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Colorado: The swing state at the frontier of social change


Politics are polarizing in traditionally moderate Colorado.  Colorado has been a swing state for a long time with basically an even split between Democrats, Republicans, and the “unaffiliated.”  However the divide is widening mostly due to the rightward drift of Republicans reported the Economist.

Boris Shor is a political scientist at the University of Chicago.  He says despite the evenness of party numbers, the parties are further apart in Colorado than anywhere else, with the exception of California.  Shor has data that suggests the increasing gap started in the mid 1990s with the Republican party’s furthering lean to the right. 

Since November elections, Democrats now control all three arms of state government.  That has allowed Democratic leaders to push bills permitting gay civil unions, voter registration on polling day, the abolishment of the death penalty, and new gun control laws tightening background checks and banning magazines that hold more than 15 rounds. 

Lawmakers have and will, continue to struggle to define rules for the sale of marijuana, which voters legalized last year.  Increasing income tax to fund education is also likely to be on the ballot this November.

These efforts have left conservatives pushing back, as evidenced by recalls and secession movements.