We’ve all done it. We’ve ignored a text or a call because we’re “running out the door,” or we’ve pretended an email weirdly “went to spam” when in reality, we really just didn’t want to have a tough conversation. I’ve definitely been guilty in my life of “somehow not seeing” that Bumble message after a bad date.
But how many of us have hired lawyers to try to make a tough conversation just go away all together?
Well, it turns out U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner really doesn’t want us to know that he supports taking away our healthcare during a global pandemic.
Cut the Strings CO, a campaign I am part of, recently launched a TV ad calling on Gardner to stand up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is hypocritically pushing a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as voters are casting ballots, despite refusing to hold a hearing on President Obama’s nominee in 2016, many months before the election. The ad demands Gardner delay his vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee until after the inauguration. It also asks him to not vote for a nominee who, if confirmed, will vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act when the Court hears the case next month.
In response, Senator Gardner put his lawyers to work to try to pull down the ad. He and his team of lawyers tried to quietly litigate a TV ad on the topic rather than publicly defend his support for a Supreme Court nominee hostile to the Affordable Care Act.
But in fighting the ad, Gardner’s own campaign admitted what he refuses to tell voters directly: that his vote for Trump’s nominee puts health care for Coloradans at risk. If Coney Barrett is confirmed, “the Court could overturn Trump’s lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act,” wrote his lawyer, a stunning admission.
This isn’t like not following up on a second date. This is trying to deny Coloradans critical information they need to know.
Senator Gardner knows exactly what Amy Coney Barrett will do in the job and it’s a big part of why he supports her (on top of her commitment to dismantle our reproductive choice). His preferred nominee signaled her position when she said last month that she shares Justice Antonin Scalia’s judicial philosophy.
Guess what? Justice Scalia voted twice to strike down the Affordable Care Act while on the Supreme Court. It’s very clear what Amy Coney Barrett will do if confirmed.
And she will have that chance: On November 10th — just a week after the election — the Supreme Court is hearing a case on the Affordable Care Act to determine the fate of our healthcare. About 600,000 Coloradans could lose coverage, 2.4 million Coloradans with pre-existing conditions could lose lifesaving protections, and the 1 million Coloradans who rely on Medicaid could be left to fend for themselves.
This is a lawsuit that Senator Gardner has openly supported. In August, he said that the lawsuit is “the court’s decision,” but added: “If the Democrats want to stand for an unconstitutional law, I guess that’s their choice.” And Gardner has voted seven times to repeal the law.
Senator Gardner knows this is not what Coloradans want. Telling your constituents that you choose McConnell and special interest donors over them is not a fun conversation — definitely the kind of call you’d prefer to miss.
Since taking office in 2015, Senator Gardner has voted with McConnell 92% percent of the time, including to confirm 210 of President Trump’s 214 judicial nominees. Our ad is calling on him to stick with Coloradans — not McConnell — this time. And we think he owes us the ability to have that conversation in public.
It’s time for Senator Gardner to stop litigating TV ads. Instead, he should stop doing everything possible to take away our health care and start putting Coloradans ahead of Mitch McConnell.
Marie Aberger is a Denver resident and founding partner at progressive communications firm Be Clear. She is an advisor to Cut the Strings CO, a project of Rocky Mountain Values, and a former member of President Barack Obama’s communications team.