Ah, election week. Where the hanging chad meets the Russian saboteur.
Or something like that.
Lots of things to vote on. To raise or not to raise taxes, taxes, taxes. That is the question.
There are incumbents trying to explain themselves, challengers trying to explain the incumbents and the dreaded unopposed who don't have to explain anything at all.
There are groups that have driven you nuts, groups that will drive you to the polls and groups that will just steer clear of any polls whatsoever.
No matter what the issue or the race, you can bet that about half the people who vote will be disappointed, and about half the people who vote will be smug.
Smugness and disappointment come with a price.
This year's Colorado election season, according to National Public Radio, has totaled $186 million for ads, campaign staff and consultants so far, surpassing the last record-setting election in 2014 by $35 million.
Tops on the spending list is the oil and gas industry, which has raised $38 million to pass its own Amendment 74 and defeat Proposition 112. Next on the list is Democratic candidate for governor, Jared Polis.
Polis tossed in $21.8 million to his own primary campaign, then upped the ante another $10.5 million once he captured the Democratic nomination. Add in another $7 million from Super PACs, and Polis has more than doubled the $13.4 million that Walker Stapleton, his opponent, has at his disposal. According to NPR, outside groups are reluctant to feed more toward Stapleton because Polis can just dig a little deeper in his own pockets and double it at any time.
According to the Colorado Secretary of State's interweb site, contributions and loans filed through Tuesday tip the seesaw to the Democrats, $34.7 million to $6.7 million. And Issue committees have raised more than $83.5 million.
I'm changing my first name to "Issue."
Here at home, reported contributions are a bit smaller in scale. In the race for Ouray County Sheriff, Joel "BB" Burk has raised $5,715 through the Oct. 16 filing deadline, compared to his opponent, Lance Fitzgerald, who has raised $2,070 in the same time period.
Jill Mihelich raised $8,131.07, as compared to Julie Wesseling who raised $2,605 for the Ouray County Treasurer's race.
None are exactly "Polis" numbers, but none are exactly chicken feed for Ouray County, either.
A lot of people are spending a lot of money this election season. They may not be able to control how you vote, but at least they're trying to get you to vote. So don't be smug, and don't disappoint, get out there and vote.
Now, let's dust off some old political jokes:
A politician, a lobbyist and a campaign donor walk into a bar…and lower it.
It's so cold outside, I saw a politician with his hands in his own pockets.
When communism failed, we should have seen it coming, what with the red flags and all.
What's the difference between Elvis and a smart politician? Elvis has been sighted.
There are five people on a plane: a billionaire, a super model, an 11-year old girl, a war veteran and a politician. The plane starts nose-diving, and sadly there are only four parachutes.
The billionaire grabs one, proclaims that he is needed to spread philanthropic wealth to the needy, and he jumps.
The super model grabs one and says she is much too pretty to die, and jumps.
The politician hastily grabs one, telling the remaining two that he is the smartest politician ever, and he must save himself. He jumps.
The war veteran hands a parachute to the little girl, willing to let her save herself.
The girl smiles and says, "Don't worry, the world's smartest politician took my school bag."
Alan Todd is co-publisher of the Ouray County Plaindealer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.