Colorado hosted a marathon of political rallies last week, bringing Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, as well as current incumbent Donald Trump, to the Centennial State. The events attracted tens of thousands of residents eager to listen to the candidates’ plans for change in 2020—or in Trump’s case, his plan to “keep America great”.
The heavy influx of candidates just two weeks before Super Tuesday was no coincidence; though no longer considered the battleground state it once was, Colorado is still shaping up to be highly competitive in this year’s upcoming primary election.
For all those who were unable to attend, or perhaps refrained from doing so due to a lack of desire to voluntarily be surrounded by a horde of heavily-impassioned and opinionated folk who think of themselves as much smarter than they probably are, here’s a recap of each rally or public event that was held.
Bernie Sanders had originally planned to have his February 16 rally at the Colorado Convention Center’s Bellco Theater (capacity 5,000) but due to high demand was forced to relocate to combined Exhibition Halls (capacity 12,000). Sanders began by assuring the crowd of his intention to win Colorado, which isn’t so far-fetched given his nearly 20-point victory over Hilary Clinton in the 2016 caucuses. On top of that, his recent wins in New Hampshire and Nevada make him the current front-runner.
Sanders spent most of his 30-minute speech covering all the familiar talking points: taxing the rich, Medicare for all, student debt, climate change, and marijuana legalization (Sanders has stated that he would legalize marijuana in all 50 states on his first day in office). He also took jabs at Trump and fellow democratic candidate Mike Bloomberg, referring to the former as a racist, pathological liar and criticizing the latter as a billionaire intent on buying the election.
Pete Buttigieg drew 8,500 fans at his town hall in the Crowne Plaza Convention Center near DIA last Saturday night. Emboldened by his third-place victory in Nevada behind Sanders and Joe Biden, he answered questions from the audience on a range of topics from gun violence to misinformation to immigration reform. But the most noteworthy moment was when 9-year-old Zachary Ro asked the democratic candidate for help in telling the world of his gay sexual orientation. The audience roared in applause as Zachary joined Buttigieg and husband Chasten on stage, where the candidate assured the young boy that he was “pretty strong” and that he would make a great leader.
Elizabeth Warren filled the Filmore Auditorium on Sunday night, drawing thousands of supporters for her second campaign event in Colorado this season. In what appeared to be a continuation of her attacks against Michael Bloomberg in a televised debate held just days earlier, Warren blasted the billionaire as the “riskiest nominee for the Democrats”, stating that America is “not trading one arrogant billionaire for another.”
Throughout her speech, Warren touched on staples of her campaign: Medicare for all, universal child care, immigration and gun control reform, and a proposed wealth tax.
Amy Klobuchar spoke to a crowd of around 1,000 in Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace on Thursday night, many of whom were still undecided voters. Her 40-minute speech was decidedly more personal than the other candidates’, wherein she focused on her own upbringing, personal struggles and political history. Despite her attempts to connect with voters, however, Klobuchar continues to lag behind in polls; only 4.2% of voters chose her in the Nevada primary, down from 19.8% in New Hampshire and 12.3% in Iowa.
Donald Trump addressed a crowd of about 10,000 on Thursday night at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs. When he wasn’t weighing in on the most important issues facing our nation—like this year’s historical Academy Award Best Picture win by a foreign country or Brad Pitt’s politically-charged acceptance speech at the same event—he attacked both the Democratic party and its presidential candidates, as well as Coloradoans themselves for their lack of compliance in ICE raids. Vice President Mike Pence and several Republican congressmen—including Cory Gardner—joined with Trump onstage as he berated the media and the city of Boulder for releasing a previously-deported child molester back into the community.
Though not mentioned above, Tulsi Gabbard and Joe Biden also held campaign events in Colorado last week. Gabbard hosted a town hall in Boulder on Thursday, while Biden hosted a private fundraising event in Denver the preceding Monday. Biden and Gabbard continue to lag severely in national polls, with the most recent data indicating a 17% standing for the former and 1% for the latter.