There has been a lot of talk — including from me in the last Open Thread — about the Seattle City Council doing a lot of great things right now. The budget looks surprisingly good. The $15 minimum wage passed. They’ve also done more symbolic (but still important!) things like opposing the Hyde Amendment.
There are certainly a lot of reasons for this. In some ways it has been building to it for a while; They passed the sick leave/safe leave bill a few years ago; Both candidates for mayor supported the $15 minimum wage. Since the election of a Socialist city wide, the rest of the City Council has to watch their left flank; Sawant has also done a better job holding the line than some other lefty stalwarts on the council before her. Now that there are districts, a lot of the City Council members have a smaller, more accountable, constituency to appease.
But, also the fact that they’re all up for reelection at the same time means they’re all accountable RIGHT NOW. This is democracy working! So this may be a unique moment to get the entire council to follow a more populist agenda than at any time going forward.
There’s a myth that you can’t get anything done in an election year. Maybe that’s true in divided governments or in particularly polarized situations. But in Seattle it certainly hasn’t been the case. Maybe every seat should be up for reelection every 2 years going forward.