It’s been a few days now since Election Day and ballots continued to be counted here in Colorado. The Democrats look to hold the Colorado House of Representatives by one seat. They had a nine seat majority last session and now barely hold on to power. And the Colorado Senate is still up in the air with ballots still being counted in Adams County. A very close and contentious 2014 Election on both the local and national levels. But as the expression goes, the local is global. The political trends that we see this election year on the local level bode as bellwethers for the nationwide political trends.
Obviously, it was not a good year for the Democrats. Yet, none of it was unexpected. The “Sixth Year Itch” prevailed in that the President’s party, the Democrats, were voted out of office in record amounts. The Senate flipped from being Democrat controlled, with Harry Reid as Majority Leader, to Republican control, with Mitch McConnell as presumed new Senate Majority Leader. The House of Representatives also picked up several seats. The total numbers: GOP picks up at least 7 seats in the Senate, and at least 14 seats in the House, give or take a few if the GOP takes a few additional races that continue to be up in the air while recounts, runoffs, and remaining ballots are counted.
Obviously, the main narrative in the media is that the GOP trounced the Dems. And they did. I will give them that. And they had an extremely savvy strategy, especially in the Cory Gardner/Mark Udall race. I believe that Gardner benefited from the Democrats war-on-women central focus setting a vulnerable Mark Udall up for failure. This is what angers me. That the Democrats bungled this one and were complacent about the focus on this issue. As a feminist, I agree that the GOP’s policies are not women-friendly. The legislation coming out of D.C. is not women-friendly. They can’t even pass an Equal Pay Act in D.C. Then there’s the terrible decision made by the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby Case. Between those and the Personhood legislation on state and national levels coming up every election cycle, and the “Forcible Rape” terminology in legislation, how are women supposed to believe that the GOP works for their interests at all? So the Democrats are correct to pursue this strategy. But it was not in their political interest to make it the center of Mark Udall’s campaign. Voters have a lot of anxiety right now about a lot of serious issues, and they have no confidence in Washington D.C. to address these issues. People are angry, and also checked out. And a wonderful Senator, one of the GOOD guys, Mark Udall pays the price. And opportunist and liar Cory Gardner is now a Senator.
The Colorado Independent has a great piece by writer Mike Littwin, in which he sums up the Colorado 2014 midterms in a nutshell stating: “The strangest thing is that Hickenlooper – who has spent so much time at the center of a gun-laws, sheriffs-pandering storm — is the Democrat who survives, and Udall, whose career has been basically storm-free, is the one who gets toppled.”
Such is the strange world of politics, where nothing is fair and anything can happen.