As I’m writing late Tuesday night, the Lauren Boebert-Adam Frisch race is still too close to call, but with Frisch leading and the Boebert people shaking in their — just guessing — suddenly too-tight boots.
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Is there anything more that needs to be said? (OK, yes. I’ve got a whole column yet to write, but you know what I mean.)
What I mean is, it’s time to drop the whole purple-Colorado thing, call it for the relic that it is, and just admit that Colorado is now a bright blue state. The only purple left is the purple mountain majesties.
There’s no point in pulling out the thesaurus to find more words for how brutal, how demoralizing, how devastating the night was for Colorado Republicans. Sure, it was a thumping. Yes, it was a shellacking. OK, let’s just call it a bloodbath. It was all of that and more.
Just try to imagine if Boebert, the Trumpiest of Trumpists, with her finger never far from either the rhetorical or literal trigger, were to lose. Where would we go if we suddenly found ourselves in desperate need of a dose of crazy?
I don’t know where Republicans go next. They’ve tried Trumpists. They’ve tried semi-moderates. They kept telling us — and themselves — that this would finally be a breakthrough year.
And yet. I’m old enough to remember when straight-faced Republicans were talking about winning the state Senate. As I write, it looks like Democrats may walk away with a historic margin. Democrats swept the statewide races, which is now becoming a habit. It was the expected easy win for Gov. Jared Polis. It was an easy win, despite what we kept hearing, for Sen. Michael Bennet.
Nationally, it looks like the big red wave never quite developed. Republicans will probably win the U.S. House, but not with the expected big margin. It won’t be 30 seats. It might be three.
And the Senate, as I’m watching John King and Steve Kornacki count the votes, is still a tossup. But Democrats made large strides. John Fetterman, with his hoodie and his stroke-affected speech, won in Pennsylvania in a race they told us would take days to call. And Georgia’s race may, once again, go to a runoff election, with control of the Senate possibly at stake.
As it turns out, there may have been issues that counted other than inflation. As it turns out, the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade may have mattered. As it turns out, maybe you shouldn’t make jokes about an assault on Nancy Pelosi’s husband. As it turns out, Joe Biden, with his terrible approval ratings, may have made the right choice when he emphasized the MAGA threat to American democracy.
It’s early — and it will be a while before we know all the winners and losers — but we can make some guesses. Like, maybe Donald Trump is not quite the kingmaker he likes to think he is. In fact, we now have to ask: If it turns out that Ron DeSantis is the big GOP winner of the night — and I say that with no joy — where does that leave Trump and his presidential bid in 2024?
According to Twitter, J.D. Vance, who was a Trump favorite, won his Senate race in Ohio and thanked 36 separate people, none of them named Trump, whose happiest moment was apparently when Bennet’s victory over Republican Joe O’Dea was announced. From Trump: “Joe O’Dea lost BIG! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!” Yes, Trump was excited to see a Republican who’s not an election denier get defeated, even if it costs Republicans the Senate.
In Colorado, where races in the 3rd and 8th Congressional Districts are still outstanding, it’s unquestionably a blue tsunami. As everyone predicted, Polis crushed Heidi Ganahl, who can close the book on furries — now and, let’s hope, forever. Did she really think that the path to victory in Colorado went through election deniers and litter boxes?
And then there was O’Dea, the non-election-denying candidate for Senate, the not-as-bad-as-most-Republicans-on-abortion candidate, Mitch McConnell’s ideal candidate, who gets hammered by Bennet.
If you know the history, Bennet has won all his races since being appointed as a senator in 2009. But he wins them by often smallish margins over marginal opponents and, when it’s a midterm race, he typically holds his breath until all the votes are counted. Not this time. If Bennet serves all six years, he’ll be the longest-serving senator in state history since they started electing senators by popular vote.
If you’re old enough, as I am, you can remember back around the turn of the 21st century when it looked like then-deep-red Colorado would be Republican forever. What changed? You can start with the Latino vote, I guess. A lot of Californians moved to Colorado. A lot of college-educated people moved to Colorado. Young people moved to Colorado. And the Denver suburbs moved blue.
And now Colorado Republicans have to be wondering what their next move could possibly be.
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