Yesterday, Colorado’s independent congressional redistricting commission voted to remove Republican Danny Moore from his position as chairman, with cries ongoing for his dismissal from the commission altogether. While the commissioners have the right to choose their leadership from among their 12 members, they should not expel Moore from the board.
The decision to revoke his chairmanship followed media reports emphasizing controversial social media posts he made regarding the 2020 elections being “stolen,” insisting on labeling COVID-19 “Chinese virus” and other topics.
To be clear, any commission is allowed to choose its leadership and who serves as their representatives to the public. Our country is at a deeply partisan moment. Amendments Y and Z, establishing the state congressional and legislative redistricting commissions, were resoundingly approved by voters in 2018 to rise above partisan politics in shaping congressional boundaries.
If commissioners feel that Moore no longer makes a good fit as representative and spokesperson for their board (and with an 11-0-1 vote, they clearly did), then it is reasonable to take such a step. Moore himself seems to agree, making it clear to me that while “it’s disappointing,” he doesn’t hold it against his colleagues.
But SHOULD the commission authorize itself to forcibly dismiss a duly-appointed colleague altogether and then do it — or, to put it culturally, should Moore be canceled? A few of its members, including Democrats Paula Espinoza and Simon Tafoya, questioned Moore’s presence on the commission altogether. Social media was also atwitter, with some calling for expulsion.
Any suggestion of the sort is outright absurd. To revoke Moore’s place as a commissioner would be a rank injustice, for several reasons.
Whether it’s Democrats claiming Trump won in 2016 due to malicious Russian meddling or Republicans asserting Biden narrowly won in 2020 because of widespread election fraud, publicly questioning the results of any close election is pretty popular these days. To punish Moore for sharing a common opinion is unfair and unreasonable.
Even so, Moore dismisses the idea that he espouses a conspiracy viewpoint. “I never said that the election was rigged,” he insists. “What I did was put information out there that was being discussed in my circle…for more discussion.”
Regardless, for Moore to make such posts is not out of the ordinary. His implicit criticisms of the Chinese Communist Party regime over its role in the early spread of COVID-19 are similarly common. His voice should not be silenced from a commission he’s been duly appointed to because he’s expressed opinions that are opposed by others.
Moreover, while commissioners are supposed to be impartial, complaints from some of Moore’s critics that he clearly “can’t be impartial” are just silly. “Every member of this commission has biases,” he told me. “We came in with them. But we also came in with a commitment to set aside our biases to focus on what was important for Colorado.”
Moore is right. Whereas unaffiliated members must definitionally be nonpartisan, isn’t the point of having Republicans and Democrats to represent their interests to some extent? What have the other seven partisan commissioners (Republicans or Democrats) posted? Is there some threshold of “impartiality” to meet first? Who sets it?
In addition, this seems like yet another partisan hitjob against a Trump-supporting, conservative, Republican. For years, prominent Democrats peddled baseless conspiracy theories that Donald Trump was essentially a Russian asset. While we’re looking into 2020 “election conspiracies” shared by Republican commissioners, shouldn’t we check if Democrat board members pushed their own after 2016?
While we’re discussing political double standards, consider another factor. When it comes to minority business owners, Democrats normally appear highly concerned about inclusivity. So, what about a Black Republican entrepreneur?
A 24-year veteran of the United States Navy, Moore served as a contractor to the Intelligence community prior to founding DeNOVO Solutions, a small business engineering firm in the same field. Moore remains president of DeNOVO. In addition to being a military veteran, he is Black. That means his company is considered a minority/service-disabled veteran owned small business — exactly the kind of person we’re supposed to engage in positions of power and influence!
Imagine if a Black, veteran, small-business owner who was a Democrat was removed as chair or expelled altogether because they peddled Russia-gate conspiracies or something. The uproar would be deafening!
Despite the proverbial target on his back, Moore isn’t the least bit vindictive, pledging cooperation and fairness as the commission embarks on its critical, constitutional role.
“I want the focus to be on the good of the commission,” he tells me, his voice sincere. “I want the people of Colorado to understand that, despite our biases, our purpose is to fairly redraw all the congressional districts so that all Coloradans are represented. Even after this, I’m more committed to that.”
If we’re truly going to be inclusive, then we should all join Danny Moore in doing what’s best for Colorado.