The state of Washington isn’t in play in any substantive way this election season, which makes it an odd place to pay attention to voter sentiment.
Joe Biden could call for a ban on espresso, say he’ll order the Seattle Seahawks to move to Delaware by presidential fiat and call Kurt Cobain “a no-talent pony soldier who mumbled everything he sang so no one could tell wretched his lyrics were” and he could still count on the state’s 12 electoral votes.
Neither of Washington’s Senate seats are up for being voted on this year. Only one of the state’s congressional districts — Washington’s 8th, a suburban Seattle district flipped by the Democrats in the 2018 midterms — is remotely competitive.
However, while all of America will have been changed in some way by the events of 2020, the state of Washington in general — and Seattle in particular — will look the most different, particularly politically. It’s seen some of the most radical of the post-George Floyd foment, particularly in the lawless CHAZ/CHOP “autonomous zone” and in a series of mostly unpoliced demonstrations-cum-riots that followed.
In the midst of this disarray was also a pitched battle tug-of-war between City Hall and the radical left over just how much officials wanted to neuter police in Seattle, none of which actually took into account what Seattle police might actually need to do their job. This ended up with Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best resigning and with cuts that didn’t end up satisfying the radical left, who still want to recall Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.
Apparently, compromise talks with people who believe “compromise” involves you agreeing to everything they demand demand don’t end well. Who knew?
So you have frequent property destruction, vans full of explosives, six-odd blocks taken over by protesters and turned into a “police-free” zone, anti-gentrification demonstrators marching through neighborhoods at night and demanding white residents give up their homes, political instability and a police force being diminished in the wake of all of this.
And then you have the people who simply want to live in Seattle.
Good, liberal people. The kind of people who shop at farmers markets and always at neighborhood booksellers instead of — shudder — Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Fair-trade coffee people. People who drop BIPOC into group chats an average of 10.3 times per week. Yoga people, but the kind of yoga people who are aware yoga could be seen as cultural appropriation.
These people are why voter sentiment in Seattle is important to gauge at this point in time.
Irving Kristol was the man who gave birth to neoconservatism — a phrase that has some baggage now, but which originally had to deal with 1960s liberals who became conservatives out of consternation with the Great Society and radical anti-war protesters. He also gave birth to the aphorism, “A neoconservative is a liberal who’s been mugged by reality.” (He also fathered the smugly delusional NeverTrumper Bill Kristol, but the less said about that, the better.)
Could that phrase hold some truth in modern-day Seattle? In a viral video, Turning Point USA’s Katie Daviscourt found some residents willing to say they were considering their options on Biden vs. Trump due to recent events in the city.
Granted, not all of these — even a majority — were liberal. It’s also a Turning Point USA representative selecting what were undoubtedly the responses that best illustrated a point the conservative group would like to make.
That said, the fact Daviscourt was even able to get any self-described moderates on camera is a miracle. There were a few anecdotal responses reporting the same thing in other liberal locales:
However, if you want an actual testimony regarding someone who was “mugged by reality,” I give you the tale of Paul Gallant, an ESPN radio host in the Emerald City.
In June, after President Donald Trump announced he was going to potentially send federal forces into Seattle to restore order, Gallant tweeted this:
His chill was harshed roughly six weeks later when rioters set a fire in a Starbucks they’d thoroughly ransacked below the residential apartment in which he lived.
This is the new reality the left is embracing, at least for the time being. It appears it’s going to be doing an awful lot of mugging.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.