Books: Democrats’ rise to power started 18 years ago
The story tells of a struggle to obtain power, a behind-the-scenes effort by Colorado Democrats to win every seat they could. And it unfolded before our very eyes.
“The Blueprint,” which hit bookstores last week, tells the story of how Democrats took control of the state, and how Republicans were helpless to stop them.
Written by Denver television political reporter Adam Schrager and former state Rep. Rob Witwer, R-Genesse Park, the narrative starts 18 years ago. That’s when Colorado voters approved Amendment 2, the constitutional provision that barred laws banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
That amendment riled gays in the state, but none more so than Tim Gill.
At the time, Gill was busy building Quark Inc. into a multimillion dollar computer software firm. Despite later being struck down as unconstitutional, the amendment spurred Gill to get involved in politics.
That was the GOP’s first mistake.
Officially called, “The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado (and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care),” the book tells the story of how Gill and three other wealthy Democrats not only gave millions to candidates across the state, but orchestrated a plan to take it over as well.
“For the better part of the past decade, we watched this story unfold from our front-row seats as a political reporter and a member of the Colorado House of Representatives,” the two authors wrote in the book. “Yet neither of us truly grasped the significance of what was happening until it was over.”
The book tells how Democrats coordinated efforts under an umbrella group called Colorado Democracy Alliance that Gill and the other millionaires funded. The Democrats then funneled that money to numerous sub-groups that were all secretly working in concert.
According to the book, some parts worked this way:
One alliance group, Colorado Ethics Watch, would file a lawsuit or an ethics complaint against a Republican candidate, similar to one it filed against Rep. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, earlier this year. Another group, Colorado Confidential, a so-called online news site, would get “the scoop” and write a story about it. Then another group, Colorado Media Matters, which labeled itself a media watchdog, would browbeat newspapers and television reporters until they, too, covered the “story.”
That tactic, and may others, was repeated in campaign after campaign statewide, including races right here in Mesa County.
As a result, the state went from having a GOP-controlled Legislature with a Republican governor and the majority of congressional seats to just the opposite.
The model was so successful, it’s being replicated across the nation.
“We witnessed one of the more amazing transformations in American political history over the last six years in Colorado,” Schrager said. ” ‘The Blueprint’ hopes to educate people about how it really happened.”