire for “normalcy” was something Biden and his campaign capitalized on. Biden’s pitch of a return to normalcy and the “Battle for the Soul of the Nation” directly aimed at these Republicans and Independents on the fence. Surely, a doddering septuagenarian who ran a presidential campaign via Zoom from his basement in Delaware couldn’t do any harm, could he?
Enter the first eight months of getting back to “normalcy.”
Biden wasted no time in killing the Keystone XL pipeline, along with its thousands of good-paying union jobs. Americans were left scratching their heads when months later he reversed Trump-era sanctions that prevented the Russians from building their Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany. Perhaps climate change only occurs from the safe transportation of North American oil.
If cheaper oil and noncarbon emitting pipelines are of no concern to some Coloradans, how about the unprecedented spending proposed by the Biden administration? Rather than encouraging states to reopen their economies in March, the Democrat-controlled Congress passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan stimulus bill with Biden’s support. Now, we have a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill sitting in Congress awaiting the passing of a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. With staggering inflation, proposed tax increases, and a recent jobs report missing its mark by half a million, the economic outlook for Americans is gloomy.
Perhaps “normal” to some people looks like a secured southern border. Instead, Biden quickly and illegally reversed Trump’s “Stay in Mexico” policy, resulting in a 21-year high of illegal border crossing apprehensions in July. It’s no wonder Biden and the Democrats are entertaining a push for a pathway to citizenship for the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants, an estimate that suspiciously hasn’t changed for the last 15 years.
Then, there’s Afghanistan. The debate over whether the U.S. should have left a small contingent of troops for stability will still be had 100 years from now. There is, however, a correct way of withdrawing from a country and an absolutely atrocious way. Biden, reportedly against the advice of his generals, chose the latter. We now have a humanitarian crisis unlike we’ve seen in recent history, 13 service members needlessly killed, stranded Americans, and a Taliban significantly more powerful and heavily armed than pre-2001. The decision by Biden to withdraw our troops before civilians, and during the start of the Taliban’s fighting season, is unconscionable. As a veteran of the Afghanistan war, this debacle is unforgivable.
So, what are those Colorado Republicans and Independents who voted cross-party to do?
First, acknowledge the Biden presidency has been anything but a return to normal. Biden appears to be going all-in on the left-wing’s radical agenda. Just this past week, Biden announced the unprecedented step of injecting the executive branch into the private sector. The new vaccine mandates will undoubtedly cost many Americans their livelihoods and struggling businesses an exorbitant amount of money in fines.
Next, Coloradans need to restore the checks and balances in Congress to prevent more damage by Biden and the Democrats. The 2022 election season is right around the corner. Coloradans need to send a clear message to Biden that we’re not onboard with his extreme, ideological failures.
Trump’s unique personal nature wasn’t for everyone, but his policies on foreign affairs, the southern border, and the economy were undeniably better than what we’ve experienced with the current administration. Coloradans were promised a return to normalcy in exchange for a Trump presidency. What we got instead is the most fundamentally radical agenda of our lifetime, and we’re only eight months in.
Jarvis Caldwell is the vice chair of County Commission District 2 in El Paso County. He’s an Air Force veteran, bonus member to the EPC GOP Executive Committee, and a political science major at American Military University.