Opinion | Susan Knopf: Your pick, not theirs | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Susan Knopf: Your pick, not theirs

Susan Knopf

“Democrats never agree on anything, that’s why they’re Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they’d be Republicans.”

Will Rogers, American humorist, 1879–1935

The Colorado Democratic Party and Democratic Senate Campaign Committee are in a bitter battle. The committee endorsed former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper for Senate, violating Colorado party rules that explicitly forbid the endorsement of any candidate in a contested primary.

It seems well-intentioned, misguided souls in the committee think this is the former Soviet Union, and they are the central party committee. They think they dictate our candidates.

The whole situation is darkly funny because New York Sen. Chuck Schumer had to drag Hickenlooper kicking and screaming into the race. Back in February on the presidential campaign trail, he told Iowans, “I’m not cut out to be a senator.” Many Coloradans agree.

A hypothetical poll taken before Hickenlooper entered the race showed him ahead. But I wouldn’t count chickens before they hatch. Coloradans are pretty smart. They’re going to figure out why Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis passed more than 400 bills in his first legislative session following Hickenlooper. In wasn’t just because he had majorities in two houses. Yeah, that helps a lot. 

It was because Polis promised and delivered Coloradans things they wanted: full-day kindergarten, the right for local communities to decide their own minimum wages, how close they want oil drilling to their schools. Those are initiatives Hickenlooper couldn’t deliver in two terms as Colorado governor. Polis has a vision of progress and integrity for all Coloradans. Hickenlooper, he’s a fracking proponent. His vision is more in the rear view mirror. 

But whoever you support, the point is you don’t want party officials in Washington, D.C., picking your candidate. And that’s what they’ve done. Hickenlooper now will have an unfair advantage — access to national donor information, structural and financial support — the other democratic contenders won’t get. But don’t count out those nine ambitious, diverse, hard-working candidates still running. 

The first time Hillary Clinton ran against Barack Obama, the Democrats picked her. Look how that turned out. Then they picked Hillary and froze out Bernie. How ’bout those WikiLeaks? The Dems have good ideas, but they need some help strategically. Americans still believe in a level playing field. Colorado Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff and state Democratic Party officials agree the committee has “put its thumb on the scale.”

The Intercept reports the committee has threatened analysts and consultants who consider working for candidates like Romanoff. If they work with Green New Deal candidates, those consultants can kiss goodbye future Washington contracts from the national party.

Romanoff said it’s made it tougher to find good people, but the “black-balling operation, it’s served as a screening tool to weed out those who would chicken out.” Romanoff is talking about challenging traditional Democrats on “Medicare for All” and the Green New Deal.

Old line Democrats are precipitating their own demise. The demographics are not in their favor. This year, millennials are projected to surpass baby boomers in the eligible voting pool, according to the Pew Research Center. The Nation reports millennials want the Green New Deal. While millennials support Green New Deal proposals strongest, these ideas have broad support in older groups, as well, according to research from The Nation. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Catherine Cortez Masto are throwing away a 2020 victory if they don’t engage millennials and aggressively address their concerns.

I think we need to show the national Democratic Party exactly what we think about their flaunting our rules and their attempts to usurp our democratic process. I have canceled all my payments to the national party. Instead, I’m investing my hard-earned dollars into the campaigns of individual candidates who champion the ideas that interest me.

State Democratic Party Chairwoman Morgan Carroll said in a statement, “The Colorado Democratic Party has a strict policy of neutrality in primaries, and we will not change that policy. There’s a lot of grassroots energy to defeat Cory Gardner, which is why so many excellent candidates have stepped up to run. At the end of the day, the people of Colorado will be the ones to decide who will run against the most vulnerable Republican senator in the country, and it will be the people of Colorado who lead us to another blue wave in 2020.”

Susan Knopf’s column “For the Record” publishes biweekly on Fridays in the Summit Daily News. Knopf lives in Silverthorne. She is a certified ski instructor and an award-winning journalist. Contact her at sdnknopf@gmail.com.

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