Skip to comments.Seattle fights preview battle between Democrats, democratic socialists
Posted on 07/28/2019 10:04:09 AM PDT by yesthatjallen
A pitched battle between mainstream Democrats and more liberal democratic socialists is roiling Seattle, one of the most progressive cities in the country, in a potential preview of the choice Democratic voters face in picking a presidential nominee.
Amid raging debate over the future of the party in Seattle, a city where President Trump won just 8 percent of the vote in 2016, both mainstream Democrats and the most liberal candidates find themselves aligning with the president on some issues.
Like Trump, mainstream Democrats led by Mayor Jenny Durkan are warning of the dangers of socialism, while more liberal candidates consider their most potent enemy to be Amazon, a tech giant targeted by Trump whose growth has changed the face of the city.
Seattle voters will cast ballots in a primary election next month to winnow a field of more than 50 candidates running for council seats in seven districts across the city.
In virtually every one of those races, Novembers general election is likely to come down to a choice between a candidate backed by self-described democratic socialists and a candidate aligned with the citys business community.
Voters who once fostered the Seattle Way a go-along, get-along style of politics are now furious with the current council, which has struggled for four years to answer a growing crisis of homelessness, crime in the downtown core and drug addiction.
"There is no part of the city I go to and no community where homelessness is not at the top of mind," Durkan told The Hill in an interview. "Many people can't afford to live here anymore. People are getting priced out, especially communities of color."
In one sign of just how bitter the political atmosphere has become, just three of the seven incumbent City Council members are running for reelection.
The citizens are simply and completely disgusted with the direction of the city, said Cindi Laws, a longtime Democratic activist who aligns with the mainstream wing of the party. In short, people are pissed off.
A seemingly intractable struggle between the business-friendly progressives and the far-left has consumed Seattle politics.
An effort to pay for a response to the crisis with a tax on large businesses, a so-called "head tax," failed last year when the council reversed itself in the face of heated opposition from the business community and trade unions.
Last week, when the city put up posters asking residents to use an app to report the location of tents used by the homeless, activists flooded the app with fake reports.
The messaging is very much anti-homelessness and dehumanizing people who cant afford to live here anymore, said Heather Weiner, a Seattle political strategist. Weve gone from being the crunchy liberal working-class city to now a city of high-income tech people and people who have been here for decades and who are concerned with protecting their nest eggs, which are their homes.
The fight is on display in southeast Seattle, once a working-class melting pot of Boeing machinists and Asian and Central American refugees who are increasingly being displaced by tech hipsters.
In the race for an open seat, Durkan this week endorsed Mark Solomon, a crime prevention coordinator who works for the Seattle Police Department. Durkan told supporters that Solomons leading opponent, community organizer Tammy Morales, would be another socialist on the council. Morales, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, is backed by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), one of the most outspoken and liberal members of Congress.
"At the end of the day, you have to be able to move forward," Durkan told The Hill. "Being a progressive means you actually make progress."
Weiner, who backs Morales, said Durkans attacks were the same language were hearing from Trump and the GOP playbook.
Neither Solomon nor Morales responded to requests for comment.
In a city where the typical council campaign costs less than an average tech workers yearly salary, corporate money is playing a larger role.
After the fight over the head tax, Amazon and other large corporations funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into a political action committee run by the citys Chamber of Commerce, and a former council member has formed his own PAC aimed at boosting more business-friendly Democrats.
Most corporations have not played a big role in Seattle [politics]. Developers are the ones who are most concerned about Seattle politics, said Nick Licata, a former city councilman who anchored the councils liberal wing. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Licata said, is getting his revenge.
Tension between Seattles liberal activists and the business community has existed for decades. Winning elections in the city means cobbling together a coalition of business and labor, a mold Durkan followed when she won office with 56 percent of the vote. She is not the first mayor to anger local Democratic groups who wish their executives were more aligned with the city's more progressive neighborhoods.
If there is a schism here, it would appear that it is between the Democratic Party and our mayor, not between Democrats and socialists, said Scott Alspach, who heads a local Democratic club.
The tension in some ways mirrors a broader fight for the future of the Democratic Party, one playing out in the presidential nominating contest before rapt audiences in Iowa and New Hampshire.
On the national stage, former Vice President Joe Biden has warned against embracing the most liberal policies like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. He has chided some of his rivals, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), for pushing the party too far to the left at the expense of more white working class voters to whom he promises to appeal.
The leading liberals, on the other hand, have castigated Bidens incrementalism on issues like health care, and his pledge to reach across the aisle to rebuild a congenial politics of a previous era. In another parallel, Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) have even promised to break up major tech companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google.
Durkan, who has not endorsed a candidate in the race, said she thinks Democratic voters will gravitate more toward candidates like Warren than to candidates like Sanders. The latter has described himself as a democratic socialist and is now battling to be the standard-bearer for progressives after having that lane to himself in the 2016 race.
"As the Democratic field advances, we will see that people understand that you can have strong principled progressive stances and still get things done. I think Bernie Sanders's star will fade," Durkan said. "I think he was lifted up as much by the fact that he wasn't Hillary as he was by his own ability to move people forward."
Licata, the former city council member who frequently found himself outvoted by his more business-friendly colleagues, said the fight in Seattle could presage warnings for the most liberal Democrats running for president.
The ideas of the strong progressive wing, I think, resonate with many people, but not necessarily the majority of the people, he said. Their approach can be easily misrepresented and manipulated by the opposition to scare people. I think thats whats happened in Seattle, and I think that could happen on the national level.
watching them implode is best show evah
That’s a fact. I suggest that we give all of them a spiked baseball bat and let them have at it.
I work in a field of employment that brings me into contact with the public....both straight citizens and criminals.
Last night I had a man come up to me at our annual parade.
He identified himself as a former board member of the Union Gospel Mission which is a Christian based outreach/feeding program for homeless drug addicts and street drunks.
They help street people and prison inmates who are returning to society.
He railed against the current political.climate and the policies espoused by the Democrat socialists and told me how when the mayor rolled by in the parade that he yelled at her to hire more cops and stop allowing all the criminals, drug addicts, and insane people to rule downtown.
Now, if the current political.class has lost the support of Union Gospel Mission folks, this next election could be very interesting....but I don’t believe there are enough true choices to be made between insane leftism and rational policy types.
May take 2 or 3 election cycles to effect some change.
“A pitched battle between mainstream Democrats and more liberal democratic socialists is roiling Seattle...”
There is no difference...they are just warring factions of identical ilk.
Saw a bumper sticker today:
Keep Portland Weird.
Seattle definitely needs one, too. But they were weird before it was cool all over the coast.
Socialist vs Communist
Trotskyite vs Stalinist
There are no “mainstream” Democrats
Nancy Spanberger ran as one and votes like Nancy Pelosi.
Their political spectrum in Seattle stretches from the merely loony loopy left, somewhat forgivable because they are so naive, and basically unacquainted with the facts of life, all the way over to bat-guano crazy, and including the basement-dwelling country outhouse rats.
There is no libertarians, or conservatives, or even dedicated nationalists in the bunch. They have no idea what would constitute “middle of the road”.
Business-friendly Progressives??? There’s no such thing.
I find it interesting how the media is working hard to make it appear that the socialists in the Democratic party are a small minority and that the rest are mainstream. These so-called mainstream Democrats are simply more experienced at hiding what they really believe. They also understand that incrementalism has gotten them where they are and that the mouthy socialists don’t realize that their approach is too obvious.
The reason Seattle is being overrun with homelessness has more to do with pot legalization, artificially high minimum wages, lax enforcement of vagrancy and public nuisance laws, etc. The fact that home prices continue to increase suggests that more people are moving in than out.
Seattle uses mail in balloting - ie a tailor-made fraud machine.
The ‘winner’ will be the group with the largest bunch of ballot box stuffers.
Marxists vs. Maoists/Stalinists/Pol Potists.
You can stop at the Pot legalization part....that was the beginning.
Not all pot smokers are the stereotypical stoner who does nothing except get high...
But when WA legalized it, a huge percentage of the stereotypical stoners moved here.
So we have a giant slice of the lazy lay about do nothing freeloading “I just wanna get hi bro” types.
And it has devolved from there as the leftists’ answers to our current societal problems actually enable and encourage more of the problem.
We have drug addicts and violent mentally I’ll folks camped out in our city and the polocitcal class with the help of the media keeps calling it a “housing affordability crisis.”
As if the solution to our problems are lower rents.
You could have free housing and it won’t help solve the drug addiction or mentally I’ll problems we have walking around.
Go further left, Seattle....it’s working wonders for you.
Business-friendly Progressives??? Theres no such thing.
Mitt Romney begs to differ.
I want to see how bad things can get in a US city and how much people will tolerate.
It would be a great social experiment.
Mitt Romney??? There’s no such thing.
I’m pulling for the hardliners. Time for them to start putting the moderates up against the wall.
Where is Lavrentiy Beria when you need him? Or at least a Nikolai Yezhov.
Saw a bumper sticker today:
Keep Portland Weird.
Thats been Portlandias motto for a long, long time.
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