That failure may well bring the party to its knees in November, which already promises to be a difficult year due to the dramatic decline of the value of the national Democratic brand. Key election forecasting statistics, such as right direction, wrong track, presidential approval and trust in government, shows the incumbent party in trouble.
Having the party in a major fight could well end the eight-year run of success Colorado Democrats have achieved. As reported in the Colorado Observer, May 16, 2014, Valerie Richardson:
“It’s clear that it’s going to be a huge controversial ballot initiative, with Democrats on both sides. It’s very high profile, and again, it will be the first time we’ve had that kind of division in the party for a very long time,” said Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli.The losers if Democrats can’t gain control of the issue:
State Senate – One vote away from Republican control.
State House – Three seats would have to switch, but overreach in 2013 produced little to brag about in 2014.Governor Hickenlooper – Has a 5 to 10 point lead, but can ill-afford to look ineffectual and defensive. He risks losing environmental votes.
Senator Udall – Unlikely to be able to hide behind “it’s a state issue.” Voters don’t tend to care about the state vs. federal distinction. Is gas and oil exploration an economic boom or a bust; is fracking environmentally manageable or a disaster?
Statewide Offices – Democrats running for Attorney General, Treasurer and Secretary of State tend to win or lose on the national and state trends. A divided, quarrelsome party is a loser for them.
A party that cannot govern its own House is less likely to be asked to govern the state.