Colorado’s been blue for a while now. When I got to the state in 2004, Bill Owens was being talked up as a presidential nominee and Republicans ran everything. By the time I left in 2010, Democrats had taken the governorship, both houses of the legislature, two U.S. House seats, and both Senate seats. Obama won the state easily, twice. This is the first time a Republican has won a Senate seat in Colorado since 2002.

So when Democrats – including the president – argue that these midterm are simply a reflection of a structural problem, Colorado proves them wrong. Gardner ousted Udall, who fully embraced the entire menu of vicious and banal attacks that had previously worked for Obama and Michael Bennet. In the state where the president gave his dramatic DNC speech in 2008, Udall represented the smallness of today’s Democratic agenda. Udall’s campaign was a carbon copy of Bennet’s.