COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., June 30, 2013 — Principles of Liberty Colorado this week released their 2013 legislative scorecard. It tells a very interesting story about party politics in Colorado and, by extension, in America.
Principles of Liberty is a grassroots volunteer effort to analyze where state legislators stand on basic fundamentals of liberty. In a simple three step process, tabulated votes mathematically summarize what happens in the five-month session. They have rated the legislature for the past three years.
Method: The first step is to identify timeless American principles of good governance. They are the essence of the American experience in self-government and are enshrined in our founding documents. The nine are:
Limited & Transparent Government
State versus Federal Powers
Equal Protection and Rule of Law
State & Federal Constitutions
The principles are clearly defined on their web site.
This year, Principles of Liberty also reviewed the platforms of three major political parties for 2012: Democrat, Republican and Libertarian. They found that all three platforms hold common ground on these principles. The parties’ adherence to these principles may clearly be questioned, but the fact is that they all recognize, to some extent, the existence of these principles.
The second step is to apply those principles to Colorado state legislation to determine whether the legislation supports or opposes those principles and to rate the bill accordingly. Multiple principles may be involved in a single bill. High numbers and ratings support the principles; low numbers oppose.
This year 238 key bills were rated. The work was carried out weekly throughout the session as bills were voted on. The analysis generated a total of 43,561 data points, enough to analyze and identify clear trends and patterns among the voting records of all 100 legislators.
The third step is to compile the results for each legislator and for parties as a group. The typical number of data points per legislator ranged from about 350-500. All of the work is transparent, both data and results being posted on the website.
Results: The results for the two parties in the 2013 Colorado legislature are markedly different.
Senate Republicans had consistently lower scores in 2013 than in 2012. While in 2012 there were 10 out of 15 Republicans who scored higher than 80 percent, this year only two Republicans managed to score as high as 80 percent, with the highest Senate score going to Senator Kevin Lundberg at 80.2 percent. This is a bit of a surprising result as Senate Republicans are generally viewed as being more conservative. Senate Republican scores ranged from 80.2 percent to 42.1 percent.
House Republicans scored in a range that was roughly the same as 2012, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Four of the five top scorers from 2012 are no longer in the House; their places in the rankings were taken by freshmen legislators. House Republican Leadership, although different than in 2012, continued a trend of “leading from behind,” with leadership generally scoring lowest. House Republican scores ranged from 94.7 percent to 49.7 percent. Freshman Rep. Justin Everett scored highest, closely followed by freshman Rep. Lori Saine.
The really interesting story is among the Democrats.
Democrats could have saved themselves and taxpayers a lot of money by just mailing in their votes. In the Senate, scores ranged from 12.9 percent to just 8.5 percent. In the House, it was 12.1 percent to 7.8 percent. The narrow range of Democrat scores is alarming. In 2012, Democrat scores in the Senate ranged from 35 percent to 22 percent; in the House, from 46 percent to 22 percent. This year’s range of 4.4 percent is as narrow as the overall scores are low.
Senators Morse and Giron, now being recalled, ranked just 9.7 percent and 9.2 percent respectively.
The narrowness of the range shows the ideological alignment of the Democrats in the legislature. So does the fact that the range is, since the 2012 election, narrowing. Furthermore, that orientation is moving away from the principles of liberty.
Moderate Democrats are gone. In the U.S. House election of 2010, moderate Democrats were replaced by Republicans. The radical left was virtually untouched. In Colorado in 2012, independent thinking, moderate Democrats have been replaced by those willing to vote the party agenda.
The statistical analysis reinforces and quantifies what watching a few major bills had already revealed. The Democratic Party in Colorado is a top-down ideologically driven party, pushing a national party agenda regardless of what the people of Colorado may want.
They managed to ram their anti-liberty agenda through the legislature by voting in lockstep. Their agenda has become law, but it has also spawned massive protests at the capitol, the first legislative recalls in Colorado history, a lawsuit joined by the majority of state sheriffs, and two citizen-led constitutional initiatives.
At The Voice of Liberty, we seek to advance the principles of liberty, because tyranny never sleeps.
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