The Denver Post, a putatively “liberal” newspaper, endorsing Republican Mike Coffman for a sixth term in Congress:
President Donald Trump has divided this nation, eroded the norms of decency and respect, and made egregious policy decisions that have had repercussions on the lives of many Coloradans.
But that is not the fault of U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican from Aurora who represents the kind of thoughtful leadership and independent voting that we wish all members of Congress exhibited in these trying times.
Voters in the 6th Congressional District would be wise and just to reward Coffman with another two years in office so he can continue the good fight he has mounted on Capitol Hill despite the failings of his party.
What incentive would Republicans have to do the right thing if we don’t support the few conservatives who, like Coffman, have said that Trump’s brand of politics — while it may have won at the ballot box in 2016 — is not worth the high moral cost?
“Tearing children from the arms of parents and then isolating them alone is antithetical to the America I grew up in, and to the America that I have many times fought to defend,” Coffman wrote as some of his colleagues equivocated about the travesty occurring at our border. “This isn’t who we are. My colleagues should mark their words and this moment — history won’t remember well those who support the continuation of this policy.”
Unfortunately, Coffman faces one of the strongest candidates this editorial board has interviewed this year. Jason Crow, a 39-year-old father of two, is impressive: He’s a partner with the lawfirm Holland and Hart; he was an Army Ranger who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan; he has a bronze star; and he talks about policy and politics like he’s a seasoned politician yet he’s never even run for office before.
Crow is the type of candidate who gives voters hope that Congress can be redeemed from the inept conflagration it has become.
Oh, how we wish Crow were running against one of the Republicans in this state who have failed to object as Trump has threatened our very Democracy.
Faced with this difficult decision, we hope voters turn to Coffman’s remarkable transformation in the eight years since his district was redrawn to include more minorities and fewer Republicans. The former Marine has made a mad-dash to the center.
Note that the editorial board’s logic would make no sense whatsoever even if its basis for supporting Coffman happened to be correct. What kind of sense does it make to vote for a Trump enabler against a Trump opponent because the Trump enabler is (supposedly) not quite as enabling as some other enablers?
But it turns out that this claim is not merely false, but almost the precise inverse of the truth. Mike Coffman is practically Trump’s biggest supporter in the entire House of Representatives, when one controls for the makeup of his district! Only five members of Congress voted more often with Trump than Coffman did by this metric. Indeed, even without controlling for the makeup of a member’s district, Coffman voted with Trump more often than the median Republican did, even though Colorado is far less conservative than most states that send passels of Republicans to Congress.
Best of all, Coffman voted more often with Trump than Colorado’s three other GOP members of Congress did, both in absolute terms, and when controlling for the makeup of their districts. (The Denver Post: “Oh, how we wish Crow were running against one of the Republicans in this state who have failed to object as Trump has threatened our very Democracy.”)
In sum, this endorsement comes very close to achieving the pundit’s version of Maximum Possible Analytic Error.