New York Times visits Central Colorado

Brief by Central Staff

Politics – November 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Colorado is under a lot of scrutiny in this presidential election year, since it’s deemed a vital swing state that could go for McCain or Obama.

That’s a novelty, since the Centennial State is reliably Republican. Only three times in the past 60 years has a Democrat carried Colorado: Harry Truman in 1948, Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and Bill Clinton in 1992.

This year’s attention from the national media has even reached our rather unpopulated part of the world, with the New York Times running a story on Oct. 15 based on interviews with people from Leadville to Salida.

Datelined Buena Vista, the story begins “Black people are simply not in the picture in this part of Colorado. What that means, said many people in the nearly all-white corridor through Chaffee and Lake counties along the spine of the Rockies, is that race is not on the table much when talk turns to Senator Barack Obama’s bid for the White House.”

The article points out that Chaffee is 1.6% black, and Lake only 0.3%. Toward the end, it said that “people here say that naked racism, if it still exists, is buried deep. Few residents, Democrat or Republican, said they had overheard racial comments,” and concluded with an observation from Pat Landreth at the Bungled Jungle in Salida: “At least it’s gone covert and underground, so something good is happening.”