Liberal Denver Post columnist Ian Silverii kicked off the new year by igniting a civil war on the left over rising crime.


Silverii’s column attempted to downplay the soaring crime rate in Colorado by ostensibly attacking the Common Sense Institute think tank.

The group published a report in December which argued among other things that Colorado’s troubling crime trajectory might — gasp — be influenced by liberal policies that keep criminals out of jail.

Yet according to Silverii, liberal politicians keeping repeat offenders out of jail can’t be responsible for rising crime because criminal activity is increasing almost everywhere in Colorado.

Never mind the fact Democrats have, rhetorically, at least, occupied the governor’s mansion for the last 15 years and passed a number of bills over that timeframe that have made it easier for criminals to walk free everywhere.

But in Silverii’s Chesa Boudin worldview, crime is just a symptom of society’s choices. In a sense we’ll give him partial credit: electing soft on crime Democrats and driving cops out of their jobs is certainly a choice.

Looking past Silverii’s drive-by insults and superficial arguments about the real cause of rising crime, he clearly had another target in his crosshairs: former Hickenlooper Chief of Staff Doug Friednash.

Friednash, a partner at the law firm Brownstein Hyatt, published his own opinion piece in November imploring Democrats to take crime more seriously in the wake of Glenn Youngkin’s surprise upset in the Virginia gubernatorial race.

Many police departments across the country need more resources to address staffing shortages, improve training and make important community investments.


Democrats should also advocate for appropriate bail and bond policies and yes, properly punishing violent criminals and repeat offenders too…even if that means we have to put more people behind bars and for longer periods of time.


Democrats who ignore this issue, do so at their own political peril.

In response, Silverii took direct aim at Friednash in every way but name.

One worldview suggests that there are very bad, evil people out there, and we need to catch them and lock them up and throw away the key. If we do that enough times, we’ll have rid society of all of the bad apples and voila, no more crime. Another worldview, that I generally refer to as reality, says that crime is largely a symptom of society’s choices, and a lagging indicator of the consequences of a longtime lack of investment in health care, education, and economic opportunity for those without privilege.

The juxtaposition between Friednash’s rather sober, common sense advice and Silverii’s shrill diatribe is difficult to overstate.

But more problematic for Democrats, their respective solutions to rising crime are also irreconcilable so long as Democrats like Silverii refuse to consider any reforms that address Colorado’s glaring shortage of law enforcement and lax sentencing laws.

That’s a big problem considering 2022 is increasingly seen by voters as a referendum over rising crime nationally.

The last thing Democrats need going into the midterms is a figurative civil war over how to address crime, but thanks to Silverii that’s exactly what’s playing out right now in Colorado.


EDITOR’S NOTE: By “civil war” we mean a figurative political dispute, not an actual war that would inevitably result from the “national divorce” floated by a few renowned intellectual luminaries.