Shana Black, Colorado Republican running for the state Legislature, once proposed “dissolving” the United States by exiling Democratic regions of the country. She also shared numerous conspiracy theories and told GOP delegates during her primary campaign that she was privileged to study under a notoriously racist libertarian scholar. Black, a retired family law attorney now running for House District 18 in Colorado Springs, claims Cato Institute founder Murray Rothbard as her intellectual mentor. 

“​​I’m a member of The Federalist Society,” said Black, during an April 8 speech at the GOP multi-county assembly in Colorado Springs. “The Federalist Society was tasked by President Trump to provide a list of qualified candidates to the United States Supreme Court. I’m also an allied attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom. The Alliance Defending Freedom is the world’s largest organization committed to defending life, our religious liberties, family, marriage, the right to free speech, and the sanctity of life. I am also a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association and volunteered with Lawyers For Trump, which is a grassroots organization, boots on the ground in battleground states.

“I’m also skilled at economics. I was privileged to complete my bachelor’s degree and my graduate coursework under the tutelage of Dr. Murray Rothbard, who is a world-renowned free-market economist. He founded the Cato Institute. He founded the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is an economic historian, a free market economist and a political theorist. I understand that prosperity comes from free markets, liberty, limited government, and free people.”

Rothbard was indeed an influential libertarian scholar. He was also an overt racist who advocated for the repeal of the Civil Rights Act and for “voluntary separation” of the races.

Here is Rothbard writing in December 1994 about the self-evident truth that various ethnic groups and races differ in intelligence: 

“Until literally mid-October 1994, it was shameful and taboo for anyone to talk publicly or write about, home truths which everyone, and I mean everyone, knew in their hearts and in private: that is, almost self-evident truths about race, intelligence, and heritability,” says Rothbard. “I mean the almost self-evident fact that individuals, ethnic groups, and races differ among themselves in intelligence and in many other traits, and that intelligence, as well as less controversial traits of temperament, are in large part hereditary.” 

Prof. Murray Rothbard

He also liked Klansman David Duke’s politics. 

“It is fascinating that there was nothing in Duke’s current program or campaign that could not also be embraced by paleoconservatives or paleo-libertarians; lower taxes, dismantling the bureaucracy, slashing the welfare system, attacking affirmative action and racial set-asides, calling for equal rights for all Americans, including whites: what’s wrong with any of that?” wrote Rothbard.

Rothbard was also a charter member of the neo-Confederate secessionist group League of the South, which mourned his death as “an ardent supporter of the South.”

Rothbard isn’t the only far-right name Black included in her campaign speech to fellow Republicans at the party assembly earlier this year. She also listed her work for the religious right legal group, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). The group advocates re-criminalizing gay sex and has promoted the dangerous myth that LGBT people are more likely to be pedophiles. For these positions and others, the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies ADF as an anti-LGBT hate group. 

A statement on Black’s own campaign website implies an organized effort by pro-LGBT advocates to recruit children, without saying it directly. 

“Across the nation, there is a perverse movement aimed at abusing our young children through the educational system, and Colorado has been no wallflower in that pursuit. This movement claims to be seeking to teach inclusivity and acceptance, but the reality reveals a much darker nefarious goal,” state’s Black’s website.

Black did not respond to the Colorado Times Recorder’s questions as to details about the “perverse movement” within the state’s educational system and its “dark nefarious goals.” This article will be updated with any response received. 

Black spoke with the Colorado Times Recorder several days after publication and says her social media post about dissolving the United States was intended “to start a conversation,” and not a serious proposal. Her full statement is included at the end of this article.

Black’s social media presence also reveals an affinity for conspiracy theories. In addition to numerous election-denying statements and links, Black also shared multiple COVID-related misinformation posts promoting hydroxychloroquine.

In July of 2020, she posted added “#SaveTheChildren” to a post listing alleged child sex trafficking incidents, including the false and dangerous QAnon-linked conspiracy theory that the Wayfair furniture company is actually a front for trafficking children.

The “Save the Children” hashtag swept the country that summer, including in Colorado where became so prevalent it hampered legitimate efforts to help trafficking victims. In fact, Black isn’t the only statehouse candidate to have shared this specific post. Vanessa Warren DeMott, who is currently running for a House seat in Westminster, shared it back in 2020 during her failed run for state Senate.

Black even proposed ending the United States as we know it, asking for suggestions on how to divide America into two nations: one conservative and one liberal.

“Ideas for peacefully dissolving our union? I am serious,” wrote Black on Facebook. “I think this is an idea that should be considered. I don’t see us as United, but forever divided, and more so with each election.”

Responding to comments on her post, Black offered specific ideas for how and where to divide the country. Asked by one person what sort of new government she proposed, Black answered, “I am thinking same form of government for the red states, separate off the blue states and they can form their own unions with socialist government or whatever.”

As to the name of the new countries, Black had an answer for that as well: “I think the states who continue on with our Constitution are still the United States. We would just lose a few states or regions (West California, for example).”

She also proposed a specific division of the West Coast, writing: “We would keep San Diego, Long Beach port, Orange County, everything east of Los Angeles & San Francisco, carve out Portland and Seattle areas.”

As primary polls closed in Colorado in June, establishment Republicans breathed a sigh of relief. The consensus view of the results was that the GOP avoided disaster by picking the less-extreme option in nearly every contested race. This dynamic was especially true in deep-red El Paso County, where a slate of grassroots conspiracist candidates, supported by the county party, would have presented a serious threat to the party’s reputation had any of them won. None did, including Black’s challenger, Summer Groubert.

This spring a new political group, “Better Conservative Politics,” launched in El Paso County, with the goal of “bringing back reasonable discussions to politics.” Groubert skipped its candidate forum. Black framed herself as the more qualified Republican candidate while characterizing her eventual Democratic opponent, state Rep. Marc Snyder as extreme, calling him a “Leftist-Marxist.”

In a conversation with another Colorado Times Recorder reporter several days after publication, Black offered the following statement:

“I have a wide variety of friends, from all over the political spectrum, including on my Facebook page — Democrats, very liberal Democrats, very conservative Republicans, probably some communists. We have these great conversations on Facebook. Anyone reading that [post about dissolving America] knew it was to get a conversation started. I’ve had some very long, lengthy conversations on Facebook with friends and associates from all political spectrums.

I’ve never proposed the dissolution of the United States of America. I love America, I love our country, and I would never propose that. It was a conversation starter about the deep divide that I see in our country, including within the same geographical location. I don’t think it would ever happen.

[Regarding the Jefferson State, a proposed separate state in California, where Black grew up] Those are more rural communities, with a lot of ranchers who have completely different interests than say, San Francisco, Portland and denser population areas. I understand their sentiment, but I don’t think that would be a successful endeavor. Are they talking about it? Yes, and I think that’s an expression of their frustrations with having urban centers with completely different values than the more rural settings. You see that in Colorado too.”