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Victory, and a warning, for Democrats
Gov. Bill Ritter (D) and Sen. Ken Salazar (D) both spoke at Denver's Sheraton ballroom on Tuesday night, Nov. 4, as a large crowd of Democrats gathered to celebrate victories state-wide.
Photo by Tom Boyd 

Victory, and a warning, for Democrats

By Tom Boyd

November 5, 2008 —  The blue wave dreaded by Republicans swept through Colorado on Tuesday, but don’t call our state “blue” just yet.

To put a twist on a phrase from President Elect Barack Obama, our state is not a collection of red counties and blue counties, but rather a collection of counties which, united, are Colorado.

Victories across the board have empowered Democrats in a sweep as far-reaching as anything seen in Colorado since the post-Watergate Democratic sweep of 1974.

But Colorado is still a very independent state, where unaffiliated voters now make up the largest bloc of the electorate.

Of the state’s 2.8 million voters, 34.19 percent are unaffiliated, 34.14 percent are Republican and 31.2 percent are Democrats.

In what may be the best post-election article in the state, M.E. Sprengelmeyer of The Rocky Mountain News examines the effect of Colorado’s rugged, individualistic streak.

“After this election,” Sprengelmeyer writes, “political observers will try to paint Colorful Colorado with a broad brush again. But they might as well ponder the ever-changing shades of the Aspen trees.”

Sprengelmeyer goes on to analyze the state of Colorado politics, where political pundits are already beginning to prepare for the 2010 elections. Senator Ken Salazar (D) and Governor Bill Ritter (D) will be on the ballot, and could suffer from a backlash if national Democrats fail to meet the high standards of Colorado’s unaffiliated voters.

The Democrats, in particular those in Congress, seem doomed to fail.

A series of Gordian knots tie America to the policies of the preceding eight years. No matter how much they wish to emulate Alexander, who slashed the Gordian knot to ribbons with his sword, Democrats will be better off working through the tedious, delicate task of untying our county from the policies, treaties, and promises which lash us to the past.

The process must be necessarily slow, and American’s don’t like slow movement.

Some of these issues might be resolved by the time Obama is up for re-election, and Colorado’s unaffiliated voters may lean his way again. More likely, however, they will be unsatisfied with the progress made in the ticky-tacky, ear-mark-laden world of the Senate and House of Representatives.

Unless Democrats can put aside their pet projects and personal rivalries, Ken Salazar may face retribution by way of evening the score. In the same way Colorado voters threw the Republican bums out of office, voters next time around may veer away from any ballot check-box with a (D) near the name. Even Governor Ritter may face difficulties.

So, to mangle yet another great phrase, this one from Stan Lee: With great victories come great responsibilities.

The Dems have won.

Now they must act, or suffer the consequences.



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