For the better part of a decade, a well-funded progressive machine in Colorado has been well-nigh unstoppable. But now, that machine has faltered twice in as many months.
First, it failed to protect pro-gun-control Democratic state senators in two recall elections, despite outspending conservatives six to one. And Tuesday, Colorado voters resoundingly rejected a billion-dollar tax hike for K-12 education funding, notwithstanding the fact that Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, teachers unions, and other deep-pocketed donors buried their opposition in cash, perhaps by as much as 400 to one.
In an ironic turn, tax-hike advocates may have inflicted the greatest collateral damage on their own allies. Entire slates of reform candidates rode the “no” vote coattails to victories in a number of key school-board races, shifting the direction of local-education politics and policy for years to come.
Colorado progressives have been pushing their advantage hard lately. Now, Colorado voters are pushing back.
— Rob Witwer is a former member of the Colorado house of representatives and co-author of the book The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado (and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care).