I turned on CNN to see the election results, and I could see it in their faces. Republican Glenn Youngkin had won the contest for Virginia governor, and Republican Jack Ciattarelli was ahead in New Jersey with three-quarters of the vote counted. The election was not going CNN’s way. I thought, “Good.”
I live thousands of miles from those states and am not up on the local issues. But an off-year election 12 months after a big one becomes a proxy war over the new regime. In 2021, the Democrats who so proudly control the presidency, the Senate and the House of Representatives needed a reminder not to push too far.
For months, the progressives in the news media have been telling the public that the “infrastructure bill” in the Senate is just full of Big Change, with stuff they’ve wanted to do for years. They’ve been cheerleading: “Be bold! Go for it!” The media (CNN again) keeps saying the Senate is just about to do it. Now the voters have spoken. Voter messages are not always clear, but if one might be filtered out today, it would be to the Democrats: don’t go too far.
The Democrats, who so proudly control the presidency, the Senate and the House of Representatives needed a reminder not to push too far.
The results are better than the polls were indicating. In the Virginia race, the Democrat, former Governor Terry McAuliffe, was ahead from August through the last week of October. The last three polls put Youngkin ahead, though two of them were by Fox News, and therefore suspect. But Youngkin won: Fox News was right. In New Jersey all the polls had the Republican, Ciattarelli, losing by wide margins. In the end, he came within a breath of victory.
The Democratic nominees for the top job in Virginia and New Jersey are not hard left, but there was a candidate like that in Buffalo, N.Y. A socialist Democrat, India Walton, 39, had won a surprise victory in the mayoral primary against four-term Democratic Mayor Byron Brown, 62. The upstart socialist was endorsed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and by Vermont’s pink-Democrat senator, Bernie Sanders. The socialist’s name was the only one on the ballot. The Republicans didn’t bother fielding a candidate at all — which tells you something about Buffalo — but old Mayor Brown didn’t give up. He ran a write-in campaign, and now has clobbered his socialist opponent, 59% to 41%.
Which also tells you something about Buffalo.
In Minneapolis, the town where the Black Lives Matter protests and riots of 2020 started, voters were asked City Question 2, whether to “remove the Police Department and replace it with a Department of Public Safety” which maybe “could include licensed peace officers” but would have a big contingent of public-health employees.
In New Jersey all the polls had the Republican, Ciattarelli, losing by wide margins. In the end, he came within a breath of victory.
The vote on this was 43.8% Yes and 52.4% No. In addition, the man who was mayor when George Floyd was killed, Jacob Frey of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, was reelected. (Again, the Republicans don’t count.)
Now to my city, Seattle. Like Minneapolis, and, I assume, Buffalo, NY, Seattle leans strongly leftward. We are the city that has Amazon and that elects Pramila Jayapal, the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Another measure of our leftness was a poll done in August by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce. The poll asked registered voters in Seattle to label themselves by party (which our state has never done when registering citizens to vote). With a margin of error of 4.6%, the Seattle electorate breaks down like this:
- 5% Socialist
- 65% Democrat
- 20% Independent
- 10% Republican
We had three politically important races this year, all of them pitting a candidate of the Left against the not-so-Left. And in all three cases, the least-left candidate has won a commanding victory.
For mayor, Bruce Harrell has beaten M. Lorena González, 65% to 35%. For city council Position 9, in a citywide vote, Sara Nelson has beaten Nikkita Oliver, 60% to 40%. For city attorney, Ann Davison has beaten Nicole Thomas-Kennedy 59% to 41%.
Of these races, the race for city attorney is the most interesting. Here is what the candidate of the left, Thomas-Kennedy, said in the Voter’s Pamphlet before the primary election:
“We must stop spending the majority of our city budget on policing, prosecuting and jailing specifically the poor, the disabled, and BIPOC. These prosecutions do not solve the underlying problems and don’t make us safer. Seattle is facing a crisis due to a severe lack of affordable housing and available treatment and health care options. Prosecuting people trying to survive these crisis conditions only creates further desperation and instability.”
The Left believe that prosecuting a “homeless” park camper for shoplifting is violence against the poor. Want him to stop stealing food? Give him a sandwich!
On her web page, she wrote: “Incarceration does not make us safer. Punishment is not justice. The system is not working. Abolition is the only way forward. Ending the prosecution of misdemeanors is a solid first step.”
That would mean no more prosecutions of the homeless, or anyone else, for shoplifting (which has forced some stores to close), trespass, and petty theft. “Nothing about prosecuting someone for stealing a sandwich makes them less hungry,” she said. “We need to face the fact that we cannot prosecute our way out of every problem. We must instead use these resources to meet basic human needs.”
The Left believes in this stuff. They believe that prosecuting a “homeless” park camper for shoplifting is violence against the poor. Want him to stop stealing food? Give him a sandwich!
Late in the campaign, Thomas-Kennedy was hit by the public disclosure of angry tweets she’d made back in the George Floyd days.
On July 11, 2020, she tweeted https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/editorials/toxic-tweets-show-why-nicole-thomas-kennedy-is-unfit-to-be-seattle-city-attorney/ : “I’m way left but atm [at the moment] can only tweet about my rabid hatred of the police. I currently read like a single-issue law enforcement abolition anarchist.”
Davison had previously run for office as a Republican. For some people in this town, that’s like associating with the Ku Klux Klan.
On July 25, 2020, when the Seattle Police sent out a press release about a dozen persons setting fire the construction site for a juvenile jail, she tweeted: “YAY! Thank you to the heroes that set the Children’s Jail on fire.”
And in September 2020, she tweeted: “I have not taken any of this anti-bias training but i [sic] for sure hate this country.”
Her opponent, Ann Davison, was endorsed by two previous Democratic governors, Christine Gregoire and Gary Locke. For many Seattle progressives, that wasn’t enough: Davison had previously run for office as a Republican. For some people in this town, that’s like associating with the Ku Klux Klan. It’s stunning that Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, at this point in a mail-in election, is getting 41% of the vote.
But she’s lost. And that’s good.
I hope this trend continues. On December 7 comes the recall election for our Marxist City Councilwoman, Kshama Sawant.