Take a breath. Here comes one of the weirdest elections you may ever know.
Better make it a deep breath.
As a tsunami of misleading ads, erroneous tweets, debates and preposterous posts join people on your porch banging on your door to sway your vote, inhale deeply and let common sense be your guide.
There’s plenty of stress to go around and plenty of opportunists wanting to parlay that into a check mark on your ballot for their candidate or cause.
Shut out from power, nearly across the state, for a few years now, Republicans are anxious and increasingly desperate to get back behind the wheel of government, somewhere, anywhere.
The Party Line so far is, the pandemic was awful, the resulting screaming inflation is worse, the Democrats are to blame, and select Republicans can fix it.
There may well be bushels of good reasons to vote for Republican candidates for governor, the state Legislature and even Congress, but “fixing” inflation isn’t one of them. Likewise, it’s not a good, valid or realistic reason, alone, to pick a Democrat.
The so-called Inflation Reduction Act was no such thing, and if it was, it’s clearly not working.
The reason is easy to understand.
There are no policies, changes or plans that either side have mentioned, especially on a state level, that would be momentous. Nada.
Neither the Trump administration nor the Biden administration, nor the congresses along the way singularly caused the inflation mess we’re suffering with, nor did they miss an opportunity to stop it.
That’s not my opinion, but the consensus of every reputable economic expert in not just this country, but all countries.
“It’s not just the Fed or the end of infrastructure or the exact kind of stimulus or any one single thing,” Harvard economist Megan Greene told Politico in a long and thorough examination. “I actually thought the Fed had pulled it off last year waiting for inflation to come down on its own as the pandemic waned. Then Omicron hit China, and Russia invaded Ukraine. A lot of this is just very, very bad luck.”
The easy fact check? It’s a global problem affecting every modern economy in every country just about the same, despite the fact that many nations did not follow the United States into pumping money into the economy.
The “healthier” the regional economy, the worse the inflation, and, so, welcome to Colorado, boasting a kick-ass economy and wicked inflation.
Is there anything the state can do to greatly reduce or turnaround inflation of gas prices, food prices and the price of just about everything?
No. Ask the ghost of Richard Nixon who proved that as president in the 1970s.
While The Fed can raise interest rates so high nobody borrows money for anything, sending the economy into a deep recession, the only thing that can affect market prices of everything is the market economy.
Early this spring, Republicans warned that no one would be able to afford a summer vacation. Instead, the roads were clogged all summer with car trippers, and airlines have been unable to keep up with demand. So prices keep going up.
As long as demand for gas and oil products is strong, the prices will stay high, and economists say that is a primary driving force behind inflated consumer prices.
So choose your candidates on some other criteria that matters to you.
If your second priority is reducing crime, you’re going to be disappointed.
Out-of-power Republicans in Colorado and across the nation say that wimpy, soft-hearted liberals have stoked the recent crime wave.
Not only does the expert evidence push back on that, common sense does, too.
Many, many experts point out that crime is a complicated sociological issue, and that there is no evidence showing that increasing sentencing and consequences drives down the crime rate in any meaningful way.
The government, studying itself helps to understand the bottom line here.
“The ‘get tough’ policy that has emphasized the use of incarceration for more offenders for longer periods has not reduced the crime rate,” the U.S. Department of Justice pointed to a study published in the University of Dayton Law Review in 1995.
Numerous academic and government studies say the same thing.
The reasons crime goes up are complicated and related more to a variety of social and economic factors, criminal consequences not being one of them.
The easy-to-see proof? Shootings, auto-thefts, robberies and more have risen across the nation. The old adage still rings true: If more guns, more cops and more jail time worked, Texas would be the safest place on Earth. It’s not.
We live in a time of lawlessness driving on our roads, chasing our stolen cars and parts, dreading school shootings and waking almost every day to news of another case of people shooting each other over nonsense.
The third and weirdest thing in your face as a voter this fall has to do with ridiculous allegations that public educators and government officials are working hard to make everybody gay and ashamed to be white.
This seems to be a watered down version of QAnon conspiracy lunacy, but it has a life of its own.
Uptight and way right candidates want voters to believe that teachers and politicians want your kid to consider homosexuality as if it were something on the school lunch buffet.
You know what public school teachers want? Better pay and for you to make your kid do their homework instead of plugging them into the Xbox all night, every night.
Nobody in public schools or most of the Colorado Legislature cares if you’re gay or if your kid is gay. They do care if you or your kid abuse someone who’s gay.
Teachers of any color aren’t involved in some secret cabal to make your kid think that being white is the same thing as being paparazzi for Confederate talk radio shows.
But most teachers do believe that teaching American history, or any history, as if it were a promotional feature for a time-share condo is disingenuous and actually dangerous — if you’re not a lucky owner of the time-share condo.
George Washington was a slave owner. He enslaved Black people for 56 years, forced them to do his bidding and never paid them. He reportedly regretted it and later freed his own slaves. Was he an important and impressive founder of the United States?
Was he a slave owner and participant in one of the most horrific and extended crimes against humanity ever?
That’s called history, and it has nothing to do with politics and elections, unless someone drags it into that realm for political purposes.
What is on the ballot that will be affected by your vote this year? Women’s reproductive rights, how much college costs, catastrophic election denial, how much health care costs, how much we spend on roads, how fast we address climate change, and how we address the immigration crisis.
The most important thing? Whether we insist that we make community and national decisions based on vetted data that’s the result of accepted, real, science, or just go with a a hunch and nonsense.
Read closely. Vote for things that make sense.
Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or dperry@SentinelColorado.com