Tusinski: Colorado’s GOP wants to ‘own the libs’ by disowning democracy

Tusinski%3A+Colorados+GOP+wants+to+own+the+libs+by+disowning+democracy

Collegian | Chloe Leline

Dylan Tusinski, Collegian Columnist

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Let’s not beat around the bush: Former President Donald Trump has done irreversible damage to American democracy.

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The bulk of that damage comes from both the creation and consequences of his following, which has developed a religious-like cult of personality surrounding the former president unlike anything we’ve seen in American history. The sheer devotion and insanity of that cult culminated on Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of his supporters unleashed themselves on the American Capitol to forcefully deny the proceedings of American democracy.

Thankfully, their attempt failed. What’s scary, though, is what’s happened between then and now. Since the insurrection, Republicans have widely embraced and defended the Jan. 6 rioters. In fact, Republican Party has become increasingly anti-democratic since the insurrection, with an unprecedented 64% of the party questioning the integrity of the 2020 election, according to Politico.

That’s a worrying trend. What’s worse is the Colorado GOP may just be the farthest-right statewide party in the country.

The continual march toward far-right ideology is best seen in Tina Peters, an election-denying candidate for the position that oversees Colorado’s elections: the secretary of state.

Peters was formerly the Mesa County clerk, meaning she oversaw the county’s 2020 election results. Since the election, Peters has been under investigation by both federal and local authorities for allegedly allowing and instructing a third party to copy the county’s voting machine hard drives in an attempt to subvert the election process.

Since the investigation began, Peters has been indicted for tampering with election equipment — along with two of her coworkers — arrested and released on bond, and she was caught on film violating that bond by giving an election-denying speech in Nevada. She then had a warrant issued for her arrest after violating her bond, but it’s since been lifted.

During the two years between the election and now, Peters has built a significant following both among her constituents and among the American far right, with many of them rallying late last year in support of her campaign against democracy.

“Colorado has been described as a purple state over the years, as it encompasses a solid blend of Democratic and Republican voters alike. It’s also been described as a predictor of future political trends, as the presidential candidate who wins Colorado has gone on to win the presidency for the last four decades, excluding the 1996 and 2016 elections.”

Much like the Jan. 6 insurrection Colorado Republicans voted to formally support, Peters failed, losing her campaign in the Republican primary. Despite her electoral loss, Peters was successful in her attempt to push her anti-democracy beliefs into the Republican mainstream, with the Colorado GOP incorporating election skepticism into its official party platform.

While Peters may just be the most recent and visible example of Colorado Republicans’ shift to the right, she isn’t the first Colorado Republican to bring fringe beliefs into the mainstream. Perhaps the best and most vocal example of the Colorado GOP’s shift to the right is Rep. Lauren Boebert.

There is a lot to be written about Boebert, and most of it has already been written. She called Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the USA’s only Muslim members of Congress, a terrorist; heckled President Joe Biden while he talked about giving cancer treatment to veterans and even flirted with the idea of Christian nationalism just over a week ago.

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While Peters’ entire political existence is worrying locally, Boebert’s is worrying nationally. She’s in the House of Representatives, meaning legislation she votes on affects every single American, both inside and outside of Colorado. Unfortunately, she isn’t the only far-right representative Colorado’s GOP has put in the national government.

Rep. Ken Buck is another one of Colorado’s far-right Republicans. Buck has been in Congress since 2015, representing eastern Colorado and has been considered an establishment Republican for most of his four terms in office. However, much like the actual Republican establishment, Buck has let his far-right views seep through every now and again, most notably after the shooting by Kyle Rittenhouse in August 2020.

Just days after Rittenhouse shot and killed multiple Black Lives Matter protesters, Buck appeared at a campaign rally wearing a shirt that read, “KILL ‘EM ALL; Let God Sort ‘Em Out” alongside Rep. Lauren Boebert and former Sen. Cory Gardner.

If openly endorsing killing your political opponents isn’t enough to convince you of the Colorado GOP’s insanity, then I don’t know what will.

Colorado has been described as a purple state over the years, as it encompasses a solid blend of Democratic and Republican voters alike. It’s also been described as a predictor of future political trends, as the presidential candidate who wins Colorado has gone on to win the presidency for the last four decades, excluding the 1996 and 2016 elections.

When you combine that history with the reality of the present, it paints a scary picture. Colorado’s shift to the right has made it a target for Republicans nationally who want to embolden the nation’s slip into anti-democratic ideas. As this November inches closer and these far-right candidates ramp up their campaigns, make sure to do your research before you fill out your ballot.

Reach Dylan Tusinski at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @unwashedtiedye.