Partisan primary politics are never pretty.
Savvy voters and reporters know it’s often best to look the other way as candidates play extremist Twister in hopes of winning the favor of their own party’s base.
But you can’t help but gape at the agonizing contortion Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman tried yesterday in hoping to improve her chances at winning the Republican nomination for governor.
Coffman announced Monday that she would join the state attorneys general from the enviable states of Louisiana and Oklahoma in browbeating or suing somebody to make sure the Trump Administration is successful at requiring the next Census ask people whether they are U.S. citizens.
That’s gonna hurt in the morning.
Coffman, who spends most of her time fighting with Denver TV stations and statewide newspapers over whether she even has a campaign manager or a gubernatorial campaign started this bumpy race as a pleasant moderate against the likes of Tom “Get Off My Lawn” Tancredo.
Suddenly, she’s running with Confederates.
I would be hard-pressed to find just about anything most Coloradans have in common with elected officials from Oklahoma and Louisiana. These are states that punish teachers, elevate people like EPA shyster Scott Pruitt, foul their land with fracking fluid to the point it shakes buildings to the ground, torment gays and wave that stars n’ bars as proud as a hog on a hill.
And so Coffman has thrown her allegiance to likes of them and leveraged the one thing that even real Colorado conservatives agree is just dumb as dirt: census baiting.
The Trump administration announced last week it would force the 2020 Census to ask people if they are citizens.
I won’t belabor the many reasons why such information is at best, marginally useful. The Census was created to find out how many people live in the country and where, because it dictates how many representatives states and districts have in Congress, the state legislatures and a host of other numerical links to government.
It’s pretty easy to see, however, that given the current president is Donald Trump, you can imagine how such a stunt would result in millions of Americans refusing to answer their Census survey for fear of being deported, having someone they know deported or supporting those who think it’s pretty crummy to scare the hell out of people in their community by making them think they’re going to be deported.
You don’t have to be a Democratic operative to see that such a scheme cooked up by the folks who brought you Betsy DeVos, The Wall and Muslim Ban 3.2 could be seen as a way to reduce the number of congressional representatives in districts with large numbers of illegal immigrants and sympathetic Latinos — read liberals.
Given that such a hair-brained idea comes from the Trump White House, you can see they failed to overlook what could happen in Republican strongholds such as Texas, Florida and Arizona. Oops.
During every past presidency, forcing a citizenship question would have been a pretty lame idea. But given the fear and loathing Trump has inflicted on most of the country and almost everyone brown, this rises to the level of one of the dumbest things to come out of the Trump White House yet.
So why in the world would someone who wants to be governor is a royal-blue state like Colorado pull a stunt that’s not even a sure thing in places like New Orleans and Oklahoma?
Coffman says she wants to make sure we know exactly how many Mexican and Scandinavian nationals live in Colorado so we can better tell if they’re voting illegally. This despite Colorado’s own Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams and about 49 others like him assuring the country that there is no problem with illegal voting.
“It is vital that Coloradans have faith that our election laws are being followed to the letter and that every legal vote cast is counted,” Coffman said in a press release. “A lack of reliable citizenship data may dilute or distort the voices of eligible voters and deprives both the federal government and the States of necessary information.”
She doubles down on that in a follow-up announcement where she contradicts herself.
“The goal of the census is to produce as accurate a picture as possible of the makeup of our vast and diverse country so that all people that live within our borders can be appropriately represented,” Coffman said.
Exactly. So skew the Colorado Census by scaring off people from participating in it?
You get the picture.
Someone needs to tell AG Coffman she doesn’t have a prayer in Colorado with stunts like this, but she may have quite a bright political future in Oklahoma or Louisiana. Good luck with that.
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