Sunday, July 26, 2020

The Political Desk: Washington Primary 2020

Whelp, here we are again.

For people that just stop by for the book reviews, I do local politics here. I got into it many, many years ago, and now fives if not tens of people look to this blog for well-reasoned, rational advice on upcoming elections. 

Hah! I kid. I get as snarky as any Twitter-er, but in a longer format and more links.

But for those who do not live in Washington State, here's how things work:

1) We're only talking about state and local offices here - we had a national primary a while back.The usual suspects won.

2) Washington State is a top-two, open primary state. That means that the top-two vote-getters go on to the main event. It is an open primary, which means you don't have to declare a particular party. While that potentially opens up the possibilities of mischief (Dems voting for a weak GOP candidate in order to have a weaker opponent in the general), I haven't seen it.

3) Washington State is a mail-in ballot state, which is suddenly controversial. Mail-in ballots are pretty good, leave a paper trail, gives the voters the luxury of actually looking up the candidates before they make a decision, and does not require them to deal with long lines at the polls. Downsides? I do miss the small-town feel of going to the local school where retired poll-workers validate my existence for voting. And, worst of all, we often don't get to find out who won at one minute after the polls close. For a lot of races, the results are obvious, but every election, there is one race that hangs fire - so close as that it cannot be called, or where an initiative that loses on the inital count wins as the late results come in. Just get it postmarked before August 4 (you don't event need a stamp). Worried about someone taking you ballot out of the mailbox or intercepting it at the post office? They have drop boxes all over the place to you can hand in your work from the comfort of your car.

4) We also don't have political parties per se on the ballot. No one runs officially as a Democrat or a Republican, but rather as "preferring" a particular party. And it is self-selecting, so you get hardened party operatives running as "Prefers Democratic Party", as if they chose it because it has a cute mascot.  You also end up with people running as "True American Party" or "No, Karen, Your Foxgloves are Overrunning my Tomato Beds Party".

5) For that reason, check out the endorsements. Look who the establishment orgs are pushing, and who gets the nod of interest groups you support/oppose. If someone has the endorsement of the Chamber of Commerce, proceed carefully. If it is someone who wants to "run government like a business", head for the exits.

6)  And I am not recommending Republicans this time out. Sorry, "Prefers Republicans". This should not be a horrible surprise to anyone reading this blog. The fish rots from the head, and while the current occupant of the White House is a Dorian-Grey-level of sun-bleached salmon, the decay goes deep. Our state-wide GOP includes a state senator whose day job is as a lobbyist for a foreign government, a noted on-camera chair thief, and a guy who has been investigated as a supporter of domestic terrorist operations (he's not running for re-election, but is still "active in local politics" and most recently was fined for vandalism of the state capitol building).  So, the Republican brand is not a winner here, and the few moderate/centrist/sane GOP candidates are running on the platform that "ideas,  not parties, are important." Which means they are kinda embarrassed by their party. I understand. I am, too.

7) Washington elects its ENTIRE state executive branch every four years, lining up with the presidential elections. So everyone from Governor to Superintendent of Public Lands is up for re-election. That means that there will be a lot to vote for and lot of voters, since Presidential elections attract a lot of attention. So we have a lot to talk about. i am going to try to blitz through this.

8) That said, I am going to only talk in this round about those races where there are more than two candidates. In a two-person race, both are going through to the main election. Ditto with races that have no opposition (and yeah, that happens). There are no judgeships or initiatives on my ballot, so you a spared that as well.

9) I also tend to just talk about my ballot, which showed up in the mail about a week ago.. That means City of Kent, King County, District 9 for the House of Representatives and the 11th State Legislative district. I may go off on tangents, like recommending Pat Sullivan for the 47 district, since he USED to represent my district before they moved the lines around, but I will keep that to a minimum.

10) AND I will recommend other sources to check out. The Stranger has released their bunches, and the Seattle Times is dribbling their out in bits and pieces, summarizing at the end..  Progressive Voters Guide here. Washington Conservation Voters here. As others show up I will patch them in here.

And with that, stay tuned and I will run through these as painlessly as possible.

More later,