Colorado Politics' news columnists have been on the case of Tuesday's election for months, breaking down the issues, personalities and what lies ahead.

Read what Joey Bunch, Ernest Luning, Lynn Bartels and Eric Sondermann have to say and see if you agree. If you're not careful, you might learn something.

Joey Bunch's Insights:

Where does our nation go from here, Colorado? "I have some ideas about what's in front of us, based on what history, smart people and consistent polling tell me, in that order. Donald Trump needs his 2016 dominoes to fall again, effectively run the table, and I don't see it. U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner goes down with the good ship and crew of the S.S. Trump."

The campaign issues of 2020 rested under a cult of personality: "The Colorado ballot this year is about four things and four things only: Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Cory Gardner and John Hickenlooper."

The clock has run out on Trump and Gardner in Colorado: "Every second Republicans spend talking about Hunter Biden is less time they have to make the case to keep running the country."

Energy still lights up elections near and far: "I don't think we can figure out where we're going until we address energy and the planet as a single question but with a compromise that works for both sides."

National popular vote keeps Colorado's partisan mojo in play: "Coloradans face one question with two choices on Nov. 3. Do we give our votes to California, or do we hand them over to Alabama?"

Debates head the way of the bumper sticker, and Colorado is ahead of its time: "After last week’s debate, and two now in Colorado's U.S. Senate race, we’re entertained enough. Here you have a golden opportunity to educate the voters, but they increasingly make voters want to take a shower afterward."

Colorado’s paid leave vote sums up the cost of compassion: "The big dogs of the Colorado business landscape are howling, and not in a good way."

Colorado's middle ground on abortion is a political tar pit: "The problem comes in its absolutism, but there's plenty of that to go around in politics these days."

Democracy, money and trickery make an odd brew: "What you think is fair and what Washington thinks is fair are probably two different things. In a democracy you could do something about that. In reality all you can do is cast a ballot on Nov. 3 and complain a lot, not necessarily in that order."

Colorado Republicans face existential questions between now and November: "I had a candid chat with a friend of mine who is a notable Republican pollster recently. He was worried, he confided."

Colorado campaigns get ready to rumble as eyes turn to November: "Campaigns cynically controlled their message and candidates long before the last six months ... Until it stops working, you can expect to see fewer of the people who want to represent you than ever, because their campaigns are terrified of what they might say."

 The World Wide Web offers a shadow of Denver’s DNC: "Sitting at my computer at home this week was nothing like the parking lot of Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium 12 years ago this summer."

Proponents say wolves are lambs in wolves’ clothing: "This November Coloradans will decide a simple question on a complicated issue. Things have changed quite a lot since they were hunted into extinction in Colorado, like most places, 80 years ago."

Lauren Boebert’s improbable buzz lifts Western Colorado politics: "Lauren Boebert’s primary campaign was kind of like the myth about a bumble bee: It wasn't built to fly."

Cory Gardner expends election-year capital on suicide prevention: "You hear of these things that are so obvious and right, that you don’t know how anybody could be against it. Enter politics."

Colorado voters of color lead the way to D.C.: "Soon after she announced she was running for president, Hillary Clinton met with 350 supporters at La Rumba night club in Denver on a hot summer night in 2015."

Hick faces opening bell of the political fight of his life: "The Democrats have taken to calling the incumbent 'No Comment Cory' for his lack of willingness to discuss the Republican president's antics and scandals. Hick, so far, has been unwilling to talk much about anything."

The sure thing has seemed less so for Colorado Democrats: "Hickenlooper's people say the Republicans and incumbent Cory Gardner, the man he would have a good shot at unseating in November, are behind his late-season troubles with the spotlight and messaging.

Trump holsters his moonshot offer in Colorado Springs: "The life of Donald Trump is nothing if not a testament to the art of the deal. The deal on the table is the United States Space Command. Colorado will have to wait longer."

Colorado's Super Tuesday was hardly heroic: "Super Tuesday was historic and a little confusing. Every election is. Was it super? Meh. By Tuesday there weren’t any surprises in Colorado. "

The less Hick says, the better his chances: "You're giving people the wrong idea at an unfortunate time with some of the things you're saying and doing, like ditching a subpoena and flubbing your take on race at a tense time in our political conversation."

Is Melania Trump’s birthday worth dying for? Some think the freedom to celebrate it is: "If you're going, wear a mask. Patrick Henry said 'give me liberty or give me death.' It doesn't have to be both. It's also self-defeating to say we can responsibly reopen the economy while acting irresponsibly."

Ernest Luning's Trail Mix: 

Test your election savvy with 20 questions for 2020: As the longest election season in living memory nears the finish line, Ernest Luning offers readers a quiz about some of the quirkier aspects and more of the political ups and downs experienced by candidates, campaigns and Coloradans.

 Gardner leans on another Dem in latest ad: "In its closing weeks, Colorado's grueling U.S. Senate race between Cory Gardner, the Republican incumbent, and John Hickenlooper, his Democratic challenger, witnessed a surprise guest appearance by a politician in an unexpected role — President John F. Kennedy, stumping alongside Gardner in a TV commercial."

Colorado's likely to be free of the waiting game on election night: "While Colorado has earned its reputation as a purple state at the federal level over the decades — electing Republicans to the Senate eight times and Democrats eight times since 1968 — its voters tend to deliver a decisive win in top-ticket, statewide races."

There's a little less magic in the 'October Surprise': "The election standby is as old as voting, though the ploy wasn’t officially given a name until 1980, when William Casey, Ronald Reagan’s campaign manager, coined the phrase to warn pundits that he suspected Jimmy Carter was planning to stage a last-minute resolution of the Iranian hostage crisis."

Virtual fundraisers open a whole new world of politicking: "For months, as candidates and causes have felt their way through an election year like no other, the virtual events have become ubiquitous, with checkerboarded Zoom conferences replacing ballrooms filled with dressed-up donors making cracks about rubber chicken."

This time, Colorado just ain't got that swing: "While both the Trump and Biden campaigns say Colorado is crucial to their paths to the White House, neither is treating the state as the battleground it has been for the previous three cycles, when all eyes were on Colorado’s voters, and the presidential candidates, their running mates and family members were fixtures in the state’s landscape."

The parallels between 2014 and 2020 abound: "The year was 2014, and it was the last time Republican Cory Gardner and Democrat John Hickenlooper — both undefeated after several runs for office — faced Colorado voters."

 The debate over debates rages on in US Senate race: "It’s no secret that the Hickenlooper campaign’s strategy is to delay any debates until October, when Coloradans will have mostly made up their minds or will already be returning mail ballots, while Gardner’s strategy is to debate as early and as often as possible."

Colorado lost the limelight at this year's conventions: "If Coloradans needed any more proof of the proposition that the state’s nine electoral votes aren’t up for grabs in this year’s presidential election, the prime time lineup at the two major parties’ national conventions could provide it."

The memory of Beau Biden permeates Democrats' run for the White House: "Few figures loom over the events at this year's Democratic National Convention — and the race for the White House that's about to hit high gear — as much as Beau Biden, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's late son, who died of an aggressive form of brain cancer five years ago at age 46."

"The morning of Aug. 8, Lakewood attorney Mario Nicolais studied a pair of complaints filed the night before in Wisconsin, arguing that paperwork filed by Kanye West’s presidential campaign was so riddled with problems, including fraudulent entries and signatures from voters who appeared to have been hoodwinked into adding their names."

A 'take no prisoners' Republican joins the Resistance: "In late February, Jonathan Lockwood was backstage at President Donald Trump’s rally in Colorado Springs, mingling with some of the prominent Republicans he’d worked with for nearly a decade to come up with the most vivid ways to get out the party’s messages."

What's in a letter? A lot, when it's Q: "Lauren Boebert, the Republican who defeated U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District primary on June 30, wants to run to be the conservative AOC, referencing liberal firebrand U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York, but Democrats hope voters associate her with another political initial."

Political ads draw outrage for trading in trauma: "Since 2010, when U.S. Supreme Court rulings opened the floodgates to virtually unlimited outside spending in federal elections, there’s a good chance at least one independent expenditure group will run an attack ad that provokes outrage, leading to calls for the candidate benefiting from the ad to denounce it."

Brace yourself: Attack ads are already muddying up the Senate race: "It usually isn't until closer to Labor Day that the onslaught of negative ads start to inundate viewers. This year, however, they started in June, in the run-up to the Democrats' primary between Hickenlooper and former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, and they show no sign of letting up."

 Turns out Lauren Boebert had that rare 'romentum': "In the final days before the vote was counted in Colorado’s Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Cory Gardner, former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff was hoping for an upset."

Ads draw flak when attacks double back: "Last week, as Colorado voters were busy returning ballots for the June primary, Gov. Jared Polis let it be known that he wasn't happy with a TV ad released by a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Cory Gardner."

Cataloging the unforced errors in campaign ads: As campaign ad season gets underway, Luning reflects on the first ad "bloop" in the Senate race and recalls previous whoppers that knocked a campaign off the mark, if only for a day or two. Most involved mountains.

 Women in Colorado politics still endure the ultimate glass ceiling: No woman from either party has won a race for senator, governor or Denver mayor. "No one is declaring that it's a proud tradition, though it is an enduring one."

 Dairy, beef industries asked Colorado if butter was better in ballot battle: "The last time Colorado voters faced a vote to reject a law, as they will this fall with the National Popular Vote question, was 1932, when they weighed in on a law to impose an excise tax on margarine, known at the time as 'oleomargarine,' to level the playing field between it and butter."

For Republicans, Colorado is Trump country, but it wasn't always: "More than three years after Trump’s last campaign visit to the state, it’s hard to remember that Colorado Republicans were ever anything but a near monolith of Trump support."

John Hickenlooper, Ken Buck epitomized their parties this decade: "As the second decade of the new century draws to a close and Coloradans brace themselves for the advent of the Roaring Twenties, it’s instructive to consider the personalities who have shaped the state’s politics in the last stretch."

Political pros turn their prognostication to 2020: "The Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Denver sponsored a bipartisan group of political pros who offered advice to some candidates — and predicted the premature demise of others."

Lynn Bartels' On Politics:

Tumbling through the last spins of the election cycle: "Cable TV brought the advent of the 24-hour news cycle and with it the permanent campaign. But this particular run seems awfully long, probably because we’ve been trapped in our homes for months dealing with fears of coronavirus."

September confessions of a political junkie: "I’m a political junkie but even I can barely stand to open my e-mail or text messages these days."

Take the time to learn about ballot issues: "Ballot measures don’t have a prominent place on the ballot and often are overlooked by voters, but the collection of amendments and propositions can play an outsized role in Colorado’s future."

It’s the most important election ever — again: "I’ve covered many of the most important elections of our lifetimes. Here’s a look back at some Colorado contests."

Mail ballots knock down the ‘rigged’ straw man: "Donald Trump was so certain he was going to lose the 2016 presidential race he claimed the election was rigged, but his paranoia this time around is frightening even fellow Republicans."

The Dem stars that just keep rising: "A year ago, when the Colorado Democratic Party handed out awards at its annual Obama dinner, I had an issue with one of the award winners: Secretary of State Jena Griswold."

Clerks keep the business of government rolling: "Nurses, doctors, grocery store checkers, postal workers, truck drivers. The accolades continue for these professions during the coronavirus crisis. Add this profession to that list: your county clerk and recorder."

In political coverage, it’s all about the people: "The fun part of covering politics, a beat that often involves long hours, way too many meetings and dust-ups with those who represent us, is getting to know the people involved."

In US Senate race, a clarion call for unity: "Hats off to the Democratic Party of Denver for hosting Senate forums throughout the city. By the way, do not say 'debate'; you will immediately and vigorously be corrected."

Eric Sondermann's Down the Middle:

After Tuesday, let the healing begin: "This election will clear up much, starting with who will lead the executive and legislative branches of government for the coming years. But it will not clear the air. Or the animosity. Or the tribalism. Or the endless media division. Or the existential fear that the amorphous 'they' on the other side are out to fundamentally change the nature of the country."

How to watch the election returns like a pro: "For those anticipating election night (and who among readers of this column is not), let me recommend a television and a laptop, a comfortable chair and an extra few shots of caffeine. You'll need them, along with a healthy dose of patience accompanied by my insight on what to look for and what to tune out."

America needs to de-stress: "Put bluntly, our political process has become abnormal. What America calls for ... is a restoration of something approaching normal political debate."

Notes on the debate: Closer to normal, but nowhere near enough: "Twenty-four hours after the debate and but 11 days until the counting of ballots, let’s take stock by looking back to the Thursday night festivities and ahead to where this all stands."

Gardner should have known better: "Technically, it is still a couple of weeks early to write Cory Gardner’s political obituary. But you know that such articles are being prepared in newsrooms across the state and beyond."

Eric Sondermann: "All the tea leaves point to a harsh and conclusive rejection of Donald Trump. In this most volatile year, with a highly volatile president front and center, we have witnessed a remarkable degree of political stability."

Donald Trump is as good as fired: "All the tea leaves point to a harsh and conclusive rejection of Donald Trump. In this most volatile year, with a highly volatile president front and center, we have witnessed a remarkable degree of political stability."

The day politics bottomed out: "Simply put, in endless years of political engagement and observation and commentary, I have never witnessed anything close to what we just experienced."

An October surprise in September: "If it is possible to further escalate the election noise, intensity and stakes, the timing of this Supreme Court vacancy is just the ingredient. Any vacancy tends to have that effect these days; this one doubly so against the backdrop of a similar 2016 vacancy and given Ginsburg’s status as a progressive icon."

 A Blue Book worthy of CliffsNotes: "The Blue Book is a useful tool. (Pro tip: You will recognize it by the blue cover.) But with greater candor, and no pretense of strict objectivity, let me offer my own summary, far more cryptic and hopefully more real."

Hick trades authenticity for lethargy: "The popular former governor entered the Democratic contest for Senate and crushed his primary opponent. So why does it feel like his campaign is in disarray?"

A stale Trump without a ripe target: "In politics, as in sports, you are either on offense or you are playing defense. Look at the battleground map of where this presidential race is now being contested."

A partisan divide fractures CD-3:  "Frank Evans, Ray Kogovsek and Mike Strang are turning in their graves. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Scott McInnis and John Salazar have their heads spinning."

Biden's VP? Rice — Condoleezza Rice: "This would provide the country with a desperately-sought four-year period of adult supervision to be then followed by open contests through which both parties can choose their direction and presumably elevate a newer generation."

The GOP's AOC — and other musings: "What happened to the political doldrums of summer? These are supposed to be months of vacation travel, family picnics, outdoor concerts and evenings at the ballpark — quaint notions, all. A time for politics to recede just a bit in advance of the Labor Day ramp-up."

Time for the hot seat, Cory and Hick:  "Let’s play 20 questions. You, informed reader, should insist that both candidates answer all of these and others over the course of the next four months."

Electoral vote end-run: still stupid: "The year was 2004. Republican consultant Katy Atkinson and I led a campaign to defeat Amendment 36, an initiative to award Colorado’s Electoral College votes proportionally instead of giving all to the presidential candidate carrying the state."

Our polarized politics shuns nuance: "As society has grown more complicated, too many among us have become ever more simple-minded."

Who in the GOP will take on Trump?: "Where are today’s Republicans of conscience, principle and courage?"

Between a Hick and a hard place: "Hickenlooper might have lost some of his abundant supply of pixie dust. His non-showing in the presidential field revealed him to be a quite ordinary politician. But if nothing else, the coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated that his store of political luck has not run dry. What better excuse to run a highly sheltered campaign than a requirement to stay sheltered?"

Trump is a symptom of another virus, one that has polarized society: "The Trump presidency is the long-incubated culmination of a political virus that has damaged unity, just when we needed it most."

Biden's advantage: He's not Trump: "Seldom has there been such a sudden reversal of political fortune."

Is it time to send a scientist to the Senate?: "Hippocrates, not a bad source at the moment, is thought to have originated the phrase, 'Drastic times call for drastic measures.' His reference was to disease and extreme cures. But, perhaps, a similar curative might be the prescription for an ailing, diseased political system."

 The party of diversity is left with two pasty, white septuagenarians: "So it goes. A party once notable for 'The New Deal' and 'The New Frontier' — and whose only three presidents in the last half-century ranged from the mid-40s to the low-50s upon taking office — now features Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. One would be 78 come inauguration day; the other 79."

Colorado's Dem convention delegates must run a slalom course of quotas:  "If you’re a glutton for punishment, like math as much as Andrew Yang and fancy yourself a bit of a contortionist to top it off, then check out the Colorado Democratic Party’s 'Delegate Selection Plan for the 2020 Democratic National Convention.' The plan requires a full 54 pages. That’s almost one page per delegate."

Colorado didn’t get the Super Tuesday memo, but the message was clear: "What had looked to be a Democratic contest between Bernie Sanders on the hard-progressive end and a blob of so-called centrists nipping at each other’s heels dramatically sorted itself out and took on a new shape. Joe Biden, once a presumptive front-runner, then given up for dead, suddenly stepped back into the leading role."

Trump vs. Sanders? Heaven help the majority in the middle: "The president and the Vermont senator are very different characters. Their onerousness takes vastly different forms, though both galling."

Dems' sprint to the White House turns into a marathon: "Think on this: Biden’s fourth-place showing two weeks ago in Iowa was his best finish to date in any caucus or primary in any of the three presidential campaigns he has waged."

 

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