In 2016, you did not need to be the second coming of the French astrologer Nostradamus to accurately predict the presidency of Donald Trump would be an absolute disaster for the United States and the world.
Before he bullied his way to the Republican nomination in July of 2016 I rather obviously observed that Trump would adversely impact our economy here in Vail but also around the nation by cracking down on all forms of immigration – not to mention stoking bigotry and fear.
I pointed out — well before the Access Hollywood sexual-assault confession tape – that Trump had a major woman problem that could cost the nation economically and socially, and that a Trump presidency would wreak havoc on our climate and dangerously tilt the Supreme Court.
And after his improbable campaign and election, which benefited from Russian interference on his behalf, I warned that Trump would use the presidency to enrich himself through corporate cronyism while giving rise to the worst elements of fascism and white nationalism in this country.
Oh, and after his inauguration in 2017, I predicted the swamp that Trump had risen to power vowing to drain was about to get so much deeper, while his inexplicable coziness with Russia would rise to the level of a national crisis while deeply dishonoring veterans of the Cold War.
Again, none of this took particularly robust powers of prognostication on my part – given who Trump is and has been for decades – but it’s actually a little shocking how woefully I undersold his potential for mayhem.
From separating families at the border to nearly stoking a race war to empowering alt-right, white nationalist domestic terrorists to tragically mismanaging the national response to a global pandemic (resulting in more than 230,000 U.S. deaths), Trump has outperformed most predictions of his capacity to unleash American carnage. Turns out we had everything to lose.
And you know it’s a damning dirty laundry list when the last thing that gets listed is the extortion of a foreign government to enlist help smearing a political rival in a domestic election — an act for which Trump was impeached by the House and never properly tried by the Senate.
Meanwhile, locally, we have seen the Eagle County Republican Party fully embracing Trump and down-ballot candidates such as Sen. Cory Gardner and woefully unqualified 3rd Congressional District candidate Lauren Boebert, who ousted five-term, arch-conservative, Tea Party Republican Scott Tipton in the June primary because he was not extreme enough.
Overt racism, disdain for science and public health, anti-government violence, dangerous and fully debunked conspiracy theories – all of these things are now openly on the ballot for a Republican Party that seems to believe suppressing votes and cheating at the polls is the only way it can win. God forbid the GOP does the hard working of expanding its tent.
Hopefully, the vast majority of Americans will reject that deep cynicism on Tuesday and signal to the world that American democracy is still alive and well. Realistically – in blue Colorado at least – the only candidate who stands a chance is Boebert, and that’s just because of the rural and largely conservative nature of the sprawling district.
Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush, who is up against Boebert in a tight, one- or two-point race, is infinitely more qualified for Congress as a retired social scientist, educator, former Routt County commissioner and state lawmaker who represented both Eagle and Routt counties.
As if to underscore her lack of congressional pedigree on election eve, Boebert held a likely COVID-19 super-spreader event at her Shooters Grill restaurant in Rifle on Monday – a largely mask-free event attended by Gardner, who is apparently auditioning for his future role as a right-wing radio host after what will likely be a blowout loss to former Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Gardner, who at one point apparently had a conscience and a sense of decency – calling on Trump to step aside and vowing he would not vote for him after the Access Hollywood tape – has spent the last four years groveling at the president’s feet.
The soon-to-be one-term senator gleefully engaged in Trump’s anti-regulatory crime spree against the environment, trying at the 11th hour to greenwash himself as a conservationist despite being fully in the pocket of the fossil-fuel industry. And he has relentlessly tried to strip away health insurance coverage for millions of Americans during a rampant global pandemic that his boss in the White House has so badly botched.
Now Gardner is trying to bask in the glow of a QAnon candidate in Boebert who will, if elected, be the biggest national embarrassment for Colorado since Balloon Boy (only much more dangerous). The best Colorado voters can hope for if Boebert wins is that she’ll be a one-term wonder after redistricting in 2022.
Colorado’s 2nd and 3rd congressional districts unfairly divide Eagle County, with the line actually splitting the community of EagleVail. Time to fix that issue and group likeminded resort communities together in the redistricting process – and hopefully give Colorado an eighth seat in the House of Representatives. But even then, Boebert does not deserve one of those seats.