Purplish Purplish is about Colorado's democracy ahead of the 2018 election. Hosted by Sam Brasch, each episode tells a story about how our state government works and where it might be headed next.


From CPR News

Purplish is about Colorado's democracy ahead of the 2018 election. Hosted by Sam Brasch, each episode tells a story about how our state government works and where it might be headed next.

Most Recent Episodes

Could Colorado Fix Congress?

The last couple months have shown the depths of congressional dysfunction. Many think the problem isn't so much the people who serve there. It's a process that funnels all power to party leaders, stifling debate among the ranks. In 1988, Colorado voters recognized a similar issue in their state legislature. The remedy was something called the GAVEL Amendment — an acronym for Give A Vote To Every Legislator.

BONUS: Hick At High Noon

After eight years as Colorado's governor, John Hickenlooper appears to be gearing up for a presidential run. On the campaign trail, he's almost certain to emphasize gun control laws he signed in 2013. He led a purple state as it beat back the gun lobby to pass two controversial measures. But what did he do — or not do — to make that happen? And what does the story of those laws say about how Hickenlooper leads? CPR Public Affairs Reporter Bente Birkeland breaks it down. And keep an eye on this podcast feed! It's where we'll tell you more about the return of Purplish for the imminent legislative session.

BONUS: What's Next for Pur-plish?

Now that ballots have been cast and counted, CPR is trying to figure out what the future holds for Purplish.

Blue Avalanche

The midterm election has come and gone. In Colorado, what occurred wasn't a blue wave, it was a blue avalanche. It was a signal so strong that you could wonder if this is even a purple state anymore.

The Holdouts

Colorado boasts some of the highest voter turnout in the country. Seventy percent of eligible adults submitted a ballot in the 2016 election, putting the state fourth in the country for voter turnout. But that still means 30 percent of eligible adults sat it out. Why? Many of the common barriers to voting don't exist in Colorado. The process is easy. The elections are competitive. So we're turning to one group that can help with some answers: nonvoters themselves.

You Can't Hack Paper

Security experts say Colorado is one of the most reliable places to cast a ballot. That's largely because of an old technology: good, old-fashioned wood pulp.

The Prisoner Voting Dilemma

Unlike in other states, convicted felons in Colorado who have completed parole are allowed to vote. New laws require people leaving the criminal justice system to learn about their voting rights and give parolees the chance to pre-register. A bipartisan coalition is behind those changes, but how far is it willing to go toward re-enfranchising people within the criminal justice system?

Purple State Blues

Democratic presidential candidates are on a winning streak in Colorado. The state voted for Barack Obama twice and for Hillary Clinton in 2016. It's been even longer since Colorado elected a Republican governor. Those results have led some to wonder if the state shouldn't be considered purple anymore. On the electoral map, it might now be more of a light blue. One expert says not so fast.


Gerrymandering is on the Colorado ballot this November. Amendments Y and Z promise to take the politics out of the drawing of congressional and legislative boundaries. To do it, they would hand the responsibility to a pair of commissions made up of heavily screened citizens — not politicians or their hand-picked representatives. This week on Purplish, we look back at the troubled 2011 redistricting process and how it led to the current calls for reform. And we discover the amendments aren't just about putting politicians in line. They also try to balance voters' dueling desires for electoral power and community.

The Forgotten State Of Southern Colorado

Neglect can be a powerful political force. Southern Colorado spent a century mostly voting for Democrats, but in 2016 many countries in the region voted for President Trump. It was the first time some had supported a Republican in decades. The reason many voters cited was a sense of feeling forgotten by state and national politicians too focused on urban and suburban corridors. Reporters Nathaniel Minor and Allison Sherry recently visited Southern Colorado as a part of CPR's election road trip series. They talked to voters about whether they feel like politicians are listening now--and what that could mean for the November and beyond.

Back To Top