Sunday marked 100 days until Election Day. Candidates are now in the final push before America decides who will be our Commander in Chief for the next four years. Like other election years, the nation's swing states are central to the outcome of the election. There is a debate, however, about which states are considered swing states in this election. Charlie Mahtesian, political commentator for Politico, created a list of swing states but divided them between hard swing states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia and soft swing states: New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Hard swing states are split evenly not favoring either candidate. Soft swing states are states favoring one candidate over the other but are not red or blue states.
Colorado is neither blue nor red, it's dark purple: A hard swing state, Colorado is a strong battleground for presidential candidates this November. Colorado’s population has been growing, and it now has 50% more electoral votes than it did in the 1960s. The state now has nine electoral votes. With a current split of 45% for Obama, 44% for Romney, and 11% undecided, you can see why both candidates have spent roughly $25 million in television advertising in Colorado alone. But President Obama and Republican nominee, Mitt Romney have temporarily pulled their ads from Colorado in an effort to honor the victims and pray for the families effected by the Aurora shooting. No one has reported exactly how long this "black out" will last.
Before the ads were pulled, the ads running in Colorado were largely negative from both candidates. As ABC News wrote, "Both the Democratic president and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, see women – specifically suburbanites from their 30s to their 50s – as critical to victory in Colorado as well as in other hard-fought places like Virginia and Nevada where polls also show close contests." Obama is stirring up fear among women about abortion rights by running ads that show Romney eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood as well as his opposition to Roe v. Wade. Romney has paid for automated calls in Colorado that point out the effects the downward trend of the economy has had on women. In one advertisement, Obama looks directly into the camera and tells voters, "Over the next four months, you have a choice to make." The president says the choice isn't just between Democrats and Republicans, or between himself and Romney."It's a choice between two very different plans for our country." Obama explains, "Governor Romney's plan would cut taxes for the folks at the very top. Roll back regulations on big banks. And he says that if we do, our economy will grow and everyone will benefit. But you know what? We tried that top down approach. It's what caused the mess in the first place."
Aside from slimy television ads, the climate I've observed around Colorado has been oddly low key compared to the energy and zeal of the days leading up to the 2008 election. A few peeling Obama bumper stickers is about all that's left from the fervor of the 2008 election. I don't see very strong signs of new energy or fresh support for either candidate -- and for that matter, I don't see many actual signs in people's yards or in business storefronts. Polls have shown some have made up their minds on who will get their vote in November but, to me, it feels like the general population is still undecided. I personally don't feel excited by either one of the candidates. It's possible Colorado's lack of demonstration is because they are still divided on which candidate is the right one for the job.
Today, an independent group backing Mitt Romney came out with a new TV ad featuring a trio of former Olympic athletes praising his stewardship of the 2002 Winter Games. The new ad does not mention Barack Obama but highlights the former Massachusetts governor efforts to turn around the financially troubled games in Salt Lake City. Whether Mitt Romney's experience of turning around the finances of the Olympics in Salt Lake will translate into turning around the nation's dashed economy will have to be left to the voters, but it is somehow refreshing that the point of this ad was not solely to tear down the other opponent. Colorado could use a breath of fresh air, we have had enough bad news lately.
Overall, I feel Coloradans are aware of the important space they hold in the election and want to be involved in this year's political process. Currently, the climate feels temperate, but maybe we are experiencing the calm before the storm. Right now, I don't think the state is ready to cast their vote, myself included. Our nation is in transition, and I am taking seriously the power of my vote as a resident here. Colorado is a decider state, and I am hoping we will help swing the nation toward a worthy leader with clear vision, wisdom, and courage that will catapult us into a place of actual hope for the future of our good good country.