09 Oct

Preparing for the 2020 Elections

Mike Kulisheck, PhD and VP of Benenson Strategy Group, gave a presentation at September’s Meeting on Preparing for the 2020 elections. Here’s a summary for those who weren’t able to attend.




We’re hearing the word “electability” tossed around a lot and used as the standard for which candidate we should all get behind. Kulisheck pointed out that the daily outrages engaged democrats experience don’t penetrate most people’s daily lives. Democrats need to run a campaign that isn’t focused on “Trump is bad” but rather communicates to voters what democrats can do for them.

Electability is an ephemeral concept. Several things can undermine or improve the idea of electability: missteps and gaffes can undermine, a strong performance can help. The idea of electability can also be used as an excuse to sideline certain policy debates and discussions. Still, there is a long history of “unelectable” candidates winning. Most recently, we can look to Obama and Trump. Ultimately, electability is decided on election day.

Breaking down electability: it’s driven by feelings and preferences towards candidates, as well as name recognition. There are electability feedback loops: for example, if common wisdom says one candidate can’t win, that candidate will receive less support. Also in play are self-perpetuating electability effects: The frontrunner gets more media coverage. That candidate is better known. So that candidate appears more electable.

Here’s some good news: two-thirds of Democrats are enthusiastic about multiple 2020 contenders, which is a good sign that democratic voters will coalesce around the eventual nominee. There are more similarities than differences among the democratic candidates. And once we move past our hang-ups over electability, we can have a rich debate about other things that matter greatly to voters: personal characteristics of the candidates, policy, and ideology.


Election 2020: Will it be a Wave or a Nail Biter?


Kulisheck joked that “Either scenario will make complete sense the day after the election,” and pointed out that prediction is a fool’s errand. However, he did go on to outline support for either scenario, with the caveat that the numbers and indicators he is using depend on economic, international, and political conditions holding steady.

Indications of a possible wave: Trump is deeply unpopular. A number of democratic candidates poll favorably against Trump. Sixty percent of voters say the country is heading in the wrong direction. The trade war is starting to hit home for a lot of people. And more Americans say that the economy is getting worse. Sixty percent of voters say that Trump does not deserve to be re-elected.

Nail-Biter Scenarios: We’re all aware at this point that Trump and the Republican party benefit from electoral college favorability; therefore national polling is less meaningful that state polling. Turnout and levels of support among key voters will be crucial in 2020. There is some evidence that our GOTV efforts in 2016 turned out some of the wrong people: independents who voted for Trump. Our efforts in 2020 need to be persuasive and targeted to the right voters.

Several scenarios come down to a tight race in Wisconsin. It’s possible that the longtime-red Arizona could flip. However Iowa, who went to Obama in 2012 but Trump in 2016, doesn’t look as promising. Other states that could potentially flip are North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Nevada, New Mexico, and New Hampshire went to Clinton in 2016; Trump is targeting these states.


The Issues that Will Define the Election


Economy and Trade

Economy will probably be the decider in the next election. Perceptions of economy are often more important than reality. Americans are fundamentally pro-trade, they see Trump’s trade policies as risky, and they are taking an increasingly pessimistic view of the economy.


Health Care

Voters support a greater role for government in health care, and they tend to take an incremental approach to change.



Seventy percent of Americans say that immigration is good for the country, and 59% disapprove of Trump’s handling of immigration. However, “giveaways,” such as national health insurance for undocumented immigrants, is seen as a bad idea by 62% of voters. Overall, Trump is not trusted on the issue of immigration.



 Americans support gun reform. Eighty-nine percent of voters support universal background checks and 86% support red flag laws. Fifty-six percent support the banning assault weapons. A thin majority of voters trust Democrats more on this issue, but intensity on the issue has tended to favor Republicans.


Bottom Line: The Democrats hold the popular viewpoints on the majority of these issues. However, some of the less popular positions taken up by some candidates such as health insurance for undocumented immigrants, decriminalizing the border, and an assault weapons ban will be used against us by Trump.

Kulisheck points out that there is a general sense that presidents deserve a second term, and they are more often than not elected to one. If people aren’t offended by Trump yet, they won’t be. However, Trump ran as a “different kind” of president, but his record in office shows that he’s a typical Republican. Since he’s no longer the economic populist he ran as, can he win on divisiveness and racism alone?

Kulisheck also included a few words on polling. Polling, as we all know, has changed! In the 90s, people actually answered their phones – all landlines. Now there’s a multimode approach that includes landlines, cell phones, SMS, and online. This mix provides the most representative sampling. Kulisheck believes we should be in a better spot with polls in 2020 vs 2016. He advises us to watch one poll for change instead of comparing polls, and to watch for direction of movement vs absolute numbers.

The case against Trump includes pointing out that his policies pull the rug out from under us all; he’s not working for the people. In 2016, a lot of suburban women voted for Trump and then voted for Democrats in 2018. We need these voters, as well as people of color, to turn out to vote. The Democrats need an umbrella message to pull voters in in 2020.


22 Sep

2020 Vision: Presentation by Mike Kulisheck

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

31 May

Recalls in the Colorado Legislature

In case you missed Morgan Carroll’s briefing on recalls in Colorado’s state legislature at our April meeting, here’s a breakdown.


Colorado Republicans have launched their “do-over” recall elections, targeting CO State Representative Rochelle Galindo of Greeley, Senate President Leroy Garcia of Pueblo, Representative Bri Buentello of Pueblo, Otero, and Fremont counties, Senator Jeff Bridges of Greenwood Village, and Representative Meg Froelich of Englewood. They are also launching a recall effort against Republican Sheriff Tony Spurlock, citing his support of the newly passed ERPO bill. Spurlock serves as Sheriff in Douglas County where his deputy Zach Parrish was killed in an ambush. Approved recall petitions will be posted on the Secretary of State’s website:


The first recall efforts were launched against Rochelle Galindo, who resigned from office on May 12. A Democratic vacancy committee will name her replacement.


Tom Sullivan of District 37 is the second democratic lawmaker to be targeted for recall. Sullivan, a U.S. Air Force veteran whose son, Alex, was murdered in the Aurora theater shooting, campaigned on enacting reasonable gun laws, making this recall campaign particularly egregious.


Recalls of this nature aren’t typically the way government is run. Most states don’t have a recall provision: Only 18 do, 32 states do not. Colorado has one of the lowest bars for recalls: most states require Cause, for example corruption, bribery, malfeasance, high crimes and misdemeanors. Colorado does not require Cause nor any evidence of wrongdoing.

Colorado’s new GOP chairman, Ken Buck, has announced up to 20 recalls. Oil and Gas as well as gun groups like extremist Rocky Mountain Gun Owners are pouring money into these efforts. Each recall requires a petition approval by the Secretary of State, gathering signatures of registered voters that represent 25% of the votes cast; for Sullivan this means a total of 10,035 signatures. Signature gathering must be completed within 60 days of the recall petition approval. Once signatures are verified, the Governor must schedule a recall election in 30-60 days.

It’s hard to frame this as more than a cynical attempt to redo the 2018 elections. Republicans successfully used these same tactics to recall two democratic senators in 2013. Their strategy: take advantage of the likely low rates of voter turnout in an off-year election and fire up their base to oust the progressive candidates the majority of Coloradans supported in the 2018.


This strategy fails if we show up at the polls.


Here’s the good news: Democrats are launching an anti-recall effort that is central and organized. Democratic Women of Boulder County has committed to raising $10,000 and to writing 10,000 postcards. We need your help!


Want to join a postcard party? Join a local group here.


Want to volunteer? Sign up here.


Click here to donate to DWBC’s anti-recall efforts:

18 Apr

Volunteer to Fight Recall Efforts

Colorado Republicans are doing whatever they can to take back some power after the party’s shellacking at the ballot box in November. Representative Rochelle Galindo of Greeley, Senate President Leroy Garcia of Pueblo, Rep. Bri Buentello of Pueblo, Otero and Fremont counties, Sen. Jeff Bridges of Greenwood Village, Rep. Meg Froelich of Englewood all face recall efforts. There is also one against Republican Sheriff Tony Spurlock of Douglas County.

You can get involved in the fight against “do-over” recall elections. Please visit to learn more. For volunteering in Boulder County, contact Tim Dickson, the field director co-ordinating this effort in our area. You can reach him at or sign up here.

22 Mar

Amy Klobuchar Fundraiser in Boulder County


Cathy Carlson and Vanessa Dayton invite DWBC members to attend A Reception with Senator Amy Klobuchar

Saturday, April 13th, 2019

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

The Home of Vanessa Dayton, Boulder

Suggested Contributions:

Co-Chair: $2,800

Host: $1,000

Co-Host: $500

Guests: $250

RSVP to Benjamin Brinks at

Please Make Checks Payable to:

Amy for America

PO Box 18360

Minneapolis, MN 55418




18 Apr

Urgent Call to Action: Sexual Misconduct in Higher Education Bill

ASK YOUR STATE SENATOR TO SUPPORT HD18-1391 TO REQUIRE COLLEGES TO ADOPT POLICIES ON SEXUAL MISCONDUCT: Bill HD18-1391 has been approved by the Colorado House. The Senate has 3 days to assign the bill to a committee of reference. We will know between 4/18-4/23 which committee the bill has been assigned to. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR STATE SENATOR TO VOICE YOUR SUPPORT AND URGE A YES VOTE. Here are some key points:

– Sexual violence affects 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men on college campuses. Only 12% of victims report the assault. Sexual violence has a profound effect on our communities with 34% of college student survivors experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, 33% experiencing depression, and 40% abusing drug and alcohol as means to self-medicate.

– HB18-1391 helps by:
– Establishing new transparency standards by making policies easily accessible to current and prospective students, families, and friends.
– Utilizing an equitable standard of proof which assumes no wrongdoing of either party for investigating cases of sexual misconduct;
– Prohibiting the use of unrelated sexual history of either party to be considered as facts of the case;
-Streamlining procedures by allowing both the complainant and respondent to submit questions for one another to the individual or individuals participating in investigative process to allow both party’s equal right to be heard and prohibit the harmful practice of direct cross-examination of either party
– Eliminating a barrier to reporting by establishing policies that prevent survivors from being found in violation of the campus code of conduct for behaviors such as underage drinking if/when reporting sexual misconduct to the institution

Link to Bill:

Tip from DWBC’s own Susan Boucher:

Colorado General Assembly then click on “Find a Bill”  and type in HD18-1391.  The bill will come up – then click on its title.  Then scroll down to “Bill History.”  Click on bill history.  Once the bill drops in the Senate it will be assigned to a committee.  So keep looking – it may take a couple of days.

Once you know the committee, you can click on Committees across the top and find it.  Its members will come up along with their contact info.  INDIVIDUAL emails – not blasts – are most effective.

10 Jan

How Your Membership Helps: The House Majority Project






As the director of the House Majority Project, I have always truly appreciated the support we receive from the Democratic Women of Boulder County. Their partnership has allowed us to help fund Democratic candidates from Durango to Greeley, and we appreciate their help in our efforts to keep and expand the majority. We rely on organizations such as the DWBC to win statewide and I hope you will join them to further strengthen our progressive values at the State House.

Matthew McGovern
Executive Director
House Majority Project



10 Jan

How Your Membership Helps: A Letter from NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado

NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado is grateful for the opportunities that the DWBC has provided us to connect with women in Boulder County, enabling us to expand our organizational reach in protecting and advancing reproductive freedom through access to birth control and safe & legal abortion care. Engaging Colorado women in conversations about the challenges and successes surrounding these issues are integral to the work of our organization. 
In November, we were able to bring four of the leaders of The Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice Coalition together with DWBC members at the Elks in Boulder to present a panel discussion on our advocacy and education work to support a full spectrum of reproductive health, rights, and justice issues in Colorado. Being able to meet DWBC members where they live and dialogue about reproductive freedom issues and their concerns in the current political climate is invaluable to our organization and the success of the coalition in creating measurable impact in our community.
We were delighted by the diverse group of women and men that came out to support the mission of the coalition. We were able to meet with members from all generations with unique histories of activism. Our relationship with DWBC members is something we hope to continually develop as we fight for progress here in our state. 
Thank you again! 
NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado

10 Jan

How Your Membership Helps: State Senate Candidate Tammy Story’s Perspective








I am running for Colorado State Senate District 16.  Winning this seat is a key to securing the majority in the state senate for the Democrats.  As I talk with people from all corners of my district, they share their concerns, issues and thoughts for our district and state.  I’m grateful for the support of the Democratic Women of Boulder County who have so graciously contributed to my candidacy.  Their investment in my campaign will allow me to reach more voters, to hear from them and share about my campaign.  I will continue to work tirelessly to earn the opportunity to represent the people of this district.  I am deeply appreciative for the support of the Democratic Women of Boulder County who are helping me be successful!



08 Nov

A Preview of Our December and January Events

We are excited to share details for our December and January events! These programs will help us get ready for 2018 elections and prepare to fight the Republican tax plan.

December Lunch Event

Two candidates for governor (Jared Polis and Donna Lynne) will deliver short pitches to open the program!

The event will feature Carol Hedges, Executive Director of the Colorado Fiscal Institute. She served as policy director for Governor Roy Romer in the late 1990s focusing on human service, education and budget policy.  As program officer at the Piton Foundation in Denver, Carol directed the Denver Workforce Initiative, a project of the Annie E. Casey Jobs Initiative.  While serving as a senior policy analyst with the Bell Policy Center, Carol authored Ten Years of TABOR, a comprehensive study of the effects of Colorado’s Taxpayers Bill of Rights. Most recently as the Director of the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, a project of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, Carol’s work focused on creating an adequate, sustainable and equitable revenue system in Colorado. As a recognized expert on the effects of Colorado’s TABOR amendment, Carol has been involved in education efforts on TABOR-like proposals across the country.

Hedges will speak about the failed tax experiment in Kansas. This initiative closely resembled the tax plan that has been advanced by Trump and the Republican party. Hedges’ expertise on this topic will help us prepare for the battle of opposing these tax cuts that will hurt our state and country. Here’s some background information from the Colorado Fiscal Institute blog:

“A well known example of a tax cut experiment gone wrong came out of our neighboring state, Kansas. In 2012, Governor Sam Brownback signed legislation which sharply cut income taxes across the board that leaned towards the wealthy, and that ultimately cut the state budget by 13 percent. The Brownback administration…believed that drastic cuts to state income taxes would generate thousands of jobs and encourage the growth of small businesses. However, not only did Kansas not see a growth in its economy, but its bond rating went down and they cut funding for vital services and programs including education.  Five years later, the experiment proved to be such a failure that the Republican-lead Kansas legislature voted to raise taxes overriding a Governor veto. Kansas has since served as a prime example of the negative effects of supply-side tax cuts as a method for measuring economic prosperity for the rest of the nation.”

January Evening Event

This program will educate attendees on caucus-related themes. We will feature a presentation from Boulder County Clerk, Hillary Hall, to explain the 2018 election process in Colorado. Hillary will review the plans for Caucus, County Assembly, State Assembly, Primary, and General Election. She will explain how candidates will be selected and when and how affiliated/unaffiliated voters can participate. As the process will change in 2018, this orientation will be a valuable tool.

Following this overview, we will move to the panel with the candidates for Colorado Attorney General. We are very honored to have Boulder County District Attorney, Stan Garnett, as our moderator. In addition to being the senior law enforcement officer in Boulder, Stan is a member of the Democratic Women of Boulder County.
Stay tuned for updates and for registration information!