Tom Tancredo Wins By Losing


Tom Tancredo’s headquarters boosted a rocking party Tuesday night, with line-dancing and a country-western band playing cover tunes, but the enthusiasm for his insurgent, third-party campaign was not enough to pull ahead of the Democratic candidate, John Hickenlooper, in the race for Colorado governor.

Hickenlooper ended the night with a safe margin, pulling ahead of Tancredo, who ran on the American Constitution Party ticket. Tancredo’s hard-line views on illegal immigration, his suggestion that non-Christian immigrants should leave the country, and his ruminations about Mexicans plotting a cross-border terrorist attack might not have won over a majority of Colorado voters, but his numbers certainly said a lot about how people here were feeling about the state’s Republican Party and its candidate, Dan Maes.

In Maes, Colorado Republicans managed to find a candidate whose personal history and views drove voters away—right to Tancredo. Maes’ claims that the state capitol’s plan to encourage bicycling amounted to “converting Denver into a United Nations community” possibly measured as one of the least-bizarre things he said over the course of the election. Maes ended the night with just 8 percent of the vote.

When I talked to voters at his party headquarters, the Stampede Dance Hall, on Tuesday, most weren’t particularly pleased with the state GOP. “The Republicans have let me down lately,” said Vinny Rozanskas, a 63-year-old retired airline worker from Aurora. While he’s registered GOP, he said he probably leans more libertarian, and has a tea party sign at his townhouse. “Either party could go down the tubes and it wouldn’t bother me in the least.”

Jan Wilson, 58 of Denver, initially backed Maes—and frequently “liked” his Facebook posts, she told me—but felt he should have dropped out of the race when it became clear that he had little chance of winning. Maes staying in the race cost Tancredo the governorship, she said. “Why didn’t he just pull out?” she asked. “Now the Republicans are going to be the minority party. That’s bullshit.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.