Opinion

Sloan: Has Colorado found its Jeremy Corbyn?

Author: Kelly Sloan - June 13, 2017 - Updated: June 16, 2017

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Kelly Sloan
Kelly Sloan

Britons dodged a bullet last week, only inasmuch as they managed to merely shoot themselves in the foot rather than in the heart. Prime Minister Theresa May’s failed gamble to expand her Conservative Party’s parliamentary majority — resulting instead in the Tories being reduced to relying on the tender mercies of a handful of Democratic Unionist Party MP’s to cling precariously to governance — will without a doubt complicate the nation’s efforts to emancipate themselves from the European Union.

That May lost any ground at all to a Labour Party quarterbacked by a such a crazy-left lunatic as Jeremy Corbyn proves that nothing — certainly not good judgement on the part of the voters — can be taken for granted in politics.

May could hardly have run a worse campaign, but other factors, of course, came into play; Corbyn owed much of his partial upset to the misguided attraction of young voters, who turned out en force to offer electoral support to their grandfatherly Che Guevera. This is a bloc of voters who are far too young to remember the economic ravages of 1970s Great Britain, most of whom are freshly removed from being spoon fed the same ideological Pablum in the universities that Corbyn disembogued on the campaign trail, and for whom national identity is largely replaced by some nebulous sense of global loyalty that rejects the patriotic tugs of Brexit.

In other words, just the sort of voters that the likes of Jared Polis hope to attract in our little principality on this side of the Atlantic.

Congressman Polis’ decision to enter the gestating Democratic primary field in Colorado’s gubernatorial race (which was motivated, the dear congressman said, by President Trump’s decision to remove the U.S. from the Paris Climate Treaty, though one suspects the decision was reached much, much earlier) is not especially surprising in retrospect. He has, after all, little room left to grow in Congress, having failed in his bid to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He also harbors something of a grudge against the erstwhile Democrat frontrunner and fellow congressman, Ed Perlmutter, who once supported a primary opponent of his. Given all that, and the decision of his close friend Ken Salazar to refuse to enter the gubernatorial fray, Polis’ choice to leap in ought not to have been deeply wrenching.

Nor, I presume, was the decision to come out swinging with a sharp left hook. Upon stating his Parisian motivation for running, Polis led off with his first policy proposal, namely to make Colorado’s electrical generation 100 percent reliant on renewables by 2040.

Given that any jurisdiction that lacks access to large-scale hydro capacity struggles mightily to reach, and maintain, even 20 percent renewable-fueled electrical generation, owing to the inherent costs and lack of storage capability, one might generously brand that proposal as Quixotic.

Chimerical as it may be, it is exactly the kind of thing that will appeal to the Corbyn-Sanders set. The caterwauling heard ‘round the world over Trump’s Paris accord withdrawal had far less to do with actual environmental concerns as with the effrontery to supranational orders so admired by the global left. Granted, Mr. Trump effected the withdrawal in the clumsy and ineloquent manner which typifies his nascent presidency (a far more elegant approach would have been to do what his predecessor arrogantly failed to do, and submit the treaty to the Senate for ratification, as the law requires him to do with treaties, and let them do away with it) but the fact remains that the decision had no real impact, least of all environmentally. The U.S. has reduced its carbon output over the last decade or so, far more efficiently than any U.N. or other international mandate could hope to achieve, and no one realistically expects China, Russia or India to live up to anything resembling their end of the bargain.

But, it was a global agreement, don’t you see, and as English philosopher Roger Scruton points out, the left’s insatiable thirst for leveling extends to the international, and fuels both a disdain for existing arrangements, and an affection for supranational institutions — like the E.U., or the U.N.

Time and the vagaries of the campaign trail will tell how close Polis will endeavor to match the neo-Marxist street-cred of a Jeremy Corbyn, and whether his fellow Democrats will continue to race him down that rabbit hole; and, of course, if the GOP can mount a more effective repudiation of that ideological offensive than their British counterparts could manage.

Kelly Sloan

Kelly Sloan

Kelly Sloan is a political and public affairs consultant and recovering journalist based in Denver. He is also an energy and environmental policy fellow at Centennial Institute.