Election 2017: Women Ascend, McGinn Fades, and Angry Seattle is Confused

Well the first numbers are in, and because of the goofy way we run elections in Washington (votes aren’t reported out all night like in the old days, just once a day for weeks) we have some very preliminary results in the Mayor’s race that tell an interesting story already. 

First, Seattle wants a woman to run the City. Women candidates got a staggering 74 percent of the vote. Regardless of one’s opinion about it, voters were enthusiastic about having a woman as mayor and voted accordingly. I’m almost positive if asked voters would say this mattered to them. 

Second, former Mayor Mike McGinn failed to show up to the fight, getting single digits. He finished dead last out of the big six. That’s going to leave a mark. Ouch! This was both a rejection of the notion that his name  familiarity was enough to carry him through the primary and his veiled appeal to angry neighbors (and unintentionally to me) to bring a halt to Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning, the damaging scheme to charge a per square foot tax on all new housing to fuel reckless spending on non-profit subsidized housing. 

Third, Angry Seattle doesn’t quite agree on what it’s angry about. Are they angry at homeless encampments which Jenny Durkan has promised to keep sweeping, or the police, which Nikkita Oliver has hinted she’d abolish? Are they mad about extortionary upzones because of the density or because the rate of inclusion is not high enough? Are they mad at non-existent shadowy syndicates of foreigners buying up all the housing and leaving it vacant that Cary Moon has promised to tax to death?

Durkan will have to reach out to a lot of people that voted against her to win. The question is will she face the scary story telling Moon or the socialist Oliver. Both Moon and Oliver are dangerously unqualified to take over the City bureaucracy. Neither has the kind of significant and high level experience Durkan does. But Durkan is too much in the thrall of big shot developers like Vulcan. Vulcan will have walk in privileges to the Mayor’s office and their pro formas will dictate the rest of city’s fees for builders and developers. And Durkan has outrageously said she doesn’t want to “leave any money on the table” when she said she’d consider supporting impact fees.

Moon or Oliver will have to deftly focus all the melt downs and anxiety about growth and its discontents into a single and clear message for Angry Seattle to come together. Durkan herself is the perfect target, dripping with the approval of the Chamber of Commerce and the so called “establishment” (whatever that is). This is the so called group of power brokers that has been a door mat to communists and socialists and labor unions rallied by Sawant to impost a growing catalog of inflationary and damaging interventions in the city’s economy. Does Durkan have the courage to look out for all businesses in the city, even the small ones? Can she make a strong case that socialism won’t work? Will she stand on principle or appeal to what will be the voters growing realization the Moon and Oliver would likely spend four years in on the job training?

We’ll see. The right thing to do would be for Durkan to run a strong and aggressive campaign on getting the city back on track, focused not on Donald Trump or socialist nonsense, but an expansion of the housing market by scaling back rules and regulation, ending MIZ, and staying away from popular but self-defeating proposals like impact fees. She has the kind of strength to do that, but will she.

The City Council race looks to be coming down to union organizer Teresa Mosqueda and rent control fanatic Jon Grant. Both will further damage the city with backwards housing policies. Maybe Sara Nelson will make a come back; she’s not that far behind. More on that race later.

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