By Jerry Kopel
I thoroughly enjoyed the recent Denver Post "Colorado Primary 2002" questionnaire, having filled out hundreds of similar type requests from newspapers and special interest groups in 13 legislative general elections contests, (eleven wins, two losses) and one major primary.
There is always one question in the "if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be" category. This year it was "Three things you can't live without." It was answered by 20 Democrats and 17 Republicans running for the Colorado legislature. The answers can tell a lot about what type of legislator he or she would be in the 2003 session.
I thought "faith" would top all answers. I was wrong. The "faith" category, including "God and religious beliefs" received 13 hits from six Democrats and seven Republicans. "Family" (which included girlfriends) received 29 hits, 13 from Democrats and 16 from Republicans. Only one Republican did not include "family".
"Friends" was much lower than I expected, with 10 hits, five each from Republicans and Democrats,
The big difference in philosophies came on "freedom" and "environment" The term "freedom" was also expressed as "country or state, freedom of thought" and similar words. Here we had 13 hits, as many as "faith" received, but it was very heavily Republican over Democrat, 10 to 3.
Because there were three choices allowed, some candidates answered on environment only, such as "air, food, water". I also included "good health" in this category. These were probably the most exact responses if you take "three things you can't live without" in the literal sense. There were 18 hits from eight Democrats and three Republicans.
Interestingly, "education", which included for self or others and "books" and "intellectual growth" had only five hits, from five Democrats. (If I missed a Republican, I apologize.) Tying "education" with five hits was "hope" which also included "belief in positive future" and "challenges". The five hits were four Democrats and one Republican. So "education and hope" were nine to one in favor of Democrats.
In these times of unexpected corruption, I would have thought "ethics or personal integrity" would have scored well. It did not, with two Democrats and one Republican choosing it.
The "faith, family, freedom and friends" answers, in my estimation would be pretty straight line party votes. If the candidate gave the foursome only two spots, there is the possibility of some cross-over votes.
Next are the mavericks, five Democrats and three Republicans, who included "morning coffee, dog, satisfying job, good music, the internet, bicycle, Chicago Cubs, and piano." (If I had been running, I would also have included "piano".)
These eight will be all over the place, and should be courted across party lines.
(Jerry Kopel served 22 years in the Colorado legislature.)
Copyright 2015 Jerry Kopel & David Kopel