A lone Colorado Republican with nearly zero influence within the party handed out anti-Trump flyers at various Colorado Republican conventions, and, according to the intimations of Jim Hoft and some of Donald Trump’s supporters, this somehow counts as evidence of party corruption.
At issue is a flyer distributed by Robert Zubrin titled, “Resolution to Forbid Colorado Delegates from Voting for Donald Trump.” As far as I can tell, I am the first person to report the existence of this flyer, which I photographed and posted to my Twitter feed on March 19, at the Jefferson County (Jeffco) Republican Convention.
At the Jeffco convention, to which I was an alternate delegate, Zubrin stood outside of the convention hall and passed out the flyer to people entering. In no way was this flyer part of official party business; it was just a flyer handed out by a lone activist. I realize that Trump and his supporters sometimes have a difficult time with the concept of freedom of speech, but Zubrin handing out his flyer was an expression of that.
Although the flyer claims to be a “resolution,” it was never considered as an official resolution by the party. The county assembly did officially consider resolutions that had been submitted by precinct caucuses, but the language of the flyer was not among them.
I interviewed Zubrin at the convention about his flyer and his views about Trump:
As a bit of background, I have known Zubrin for several years, and I’m a big fan of his work. A former scientist with Lockheed Martin, he is the president of the Mars Society; indeed, Andy Weir—author of the novel The Martian (which inspired the blockbuster film)—credits Zubrin for many of his ideas. Zubrin also works in the energy industry, and he is the author of Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism. Back in 2012 I reviewed Zubrin’s book and interviewed Zubrin for The Objective Standard. He also writes occasional articles for National Review.
Zubrin started a group Colorado Republicans for Liberty, which had nineteen members on Facebook as of April 12. I’m glad Zubrin started the group (and I was a Facebook member of it), but it has practically no traction within Republican circles. (Note: Apparently Zubrin deleted the other members following the publication of Hoft’s article. Not that Trump’s supporters would ever threaten anyone or anything.)
At the state convention on April 9, Zubrin also ran for national delegate. As practically an unknown within the Republican Party, of course he lost. (I haven’t checked, but I’d be surprised if he picked up more than a handful of votes out of thousands.)
If Zubrin is from Mars, Hoft is from whatever planet inspires the most paranoia. It’s not like Zubrin is a some political mastermind pulling the strings. At his tiny precinct caucus, he was elected as an alternate delegate to the state convention (as I was in my precinct). Because he was an alternate, I doubt he could even vote at the state convention; some alternates were able to step in for missing delegates, but only a small fraction. (I didn’t get to.) At any rate, Zubrin had practically no impact on anything that happened within the Colorado Republican Party this year. Again, this is not to disparage Zubrin’s efforts, which I applaud; merely to point out that he is far from a major player in state politics.
With that background in mind, let’s review some of Hoft’s claims about Zubrin’s flyer and about the process generally.
Hoft: “Colorado Republicans Passed Around ‘Resolution to Deny Trump Delegates’ Back on March 22.”
Reality: Actually it was March 19 (but who’s counting).
Hoft: “There never was a vote—Party elites decided on who got the delegates.”
Reality: The March 1 precinct caucuses were open to all Colorado voters who had been registered Republican at least a month. There, the participants voted on delegates for county, congressional, and state assemblies. The suggestion that people like Zubrin, me, and most of the other delegates and alternates are “Party elites” is laughable.
Hoft: “The anti-Trump politicians were passing around a ‘Resolution to Forbid Colorado Delegates from Voting for Trump’ for weeks before the convention.”
Reality: Robert Zubrin was handing out the flyer, and he’s not a politician.
Hoft: “After Cruz swept the Colorado delegates the Colorado Republican Party tweeted this out: [We did it. #NeverTrump].”
Reality: Hoft and reality are actually in alignment on this one. Of course, Hoft neglects to mention that the state GOP chair was fiery mad about this unauthorized (and incredibly stupid) tweet.
Hoft: “The anti-Trump officials handed out this same resolution at the state convention on Saturday.”
Reality: Well, I guess Zubrin is an “official” something. For instance, he’s the official president of the Mars Society (and Buzz Aldrin is on the Steering Committee!). So I guess Hoft’s claim here is true in a certain respect.
UPDATE: Actually, Zubrin didn’t even hand out the same flyer at the state convention. He tells me, “I did not pass out the ‘no votes for trump’ resolution at the convention. I passed out a flyer advocating my own candidacy for delegate.” Here’s that second flyer:
Hoft: “Here’s the resolution [original flyer shown] passed around at the convention that instructed Colorado Republicans to not vote for Trump.”
Reality: I saw Zubrin at the state convention and talked with him for a couple of minutes. I think he was handing out literature to people walking in (I didn’t actually see copies of the flyer in question at the state convention [see the update above]); maybe he also handed out stuff inside the hall. Anyway, the flyer did not “instruct” anyone to do anything. It merely expressed Zubrin’s opinions about what he thought should happen.
Hoft: “The resolution was created by Colorado Republicans for Liberty—a Cruz offshoot group.”
Reality: Here Hoft seems to imply that Colorado Republicans for Liberty—which, again, is an informal group with a handful of (former) “members”—is somehow affiliated with Ted Cruz’s campaign. It is not. It doesn’t even directly support Cruz that I’m aware, except perhaps by implication by opposing Trump.
It’s unclear to me whether Hoft actually believes his own nonsense or is merely spouting it to further inflame Trump’s supporters—as if they needed the help. It’s going to be a long year.