It’s almost the middle of July in an election year — time for prognostication.
Who will win? Who will lose?
Given my past record, you probably won’t find out here, but who knows? Even a blind hog sometimes finds an acorn, so here are my picks.
Hillary’s running mate: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. He’s smart, funny, appeals to moderates and unaffiliated voters, sews up a swing state and, like Donald Trump, has a beautiful younger spouse. He just penned an engaging campaign biography, and his political views are perfectly congruent with Clinton’s. Two problems: He’s not Hispanic and decidedly not a Bern-down-the-house liberal.
Trump’s running mate: It’s more a matter of persuading reluctant GOPsters than choosing among dozens of eager supplicants. Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich and my personal favorite Rush Limbaugh are sure to be available, as are a few crusty old retired generals, but after that? As Trump has said, his daughter Ivanka would be a great choice. Who will it be? Indiana Gov. Mike Pence? No clue — obviously The Donald is in no way predictable.
U.S. Senate: Michael Bennet. Our power-lifting friend Darryl Glenn might have reached the end of his amazing run. It’s one thing to out-conservative four no-hopers in the primary, but quite another to persuade a majority of Colorado voters that God has directed you to go to Washington and add to the dysfunction.
U.S. House of Representatives, CD 5: Doug Lamborn. Good for Misty Plowright for carrying the Democratic banner, but this one’s not winnable. Lamborn always has a primary challenger, always prevails and always relaxes in the general election. With Hillary at the head of the ticket, angry Republicans will be even less likely to split tickets in our bright red congressional district.
Frustrated Dems in Colorado Springs, like their frustrated Republican counterparts in Denver, are stuck with a multi-term representative from the other party. But maybe that’s not so bad — a few terms ago when Dems controlled the House, Lamborn was tagged as one of the least powerful congressmen and Diana DeGette as one of the most powerful. Now those rankings have changed, but seniority in the House is worth a lot to Colorado, regardless of party.
El Paso County Commissioner District 3: Electra Johnson is an engaging, intelligent candidate and so is Stan VanderWerf. Both would be fine commissioners. No Democrat has been elected to a commissioner seat since the early 1970s, so VanderWerf has the advantage — it’s his to lose. Given his easy victory over Karen Cullen, Sallie Clark’s designated successor, it’s clear that he knows how to run a winning campaign. Johnson’s an unknown — so let’s wait for a while.
POTUS: Hillary Clinton: Let’s see — when did Republicans first start attacking Hillary? That would be back in the late 1970s when Bill was first elected governor of Arkansas, and Hillary retained her maiden name while working as an attorney in Little Rock. The attacks have continued ever since. No one in American public life has ever been so frequently libeled, except Thomas Jefferson, Al Capone, Boss Tweed and Abraham Lincoln. Despite the opprobrium, Hillary just gets tougher, smarter and more relentless.
And what about The Donald? Isn’t he just as tough, smart and relentless? No, he’s not — he’s an amazingly accomplished con artist and publicity grabber, but he’s not a person who can be elected president. Think of him as the Tim Tebow of politics, a gifted amateur who can’t play the game at the highest level. Clinton vs. Trump? Think Peyton Manning vs. Tebow.
Control of U.S. Senate: Democrats. The arithmetic is terrible for the GOP. There are a half-dozen Republican seats in the Senate that could flip in a normal presidential election year, but those are particularly at risk with Trump at the head of the ticket. Too bad for retiring Sen. Harry Reid — he won’t get another shot at leading the majority party.
Control of U.S. House: Republicans. Give the GOP credit — thanks to careful long-term planning and clever gerrymandering, Republicans have created a sustainable, possibly permanent House majority. Dems, stop braying like angry donkeys and get to work, or resign yourself to lasting irrelevance.
Control of Colorado Senate/House: Both to the Dems, but Vice President-elect Hickenlooper won’t have to deal with the expected flood of liberal legislation. That’ll be up to his handpicked successor, former healthcare exec Donna Lynne, who is likely to continue Hickenlooper’s sensibly progressive pro-business policies. And as someone who has never held elected office, she won’t owe anyone anything, giving members of both parties room to construct useful legislation.