Since the 2008 election, Colorado has enjoyed a unique position as a swing state, capable of going either conservative or liberal. Part of this stems from the changing migration patterns of U.S. Citizens and from a large and increasingly politically active Hispanic population, but Colorado has long been a mix of the left and the right, defined as much between its compromises between the city and the country; the frontier and civilization.
As such, the state of Colorado deserves to be represented at the highest levels of government by someone who embodies this compromise.
Mark Udall has shown himself over the course of the past eight years to be a relatively moderate Democratic senator, and in some aspects, he has led the way in thinking for the future. Among the issues that Udall has taken an active role in are condemning the overreaching grab of the NSA, as well as emphasizing the rehabilitation of criminals rather than the punishment of them. On the conservative side, Udall has also been largely anti-gun control (though he did support a registry, which is too extreme for the NRA), and has tacitly supported hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a method of oil extraction.
Udall has made his mark as a sensible politician, capable of bipartisanship and understanding the unique needs of his home state, a place defined by its mix of red and blue, city and country, hick and hippie alike, perhaps best seen in the recent compromise between anti-and pro fracking interests.
Udall’s opponent Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. House, who rode to his position on the back of the Tea Party movement of 2010. Since that time, the Tea Party movement has manifested itself as an obstructionist group that does what it pleases, when it pleases.
Cory Gardner’s primary obligations are to Coloradoans, but the rigid ideology of the Tea Party may make it impossible to fulfill any of them. For example, Colorado’s Hispanic population has been putting pressure on Gardner to adopt a more comprehensive immigration policy, but Gardner has been leery about such a move after the shocking Tea Party victory that ousted Republican heavyweight Eric Cantor, a victory that came over Cantor’s perceived immigration policy.
Gardner has likewise been caught in a bind with his stance on women’s issues. His change of heart about personhood and OTC contraceptive — reflecting a more moderate outlook — has been met with howls of betrayal from the right.
For six years, the Republican party has been throwing an extensive temper tantrum. They have become the party of obstructionism, of no quarter and even less compromise, even among their own members, and have shown a dangerous willingness to cross lines better not crossed, most spectacularly in the government shutdown of last year, an event you may have heard something about.
Rewarding this behavior with control of the Senate is nothing short of reprehensible, emblematic of a short attention span and an even shorter vision of the future.
Collegian Columnist Jesse Carey can be reach at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @junotbend