Amendment 66 supporters — including Bill and Melinda Gates, Michael Bloomberg and Colorado teacher unions — spent some $12 million in support of the amendment.
Last week, Colorado voters rejected Amendment 66 by a 65-to-35 margin. It carried only in Denver and Boulder counties. Voters in the other 62 counties turned it down.
This was a much more smashing defeat than political insiders expected. Coming as it did during the rocky Obamacare rollout, it looks like a rejection of big government generally and of the proposition that more government spending will produce better results.
It was an especially stinging defeat for teacher unions, which also failed to oust a reform-minded school board in exurban Douglas County, south of Denver, and saw a pro-union school board thrown out in Jefferson County, the mixed suburbs west of the city.
This does not necessarily spell defeat for Hickenlooper or the Democratic legislative majorities. As Brownstein points out, Colorado Republicans have been fielding stunningly weak candidates for major office in recent years.
But like voters nationally on Obamacare, Colorado voters seem to be rejecting liberal policies Democrats assumed would be widely popular. An interesting lesson from “America, writ small.”