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  • Writer's pictureMario Nicolais

John Eastman and Dave Williams attempt to undermine democracy — again

When I saw the Colorado GOP lawsuit to end unaffiliated participation in their primary, I immediately flipped to the back page to see if Co-Conspirator 2 signed on as an attorney. Sure enough, John Eastman’s signature block is the first one to appear.

On the same day former President Donald Trump was indicted for his post-election attempts to subvert the democratic passage of power, an indictment in which Eastman appeared prominently as Co-Conspirator 2, the Colorado GOP had him listed as their lead attorney in an attempt to disenfranchise nearly two million Coloradans. Apparently after Eastman failed to destroy American democracy, he set his sites a little lower and found a willing partner.

The Colorado GOP has gone full traitor.

I have not shied away from that characterization of Eastman and neither should anyone else. He developed the plan to throw away millions of votes, destroy the democratic elections that underpin our country’s system of government, and tried to bully legislative leaders across the country into following suit. The British soldiers who burned the White House in 1812 posed less threat to our country.

Yet the Colorado Republican Party decided it wanted Eastman to lead its charge. That is telling about who runs the party now.

Dave Williams has set the state party on a path opposite any individual who believes in the American form of government. Aided by his allies, such as the lawsuit’s co-counsel and Republican National Committee member Randy Corporan, Williams plans to subvert the will of voters and destroy the electoral process in Colorado. 

While Williams sarcastically welcomed unaffiliated voters to join the GOP if they wished to participate, he may likely find the lawsuit will have the opposite effect. Bleeding registered voters into the ranks of unaffiliated for decades, Williams’ ploy will only hasten that decline. Many of the people who clung to the potential, albeit fantastical, hope that a “normal” Republican Party could be rebuilt may see this as the last straw.

Williams is alienating the 1.8 million active unaffiliated voters across the state. That is nearly half the population and twice the number of registered Republicans. Democrats hold a 120,000-voter edge over the GOP. Simply put, Republicans cannot win without persuading more than half the state’s non-party people to join them.

Given that reality, it seems suicidal to declare war on those same folks. 

That might be exactly why the last rational bastions within the party finally give up. That means people like Dick Wadhams and Jon Caldara proclaiming the party apparatus a corpse. It means donors closing their wallets and leaving the GOP coffers so bare they could not pay staff or rent. It means ensuring permanent supermajorities to the Democratic Party and giving up on any suggestion that Republicans are interested in governing.

It is a bitter pill for those holdouts to swallow, but Williams seems hellbent on forcing it down their throats. Beyond this lawsuit, he helped push for a state party rule change that would count party members not in attendance as a “yes” vote for opting out of the primaries. That is both unprecedented and manipulative. Having failed before, they hope to change the rules now.

Williams, the executive director who moonlights as an aide in the chamber he used to serve in, may be doing all this solely for his own personal benefit. He desperately wants to beat U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn in a party primary. After losing to Lamborn last year, Williams has repeatedly used his office to attack the dean of the Colorado Republican delegation. It is unprecedented, ugly and immoral. And those are just Williams’ nicest qualities.

It is also another reason why Colorado should seriously consider changing its electoral system. I have advocated for an open primary followed by a ranked choice general election akin to Alaska’s for a couple years. It would certainly short-circuit Williams’ ridiculous antics. It would also moot the lawsuit brought by Eastman & Company.

Having read through the entire complaint, I see very little merit to it. Poorly reasoned and full of conspiratorial speculation that Eastman and his cohort could not prove in more than 60 lawsuits during 2020, it is ripe to fall before the court. Even on appeal, it has less chance before the conservative supermajority on the U.S. Supreme Court than the unfettered right to an abortion.

But that they brought it, and that it has any chance, should be terrifying. These are political terrorists intent on destroying a quarter-millennium of democratic rule. They hope to substitute autocratic rule in its stead. No matter how minuscule their chances of success, they pose an existential threat.

Eastman, Williams and their ilk must be opposed at every turn. They cannot be allowed to win a single inch on our democracy. Our futures all depend on it.

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