There are a lot of parts of the country that conservatives have more or less written off as “hopeless” in terms of flipping them from blue to red or even at least making significant inroads that would make political life more difficult for Democrat officeholders in those areas in the short term. Deep blue states like California and solidly blue cities like Portland, Oregon are two that come to mind.
I admit that from where I sit in the cheap seats, the odds of reversing the tide in the hardline blue sections of the country indeed do look long. But I’m also a firm believer in the cliché that if you really do think something is achievable and you put in the hard work that goes along with trying to make it happen, more often than not you will be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. That is true in all aspects of life, including in politics.
For instance, I was often told prior to the election in Virginia last month that it was lost to Republicans as far as statewide elections go. While it’s true that Virginia was not as dyed-in-the-wool blue as a state like New York, for the last decade or so it felt like the deck was increasingly being stacked against Republicans in the state with hope dwindling that they could be victorious in Senate races, Governor races, and the like.
But “the impossible” happened in Virginia, as we all now know.
With all of that in mind, let’s get to what’s happening in Seattle politics that should be of interest to those on the right who view the city as a lost cause.
Though there have been no hard right shifts in the city in recent elections, there does appear to be a return to some semblance of sanity. The mayoral race last month saw former City Councilman Bruce Harrell, who was the “less woke” of the two Democrats vying for the seat, win over the “more woke” candidate City Council President Lorena Gonzalez who wanted to slash police funding among other things. The city council is now viewed as more pro-business than previous versions with the election wins of who left coasters would view as “moderate” Democrats.
Perhaps even more interestingly, at least from the “high drama” perspective, has been the attempt at recalling admitted Socialist City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant. She’s been on the city council since 2014, but over the last 18 months has landed herself in hot water amongst Democrats who say she’s taken her radical wokeness too far. Among their issues with her:
First, in June 2020, in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minnesota, Sawant used her keys to open the door to city hall, and she allowed in more than 1,000 anti-police protesters for a rally in violation of the state’s coronavirus lockdown orders. Later that month, Sawant helped lead a march of anti-police protesters to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s home. The address of Durkan’s home is supposed to be confidential because she is a former federal prosecutor.
And in early May, Sawant agreed to pay a $3,500 fine as part of a settlement with the city’s ethics and elections commission for using city funds to help pay for her ballot initiative to institute a payroll tax on high-paying jobs at Amazon and other big Seattle businesses.
Even more intriguing is that, per the Seattle Times, the first numbers coming from the Tuesday recall effort show Sawant appearing to be in trouble:
An effort to recall Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant led in Tuesday night’s vote count with about 53% supporting her removal from office, as voters in her district took part in a historic election to decide whether the outspoken socialist politician should be ousted or retained.
Henry Bridger II (seen in the above photo) is a former supporter of Sawant’s and has led the recall campaign.
All of that said, there are still votes to count, and according to MyNorthwest, if history is any indication Sawant could end up ultimately surviving the recall effort due to “sizable late swings for progressive candidates” that “have effectively become the norm” in Seattle.
Even if she does, that it even got to this point (a first in Seattle politics) – and considering last month’s citywide elections – shows that there is now a concerted pushback against “woke” in the city. Though that’s a far cry from the rock-ribbed conservatism Republican voters would like to see, it’s better than what has been the norm there in previous election cycles.
As I’ve said before, in cities with large concentrations of Democrats, Republicans have to figure out how to work with the hand they’ve been dealt. If you’re in such a city (or state), stay informed and keep the pressure on the more sane Democrats in city and state leadership positions.
Because oddly enough they may turn out to be the lone voices of reason after all the chips are put on the table, as we’ve recently seen in New York City, Oakland, and elsewhere.
Flashback: Here’s Why the Prog Left Are Running Away From ‘Woke’ as Fast as They Can