I don’t put much stock into endorsements in general. God knows people I like have endorsed people I don’t, and people I can’t stand have endorsed people I really like. There are also considerations beyond policy that influence endorsements. So as I say, politicians endorsing one another don’t sway me, and I don’t think they sway very many people.
But when there are endorsements of that kind, I think it can be interesting to see how it plays into the narratives around a campaign. So as Ed Murray nears a quorum of the Seattle City Council endorsing him, I thought it might be worth considering one of the main narratives of the race: namely that Mike McGinn doesn’t play well with others.
Maybe he does, and maybe he doesn’t. But the City Council went out of their way a couple times to poison the well early on. Of course the City Council voting on the Viaduct replacement tunnel less than a month before the election was an attempt to support McGinn’s opponent, and to take things out of the hands of the voters. If they cared about making irenic gestures or whatever, they could have waited until the election was over. They were on track to have an 8-1 majority of pro-tunnel council members, so there was no need to hold the election then. They also repealed the head tax after McGinn won but before he was sworn in. That vote was 8-1, and it might have been 7-2 after O’Brien was sworn in. Again, they could have waited and negotiated with him if they cared about working with him, but with a veto proof majority as a backstop. Maybe a solution would have worked out and maybe it wouldn’t. But they didn’t even try.
Also, not on policy, but I went to several McGinn events after the election but before the transfer of power.* None of the City Council members who complain about how he doesn’t work with them made even a token appearance. If they’d have wanted to work with him in any meaningful way and not just butted heads, just showing up would have gone a long way.
None of this is to say McGinn is easy to work with or that Murray wouldn’t be better at that skill set. But if it was really the problem for Ed Murray that he claims, well, he would probably blame both sides. And, yes, I know that’s not how campaigns work: you go after your opponents, not the people who endorsed you. I just wish someone whose emails his campaign returns would ask him about it the next time he complains about McGinn not working well with others.
* If it’s possible, I’d like to shorten that time for City Council and Mayor. How about they can be sworn in the day after an election is certified? I’m just spitballing.