Will hard Left policies play in Colorado?

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By John Riddell

By now you most assuredly have heard of the new face of the Democratic Party, the rising star of the hard Left, one Ms. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
To say that she portends both an interesting challenge and/or opportunity for the Democratic Party would be quite the understatement. Indeed, liberal media outlets have been quite active in championing her Democratic Socialist platform, and promoting her support and enlistment of other Democratic Socialists for the upcoming mid-term elections.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez won a Democratic primary in a heavily Democratic district in New York City. The incumbent, Mr. Joe Crowley, had been in office for a considerable number of years and was widely rumored to be a viable candidate to succeed Nancy Pelosi as Speaker should the Democrats take over the House majority following the midterms.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez ran as an avowed Democratic Socialist with a platform that included such items as Medicare for all, free education, the abolishment of ICE, guaranteed jobs and wages, and affordable housing for everyone. To her credit, she achieved this victory on a shoestring budget.
For some liberal pundits, her victory signals the beginning of the end of all that is wrong with America.
It is no accident of geography that an overwhelming quantity and tenor of American politics, as reported by the national media, are heavily weighted and influenced by those on both coasts.  
The “flyover” states, including Colorado, have seldom merited much attention, a fact reflecting a bias that clearly overshadowed the reality of this past presidential election. Nonetheless, Colorado, given the state’s past votes for Mrs. Clinton, is a notable departure from the “flyover” status.
As Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and her Democratic Socialists have pulled the Democratic Party to the hard left, an immediate question is will the pull or jerk be manifested in Colorado’s races, specifically the gubernatorial race?
Perhaps a few realities of government need to be made clear. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has the unfettered luxury of making all sorts of entitlement promises with no requirement of fiscal responsibility. Indeed, recent interviews and comments from the superstar, who has a degree in economics from Boston University, indicate that she absorbed little at BU in the way of basic economic principles.
While great at spouting nice bumper stickers and socialist slogans, answers to relatively simple questions regarding how to pay for her promises indicate a severe gap in her real-world knowledge. Her mantra of “Tax the rich, and cut the military’” is simply nonsense.
Her proposal to legally secure our borders is to abolish ICE and replace it “with something new and better.” And what might this be?
Now this brings us to Mr. Polis and Mr. Stapleton, gubernatorial candidates for their respective parties. Both of these gentlemen know full well that whoever is the elected candidate does not have Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s luxury of an unfunded mandate.  
Colorado state law requires a balanced budget. While Mr. Polis’ policies mirror many of those of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, universal health care, free child care, increased spending on education, elimination of fossil fuels and immigration amnesty, all will have to be borne by the taxpaying citizens of Colorado.  
This can only be accomplished by significantly raising taxes or eliminating spending in other areas. While Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s above-mentioned mantra regarding taxing the rich and cutting the military may sound great to adoring New Yorkers, I suggest that it is in direct conflict with the entrepreneurial job-creating culture of the state and the significant military presence.
Simply put, Colorado voters have the right to demand from any candidate just what the financial impact of any proposal will be on their pocketbooks. Said differently, every candidate has the responsibility to the voters to make public just what any and all major policy expenditures are expected to cost and how they will be paid for. Anything less is simply dishonest.   

Following a successful international business career, John Riddell turned his attention to small-business/entrepreneurial pursuits that included corporate turnarounds, start-ups, teaching as an adjunct business school professor, authoring noted business and sports columns, and serving as vice president for the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce directing its Center for Entrepreneurial Growth.