Election 2020

Come Together. Over John Hickenlooper?

The former Colorado governor enters the presidential race, for no particular reason anyone can see.


Hickenlooper campaign

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who yesterday announced that he is seeking the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nomination, may be best known nationally as the guy who opposed marijuana legalization in his state but ultimately decided it was not the disaster he feared it would be. If that does not seem like much to be excited about, neither does anything else in his background, accomplishments, or list of positions.

"I don't think John has at all defined why he is running," a Colorado political strategist told The New York Times. "There are very few people I know who wake up and want to go caucus to support a raging moderate." That is the opinion of a "longtime friend," so you can imagine how Democrats who do not have such warm feelings toward Hickenlooper are reacting.

Hickenlooper does have more executive experience than the other Democratic contenders—as a two-term governor, mayor of Denver for eight years, and cofounder of that city's Wynkoop Brewing Company. "I'm running for president because I believe that not only can I beat Donald Trump, but that I am the person that can bring people together on the other side and actually get stuff done," he said on ABC's Good Morning America yesterday. "The division is keeping us from addressing big issues like climate change and the soaring costs of health care."

In case you thought Hickenlooper was winging it, that is actually his campaign slogan: "It's time for our nation to come together & get things done." Hickenlooper's vague appeal to consensus and technocratic competence is reminiscent of Ross Perot, but without the compelling quirkiness—although he does contend in a campaign video that he is well-prepared to take on Donald Trump because of his experience standing up to bullies who picked on him because he was "a skinny kid with Coke-bottle glasses and a funny last name." Hickenlooper says "standing tall when it really matters is one of the things that really drives me."

In addition to climate change and health care, Hickenlooper plans to stand tall on gun control. "We beat the NRA by enacting universal background checks and banning high-capacity magazines," he brags. Those "universal background checks" are far from universal and cannot reasonably be expected to have much of an impact on mass shooters, who typically do not have criminal or psychiatric records that would disqualify them from buying guns, or on ordinary criminals, who can easily avoid background checks. And given how quickly magazines can be switched, Colorado's 15-round limit on magazines is not likely to have a measurable impact on mass shootings, let alone more common forms of gun violence.

Those positions, in any case, do not distinguish Hickenlooper from his Democratic rivals. He sounds a bit more centrist than some of them do on health care (he has declined to endorse "Medicare for All"); on the environment (he is a former oil industry geologist who supported fracking in Colorado); and on trade (he supported the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership while opposing Trump's tariffs).

Hickenlooper's main selling point, I guess, is that he is more pragmatic than the other Democrats. "I'm running for president because we need dreamers in Washington, but we also need to get things done," he says in the campaign video. "I've proved again and again that I can bring people together to produce the progressive change Washington has failed to deliver."

Hickenlooper: He'll get things done. Progressive things. Mostly. As long as Republicans agree. Come together.

NEXT: Trump's Tariffs Cost the U.S. Economy $1.4 Billion Every Month

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  1. It’s like the lottery. You gotta be in it to win it.

  2. Cum together? What am I, gay?

    1. “Come together, right now, over me”

      1. They practically invented bukkake.

        1. They’re not global icons for nothing.

  3. John Hickenlooper!
    He’s not Bernie!

    1. He’s not much of anything.

      1. Hickenlooper: So non offensive you can’t even tell whether he’s Reoublican or Democrat.

  4. “There are very few people I know who wake up and want to go caucus to support a raging moderate.”

    MEXICAN RAPISTS! and MIGRANT CARAVAN! are already taken.

    1. You are absolutely on fire today.


      1. We can only wish (he was on fire)

  5. Sure. When Nancy pelosi becomes the centrist voice of reason, there’s not much I’m not on board with.

  6. …may be best known nationally as the guy who opposed marijuana legalization in his state but ultimately decided it was not the disaster he feared it would be. If that does not seem like much to be excited about…

    A guy who, when he wrongly believes the sky is going to fall over restoring some personal liberty, clings to prohibition? What’s not to get excited about?

  7. A 15-round limit on magazines? I’m not voting for some NRA funded maniac like this!!

    /NY prog.

  8. for no particular reason anyone can see

    To make Buttigieg feel better about his name?

    1. Hell of a ticket.


  9. thankfully our constitution was not designed for consensus. meeting at their middle has only proven top be our ruin. I like gridlock

  10. that is actually his campaign slogan:

    *** clicks on link ***


    You don’t have permission to access / on this server.

    Not much for *transparency*, it would seem.

    1. For campaign contributors only?

    2. Not Hickenlooper’s problem … http://www.hickenlooper.com works just fine.

      1. So, “Stand Tall With Us”?

        He just pissed away the Little Person votes!

  11. “The division is keeping us from addressing big issues like climate change and the soaring costs of health care.”

    I’m afraid he has it backwards. To the extent health care costs are “soaring,” it’s only because Democrats tried too hard to cooperate with Republicans. And the Republicans proceeded to sabotage Obamacare, preventing it from working as well as it should have.

  12. Hickenlooper-Buttigieg or GTFO.

    1. Anything (except Tulsi Gabbard) is better than Drumpf, but we Democratic voters should strive for more diversity.

      1. What’s Beto, chopped liver?

        1. Beto is a privileged straight white cis-male. I supported his Senate candidacy, but I’d rather see a more diverse President / VP ticket. Preferably Harris / Warren.

          1. Beto thinks greenhouse gases are Satan and stock-exchange Jewry rolled into one. Beto and Libertarian candidate Dikeman both fear global warming as temperatures decrease, and both got beaten snotless by Lyin’ Ted Cruz, the Vatican’s Ambassador to Texas. This is Darwinian survival of the least stupid.

      2. So gay isn’t diverse enough anymore if you’re also a white dude?

        It’s been a trying time joining the oppressors.

        1. This is basic intersectionality, Tony. Women of color like Harris and Warren are more “diverse” than a gay white cis-male.

          1. We’ve only managed half a diversity point in a presidential ticket so far, not counting religion, so two women of color (four points total) might be a bit much. I say we go for one full point, nice and incremental. The only problem is I can’t think of any white males running I like, though in some cases that’s only because their names are ridiculous.

  13. Wasn’t John Hickenlooper one of Groucho Marx’s nom de cineme or am I thinking of one of Andrew Carnegie’s railroad baron buddies? Rutherford B. Hayes’ brother-in-law, maybe? At any rate, I picture him in a set of mutton chops, button-up shoes, watch chain draped across his vest, and a fat stogie stuck in the corner of his mouth.

    1. “Wasn’t John Hickenlooper one of Groucho Marx’s nom de cineme…”

      W.C Fields

    2. Lionel Q. Devereaux
      Wolf J. Flywheel
      S. Quentin Quale
      Attorney Loophole
      Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush
      Otis B. Driftwood
      Rufus T. Firefly
      Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff
      Captain Jeffrey Spaulding

      Yes, I think Hickenlooper fits right in.

    3. I don’t know, but Bob Elliot was Orderly Wyncoop to Ray Goulding’s Chief Orderly Schnellwell.

  14. He’s running so that he can be the first Presidential Candidate named Hickenlooper.

  15. It worries me that more Team Blue folks think they can run openly supporting bans that reduce magazine capacity. For a long while Team Blue thought gun control was a losing issue, after their 1994 midterm trouncing in reaction to the Federal “assault weapon” ban. Is gun grabbing no longer so much of a losing issue, or are they just out of touch with what policies can actually succeed in elections?

    1. Like a dog returning to its vomit.

  16. So the LP gets 4 million votes when the Hillbama party lost the election by 3.5 million votes. Now alluva sudden a Dem candidate–covered with spoiler-vote welts–decides maybe the Killer Weed ain’t as bad as Ohbummer and the Blonde made it out to be. What next? Dems for nuclear electricity?

  17. fuck you commie ass hat.

    Now, I’ll smoke some of my home grown marijuana.

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