How people view this story will depend on their confidence in Donald Trump. For those convinced that he’s on his way to a win based on a stealth majority turning out to defeat Hillary Clinton, this profile of a 12-year-old co-chair of the Trump effort in Jefferson County, Colorado is just a heartwarming human-interest story in this election. For those less sanguine about the outcome for Republicans, the heartwarming human-interest aspect (which is certainly there) will be eclipsed by the implication of a lack of investment in one of the most important counties in an important swing state.
Meet Weston Imer, who co-chairs the Jeffco field office with his mother … at least until school starts in a couple of weeks:
Imer is in charge of the operation where volunteers will gather and help get out the vote, and while sitting behind a desk may not be the coolest thing to do, he hopes to use the position to inspire others.
“Get involved,” Imer said. “That’s what I’m going to say. Get involved. Kids need to be educated.”
Imer’s mother, Laurel Imer, is the official field coordinator on paper, but she wants to give her son most of the responsibility and help show other parents – Democrat or Republican – how to get their kids involved.
“You have a responsibility to your children to teach them,” Laurel Imer said.
It’s a cute story. Well, maybe not entirely cute:
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) August 22, 2016
Jacobs reported on this in July:
In particular, there was a deep resentment at what they called “soft thug tactics” by Trump supporters to encourage them to support the presumptive nominee. One candidate for alternate received a voicemail from a 12-year-old who insisted he was speaking on behalf of both the Trump campaign and the Colorado Republican party and said that the Colorado Republican party wanted nothing to do with the effort to “free the delegates”. Davis soon clarified that the 12-year-old was only speaking on behalf of the Trump campaign and warned gravely: “I think every Colorado delegate to Cleveland has to examine their conscience and live with the guilt that comes with voting to weaken Donald Trump, our Republican nominee.” Another was told in a phone call from the 12-year-old Trump supporter that those seeking to free the delegates were somehow plotting to steal nomination from the real estate developer and hand it to Jeb Bush.
Eh, that’s not exactly threatening. But it does raise eyebrows about the need to rely on a 12-year-old for the attempt to do the hard-sell to Colorado delegates.
Besides, the story would be even cuter if Team Trump was more serious about creating field infrastructure in places like Jeffco. If that was the case, then having a news item about a 12-year-old working hard to support a presidential candidate (and helping his mother, for that matter) would be nothing more than a pleasant palate-cleanser in an election cycle filled with unpleasantness. And some will certainly see it as exactly that — but the lack of investment in Jeffco is likely to have serious consequences for Republican hopes in Colorado, and potentially not just the presidential race, either.
The lack of Trump campaign infrastructure has Team Hillary very confident about their prospects in November. How confident? They won’t be running ads there in September and October:
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign will make their final ad reservations for the fall this week, according to an aide, reserving — in total — $80 millions in ads through Election Day in eight states.
Two states that the Clinton campaign will not air local ads in through September and October: Virginia and Colorado.
With polls showing Clinton up handily over Donald Trump in the two swing states, Clinton’s top aides feel — citing the growth in minority communities and college-educated white voters — confident enough to pull local ads in the two states.
That could change if the race gets closer, of course. But it doesn’t appear that Trump’s putting enough resources in Jeffco to suggest that it will. As I wrote in Going Red, Jeffco is perhaps the key county in the state. “When the demographics started to change underneath our feet,” The Blueprint co-author Rob Witwer told me about Jeffco and the GOP, “we didn’t roll up our sleeves and do the hard work of winning the voters over.” It looks like Republicans still have largely decided not to do that hard work in 2016.