How We Won the Recall

Good analysis from Dave Kopel over at Volokh:

It would be accurate to say that the recall campaign was driven by opposition to the anti-gun bills which Morse and Giron pushed through the legislature. But this is only the first part of the story. As it turns out, Morse and Giron sealed their fates on March 4, the day that the anti-gun bills were heard in Senate committees. At Morse’s instruction, only 90 minutes of testimony per side were allowed on each of the gun bills. As a result, hundreds of Colorado citizens were prevented from testifying even briefly. Many of them had driven hours to come to the Capitol, traveling from all over the state.

Every once in a while, legislators need to be reminded who they work for. Read the whole thing.

12 thoughts on “How We Won the Recall”

  1. I think the “how we won” narrative isn’t really just in tapping into what made voters mad, but also the specific actions taken by the grassroots folks. Some of the highlights from the NRO piece on Victor Head’s activities really highlighted those actions:

    * “…Head printed up some flyers and handed them around in local gun stores. The flyers made a considerable difference. About 80 people showed up to the town hall.”
    * “…I was driving around the Walmart parking lot trying to look for anyone with an NRA sticker or ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flag so that I could put a flyer on their windshield and let them know about the town hall…”
    *”When the group learned that the building adjacent to Senator Giron’s office was vacant, they rented it and filled the large windows full of pro-recall material, drowning her out and forcing her to move.”

    1. So from where I’m standing, it pounds like the Republicans have found a foolproof way to win elections: don’t let the Republican Party run their campaigns.

      1. “don’t let the Republican Party run their campaigns.”

        That is not as humorous as it may appear.

        My limited experience, campaign-wise, was with working with Republicans on “issue” campaigns. I will generalize in this way: Grassroots campaigners will very likely (though not always) have relatively pure intentions for achieving the nominal goals of the campaign. Political party people will always have additional motives, that usually involve enhancing their own, or their party’s, power somewhere down the road. They will often do things that seem to be bizarre at the time, but are found to have been self-serving in some way, farther down the road.

        How this might have applied in a candidate election I can’t say. But, if you noticed Kopel’s mention of Dudley Brown and RMGO’s support for a loon candidate, early in the process, sometimes sub-factions of a political party may be maneuvering things — up to and including throwing an election? — to place their own people in a favorable position for the future.

        My personal experience on that score was, having a Republican primary candidate solicit a significant campaign contribution from me, on the assurance that he had a “real chance of winning,” and after he lost badly, returning to the well asking for help in paying off his campaign debts, saying he “had never expected to win” but had participated in the election as a maneuver to keep a RINO from winning, and at that they had succeeded. Which time was he was lying to me is not my point; it is that such things go on in political campaigns, and need to be watched for.

    2. Agreed – what a great ground game! Kopel pointed out the antis’ approx 8 to 1 funding advantage. You can’t buy true grassroots passion.

      Another great point from Kopel about Herpin as a “civic volunteer” – “he has a sense of what is politically realistic in a given situation, and does not press issues for the mere emotional satisfaction of being ‘hardcore.'” Indeed, a lesson for the ages.

  2. This week I’ve heard the Colorado recall compared to the 2010 midterm elections. Generally the commentators have suggested that the voter reaction was due to opposition to the final product of the legislative process.

    Personally, I think the elections are more a reflection of a distaste with the legislative process, and the behavior of the legislators themselves, than they are a reflection of a distaste for the final result.

    It’s an indictment of the behavior of Democrat politicians when they have legislative majorities: The attitude that they don’t have to even pretend to listen or be polite to constituents they disagree with. To put it simply, they were recalled because they were a pair of arrogant bastards.

    1. Kopel’s argument was that the opposition was motivated as much, if not more, by the process than the actual bills.

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