While millions of Americans were trying to celebrate the resurrection of Christ this Easter any way they possibly could, Democrat Virginia Governor and occasional blackface enthusiast Ralph Northam locked the state Republican Party in a tomb.
Think I’m exaggerating? Virginia Dems are using the same “Colorado Model” that has all but locked the GOP out of statewide politics here where I live.
Columnist — and sister Colorado resident — Michelle Malkin in 2014 called it “the Rocky Mountain heist,” in which a cabal of four wealthy progressives sought to turn a reliably Red state to the dark… er, to the Blue side. And then they did just that. Malkin also warned that “What happened here in Colorado can happen in the rest of the country,” and in Virginia it just did.
The Colorado Model was devised by the so-called “Gang of Four,” consisting of Rutt Bridges, Tim Gill, Jared Polis, and Pat Stryker more than a dozen years ago, taking advantage of new campaign finance laws and the weakening of the GOP under President George W. Bush. RedState’s Ned Ryun detailed their effort to “replicate all of the essential functions of the Colorado Democratic Party –and added a few more for good measure.” He wrote:
From policy generation to leadership recruiting, coalition building to grassroots activation, the Gang of Four personally funded dozens of 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) and 527 organizations that worked in perfect harmony to take down the Republican establishment and install left-leaning policymakers in its place.
Once in power, Colorado Democrats acted ruthlessly to make sure they’d usher in a statewide “permanent Democratic majority,” even if they had to cheat to do it. Oh, who am I kidding? Cheating is the entire point of the election “reforms” enacted by the Gang of Four’s progressive powerbrokers. Colorado Democrats kicked the GOP to the curb, and mean to keep them there with same-day voter registration, sketchy residency requirements, and worst of all, all mail-in voting just ripe for underhanded ballot harvesting.
Polis, one of the Gang of Four’s founding members, was elected governor in 2018. Senator Cory Gardner is the last Republican still holding statewide office, and his chances for winning reelection this November look iffy.
But enough history. Let’s look at very recent events in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Governor Northam just signed into law a progressive laundry list of bad policies seemingly designed to make life worse for law-abiding Virginians. The felony larceny threshold has been increased from $500 to $1,000, following California’s bad example. In the Golden State, a similar measure has led to a “rise in shoplifting, thefts, criminal activity.” Also now with Northam’s John Hancock are measures eliminating driver’s license suspensions for unpaid fines, fees, and court costs, and raising the age for juvenile offenses from 14 to 16. Gangbangers and the perpetually lackadaisical to benefit most — the rest of Virginia residents, not so much.
Other just-signed laws include new gun control restrictions, red-flag Extreme Risk Protection Orders, abortion liberalization, anti-LGBTQ discrimination including public restrooms, and a new commission on slavery and racial discrimination. That last one is designed to do three things: Keep racial resentments stoked, pave the way for reparations, and create a few new cushy sinecures for the nomenklatura.
The Democratic assembly has had a very busy session, and I haven’t even gotten to the big one yet.
Northam signed a repeal of Virginia’s voter ID law, claiming those laws “disenfranchise individuals who may not have access to photo identification.” Because there’s a $25 cover and a two-drink minimum to get into the DMV? Anyway, absentee voting timelines have also been increased, Northam said, to “ensure access to the polls.” Most ominously, Virginia Democrats have established Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) which Jeff Jacoby once called “an ill-conceived solution to an imaginary problem.” AVR, like all-mail voting, is ripe for abuse.
What kind of abuse? By registering people who could never be bothered to register and likely won’t vote even after they’ve been AVR’d, the Democrats create out of thin air thousands upon thousands of easily-manipulatable ballots. Again, California’s Permanent Democratic Majority has shown the way, as detailed in this article from last year by Joanne Young. There’s a lot of detail in Young’s report, but this bit deserves breaking out:
Not only did the new (AVR) system make election officials’ jobs harder, but law-abiding people with green cards were given voter registration cards. And if they voted, they would have been breaking the law, which would make any effort to become citizens more difficult.
On the whole, more than 100,000 errors were found to have been created by the automatic voter registration system in the span of just a few months, creating headaches for everyone—for voters who were already registered, for ineligible persons who did not wish to register, and for local election officials.
A few clear, simple “No” rules make it very difficult to steal an election:
• No same-day or automatic registration
• No absentee or mail-in ballots except for demonstrated cause (travel, illness disability, etc.)
• No ballot harvesting
• No early voting
• No ID/no vote
Ask yourself which party says Yes to all of these things, and why.
The genius of the Colorado Model is that it creates a systemic “ratchet effect” for party politics. Conservative British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher popularized mentor Keith Joseph’s apt description of how left-wing failures work to reinforce left-wing policies: Social spending subsidizes social pathologies; increased social pathologies brings calls for more social spending. Using the Colorado Model, Democrats have to take the levers of a state just one time in order to pass the election laws that make it easier for Democrats to keep their hands on those levers.
For Republicans, the Colorado Model is a bit like the terrorist IRA’s chilling reminder after the failed Brighton bombing. The IRA had tried to assassinate Thatcher with a long-delay time bomb planted where she would be at the Grand Hotel in Brighton. When Thatcher emerged unharmed (although five others were killed), the IRA released a statement saying, “Today we were unlucky, but remember we only have to be lucky once — you will have to be lucky always.”
Luck runs out though, doesn’t it? You don’t fight terrorists by waiting for them to come to you, because by then it’s too late. Instead, you go after them where they live. There is absolutely nothing preventing conservative groups from doing exactly what the Gang of Four did in Colorado: “Create a vast infrastructure of liberal organizations that produces an anti-Republican, anti-conservative echo chamber in politics and the media the party.” Except, you know, doing so for the side that wants to win at fair elections and to reverse the Left’s ratchet effect.
Something akin to the Colorado Model is what President Donald Trump did to the GOP in 2015-16. He was able to use Twitter and his own celebrity status to bypass the party’s power structure, then supplant it (at least partially), and then use the new fused Trump/GOP entity to win the general election. I don’t know if Trump read Adam Schrager & Rob Witwer’s The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado before launching his campaign, but by wit or by instinct, he certainly seems to have taken its lessons to heart.
Trump winning the nomination seemed nearly impossible; winning the general election seemed even more so. And yet he did both. Beating Hillary Clinton in the general election was most remarkable, given that nationally she enjoyed most of the same advantages that the Gang of Four built into Colorado’s system.
Winning Colorado back, winning Virginia back — it can be done. Doing so is going to require a longterm, an imaginative, and a ruthless-as-a-Democrat vision that the GOP doesn’t often possess.