If you’re reading this, I’ve survived Election 2022, and I’m wishing for you the same.
For the last 40 years or so, I swear off journalism every year as the clock ticks out on a series of sadistic events that result in madly typing and retyping election results and quotes, late into the night of the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
I regularly swear I’m done with journalism as Election Day nears because I, like thousands of other journalists, must flounder through a gurgling cesspool of politics for months just to get here.
My wife, Melody, has after all these decades perfected her annual election eye roll and exasperated sigh she gives me with, “you say the same thing every year.”
This time, folks, I mean it when I say, “I’ve seen some things and some stuff,” and I can’t unsee or unhear any of it.
This — no, honestly, I really mean it — was like no election I’ve ever seen. It was the worst.
It’s very early on Election Day right now. Who knows how long it will be before we know for sure who won. Counting millions of votes is tedious business.
One loser for sure, however, is former Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters.
As if it wasn’t enough to follow Peters’ deranged journey to the dark side of the loony herd of election deniers, who believe things that at first sound just dumb as a bucket of hair. But the “election denier” conspiracies she and her fans perpetuate are actually sinister. Their goal is clearly to undermine everyone’s faith in the indisputably faithful and accurate voting system here, and across the nation, persuading millions that it’s been hacked.
Russian Federation officials were having to pay millions in lagging, half-baked attempts to do what Peters and Co. have actually pulled off — for free.
Peters, awaiting adjudication on seven felony counts of election tampering, threw her tin-foil hat in the ring earlier this year for the GOP nomination for secretary of state.
She got her political ass kicked by eventual GOP nominee Pam Anderson.
While running for the nomination, the Grand Junction Queen of Meaninglessness stopped in Castle Rock for a meeting of the mindless supporting her campaign.
Also at that Douglas County Tina Show was 9News reporter Marshall Zelinger, who recorded Peters and a pal on stage telling real, live people who turned out for the event that he had absolute proof that current Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold was criminally messing with elections.
He had no proof, and no one has ever produced anything other than empty, spurious allegations.
But he went on to say, “You know, if you’re involved in election fraud, then you deserve to hang.”
And right there in Zelinger’s video is Peters, applauding and cheering the call to hang Griswold.
Astonishingly, 129,092 people, about 25% of the GOP vote, actually voted for her during the June primary election after the stunt. She still has fans or victims or whatever word best describes them.
Among them is podcast shock jock Joe Oltmann, the creator of FEC United. It’s a frightening, Colorado-based group of conspiracy theorists and anarchists so far-right and so unhinged that only the most non-compos of the most desperate of right wing extremists will publicly snuggle up to their fanaticism.
How whack is their stuff?
Oltmann’s claim to fame in the real world comes from repeatedly calling for elected Democrats to be convicted of treason for doing things like running the government or following laws he doesn’t like, and then being hanged for their “crimes.”
When confronted by reputable media about his antics, he said on one of his shows, “I did call for the hanging of traitors, because traitors to the nation — if you go and look at what happens for treason — it is punishable by death, and so I think they should be hung — two inches off the ground so they choke to death.”
Of course there’s more.
“Pretty soon we’ll have gallows being built all over the country,” he said, referring to all kinds of elected officials and those who push back against his lies. “We can take care of all these traitors to our nation.”
That’s so 2022.
And who would be crazy enough to associate with Oltmann or his band of FEC United fanatics?
Well, Colorado GOP gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl kissed goodbye to her campaign the day before the election, enjoying a little Oltmann quality time on his show.
And the current chairperson of the Colorado Republican Party led Oltmann’s FEC United group — Faith, Education and Commerce — as its president, at least in 2020.
No, it is true.
Just a year ago, Next on 9News host Kyle Clark reported, “Leaders of a far-right group with a militia arm testified under oath that Kristi Burton Brown led the organization prior to becoming the Colorado Republican Party chairwoman.”
She won’t respond to media questions about leading FEC United and its partner militia group, the United American Defense Force.
Through the last election cycle, Burton Brown was the face and voice of the Colorado Republican Party.
The mouthpiece of Colorado’s formerly conservative and grand old party is fringe, like on the bottom of a moth- and mold-eaten lampshade in the darkest, scariest part of your basement.
This is the same Republican Party that once boasted Aurora state Rep. Gary McPherson, an amazing state lawmaker keenly interested in fairness, equity, honesty and roads. The I-225 flyover of Parker Road is named after him.
The GOP Party that now applauds public threats of murder and civil war is the same party of Cynthia Coffman, the state’s former attorney general who fought valiantly for the rule of law when it suited her party’s platform and just the same as when it didn’t.
This year, Coffman, at one time one of the state’s most prominent Republicans, endorsed Democratic incumbent Attorney General Phil Weiser for the job.
It’s all so 2022.
Not part of Coffman’s crowd was this cycle’s GOP nominee for governor, Ganahl.
She ran fast and furious as a gubernatorial candidate into the arms of far-right wingnuts and election deniers, stapling Aurora military vet and businessman — and profoundly public election denier — Danny Moore onto her political ticket as lieutenant governor.
Ganahl apparently decided she needed Moore in her campaign, even after he was publicly and very ceremoniously booted a few months before as chairperson of this cycle’s Colorado redistricting commission.
He had unapologetically got caught posting election denial scheme memes on social media.
She and Moore spent the following few months telling everyone that Danny, now actually says, out loud, that Joe Biden is the commander in chief, without ever retracting or apologizing for his past dizzying dance of Danny the Denier.
Denying Danny’s denialism became almost forgettable when Ganahl stumbled onto the 2022 gaga campaign coup de grâce of: furrygate.
Ganahl grabbed hold of this spotty national conspiracy theory with all the gusto and grace of a cat after a red laser light. Ganahl tried to persuade the public that schools across Colorado have been infested with children who “identify as cats” and other animals, calling them “furries.”
The whole thing is a passé slight toward LGTBQ people and students.
She said many parents, swearing on Donald Trump’s political grave, pledge that local schools allow these “furries” to piddle in pans of cat litter and hiss and scratch at anyone coming their way.
This was just a couple of weeks ago, about the time I started hovering around at the job application table at a nearby Home Depot.
Just when I thought the Ganahl catty caper couldn’t get any nuttier, the wheels came off at Channel 4 when TV reporter Shaun Boyd appeared to try to give the crazy-cat-lady conundrum some kind of 2022 legitimacy.
It did not. In between all that, we’ve rolled through a veritable ocean of daily sickness from Congressperson Lauren Boebert, who managed to top herself a couple of months again when she told political rallyists that the U.S. government needs to incorporate the Christian Bible into things like the Constitution and all of the nation’s laws.
Not making this up, Boebert’s been on a long, biblical Taliban binge, culminating in her 2022 magnum opus: “I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk.”
Me? I’m just tired, and already looking through emails focusing on Election 2023.
Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]
How can you say the Channel 4 piece gave no legitimacy to Ganahl’s claims? The school board denied it out of hand. Boyd produced emails and firsthand witnesses to prove that it happened and that the schools knew about it. That’s called evidence.
I’m pretty sure the emails in that piece were from a parent emailing the school district because her child was supposedly telling her that kids at their school were dressing as cats and using litter boxes, which the school district denied. No other witnesses, no pictures students had taken of them, no videos the news crew had gotten of these imaginary “cat children” walking home from school. Really the only “evidence” was heresay of heresay, on a very politically charged, completely made up subject that invites false testimony. Not exactly a smoking a gun.
With your constant manipulation and dishonest interpretation of statistics regarding abortion, I wouldn’t expect you to see the problem with a complete lack of actual evidence.
LOL, in these times of inflation, you should make some extra money by charging me rent for the space I’m occupying in your head.
There is no valid evidence, anywhere, that this is happening in an American school.
Thought it was interesting that more voters participated in Arapahoe country than in Denver County this election. Question: How did the independent voters lean toward, dem or rep?