FIRST PERSON | DENVER — Election fervor is once again gripping the nation and, as the cable news networks’ ceaseless coverage of minor political missteps and arbitrary poll numbers (finally) begins to gain relevance, we here in Colorado face the actual realities of life in a swing state.
As a 25-year-old who graduated from college not too long ago and was recently laid off from my first post-college job, I’d seem to be the ideal voter for Mitt Romney to snipe from Barack Obama, so, like the state, it would seem I’m open to political pleas.
The state remains divided along mostly geographic lines, with most of the liberals found in populated urban areas, and most of the conservative votes coming from the more rural areas. Despite the assurance from Chuck Norris and his face-kickingly foxy wife that a vote for Obama is a vote for a thousand years of darkness, Denver seems to be sticking with the president. Obama signs are the dominant political features on yards around the city, and the presence of the campaign can be felt by numerous voter registration pushes, most recently at my (very diverse) local grocery store.
Cruising for an hour south down I-25 yields a much different feeling. In the famously evangelical Colorado Springs, home of Focus on the Family, one is hard-pressed to find any sign of support for Obama. On my last trip through the Springs, I didn’t see a single Obama sign, even the smart car in front of me on the highway was adorned with a Romney sticker, which I find confusing since the Republicans are clearly the SUV party.
So, Denver remains in support of Obama despite the fact that most of the liberals in the state were close enough to personally tell him he blew it in the first debate. Meanwhile, Romney remains in control of the traditionally conservative parts of the state, despite the fact that he believes in the wrong kind of Jesus.
This doesn’t mean there’s no effort. Obama supporters are going strong with voter registration and high visibility, trying to remind every jaded twentysomethings like myself that we voted for him once and he’s really not that bad, and trying to draw out the disenfranchised and first-time voters. But Romney supporters are active, too, challenging the voting rights of suspicious undesirables like Secretary of State Scott Gessler did, or firing bullets into the Obama campaign headquarters in Denver.
Different approaches yield different results, and the state of Colorado may still go either way. Fortunately we’ll know in a month who gets Colorado’s sweet nine electoral votes.