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Thu Oct 18, 2012, 02:39 PM


David Sirota: "The libertarian/marijuana conspiracy to swing the election" (Colorado) [View all]

Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 05:00 PM PDT
The libertarian/marijuana conspiracy to swing the election

Robocalls urge pro-drug legalization voters to support libertarian Gary Johnson, and could push the state to Romney

By David Sirota

The term “perfect storm” is so overused as to be a pathetic cliche — but alas, in politics, it is about the best phrase to describe Colorado in the upcoming election. The state could decide the outcome. And if it comes down to that, it will likely be messy, for we are watching an epic convergence of factors that seem poised to make the square state 2012′s version of Florida in 2000.

Here in the center of the Intermountain West, we have polls showing a nail-bitingly close race between the Democratic and Republican nominees for president. We have a chief election official, Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who has tried both to engage in mass voter purges and to block the mailing of ballots to eligible voters, all while openly saying a “good election” is one in which “Republicans win.” On the ballot, we also have a headline-grabbing ballot initiative about marijuana legalization and a popular former two-term governor of a neighboring state, Gary Johnson, running a Libertarian Party presidential candidacy.

The armchair pundits in Washington and New York typically write off these latter two factors as forces destined to aid the president’s reelection campaign. The conventional wisdom is rooted in oversimplified cartoons and caricatures of voter preferences. Essentially, the idea is that the marijuana measure will bring out liberal, Obama-loving hippies, yuppies and crunchies from Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins, while the libertarian candidate’s campaign will siphon conservative votes that would otherwise go to Mitt Romney, thus making Johnson the Republican “version of Ralph Nader,” as the New York Times predictably projects. But that kind of hackneyed red-versus-blue story line — so prevalent in the national media echo chamber — ignores how these forces are playing out on the ground.

The marijuana ballot measure, for instance, is defying conventional Democrat/Republican and liberal/conservative narratives, effectively scrambling the political establishments of both parties. In the last month, Colorado’s Democratic Party elite, led by Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (D), have repositioned themselves as committed drug warriors proudly leading the charge against the ballot measure to end the costly war on weed (this is particularly stunning for Hickenlooper, considering his famous career as a drug pusher). Meanwhile, former Colorado Republican congressman Tom Tancredo and a group of fellow GOPers made headlines recently when they wholeheartedly endorsed the measure. Put this together with the libertarian streak in Colorado’s Republican politics, and it becomes clear that the pot initiative could boost voting in ways that don’t correspond to traditional red-versus-blue turnout models and stereotypes.

This is particularly true considering the intersection of the pot initiative and the Johnson campaign. Despite the punditocracy’s narratives to the contrary, the former New Mexico governor has already been taking as much — or more – support away from Obama in Colorado as he has been from Romney, according to polls. And Johnson’s anti-Obama effect could be come much more pronounced in the next few weeks, thanks to how his supporters are deftly leveraging all hoopla around the marijuana initiative to sharpen their candidate’s appeal and message to disaffected Democrats.


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If Obama loses Colorado, the pot people are going to claim credit. They will say the results show that opposing marijuana legalization can cost you an election.

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Reply David Sirota: "The libertarian/marijuana conspiracy to swing the election" (Colorado) [View all]
Comrade Grumpy Oct 2012 OP
Comrade Grumpy Oct 2012 #1
B Calm Oct 2012 #2
Z_California Oct 2012 #3
Bandit Oct 2012 #4
Comrade Grumpy Oct 2012 #5
AverageJoe90 Oct 2012 #9
DevonRex Oct 2012 #6
madinmaryland Oct 2012 #7
Ruby the Liberal Oct 2012 #8
Oldenuff Oct 2012 #13
porphyrian Oct 2012 #10
OldHippieChick Oct 2012 #11
Separation Oct 2012 #12
RainDog Oct 2012 #14