We’ve seen several new lows in politics this year. Exploiting a candidate’s family’s personal struggle with heroin, falsely attacking a gubernatorial candidate for pushing a woman, and now, rounding up sore losers to punish democracy.
Some supporters of trailing Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton don’t want you to tip if Democrat Jared Polis wins the election in November. Stapleton is trailing by as much as 11 points in some polls.
It is called the “No Tipping in Denver Restaurants Campaign,” and it has been started by a group of Stapleton supporters. The request for participation in the campaign can be found in a Facebook group called #ResistPolis.
“No tipping in Denver Restaurants Campaign. I am floating this idea because most waiters are millennials who voted for Polis or did not vote. Also Denver is a liberal bastion,” the post by member Michael OHare states.
“If Polis is elected, we don’t tip. We write on the receipt. ‘Sorry, Polis hiked my taxes so your tip went to pay for wind turbines, universal healthcare, pre k, and sanctuary cities. I am sure you don’t mind. Have a nice day.’”
The irony and hypocrisy are ringing. The #ResistPolis group has been railing against Polis’ plans that would hike taxes, arguing that average workers would feel it the hardest. The theme has been to not turn Colorado into “socialist California.”
If you truly care about workers and keeping hard-earned money; if you truly want to block tax hikes to protect someone’s earnings, then how could you float the idea of punishing them by taking their pay away? Yes, tips are part of the pay scale for most who work in an industry that comes with gratuities. The idea that someone should be punished financially for participating in the democratic process is alarming. It goes against everything the Founding Fathers intended.
Many businesses are actually encouraging people to vote by offering incentives for registering. Boulder, Colo.-based national cannabis company Terrapin Care Station, for example, has been offering 10-percent discounts to customers who show proof of voter registration. The company isn’t asking to see party affiliation; it just wants people to vote. Other companies are working on similar efforts. That should be the focal point of this nation — participation in democracy; not punishing people for participating.
To their credit, several members of the #ResistPolis group came to the defense of those who work in a gratuity-driven industry.
“What about those of us that are servers and are part of this page? That are not voting for Jared?” one member wrote.
Another member posted, “I understand the sentiment, but I’m not going to stoop to their level. What I would do however is encourage written notes or maybe even a business card sized information campaign that would suggest the same message you were trying to get across. If enough of these are left out, the media will pay attention and cover it.”
Another commented, “So we’re going to punish people trying to make a living? You don’t even know people’s politics unless you ask. This is a childish idea.”
Yes, it’s certainly a childish idea. And we hope that people raise their tips following the election — no matter what the outcome — to reward democracy.
NOTE: The author of this column, Peter Marcus, is the communications director for Terrapin Care Station, named in the above column. Marcus is a former reporter who covered politics and government in Colorado before joining the cannabis industry.