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

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.

Walker Stapleton's Family

A name can be a tricky thing for a politician. For Walker Stapleton, the Republican nominee for governor, his name does double duty, tying him to both a controversial Denver mayor and the Bush dynasty. Stapleton trumpeted both those ties at the beginning of his political career. Today, he's running more as his own man. CPR's Ann Marie Awad dives into both the legacies embodied in Walker Stapleton's name--and examines whether either might matter on Election Day.

Jared Polis's Money

Congressman Jared Polis has spent an unprecedented amount money on his campaign for governor. By the latest count, he's donated $18.3 million of his own money. That's more than the total candidate spending in the 2014 gubernatorial race. The Democratic nominee says self-financing buys him political independence. Unlike his opponent, he refuses donations from corporations and special interests, which he argues frees him to push bold proposals. Meanwhile, Republican nominee Walker Stapleton accuses Polis of trying to buy the election. These opposing talking points raise bigger questions. What does it mean for democracy when someone is ready, and able, to spend whatever it takes on a campaign? How does that change the dynamics of a race? And where does it leave voters? This episode looks back at the origin of the candidate's fortune and how it's long been a potent force in Colorado politics. And we'll explore why he's likely to be far from the last wealthy candidate in the state or the country.

The Signature Wars

In Colorado, voters have incredible power to pass laws at the ballot. The initiative process was born out of the Progressive Era. Reformers hoped that by giving people a say in state government, they could check special interests and their influence over lawmakers. Things haven't gone exactly as planned. Today, the initiative process is often Colorado's highest-stakes political poker game, attracting a wide range of corporations and wealthy donors. So has direct democracy made Colorado voters into scientists in the laboratory of democracy? Or the test subjects?

Introducing 'Purplish': A Podcast About Colorado Politics And The Forces That Shape It

"Purplish" is a show about Colorado's democracy ahead of the 2018 election. The podcast, hosted by Colorado Public Radio reporter Sam Brasch, goes behind the headlines to ask big questions about state government. Each episode hones in on a puzzling piece of news around the election. Explanations come from CPR reporters, experts and voters. The goal is to provide the context that's often left out of election coverage. Rather than cover the horse race, it tells stories about how democracy works in Colorado and where it might be headed next.

Introducing 'Purplish': A Podcast About Colorado Politics And The Forces That Shape It

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