Whether or not self-described socialist Bernie Sanders can win the Democratic nomination for president is debatable, but his presence in the presidential primary has awoken something that liberals would probably have preferred remain dormant within its ranks. That is – the socialist streak that is housed in the Democratic Party. Not only is Bernie causing chaos for Hillary Clinton, but also for Democratic candidates throughout the country, and, especially, in Colorado.
There is a Green Party candidate to siphon votes off of Bennet, but there are two actual Democratic primary challengers for sitting Democratic Members of the House of Representatives here in Colorado – Reps. Diana Degette and Ed Perlmutter. Both challengers are running to the left (if that is at all possible) of the sitting members – and both appear to be Bernie Sanders supporters.
Chuck Norris (no, not that one) is running as a Democrat in Colorado’s First Congressional District against Degette using the hashtag, #itsamovement. He is refusing to take political action money (PAC) and one of his big issues is the Citizens United ruling. He also is a rabid environmentalist and president of the Colorado Groundwater Association, which advocates for and protects Colorado’s groundwater. We’re going out on a limb here and assuming that protects Colorado’s groundwater is a dog whistle for anti-fracking sentiment (despite scientific evidence that shows fracking does not harm groundwater). Degette has not been particularly supportive of the oil and gas industry, so it’s difficult to conceive that this guy could be worse, but he is.
Then, Perlmutter’s primary opponent, Shawn Carlson, is theoretically gathering signatures; however, he has not set up a campaign with the Federal Elections Committee. Carlson cites Sanders as an inspiration and is modeling his campaign after the socialist. Interestingly, Sanders won the Jefferson County Democrats’ straw poll by a wide margin, meaning that Carlson could give Perlmutter a run for his money at the March 19 county assembly.
The increase in primary challengers of longtime Congressmen and women reflects the dichotomy between the “establishment” (read: Team Hillary) and the “grassroots” (read: Team Sanders) of the Democratic Party. While Democrats delight in the bizarre twists and turns of the Republican presidential nomination process, Democrats have their own drama to worry about and it’s starting to spill over into down-ballot races. Pass the popcorn.