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The Senate Race
Rocky Mountain Alliance of Blogs, 2.0
My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
Last night, I posted the following statement:
Make no mistake, on a state-wide basis, there simply is no bigger special interest than the education establishment.
Some observers--who are smart and have a good point--have noted that I may be overstating the case.
Other than essays we write, and excepting the Colorado Senate News, there has not been a single essay on the legal system, nor a single essay on SEIU, at most one or two mentions of the four millionaires, and not much on big labor.
On the other hand, there may have been twenty essays on the "special place in hell" email alone. Yes, that email is important, as is education, but not so important that it should crowd out the other important issues of the day to the point that lawyers, union hacks, and millionires can operate under the radar. That is what is happening.
I think CI is pretty smart, and I accept the premise that there are other forces out there that may have more influence on Colorado elections.
But the issue is what drives Colorado elections, and it drives it in one direction.
If memory serves (and God knows my memory serves very little--except, perhaps, as a sticky note holder), the last time the Colorado GOP swept statewide elections, it was when we owned the education issue after introducing the CSAP and pushing charter schools. In the last few elections, we've made vouchers an issue (which has three times failed for us on a statewide ballot), and then gotten stuck in the vise of Amendment 23/TABOR and failed to come up with a solution.
That has, effectively, put the issue right back in the Democrats' court. And that is a big part of why they've at least split every election since 2000, and pretty much dominated the last two.
There is no doubt that the Gill/Polis/Stryker brigade has, well, BOUGHT the last three elections. But when their front groups needed to defend Sue Windels against a credible challenge from Jessica Peck-Correy, they did it on the issue of education. When their front groups needed to buy a House seat for Debbie Benefield, they did it on the issue of education.
Also importantly, in 2000, when the Democats got their first recent whiff of success by taking the Senate, Amendment 23 was on the ballot--"to increase state funding for education." Because Democrats got the Senate, a judge got to design the legislative districts for the next ten years. Because a judge designed the districts, the state legislature skews a lot more to the Democrats than it should (again, from CI: while Republican legislative candidates as a whole get tens of thousands more votes than Democrats as a whole, even in the last election, the Republicans hold only 41 of 100 legislative seats). Not to mention CD7 is now in play every year.
Judicial corruption might be--okay, OF COURSE it's tremendously important, but its way below radar among the electorate; and the unions matter, but suburban voters don't go to the ballot box worried about unions (though, I suppose, a lot of conservatives may do just that in 2008). The Stryker Brigade has the power to buy a lot of elections, but when they need an issue to pummel us with, it is, very often, education.
And they will always--ALWAYS--side with Big Education. You know them: safe, tenure-protected, maintain-the-status-quo-unless-you-want-to-give-them-$1.7 BILLION more to spend, and don't dare innovate or compete or provide choices.
That's who Big Education is, and that's what we need to figure out how to Jiu-Jitsu into electoral victories.