I’ve apparently pissed off more than a few Democratic Party establishment types in recent weeks. Oh, it’s not my reaction to the past legislative session that’s causing consternation; most rank and file Democrats were disappointed, if not downright disgusted at the cowardly all-cuts budget, and leadership’s generally pro-business/anti-progressive agenda. Some legislators too.
No, apparently, where I’ve crossed the line, is not in criticizing the Democratic caucus, but rather in suggesting what I think is an obvious solution: specifically, that if we’re not being adequately served by our Democratic legislators, perhaps it’s kinda, sorta, maybe time to replace them.
Judging from some of the comments and emails I’ve received, the mere suggestion of primarying a Democratic incumbent in a safe Democratic district brands me as traitor, a blowhard, an idiot or some combination thereof. Yeah, the establishment hoo-hahs love me when I’m raking muck on Republicans or doing my best to squash the conservative frame on some manufactroversy or another. But attempt to be taken seriously on a policy issue or dare to dip our toes into electoral politics and… well… we lowly bloggers are scolded to know our place.
The irony is, we all know there’s a fair share of deadwood in the Seattle delegation, along with a handful legislators who simply aren’t as progressive as their constituents on a number of important issues, such as pay day lending, the homebuyers bill of rights, tax restructuring, and more. Indeed, start this conversation at nearly any political gathering, and the same names keep popping up again and again, the usual suspects of Democratic incumbents who deserve a serious, well-financed primary challenge, and who just might not survive should they face one.
So why don’t I name names, as some in the comment threads have challenged me to do? Oh God, I’m tempted, but coming from a lowly blogger like me it would only come off as a personal hit list, and do little more than earn me animosity from those legislators on it, some of whom I personally like, even if I think it past time for them to move on and give somebody else a chance at getting stuff done before Republican Rob McKenna seizes the line-item veto pen.
No, the names have to be named by you, so that everybody knows that everybody knows who the weak links in the Seattle delegation truly are. And that’s why starting today I’m launching a series of polls to enable you in our local Democratic community to name these names yourself, and help pick the Seattle legislators most in need of a primary challenge.
Our first poll, now live at the top-right corner of the home page, pits all 12 House incumbents from Seattle’s 11th, 34th, 36th, 37th, 43rd and 46th Legislative Districts against each other in an open primary. Feel free to vote for more than one; the top House vote-getters will face off against each other in a “loser takes all” general election of sorts, as will the four Seattle state Senators up for reelection in 2010.
Oh, and don’t everybody just vote for Frank out of a sense of retribution; pick the reps who you genuinely think are most out of step with their district and/or have proven themselves least capable of bringing home the bacon for Seattle and the progressive community at large. And as a tie-breaker, I’d also suggest considering which incumbents would be most vulnerable to a serious challenge, should one materialize.
There might not be much room to elect more Democrats to the Washington state legislature, but after this last session, I think we can all agree that we could certainly elect better.