Reflections on the machinery

November, 2014

I have always been an Unaffiliated voter. Before the 2008 election, I used to split my ballot…telling myself that I was beholden to no party. However, when the Tea Party became an influential,  tantrum-throwing, toddlerish wing of the Republican Party, I was forced to rethink this strategy. As moderate Republicans were primaried by their own far-right base, and subsequently ousted from elected positions, I realized that voting along party lines trumped individual conscience in the most practical sense. Taking a stand rendered reasonable Republicans jobless.

I was dismayed when Kathleen Conti, an unknown someone, defeated Joe Rice, a popular moderate-leaning-conservative Democrat,  in HD38. I disagreed with Rice on several key issues, most significantly his support for legislation that automatically forwarded driver’s license information to the Selective Service. But I found Rice to be responsive, accessible, and responsible. So I have followed Conti’s voting record on and off ever since. I find her leadership to be shallow and lightweight–a Stepford wife to the NRA and unregulated Oil and Gas. But she has the magic “R” next to her name in a heavily gerrymandered district, so she remains in office regardless of her voting record. A record which is so automatically party-line that  her most idiotic votes receive no attention at all. Of consequence is that she never supports expansion of voting rights and accessibility to the ballot.  (

Moving on to Mike Coffman…I find him reprehensible. Not because he is a birther (although I don’t respect him for that). Not because he is a Republican. Foremost and unconditionally because he participated fully in the idiocy that was the government shutdown. Never mind that he disavowed his role by sending out mailers touting that he voted to re-open it. His initial vote was so egregious that he, and every person who voted with him, is disqualified from the right (although not the reality) to hold any public office ever again. While Coffman exploited his military background to get re-elected, he dismissed the impact that shutting down the government had on active military. And Vets. And the long-term unemployed. Or people who use schools. Or food stamps, banks, and roads. Or who travel.  I maintain that Coffman’s vote compromised every American on this planet, provided time and humor to foreign enemies, and compromised our standing in the international community. But obstructing Obama was his party’s singular goal, and Coffman, the birther, is a true believer. To hell with national interests.

So my utter contempt for Coffman prompted me to attend a Meet and Greet for Andrew Romanoff, who generously opened the event by giving the floor to a fairly unknown candidate who was running for Conti’s seat. I was so impressed with Robert Bowen that I joined his campaign. Strategy meetings were hosted by the inimitable Betty Harris, chair of the Arapahoe Dems in HD38. The strategy team was left stranded by the Arapahoe Democratic Party, which ignored Bowen’s campaign, drew volunteers away, failed to support him with either publicity or financial support. They ceded the election to Conti because wasting time on a Democrat in this gerrymandered district made no sense for the party. The Republicans must have felt the same way, because Conti couldn’t be bothered to submit accurate financial reports, stating that ” she has been less focused on fundraising this year, in general, and admits she did not keep up with the reports as much as she should have. “I have not had the time that I’ve had in previous years to raise money,” she said. “Frankly, I didn’t know if I would need to. I’m not trying to raise money that is not necessary.”   (

The national Dems were dismissive of the importance of local races; I got calls every few days trying to draw me into GOTV efforts in Aurora and Centennial, even though I clearly stated that I would only work in HD38. Cannibalizing down-ballot campaigns was a self-defeating strategy, as it directed all attention to Udall and overshadowed any support the down-ballot candidates might have drawn. Obviously. (Remember when Scotty sabotaged the USS Excelsior? “The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.“)

What I concluded from this election is that neither party knows what to do about Unaffiliated voters. So here we are. This is our opportunity to examine why we don’t affiliate, why we do or don’t vote down party lines, whether or not we split our ballots, what compels us to vote or sit out.

The discussion is open.   Please talk.

…more editorials…

One comment on “Reflections on the machinery

  1. It’s become revolution over reform at this point. The fact of the matter is that now the “Republicans” are likely to maintain control, as the ever-reliable Chuck Todd noted last Wednesday (the day after the 2014 midterms), it will be a cold day in Hell (commonly known as the year 2020) before the Republican jackboot now firmly planted in both houses of Congress might be dislodged.

    And no longer can the power of propaganda being peddled by Fox News for the past two decades be dismissed. Its corrosive effect on the American mentality has finally taken hold so firmly that it is widely now viewed as fairly mainstream fare. The rabid anti-Obama atmosphere it perpetuates makes David Brooks and even William F. Buckley look like frothing liberals. But this passive acceptance — the (to me) inexplicable absence of any commentary or observations whatsoever on Fox’s “Capitalist Realisme” by anyone other than Colbert and Stewart — is, I think, the most disturbing, dangerous, and socio-politically ominous sign of the mindless times in which we now live. One need look no further than the fact that individuals such as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity are widely thought of as among America’s top “pundits” (defined as a person who is an authority on a given subject, typically politics) instead of the demagogues (defined as “a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument”) that they really are. And anyone who has taken a road trip through the American midwest anytime recently cannot avoid becoming uncomfortably aware of the fact that of any nine or ten radio stations available anywhere throughout the countryside, more than half of them are devoted to playing Rush’s radio programs over, and over, and over. Ditto, Rush.

    Speaking of definitions, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of “brainwashing” is: “a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas.” “Propaganda” is defined as: “ideas or statements that are often false or exaggerated and that are widely spread in order to help or harm a cause, a political leader, a government, etc.”

    Hello??? can anyone say Nazi Germany? or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics’ “Socialist Realisme?” The utter irony — and complete brilliance — of Fox’s relentless rebranding of the Democrat[IC] party in general, and of Obama in specific, as “fascist,” just boggles the mind.

    But where is the discourse about this enormous threat to the Republic? Where are any real observations in the media about the role Fox and its ilk played in last Tuesday’s shocking developments? Or Citizens United, for that matter??? Honestly, Reagan himself would turn over in his grave if he saw this ultimate evolution of his “equal time” movement to encourage all “points of view” to be aired in the media. Such a complete bastardization of the First Amendment to promote outright disinformation as a sustained platform by powerful corporate interests continues to be ignored, and Canada looks better by the hour.

    Apologies if this series of observations lacks any real analytical depth or development. But right now I’m so awestruck at the stupidity of what just occurred that I’m still mentally a bit numb. Maybe I’ll return a bit later and dive a bit deeper. There remains to be discussed the Democrat[IC] ship-jumping that ultimately fueled this disaster from the get-go. We might as well have handed the hijackers the keys to the cockpit.

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