1. Phony birth control arguments have limits:
Democrats have long relied on the heretofore effective lie that Republicans want to steal the pill right out of women’s purses. In the recall races, Democrats dug right back into that tired, old playbook, running endless streams of ads accusing the Republican candidates of wanting to steal the pill and one ad (below) that claimed they “would allow police to investigate miscarriages.”
But they overplayed their hand, expecting that their phony birth control arguments would suffice. Women, whether Democrat or Republican, just weren’t buying it anymore.
2. Conservatives win when conservatives fight. For too long, conservatives have watched as liberals went scorched earth on them without responding in kind. Romney learned this lesson especially, going silent over the summer of 2012 while the Obama-machine tore his record to shreds.
Not this time around.
Ads, like this one from Free Colorado were vicious, and effective.
It was one of the most vicious that’s been aired in a state full of vicious ads. Along with a late push by the NRA, it was the only thing on the airwaves.
Conservatives win when they fight hard.
3. Conservatives got (ground) game. Conservative groups have been working the door-to-door for months. They knew where their votes were, and they turned them out. Beginning in June, Americans for Prosperity Colorado started pounding the pavement and mobilizing voters with a robust effort not generally seen on the right in Colorado.
They were joined by other conservative groups and the astounding operation put together by the grassroots organizers of the two recalls.
Despite Republicans only representing 26% of the district in voter registration, they ended up comprising nearly 39% of the vote.
On election day, Democrats bragged to The Denver Post that they had 350 “volunteers” and would hit 23,000 doors on Election Day. It was no match for the right.
4. Arrogance kills. As politicians, Giron and Morse were detached and arrogant. People saw that.
Morse seemed to almost revel in his sneering attacks on his opposition, bragging on MSNBC that he told his caucus to ignore their constituents and telling local station KRDO that “an awful lot” of his opposition were “vile and disgusting.”
Lynn Bartels reported that Giron was seen as “arrogant and out of touch” by her critics, including the head of the local AFSCME that signed her recall petition.
Out of touch led to them being thrown out of office.
5. Don’t pick fights with those that buy ink with the barrel. ProgressNow and Democratic backers of Morse and Giron savaged the Pueblo Chieftain and the Colorado Springs Gazette, and it showed. The Gazette editorial page skewered Morse ruthlessly, and the Chieftain responded in kind to Giron.
It’s one thing for media critics to slam the press for stories, but another to launch a coordinated attack on the very press outlets that are responsible for most of the local coverage on the race you’re trying to influence.
In this case, the progressive smear of the Chieftain and Gazette backfired, big time.
6. The Big Dog ain’t so big. The Clinton robodial backfired. As The Colorado Observer noted today, “In what could be characterized as a microcosm of their underfunded effort, pro-recall forces recycled that Clinton call — using it as a tool to mobilize their own voters in the final hours of the campaign.”
Had Democrats listened to Clinton’s advice on guns in the first place, they probably would never have ended up in the recalls.
But TCO‘s broader point is important. The strengths of the Morse and Giron defense efforts – their 7-1 money advantage and ability to rope every member of the national liberal cabal into their campaign – was ultimately used against them. Much as Goliath’s size brought about his downfall, the recalls supposed greatest strengths became their most exploitable weaknesses.
7. Is Pueblo to Democrats what JeffCo was to Republicans? Democrats should be concerned long term about what happened in Deep Blue Pueblo last night. If you are a legislator aspiring to be Governor or US Senator, or if you are currently the Governor or a US Senator, it is time to start fretting about your next election stop in Pueblo.
Pueblo is a major source of raw votes for Democrats. Without it, Democrats like Hick and Udall are going to have problems. And so will all the wanna be statewide candidates who are now legislators who voted for it.