Our Democracy is at Stake

Our Democracy is at Stake

I am running to be Colorado’s Attorney General because our democracy is at risk.

For 230 years, the United States of America has provided an example of democratic governance in action.  During that time, our nation has worked hard to meet the ambitions of our Constitution’s preamble, to “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

In 2018, we must work hard to defend this tradition.  Our democracy is now at risk from the Trump administration’s ongoing attempts to undermine our constitution freedoms, discredit our independent judiciary and the rule of law, and threaten the independent press.  The threat to our democracy is grave, with a recent best-seller by two scholars of government warning that it may even die.

As Colorado’s next Attorney General, I will defend our constitutional tradition and our Colorado way of life, working hard to strengthen our democracy and your faith in it.

Defending our Democracy

I am inspired by all those who are resisting the erosion of our constitutional freedoms and democratic institutions.  Traveling across our state, I have heard from so many of you, my fellow Coloradans, about how you are defending our democracy, the Constitution, and the rule of law.

In 2018, engaged citizens can join this fight by supporting candidates who are committed to these institutions and who aren’t complicit with overreaches by the Trump Administration. Senator Jeff Flake explained that we “no longer can we turn a blind eye” to “assaults on our institutions,” adding that “a Congress that fails to act as a check on the President adds to that danger.”

One tradition we must defend is the freedom of the press.  We must, for example, call out and condemn Trump’s efforts to demonize the press as the “enemy of the people.” As Senator John McCain put it:

Journalists play a major role in the promotion and protection of democracy and our unalienable rights, and they must be able to do their jobs freely.  Only truth and transparency can guarantee freedom.

Learning from History

Challenges to our democracy and constitutional tradition are not new.  In the early 1970s, our institutions were tested by a President who threatened the rule of law and our core freedoms.  Consider, for example, the Pentagon Papers case, where the Supreme Court defended the First Amendment’s protection of the freedom of the press against the Nixon Administration.  As captured in the recent film, The Post, Justice Black’s opinion stated:

In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy.  The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government.  The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people.  Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.

The rule of law was tested by President Nixon.  Nixon claimed that, as the President, he was above the rule of law and could not be held accountable for criminal activity.  The Supreme Court rejected that argument, ruling unanimously in U.S. v. Nixon that the President was subject to the rule of law and must respond to a subpoena by a special prosecutor.  Today, the rule of law may be tested again, with the question being whether President Trump will approach special prosecutor Robert Muller’s investigation, as John McCain put it, “through the warped lens of politics and manufacturing partisan sideshows.”  The consequences of elevating politics over institutions will be dire; as Senator McCain sums it up, if “we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.”

In the Watergate era, our nation passed an important test and proceeded to elect leaders in 1974 who defended, reformed, and renewed our institutions, including reforming our campaign finance laws, which are once again a threat to our democracy.  That year, Coloradans elected JD MacFarlane as our Attorney General and Tim Wirth to Congress (and later to the Senate), both members of, as Tim Wirth put it, “a new generation of leaders to help repair and reform our democracy.”  (Both MacFarlane and Wirth have endorsed me as the right person to be Colorado’s next Attorney General.)

Believe in Yourself

At the close of his presidency, President Obama made one final ask of the American people—“To believe. Not in my ability to bring about change — but in yours.” 

Over the last year, I continue to be inspired by the large numbers of people standing up for our core values, resisting discrimination and white supremacy, resisting attacks on the freedom of the press, resisting efforts to compromise an independent judiciary, and resisting voter suppression and gerrymandering that erode democratic representation.

In 2018, we have the opportunity to defend our democracy and core values.  Our next election presents the opportunity to defend our democracy, stand up for our constitutional ideals, and fight for equal justice under law.  By speaking out and by electing candidates who support these ideals, we can preserve the greatest democratic republic the world has ever known.  And by demanding leadership that is not complicit in the face of threats to our core freedoms and the rule of law, we will defend our democracy and our Colorado way of life.

I am running to be Colorado’s next Attorney General because I believe in these ideals and want to protect them.  Thanks so much for helping me do just that in this campaign.

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