"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley

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wThursday, July 31, 2003

THE ONE PARTY NO PARTY STATE: In response to my most recent column, my old colleague Rick Hiebert wrote to ask, If Washington State voters swing conservative on initiatives, why do they continue to pull the lever for the Dems. Why, with regard to statewide offices, is this basically a one party state. I answered at length and I thought readers might get something out of it:


Actually, there were two so-con candidates for governor: Ellen Craswell (96) and John Carlson (00). The conservatives don't necessarily have a lock (no pun intended) on the nomination process, but they do have a lot of say in it.

Both Craswell and Carlson ran horrible campaigns. The trick, for Republicans elected in statewide races, is to lose by as little as possible in Seattle and the surrounding area, and clean up in Eastern Washington. Both candidates ignored this simple electoral roadmap, and got crushed.

I was cramped for space in my column, so I didn't go into it, but voters in my state don't always swing conservative, or even libertarian, on initiatives. They sometimes up the minimum wage or are, IMHO, far too generous to the state's teachers. But they have made up their minds about two things: (1) Major tax and spending decisions are too important to leave to the politicians, and (2) We're really not so wild about the taxes thing.

This is such an effective pair of handcuffs that I'm surprised anyone with ambition would ever run for either the governorship or the legislature (now insurance commish -- that would be a challenge). They constantly have their plans upset by voters with other ideas, thank you, and who really don't care what their representatives think.

As for why people still vote for the Dems, I imagine that people do it for the same reason that they recycle: It's a low cost way to feel better about themselves.


posted by Jeremy at 12:34 AM