Can Democrat Adam Frisch beat Republican incumbent Lauren Boebert?
Up front, I have to admit that I’m not a Boebert fan. His rhetoric makes traffic jams easy and problem solving difficult. Clearly, I have a bias. But as a retired research professional, I can recognize it and then put it aside.
I won’t say Frisch can’t win, but it’s fair to say it’s pretty unlikely.
Boebert has superior name recognition, the power of office, a war chest that dwarfs Frisch’s, and a congressional district that already leans clearly Republican.
To stand a chance, Frisch must act on these five measures now and then do much more.
• He must define himself before the Republicans.
Republicans will paint him as a socialist. They will use the media to repeat this over and over again. Even though Frisch is a moderate, their socialist theme will stick because Republicans think Democrats are too left-leaning.
However, new research predicts that when voters don’t know a candidate, they can be persuaded to cross party lines. Frisch has to spend a lot — now — to let voters know who he is. It is not enough to “explain” its moderate politics through the press or to those who attend its events.
• He shouldn’t dodge his Aspen ski resort past. Instead, use it as an asset.
Frisch seems aware of the problem. According to Charles Ashby’s interview in Grand Junction’s The daily sentinel, Frisch “admits that he is a wealthy, white resident of a mountain ski resort.” But recognition is only half the battle. Frisch’s background gave him the opportunity to learn more about the character and values of the people of rural Colorado. Voters will hear a compelling life story.
• It should avoid long and wonky political jargon.
Frisch will explain how to improve Western Colorado. The limits of Boebert’s political knowledge are obvious. Democrats say she is more interested in self-promotion. Since most uninformed voters don’t like politics, they don’t spend much time on political details.
Yes, Frisch should have policy details available for those who seek it. Boebert has the ability to recite his opinions into the attention span of uninformed voters. Without that ability, Frisch will see voters’ eyes glaze over. He will lose them.
• The importance of individual responsibility must be part of its core discourse.
The townspeople don’t understand. People in rural communities accept individual responsibility and help their neighbors before asking for help from the government. Extremists talk endlessly about freedom, but never mention the responsibility to community that comes with it. One person’s freedom can diminish another’s. Freedom must be rooted in responsibility. Frisch must repeatedly let voters know that he is on their side when it comes to individual responsibility.
• Stand up for independent voters.
The unaffiliated vote in the 3rd congressional district is at the heart of his chances. These days, there is a large group that is disgusted with both parties. They don’t want party clones. They want to get things done and end the gridlock. Frisch should call for including independents in campaign and election monitoring. Neither party can be left in charge of deciding when electoral violations occur since they have a stake in the outcome.
Frisch is far away, but there is hope. Between non-extremist Republicans, registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters, there is a narrow path to victory. And who knows what surprises await us in the next 3 1/2 months.
Steve Mandell of Montrose is a former director of research for a Fortune 500 company and a member of restorethebalance.org, a nonprofit organization that focuses on the danger of political extremism. His opinions here are his own.