If Boebert loses to Frisch, the story could be bigger than a seat in the Colorado House of Representatives

If there’s anything we know about Lauren Boebert, it’s that she loves attention. And as of now, she’s more famous — or notorious — than ever before. And depending on how things go over the next few days or weeks, she could be as famous or notorious now as she ever will be again.

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For those who are watching these things closely, there is an unlikely but extremely wild and strange possibility that Boebert’s race against Adam Frisch — which on Saturday was still too close to decide the fate of Boebert’s fellow Republicans.

In the meantime, the Democrats have actually held on to the Senate. The last chip to drop came, predictably, in Nevada, where Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto eventually overtook challenger Adam Laxalt, a staunch Trumpist. Laxalt couldn’t even get members of his own family to vote for him.

Victory in Nevada gives Democrats 50 seats – the same as they were before the election – with a chance of winning another in Georgia’s runoff next month if Herschel Walker, another Trumpist, will be the underdog.

Holding Senator Raphael Warnock Walker back would give the Democrats 51 seats, which means, among other things, Joe Manchin may never again be the Senate’s deciding vote.

Can you spot a trend here? Democrats even gained the advantage in state legislatures where Republicans have dominated in recent years (though not in Colorado, of course). In this election, like no other election, Republicans would either live by Trump or, more likely, die by Trump.

And now everyone is wondering if Trump will announce later this week – as he has widely hinted – that he will run for president again in 2024. Do you really think he could take the embarrassment of backing down? I’m willing to bet he’ll make the announcement, if only to try to stop all the prosecutors who are threatening to indict him.

We know how strange this all is, how none of it makes historical sense. The party that controls the White House is almost always berated in midterm elections. This is especially true for presidents whose approval ratings, like Joe Biden, are in the low 40s while inflation is now at a 40-year high.

This should be the year of the Red Wave, which now looks a lot more like a Blue Wave. What happened?

It seems the Republicans did this to themselves by building a wall that no wave could break through. You can, of course, start with the big lie and its ongoing threat to democracy. From there, you can move on not only to the Trump/McConnell Supreme Court decision that overthrew Roe v. Wade, but also to the rush of Red states across the country to pass draconian anti-abortion laws in the wake.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes did a very funny thing the other night by showing clips of Republicans on Fox News predicting either a Red Wave or, even better, a Red Tsunami that would overwhelm Democrats in 2022. Among the wave forecasters was Boebert, of course. She made two very Boebert-esque appearances in the clips.

Writing on Election Day, I used Boebert’s unexpectedly close race in the heavily Republican third congressional district to illustrate what continues to go wrong for the Colorado GOP.

But by the end of the week, I had come to realize that the Boebert story was much bigger than any of us could have imagined.

A Trump acolyte, of course, and an advocate of the big lie, Boebert is, as you’d expect, deep into the story of the fake furry litter box. In line with the Freedom Caucus cohort of House maniacs – you know the names – she disrupts the State of the Union address, repeatedly calls a Muslim congresswoman a terrorist and, of course, defends the January 6 riot.

We could go on, but what’s the point? It all leads to this: The image of her as a relentlessly provocative culture warrior and a Trumpist backbench with no interest in politics let alone governance seems to have lost much of its appeal even in a congressional district that had moved in +9 Republican stronghold .

There were hints of a closer race towards the end, which most of the media – myself included – tended to ignore. This is in large part a story about shrinking newsrooms and the difficulty for most news outlets today to effectively cover a large, mostly rural area like 3rd CD.

But state and national Democrats also seemed to miss that storyline, which is less excusable. If they had actually supported Frisch earlier, this race might never have gone into overtime.

OK, it’s a failure all round, but mostly, win or lose, it’s Boebert’s failure. And the winners – whatever happens to Boebert – are those GOP and unbound 3rd CD voters who decided they could no longer bear to be represented by an embarrassment like her.

And almost every vote against Boebert certainly seems to be a vote against Donald Trump. As of Wednesday afternoon, many Republicans and even some Fox News blamed Trump for his role in nominating candidates whose only credential in many cases was support for Trump.

Potential House Speaker Kevin McCarthy could also fall. If Republicans win the House of Representatives, many in the right-wing Freedom Caucus will shift blame from Trump for the poor midterm result and blame McCarthy instead.

That would only be the beginning of the chaos in the House of Representatives over the next two years if the Republicans take over. You just remember what happened to John Boehner and Paul Ryan. It was enough not only to drive her crazy, but to drive her out of politics altogether. I mean, Boehner went from shillings for republicans to shillings for pot. By 2020, a spokesman for Boehner said the former spokesman would “rather set himself on fire” than engage in the Trump-Biden race.

I don’t know if the Democrat win in the Senate is a major win for Biden or a major defeat for Trump. Either way, that’s not half of it. No one — or at least no one I saw other than Nancy Pelosi — was willing to say the Democrats stood any chance of regaining control of the House. As of this writing, the House has not yet been called. It may not be called in the foreseeable future.

And then there’s another scenario that, say, 60% of Colorado residents—maybe more—could definitely enjoy.

Think with me that it comes down to a seat or two to determine control of the house. In some respectable electoral models, Republicans win the House of Representatives by three or four seats. But it could get even tighter.

Then imagine the spotlight that would be on the Boebert-Frisch race that could definitely result in a recount. You can predict that when Boebert loses, a thousand mindless conspiracy theories will spring to life, just as we are already seeing in Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Yes, a Boebert loss could potentially — I have no idea how likely it is — make the house swing. When it happens, I know people who will call it Schadenfreude. Not Boebert. She will be content to say that the election was rigged.

And if what we’ve learned about Boebert stays true, if she wins, she’ll likely still claim it was at least an attempt at manipulation — or anything else that guarantees she stays in the spotlight.

Mike Littwin has been a columnist for too many years to count. He has about Dr. J., reported four presidential inaugurations, six national conventions, and countless brain-smashing speeches in the snow of New Hampshire and Iowa.