You win some and you lose some I guess, as the Seattle Times balances out an endorsement for Democratic Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler with an endorsement for the deceptive and undemocratic King County Initiative 26. Using our NHL-style scoreboard (two points for a victory, one point for a tie), that brings our current standings to Republicans 11, Democrats 7.
Sure, Bruce Ramsey may find it annoying, my arbitrary declaration of I-26 as a Republican initiative, but it really isn’t all that arbitrary. I-26 would turn the county council, executive and auditor into “nonpartisan” positions, essentially allowing Republicans to hide their party affiliation, thus becoming more competitive in races they’d otherwise never have a snowball’s chance in because, you know… they’re Republicans. As I’ve said before, nonpartisanship is the last refuge of Republicans in a region where Republicanism has become a dirty word, and in that context I-26 is most definitely a Republican initiative.
It is also a small “d” undemocratic initiative because it gives voters less information about the candidates and thus leaves them less able to choose those candidates who best reflect their own political leanings. That, after all, is what party labels are about… a political shorthand by which we compare one candidate to another. I wish every voter was as engaged in politics as me and Ramsey, but they’re not, and so party identification is a useful tool for those who don’t embrace politics as a vocation or a hobby.
And finally, I-26 is a bad initiative because nonpartisanship is essentially a lie… a mythical ideal just as fictional as the objectivity and impartiality for which Ramsey’s newspaper supposedly strives. Stripping the “R” off Pete von Reichbauer won’t make him any less of a Republican, but it will make him more electable in a district that is steadily trending Democratic. And that’s exactly I-26’s point.
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