While outgoing Colorado Democrat Governor John Hickenlooper urges his party to adopt a more open, centrist approach to reverse its recent electoral drubbings across the country, the far-left candidates jockeying to succeed him are racing to see who can stake out the most extreme positions to win over primary voters. Current Democrat contenders Mike Johnston and Jared Polis have embraced radical views in hopes of attracting liberal voters in their party, ignoring Hickenlooper’s pleas for moderation and efforts to work across the aisle.
Throughout his tenure in Congress, Jared Polis has defined himself as one of the most far-left backers of Nancy Pelosi’s agenda, supporting her job-killing cap-and-trade schemes, tax hikes, and even radical single-payer health insurance proposals, earning him the label of “a single-payer guy to his very marrow.” Meanwhile, Mike Johnston has sought to galvanize the radical Bernie Sanders wing of his party, positioning his campaign “toward the left end of the Democratic spectrum” while taking aim at Polis’ decision to self-fund his candidacy. Johnston’s decision to run his campaign by the Sanders playbook is a clear indication that he has no intention of seeking out centrist voters to bolster his candidacy.
As Hickenlooper works with Democrat moderates to adopt a “bigger tent” approach to winning elections, Polis and Johnston are embracing the opposite, desperately staking out far-left positions to win over their party’s most radical voters while abandoning centrism. With Colorado Democrats headed for a costly and bitter race to the left, Hickenlooper’s pleas for moderation appear to be falling on deaf ears in his home state.