Pollster Pat Caddell has worked for candidates going as far back as George McGovern’s presidential campaign in 1972. In all this time, during which his have politics evolved into “raging centrism,” he has never seen Americans so bent on upending the establishment. “Politics in the United States today is a revolution, not a revolt,” he and co-authors Scott Miller and Bob Perkins wrote at the Huffington Post in February, predicting that 2016 would be “an election of insurgency.” Evidence of this goes far beyond the Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders insurrections. Caddell’s February polling found that
70 percent of voters agree that the federal government today no longer has the consent of the people.
79 percent want to support more candidates who are ordinary citizens rather than professional politicians and lawyers.
A majority would join a third party if it had a chance to win.
77 percent prefer candidates who “take on the political elites and special interests” to those who conform to a fixed ideology.
Caddell’s revolutionary moment could be seen up close and personal this weekend at the state convention of the Colorado Republican party in Colorado Springs. What happened was stunning. Ted Cruz, considered a fringe candidate by the media until four months ago, swept 34 of the 37 delegate slots for the Cleveland convention. Donald Trump placed second, and there was scant support for any establishment figure.
When picking a nominee to challenge Democratic senator Michael Bennet this fall, GOP delegates shocked everyone by humiliating front-runner state senator Tim Neville and his powerful gun-rights backers. Neville didn’t even meet the threshold needed to appear on the state’s June 28 primary ballot.
“I’m tired of hearing about Republicans reaching across the aisle. We need to step up and lead, ladies and gentlemen.”
— Darryl Glenn
Instead, they gave 70 percent of the vote to Darryl Glenn, a 49-year-old former Air Force lieutenant colonel who now is a county commissioner in Colorado Springs. The charismatic Glenn gave a rousing speech to the crowd on debt, ending federal funding of sanctuary cities, and the Iran nuclear deal. He called himself a “Christian constitutionalist conservative.” The biggest applause line came when Glenn, an African American, declared, “I hope the reporters are listening, because I’ve got news for them: All lives matter.”
He then made a direct appeal to Republicans who believe that party leaders in Washington have squandered their control of both houses of Congress and been passive in fighting President Obama: “I’m tired of hearing about Republicans reaching across the aisle. We need to step up and lead, ladies and gentlemen.”
Glenn has the momentum coming out of this weekend’s convention, but in the June primary he will still have to defeat four challengers who used an alternate signature-gathering route to secure a place on the ballot. Nevertheless, Glenn is clearly now the man to beat.
Glenn’s victory wasn’t the only surprise on Saturday in Colorado Springs. Calandra Vargas, a 32-year-old staffer for a GOP state senator, decided in just the last few days to challenge Representative Doug Lamborn, a five-term incumbent from Colorado Springs. Only a few years ago, Vargas was an intern in Lamborn’s congressional office.
At the district convention that was held to nominate candidates for Congress, Vargas gave a passionate speech, saying the party needed new blood and enthusiasm. She contrasted herself with Lamborn, a 61-year-old incumbent:
Do you want a congressman who shows up at election season and gives a nice speech and a list of things you want to hear? Or do you want a congresswoman who is an outspoken leader, who won’t settle, who is a team player, who will confront liberals, and who also believes it is her job to make the Republican party a party we can all be proud of? . . . It’s time to fight back against puppet-string-pulling elites.
As a write-in candidate, Vargas stunned everyone by winning 58 percent of delegate votes while Lamborn was held to 35 percent. Under the convention’s rules, Lamborn would have been blocked from appearing on the ballot if Vargas had won only 18 more votes. Because there is no Democrat running in the fall in the solidly GOP district, she would instantly have become a congresswoman.
Now Vargas will have to build a campaign from scratch (she doesn’t even have a website) to challenge the well-funded Lamborn in the June primary. No one knows if she can sustain her insurgency, and Lamborn made clear that he won’t go away easily. “I will be using this time to demonstrate that, unlike my opponent, I have the proven record of conservative leadership and achievement,” he told reporters.
In an editorial titled “It’s Not Your Grandpa’s GOP,” the Colorado Springs-Gazette noted that this year’s GOP convention was like none it had ever seen:
To say there is a political revolution going on here in Colorado do not know what is going on here. There is no revolution. People are simply working hard for their families. If there is a revolution, Trump would have won the state convention. As for the Pat Caddell and John Fund assessment, they do not live here.
Talking to a few politicos aren’t going to cut it. Example: Lamborn, Republican congressman for CD-5, has been continually underestimated each time he has stood for election. Always seen as a weak candidate. Each time, he’s beaten a strong primary challenger. Darryl Glenn, he’s been a local fixture in Republican politics since his retirement from the Air Force for nearly 15 years. The Republican field to oppose Bennet for the US Senate seat are virtual unknowns.
The newspaper, Colorado Springs Gazette, is not worth papering a birdcage with it. Their assessment of a changing Republican landscape may be true, but the party is back on the path to self-inflicted destruction. The paper, they couldn’t get my mom’s obituary correct, and were refusing to correct it. So I wouldn’t put any stock in their political analysis.
@David: TY David for a “home town” opinion.
I think Trumps campaign people stink, he hired losers, who are failing horribly at the needed groundwork.
When it comes to the caucus system here in Colorado, it always has been a convoluted process for both Republicans and Democrats. To succeed, a candidate has to have a good organization and ground effort. Trump, he really had neither here. No campaign offices, no staff and no volunteers to speak of, not even a field director for the state. Two weeks ago, the Trump campaign made a half-hearted (really a half-assed) effort, and last week they decided to redirect their efforts back to NY. Cruz, he was organizing for over a year. The other candidate who matched Cruz in terms of organization and ground effort was Jeb.
Regarding the down ballot candidates, I’ve told a few friends beware of the “angry as hell” rhetoric. You need solutions to fix the myriad of problems besides having the talking points down. The big one we still have is the VA hospital under construction in Denver that is $1.1B over budget and there is no guarantee the $300M to finish it will be enough.
@David: Primary election/caucus rules vary wildly from state to state. A competent campaign management is vital., Now if he is having trouble with this how the hell is he going to fare in office? His followers are sure he will just put the best people in charge and all their wishes will come true. There is one hell of a mess made by previous administrations, you are completely correct we need solutions not slogans, actions not emotions.
IMO on government projects a contractor who bid the project should be completely liable for finishing the project, and at bid price. Or never hold another government contract and lose his license. Overages paid at a pennies on the dollar, on buget and ahead of schedule a bonus should be given.
I know unicorns farting rainbows…
The cost overrun on the construction of the new VA hospital in Denver lies with the VA itself. The VA issued several change orders, and as you know when a change order is issued for ongoing construction that drives up cost. One of the idiotic change orders was moving a load-bearing wall. The VA decided they wanted the wall moved after the concrete had cured. The GC working the project almost went bankrupt and told the VA their change orders had to end. The VA ignored the GC, so the GC pulled their crews because they no longer had funds company-wide to pay them. A year of no construction, a new GC was hired and the VA began the same game with all these new change orders. The new GC walked indicating the VA breached the contract. The VA had written clauses into the new GC’s contract that limited the number of change orders. The VA rehired the original GC, who is now operating under an ironclad contract that limits the VA change orders and the kind of changes that can be done.
@David: No wonder at all. Congress is going to kick in the now 625 million it will take but taking some of the bonus money to cover it was nixed by the Dems.
Palo Alto (Calif.) VA health care system has spent at least $6.3 million on art — on art and consulting services,” he said. “These projects include an art installation on the side of a parking garage that displays quotes by Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt in — wait for it — in Morse code that cost $285,000. It actually lights up.”
I can still hear Pelosi saying there was no where else to cut the federal budget.