Rocky Mountain Congressional Showdown--GOPer Lauren “QAnon” Boebert v. Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush July 24, 2020
Live by conspiracy theory, die by it as well. Demagogue Donald has made living in “Conspiracy World,” the “new normal.” No wild-eyed deluded nonsense is unbelievable to him and his fanatic disciples, including plenty of his GOP legislative followers and congressional nominees. We should not, therefore, be at all surprised that many of Donald’s allies in his fevered swamp-dwelling base are delving into the wackiest of wacky beliefs—the QAnon Conspiracy. QAnon details a supposed secret plot by an alleged “deep state” against Trump and his supporters. The QAnon conspiracy theory was laid out by an anonymous figure known as Q—likely a group of people who leave cryptic messages for their followers to decipher on the website 8kun. Q previously posted on the anonymous insane imageboards 4chan and 8chan (See latimes.com, John, A., 7/15/20).
Since QAnon started posting, it has sent out more than 4,500 messages. Some of these “messages” have stated Hillary would be arrested and there would be riots. Other sicko conspiracy QAnon posts claim that Jews, especially financier George Soros, are controlling the political system and vaccines. QAnon has posted that the risk from coronavirus is vastly overstated and sends out racist theories about former President Obama (nytimes.com, Rosenberg & Steinhauer, 7/14/20).
A core QAnon conspiracy tenet declares, “Trump backed by the military, ran for office to save Americans from a so-called deep state with child-abusing, devil-worshiping bureaucrats. Backing the president’s enemies are prominent Democrats who, in some telling, extract hormones from children’s blood (nytimes.com, Rosenberg and Steinhauer, 7/14/20).” Trump constantly proclaims himself an “outsider.” Donald dabbles, as do QAnon people, who also deem themselves outsiders, in many unproven absurd claims (See latimes.com, John, A., 7/15/20). Even worse, Trump does not distance himself from the QAnon wackos. Donald has repeatedly retweeted QAnon supporters and cheered on political candidates who openly support QAnon. He congratulated GA GOP congressional hopeful Marjorie Taylor Greene an unabashed pro-QAnon believer (See nytimes.com, Rosenberg & Steinhauer, 7/14/20).
And Taylor Greene is far from the only candidate involved with QAnon. There are more than 50 GOP candidates for public office who have “endorsed or given credence” to QAnon. At least 11 of those candidates will appear on ballots in November, 2020 (Media Matters, huffpost.com, Mathias, 7/17/20). Another QAnon sympathizer, GOPer Lauren Boebert, defeated five-term Colorado Republican Congressman Scott Tipton in the 6/30/2020 GOP congressional primary. Boebert was the first primary challenger to defeat a sitting U.S. Representative in CO in 48 years (cbsnews.com, Silverstein, J., 7/01/20). Who is Boebert?
Lauren Boebert is now the GOP nominee in CO’s 3rd Congressional District (CD). The current CO 3rd includes most of that state’s western slope and occupies nearly half of CO. The CO 3rd swoops down from northwest CO to the southeast plains. It includes Aspen, Telluride, Crested Butte, and Steamboat Springs. Durango and Grand Junction are located in the 3rd. This district extends east to take in Pueblo (Cohen & Cook 2020, Political Almanac, denverpost.com, Murray, J., 7/02/20). It was an area where miners found gold in the 1870’s. There was a uranium boom in the 1950’s as well as a 1970’s oil shale boom. The 3rd has the country’s second largest deposit of natural gas reserves (Cohen & Cook 2020).
Politically, the 3rd is quite diverse. Grand Junction constitutes the 3rd’s population center. People in this northwest corner of CO back oil and gas drilling and support GOPers. The high-income areas like Aspen, Durango, Telluride, Crested Butte, and Steamboat Springs vote Democratic. They have lots of residents who oppose new oil and gas drilling. The more modest-income working towns are the most GOP, as are the sprawling expanse of about 30 rural counties. Pueblo County, the second-largest in the 3rd with a 43% Hispanic population, was usually Democratic. However, in 2016, Donald with his blue- collar and rural appeal, carried Pueblo County by 390 votes. McCain won the 3rd by just a 1% margin in 2008, but Trump won this CD with a 12% spread. The 3rd has CO’s lowest median and education levels and has a current Cook PVI (Partisan Voting Index) of R+6 (Hulse, nytimes.com, 7/01/20, Cohen & Cook 2020).
FL native Lauren Boebert (33) moved to Aurora, CO when she was 12 and later settled in Rifle, CO (I kid you not) in 2003 (postindependent.com/news, Rice, H., 7/07/14). Boebert stated her parents were Democrats. They lived in poverty and her mother received welfare. Boebert claims her first job at a McDonald’s convinced her that work is more important than government assistance (cpr.org, Kim, C., 7/01/20, westword.com, 1/14/20, Roberts, M.). In 2013, Boebert and her husband opened Shooters Grill Restaurant in Rifle, in CO’s Garfield County. This business establishment was best known for the waitresses who openly carry guns. Boebert often wears a firearm on her hip (denverpost.com, Murray, 7/02/20, cpr.org, Kim, 7/01/20). An anti-gun control activist, Boebert made state and national news in 9/2019 by challenging then Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke at an Aurora, CO town hall meeting over his proposal to seize AR-15s and AK- 47 assault rifles. Boebert told O’ Rourke, “I am here to say: Hell, no, you’re not (Hulse, nytimes.com,7/01/20).” In 5/2020, Boebert again made the headlines by defying Garfield County authorities when she reopened Shooters Grill in violation of public health orders to stay closed during the COVID-19 pandemic (denverpost.com, 7/02/20, Murray).
Boebert decided to challenge five-term GOP incumbent Cong. Scott Tipton. Boebert accused the low-key Tipton of voting “too often with Democrats” and being “insufficiently conservative for the CO 3rd CD (See Hulse, nytimes.com, 7/01/20).” Huh? Cong. Tipton voted with hard-line Donald 94.8% of the time (projectsfivethirtyeight.com). That’s voting Democratic? Well, Tipton, at least, was no QAnon supporter. Although she is now trying to dodge that tin-foil label for the general election, Boebert showed her true beliefs in a 5/2020 online show. Asked about QAnon, Boebert said she was familiar with this group but added, “that’s more my mom’s thing—she’s a little fringe.” When she was asked if she thought “Q is a bad thing,” Boebert replied, “No, honestly, everything that I’ve heard of Q, I hope that this is real—because it only means America is getting stronger and better, and people are returning to conservative values…if this is real, then it could be really great for our country.” After she won her primary, her campaign said that Boebert believed in a “deep state,” a key QAnon tenet, but that “she doesn’t follow QAnon (denverpost.com, Murray, 7/02/20).” Don’t believe one word of Boebert’s “election conversion.” Many QAnon folks try to play down this affiliation, when asked about it by reality-based people. In the primary, however, the Tea Party and QAnon voters clobbered Tipton. Boebert grabbed nearly 55% of the vote. Better funded Tipton lost by over a 9-point margin (denverpost.com, CO 3rd Republican primary 2020). Although Donald did not initially endorse Tipton, he phoned his congratulations to her and praised her. Boebert met Donald at his 7/04/2020 Mt. Rushmore rally. Boebert called herself the “battle MAGA-tested candidate” and said she was more MAGA than her opponent. Boebert couldn’t name any issues she disagrees with Donald on (kdyr.com, Harsha, K., 7/06/20).
Boebert’s Democratic opponent in the 11/2020 election will be Diane Mitsch Bush (70). MN native Mitsch Bush, a former sociology professor, moved to CO and served as the Commissioner of rural Routt County. She won election to the CO House of Representatives and served there from 2013-2017. In 2018, she ran for Congress against Rep. Tipton and lost by 8 points, a narrow victory for Tipton (Cohen & Cook 2020). Mitsch Bush supports reasonable gun control efforts, is pro-choice, and is for better health care. She received awards from both liberal and conservative groups for her protection of ranching and farming (Ballotpedia, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union).
Had Tipton won his primary, he would have been favored for re-election. With zany QAnon Broebert’s upset, this race is very unpredictable. Yes, the rural CO 3rd is generally GOP, but it goes for solid conservative “Red” types, not conspiracy-obsessed characters. A Democrat represented the 3rd in 2010 (Cook & Cohen 2020). So far, Mitsch Bush has outraised Boebert $325,000 to $88,000, but both GOP and Democratic House committees plan to put a lot of money in the CO 3rd (coloradopolitics.com, Luning, E., 7/15/20). The key to winning this race for “Team Blue” is to build support in Democratic areas, especially in Pueblo and to tar Boebert as an extremist/non-moderate candidate (See denverpost.com, Murray). Boebert’s interest in chasing imaginary Satanists from government threatens to alienate traditional GOPers more interested in tax cuts. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair (DCCC) IL’s Cong. Cheri Bustos intends to “point it out (the QAnon nonsense) loudly and clearly” and to show that the GOP “is silent on all of this (nytimes.com, Rosenberg & Steinhauer, 7/14/20).” When asked if the GOP’s National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee (NRCC) intends to disavow QAnon Boebert, that group stated, “we’ll get back to you when Cheri Bustos and the DCCC disavow dangerous conspiracy theorists like Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff (vox.com, Peters, C., 7/03/20).” To GOPers, QAnon is, IMHO, now “respectable.” Unlike the “see no QAnon Conspiracy” GOP, Twitter announced on 7/21/2020 that it is shutting down more than 7,000 QAnon accounts and limiting 150,000 additional QAnon ones. A batch of 418 troll accounts identified by Twitter were found to be tied to Russia’s propaganda operation and were emphasizing QAnon conspiracy theories. Twitter announced their removal on 7/16/2020 (nbcnews.com/tech).
The social conservative “red meat” gang will be out in force to put their QAnon idol Broebert in Congress this November. Democrats, independents, and moderate GOPers must come out in droves plus to defeat her. CO and the U.S. can ill afford a member of the “QAnon Caucus” in Washington.