Having moved to Colorado in 2001, I’ve had front-row, 50-yardline seats to witness the state’s transition from being solidly red, to red, to purple, to blue, to solidly blue. Are we solidly blue? Yes. So much so that in the 2016 Democratic primary caucus, Hillary Clinton wasn’t just snubbed by Colorado Dems, she was obliterated by the openly socialist Bernie Sanders, with Sanders garnering 59% of the state’s Democrat caucusgoers votes to Hillary’s 40%. A beatdown of epic proportions.
While it was only two years ago that four of Colorado’s six statewide elected offices (governor, attorney general, treasurer, secretary of state and two U.S. senators) were held by Republicans and one of our two state legislative bodies, to conservatives it seems like a far, distant memory. Now just one of these offices is Republican, Sen. Cory Gardner’s future as a representative of the people of Colorado is in some peril, and the size the Democrat majorities in both state houses means Republicans can nary slow down the liberal legislative agenda roll let alone stop it.
To those who insist on voting for nothing but liberal Democrats, I have but one simple question: What has gotten better? In what ways of the roughly 15 years since Colorado has completely flipped from red to blue has Colorado improved?
Let’s take a look at some of the more obvious changes.
Crime in virtually all statistical categories is up. Taxes have increased (in spite of Democrats’ failed effort to repeal our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights). Our oil and gas industry was slapped so hard by the unstoppable Democrat legislative green push that thousands of jobs and the families that depended on them have left the state.
The days of families taking young children for a stroll along the 16th Street Mall are a thing of the past, as Denver has joined the likes of Portland and Seattle and become a hotbed of antifa intimidation and violence. Now, masked, intolerant, profanity-spewing radicals threaten everyone in their path and have allegedly murdered a Coloradan in broad daylight — shooting him at close range through the eye.
Our once-beautiful state Capitol building sits with boarded-up windows where glass used to be, spray-painted with all kinds of vulgarity, and surrounded by ugly, brown, dead, trampled grass. The burgeoning homeless populations in our metro areas have resulted in tent cities popping up everywhere, sign-holding panhandlers await motorists at every intersection, and parents are no longer able to let their children walk unaccompanied to school or the park.
During the transition to blue, we blazed the trail to legalization of recreational marijuana and now have pot shops on every block and in every strip mall. Regardless of where one stands on the legalization debate, what can’t be debated is that legalization has attracted throngs to Colorado who just want to get (legally) baked. While that is now their (constitutional) right in Colorado, the passing of that law did not have the effect of attracting surgeons, engineers, architects, or other professionals to our state. (See the aforementioned tent cities observation.)
All of this has happened since we’ve turned wholesale blue and kicked Republicans out of office. It accelerates the more power we hand over to Democrats. All one really needs to do is look at California for a textbook example of what happens to a state with no conservative counterbalance to its legislative process.
The push to raise taxes is perpetual — from grocery bags to text messages — everything under the sun becomes a new source of government revenue, aka, taxes. The number of things that get “banned” grows continually too. Inclusivity and social change agenda take precedent over academic instruction and performance in schools. Law enforcement gets demonized, and an already risky job becomes even more dangerous. Freedom of speech is curbed, poverty increases, housing prices and rents skyrocket (thus feeding the already bad homeless situation), and did I mention that taxes are raised?
So the question remains: Since Colorado has gone blue, since we’ve moved to nearly all-Democrat representation, what has gotten better? This is a serious question that should be asked before we vote blue again.
Derrick Wilburn is the executive director of the Rocky Mountain Black Conservatives and former vice chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.