On Monday, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) said he is more likely than not to run for president in 2020, and he argued that the “lessons from Colorado” should qualify him — a white man — for a platform on the debate stage, if not the Democratic nomination for president.
“We’re past fifty-fifty,” Hickenlooper said of the chances he would throw his hat in the ring. “I think we’re probably 63, 64 percent, 6.4, 6.5” out of ten, he told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.
Camerota pressed him on why he should run, given the Democratic Party’s rapid embrace of intersectionality — the idea that the more a person can check the “underprivileged” identity boxes like “woman,” “person of color,” “LGBT,” et cetera, the more moral authority and therefore power he or she should have. She also asked the age question.
“Is it time to have somebody of color and a woman, and somebody younger, or somebody more establishment?” Camerota asked.
Hickenlooper first dodged the question, saying, “I think that Democrats across the country are going to help decide that.” Then he suggested that the list of potential presidential candidates — CNN presented ten, but there are arguably many more — “shows the strength of the Democratic Party.”
CNN listed: Rep. Francis “Beto” O’Rourke (D-Texas); former vice president Joe Biden; Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.); Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.); Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.); Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro; Hickenlooper; former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.); and former Gov. Michael Bloomberg (D-N.Y.).
The fairly popular Hickenlooper will leave the Colorado governor’s mansion next month, leaving the office for millionaire Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who helped orchestrate the “Blueprint,” the strategy to make the longstanding red state Colorado blue.
“This is the time it’s worked out,” Hickenlooper told Camerota. “I’ll have finished my term as governor. I finish in one month and I have an opportunity to take what we’ve done in Colorado — we went from 40th in job creation to the number one economy in the country, we’ve got one of the top rural economies in the country…”
“I think there’s a point where someone like me — I’m an entrepreneur, … I’ve been good at bringing people together that have historically been antagonistic — maybe the country needs someone that can bring the divided parts of the country and divided constituencies together,” the governor said.
He presented himself as the uniting figure, someone who can bring conservatives and liberals together.
“It’s an interesting time with so many candidates,” Hickenlooper said. “Again, I look at things from a different filter than most of the other candidates out there.”
“People say Colorado is a fly-over state, Denver was a cow town,” the governor said. “Well, we’ve changed dramatically in the last couple decades, and I think those changes and sort of how we did it, how we worked together…”
Hickenlooper suggested “it’s a message that people should hear, even if they decide that we make sure that we have the first African-American woman as president. The lessons from Colorado still have value.”
Colorado has indeed grown by leaps in bounds in recent years, but not all of “the lessons from Colorado” are positive.
The Democratic takeover of the Centennial State involved a great deal of corruption. While the legalization of marijuana has become more popular, Colorado has also become synonymous with the drug — and the policy turned the state into a tax collector’s paradise.
After the Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018), the state has become synonymous with the suppression of free speech and religious freedom. The commission ruled that baker Jack Phillips discriminated against LGBT people, even though he only refused to create cake art celebrating an event that violated his conscience. Phillips did gladly serve LGBT people, and he continues to do so.
Hickenlooper has a great strategy: run as the unifier, a moderate job creator, while really also pushing far-Left social and environmental issues. Conservatives will likely see through it, but it is a good strategy.
In the (64 percent likely) event that Hickenlooper runs in 2020, he may face Joe Biden in the more “establishment” lane, and likely Beto O’Rourke. With many far-Left progressives likely to run, his strategy may involve waiting out the bloody battle between radicals. Hickenlooper should not be underestimated.
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