Thursday, August 31, 2023

Boebert In Trouble with Independent Voters

Boebert and FirschBoebert and Firsch | Photos by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post

Second term congresswoman Lauren Boebert is behind in the latest polling primarily because she is losing the large block of unaffiliated voters in the Third District by 17 points. The trajectory of her political career has been a rocket ride from obscurity in 2019 into Congress and then into national fame with an anti-establishment approach.

But the ride down has been just as quick. Her well-publicized disruptive behavior at the State of the Union (March 2022) and this year’s Speaker of the House election gave her a national constituency of far-right allies but cost her support in Colorado. A Republican primary opponent in 2022 with little money received 34 percent and in November she only won by 546 votes.

The District was designed during redistricting to have an 11 point Republican advantage in registration and performance. Former President Trump won it by 8 points in 2020 and the latest poll claims he’s ahead 5 points. However, she trails Democrat Adam Frisch in fundraising and has just picked up serious primary opponent. Her unfavourability rating is 53 percent. Lauren Boebert, as of today, is losing and Trump won’t help.

Boebert by the numbers Ciruli Associates, Keating Research, Colorado Secretary of State

Boebert Reelect Becomes Less Likely
Boebert Goes Full MAGA
Boebert’s Last Term?

Republican Party after Trump – See Debate

Republican Debate, August 2023Republican Debate, August 2023
Photos (L-R) Win McNamee, Getty Images | Morry Gash, AP Photo

The Republican debate last Wednesday drew 13 million viewers, more than expected given the absence of the frontrunner. The Democrats regularly get about 10 million viewers and Republicans more. The 2015 August 6 debate with Trump got 24 million hosting Trump’s debut performance.

This debate’s intense exchanges and sharp divisions were enhanced by Trump’s absence. It was a first view of what the national party, at least the presidential wing, looks like when not dominated by Trump. Vivek Ramaswamy, Trump’s stand-in, was attacked repeatedly by Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, and Christ Christie. Trump, himself, took considerable incoming criticism from Ron DeSantis on COVID-19, Haley on spending, and Pence on the Constitution. Haley may have summed up Trump’s greatest vulnerability when she declared, “… we have to face the fact that Trump is the most disliked politician in America. We can’t win a general election that way.”

In my recent discussions in Colorado, Republicans who had voted for Trump claimed they were looking for an alternative. They mentioned Ramaswamy, Robert Kennedy Jr., No Labels. It is a sign that beneath the 50 percent plus of Republicans who claim to support Trump, many are concerned about his political toxicity and are receptive to an alternative.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

GOP Debate KOA – Ross Kaminsky

First Republican presidential primary debate on Aug. 23First Republican presidential primary debate Aug 23, 2023
Photo: PEDRO UGARTE/AFP via Getty Images

LISTEN: The Ross Kaminsky Show on KOA

I joined Ross Kaminsky’s morning KOA show for a post-GOP debate analysis.

Although the debate was a lively exchange and illuminated some Republican differences, it was difficult to see how it affected Donald Trump’s 30-point lead. Much of the debate audience and the party treats Trump as the aggrieved incumbent president. They booed at criticism of him and yelled at praise.

It is hard to beat a good arraignment and Trumps’ Georgia booking stole much of the post-debate bounce. But the event did start the nomination process and focus attention on the short timeline until on the Iowa caucus.

Some observations:

  • DeSantis had no breakout and not much attention. He was cautious and sounded boring.
  • Hutchinson and Burgum are not likely to make many more debates. Hutchinson had strong moments.
  • Haley was the best of the crowd, Pence the most lively I’ve seen him, defending the Constitution, taking on Ramaswamy and DeSantis but frequently sounding pious. Scott was not seen much.
  • Ramaswamy was the Trump stand-in. Trump’s absence made him the target of much of the ire that contestants likely would have been reluctant to toss at Trump directly.
    Although he won the audience, Haley, Pence, and Christie hit him on inexperience.
    • Don’t need a rookie, on the job training (Pence)
    • You’re like Obama (Christie)
    • Your foreign policy inexperience shows (Haley)

At 38 years old, the blows were serious but he’s more a future prospect than today. He wants to be the MAGA post-Trump favorite.

The next debate is September 27 at the Reagan Library in California. Trump likely won’t make it. Interest in it will depend on how the race evolves in the next 30 days—intense or a sleeper.

Trump Dominates Republican Party for Eight Years

Fox News’ Primetime Republican Debate Snares 24 Million ViewersFox News’ Primetime Republican Debate Snares 24 Million Viewers
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

It was August 6, 2015, that Donald Trump established his dominance of the Republican party when FOX News provided a platform for him and nine other candidates’ first debate with Bret Bier, Megyn Kelly, and Chris Wallace.

The debate opened with Kelly questioning Trump’s attitude toward women (not being politically correct, as he called it) and he was not seen as the debate winner. But his self-confidence and anti-party attitude (refused to rule out running as an independent) scored points with a base of anti-establishment activists in a party looking for something new.

It’s hard to beat a good arraignment, and the latest arrest in Georgia reinforces his victim claim. His frontrunner status was this year launched by the April New York indictment and arraignment.

Although this August’s debate was lively and it may change the positions of competitors, it doesn’t appear to have damaged Trump, who is considered the incumbent president by many Republicans. After eight years he is still the party frontrunner.

READ: Trump Became Frontrunner After NY Court Case

Monday, August 28, 2023

Japan, South Korea in Historic Summit at Camp David

South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol, left, President Joe Biden and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right, meet on Fri, Aug. 18, 2023, at Camp David.South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol, left, President Joe Biden and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right, meet on Fri, Aug. 18, 2023, at Camp David.
Photo: Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

President Biden’s first foreign policy conclave at Camp David, scene of a number of historic agreements, saw Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yook Suk Yeol overcome a longtime feud from the last century and develop a united regional partnership to address a rising China and North Korean threat.

DU’s Crossley Center’s program on Japanese Diplomacy identified the strategic pressure that pushed to end the rivalry and develop economic and military agreements to secure a free and open Indo-Pacific. North Korea’s nuclear saber rattling, Russia’s attack of Ukraine, China’s alliance with Russia and its own aggression toward Taiwan have changed the strategic dynamic in the region. Japan has moved away from its post-war pacifism to fully join the western democratic alliance and South Korea is shedding the political gridlock of the post-war colonization of the peninsula.

National security has moved political leaders and public opinion in threatened democracies accordingly.


POLITICO: At Camp David, Biden hails new era of partisanship between U.S., South Korea and Japan. between-us-south-korea-and-japan/ar-AA1fsOnY

NY TIMES: U.S.-Japan-South Korea Security Pact Likely to Deepen China’s Dismay

U.S. and Japan Diplomacy Program: Webinars Posted

The Year of the Indo-Pacific

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Boebert Reelect Becomes Less Likely

Jeff Hurd and Lauren BoebertJeff Hurd and Lauren Boebert | Photo: AP file

Lauren Boebert, the county’s most vulnerable Republican, has just suffered another damaging blow. Jeff Hurd, a Republican attorney from Mesa, the 3rd Congressional District’s largest county, just announced a primary challenge. His campaign is endorsed by Republican icon, former Senator Hank Brown, and Grand Junction’s most respected Republican leader, former President of Mesa University, Tim Foster.

Hurd’s candidacy essential signals the party establishment believes Boebert will lose the race and they are preparing to take the seat back in the 2026 election.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Another Interest Rate Hike. Depends But Possible.

Jerome Powell
 - Chair of the Federal ReservePowell suggests 'couple' more hikes coming Photo: Jonathan Ernst, Reuters

After the eleventh interest rate increases since early 2022, inflation is down but not out, the economy is up, and unemployment is low. What’s next? The predicted first half recession did not happen and is not foreseen yet. In fact, the U.S. market is in bull territory. As of end of July after a sell-off in 2022, S&P is up 17, the NASDAQ 36 percent, and even the lagging Dow gained 7 percent.

Dow Jones Industrial Average Track Record Since Great Recession

In June, a West Coast bond trader, among others, predicted no further rate hikes. Wrong. In July, the Fed raised rates by a quarter point to 5.25-5.50 percent. And although high compared to recent lows of half a point, 5 percent is more than common, and rates were 20 percent in 1980 and 8 percent in 1990. Will there be another increase in September? Depending on inflation data, another pause may be in order but with core inflation above 4.8 percent, twice the Fed goal, the presumption is another increase is still possible.

Politics is a factor; Inflation is the top economic worry voters tell pollsters. With presidential nominations and the election within sight, expect more concern about inflation this fall.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Denver Metro Economy Slows


Sales tax in the 7-county Denver metro area has dipped to 2.6 percent above last year, a significant falloff from the post-pandemic period. After a brief 2020 recession, the local economy soared with a flood of federal funding, mostly to consumers, low interest rates, and “revenge” shopping to make up for the COVID-19 shutdown.

The metro area is now dealing with a flat line of population growth and a more constrained economy.

Denver Metro Area Sales Tax Revenue Growth
RELATED: Sales Tax Revenue Growth Stalls

Friday, August 4, 2023

Chamber Scores with Panel of Top Mayors

Denver MayorsFrom left: Denver Mayor Mike Johnston, Boulder Mayor Aaron Brockett, Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman, and Colorado Springs Mayor Yemi Mobolade during the 2023 State of the City luncheon on July 27 in Denver. Photo: Courtesy of Dave Anderson at InSync Photography + Design

Congratulations to J.J. Ament and the Denver Chamber for its panel of mayors of Colorado’s largest cities to discuss top problems and goals and how to collaborate.

Mayors from Boulder Aaron Brockett, Aurora Mike Coffman, Denver Mike Johnston, and Colorado Springs Yemi Mobolade.

READ: Colorado's big-city mayors confront housing, homelessness

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Netanyahu Calls the Vote

Netanyahu at a plenum session in the Knesset in JerusalemNetanyahu at a plenum session in the Knesset in Jerusalem
Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

After more than four months, Israel is no closer to resolving the bitter debate over its future as a secular, democratic state than it was on March 26 when I was ending a visit and demonstrators with unions closed the Ben Gurion Airport.

On that day, Prime Minister Netanyahu decided to pause the demand for judicial reform and see if a compromise was possible. Most observers were skeptical. The massive demonstrations continued and his 64 vote Kensset majority made clear they weren’t giving in on the goal of reducing the independent supreme court’s power. Netanyahu called for the vote on July 24. He described it a “minor correction” to our “activist court” and predicted the conflict would blow over.

If the government falls and a new election is called, there will finally be an issue for the country to decide besides Benjamin Netanyahu’s career and credibility.

RELATED: Israel – Flight Out of Ben Gurion Airport as Netanyahu Loses Control

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Extreme Weather Focuses Attention on Colorado Water

Rueter-Hess ReservoirRueter-Hess Reservoir

Colorado just left a multi-year drought to experience massive winter snow and fierce spring rainstorms. It is now joining much of the country for a scorching summer. The extreme variability in weather is creating a perception of unrelenting natural disasters and reinforcing the need to save and protect Colorado’s water. Conservation and storage are the twin strategies that are dominating the current policy discussions. Fortunately, Colorado water providers have been busy developing a series of major Front Range projects that primarily build off-stream storage, use existing reservoirs or develop water sharing reuse systems.

Colorado Water Projects

Colorado is the source of much of the Colorado River flow. The drought and water shortage has started a contentious period for the seven states, Mexico, and tribes that depend on the River. Presently, water professions with a sense of compromise are dominating the negotiations, but climate and politics make it difficult to satisfy the historic rights and uses in the new conditions.

The attention on water has increased the statewide dialogue and collaboration on water saving and storage. Even the Western Slope, which has been reluctant to support new projects due to concern about the Front Range growth and water diversion, is realizing the real competition is downstream and the challenging variable weather.

RELATED: Protecting Colorado’s Water

Denver Voters Select the Progressive Candidate for Mayor – Anticipated

Mike Johnston sworn in as Denver mayor - Colorado NewslineMike Johnston sworn in as Denver mayor - Colorado Newsline

The contour of the final result in the June 6 mayor’s election was set in the April 4 first round election with a four-point spread between front runner Mike Johnston and runner up Kelly Brough. It was reinforced in the first and only reported poll in the runoff showing a five-point advantage for Johnston. The early results and poll showed that the most liberal voters were trending to Johnston and more moderate and conservatives to Brough, but in a city that voted 80% for Joe Biden, and in 2022 by more than 50 points for the entire top of the Democratic ticket, Brough was in trouble at the start.

Denver Mayoral Runoff 2023

Although both candidates had some liberal and conservative endorsers and donors, the two most noteworthy, well identified liberals (previous candidates), Leslie Herod and Lisa Calderon, supported Johnston. Calderon, who came in a close third, was highest profile “progressive” in the race. The Brough endorsement that sent the strongest conservative message was from the police union. He was endorsed by the more liberal Denver Post and she by the conservative Denver Gazette.

Both were well funded. Brough was expected to get the city’s local developers and business contributions and she got most of them. Johnston’s side collected more in total contributions, largely from out-of-state wealthy friends and liberal interests. But his surfeit of money did not win the race; it may have added points to the total, but the direction and advantage of Johnston was in place early.

Leadership Survey
A leadership survey conducted the week before the election anticipated the results. Out of 16 business, media, political and non-profit leaders, a majority preferred Brough, but only a quarter thought she would win. Most believed both could do the job well enough and they were relieved the first election avoided extremes. They believed Denver was ready for a reboot and knew progressive voters held the advantage. Their biggest concern the last week was possible hard left tilt in the new city council.

Denver Mayor Race Leadership Preferences and Winner
Mayor’s Race Started Slow and Close. Ends Negative and with Little Passion
Denver Mayor Race Starts Slow

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

When Colorado Went Major League

Coors Field Stadium in DenverCoors Field Stadium, Denver, CO. Photo: Jacqueline Poggi

Kyle Dyer, formerly of 9KUSA, with her firm Kyle Dyer Storytelling, produced a first-rate documentary on Denver and Colorado’s long struggle to win a major league baseball franchise – the Colorado Rockies. It features the full array of senior political and business leaders of the 1980s and ‘90s, many of whom are still active. In sparkling interviews, former Governor Roy Romer (’93) described the insider decision making while former mayor and still active politician Federico Pena reminds people of the vision of his first administration in 1983. It beautifully recounts the year of ball, strikes, outs and home runs that won Denver the team.

A pivotal moment in the baseball drama was the realization that old Bear stadium was not going to work for a new Rockies team. How to fund it, where to put it, and what it should look like were all questions to be determined. Fortunately for the future Rockies, Denver metro area voters stepped up and voted on a one-tenth of cent sales tax for cultural facilities in dire need of funding in 1988. The zoo, natural history, art museum, and dozens of other venues shared in the $14 million raised by a 75 percent vote in favor.

Baseball advocates went to work to get a similar tax on the ballot in 1990. It passed in enough counties to become the main funding source (78%) for not only the Rockies, but also later a new Bronco stadium.