NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

Read or watch the amazingly talented Amanda Gorman’s 2021 inaugural poem

Today, after Pres­i­dent Joe Biden deliv­ered his Inau­gur­al Address, Nation­al Youth Poet Lau­re­ate Aman­da Gor­man read a poem com­posed in hon­or of the occa­sion, which was, with­out ques­tion, one of the top high­lights of the inau­gur­al cer­e­monies. If you did not get a chance to watch or lis­ten to Gor­man’s stir­ring ren­di­tion of this beau­ti­ful com­po­si­tion, you can do so right now, right here.

You may also read the poem below. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

Read or watch Joe Biden’s Inaugural Address

Today, just before high noon East­ern, Pres­i­dent Joseph R. Biden Jr. took the oath of office and became the forty-six Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States of America.

After being sworn in, Biden deliv­ered his Inau­gur­al Address. If you weren’t able to watch or lis­ten to it when it was deliv­ered, we urge you to do so now. The tran­script of the speech is also enclosed below in case you’d pre­fer to read it.

In the tran­script, note that empha­sis (bold­face) is ours. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

We made it! Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been sworn in as America’s new leaders

The peo­ple walk­ing in dark­ness have seen a great light; on those liv­ing in the land of the shad­ow of death, a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased its joy.

— Isa­iah 9:2–3

After four long and hor­ri­ble years, the Trump error has come to an end.

Today, at the Unit­ed States Capi­tol in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., Joe Biden and Kamala Har­ris were sworn in as the forty-sixth Pres­i­dent and forty-ninth Vice Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca. Both are his­to­ry mak­ers: Biden is the old­est per­son ever to be inau­gu­rat­ed as Pres­i­dent, while Har­ris is the first woman, the first Black per­son, and the first Asian Amer­i­can to serve as Vice President.

United States Capitol on Inauguration Day 2021

The Unit­ed States Capi­tol on Inau­gu­ra­tion Day 2021 (Pho­to: Biden/Harris Transition)

The Biden-Har­ris inau­gu­ra­tion comes at a piv­otal and per­ilous moment in Amer­i­can his­to­ry. Every­where we look, our coun­try faces grave threats, from home­grown fas­cist move­ments to cli­mate dam­age to sys­tem racism, poverty/income inequal­i­ty, and the dead­ly COVID-19 pandemic.

Rarely has our coun­try so bad­ly need­ed steady, com­pe­tent, and effec­tive lead­er­ship as it does on this day, Jan­u­ary 20th, 2021.

For me, this long-await­ed occa­sion brings to mind anoth­er date in Amer­i­can his­to­ry, near­ly a cen­tu­ry ago, when Amer­i­ca was at anoth­er nadir: March 4th, 1933. On that day, Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt took the oath of office to become Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States and declared to an anx­ious nation:

“This is pre­em­i­nent­ly the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and bold­ly. Nor need we shrink from hon­est­ly fac­ing con­di­tions in our coun­try today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will pros­per. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — name­less, unrea­son­ing, unjus­ti­fied ter­ror which par­a­lyzes need­ed efforts to con­vert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our nation­al life a lead­er­ship of frank­ness and vig­or has met with that under­stand­ing and sup­port of the peo­ple them­selves which is essen­tial to vic­to­ry. I am con­vinced that you will again give that sup­port to lead­er­ship in these crit­i­cal days.”

– Excerpt from Pres­i­dent Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt’s First Inau­gur­al Address (March 4th, 1933)

We need that same New Deal spir­it today to rebuild our bro­ken country.

01/20/2021 may well be remem­bered as a day that served as a bridge between two his­toric pres­i­den­cies: one that could rank as the worst for a very, very long time, and one that our team at the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute hopes will be remem­bered as restora­tive and a mod­el of responsibility.

For four years, we have walked in dark­ness towards a bet­ter future, resist­ing and per­sist­ing. We have seen the light before today, but now we actu­al­ly get to step into it. And oh, how won­der­ful and warm it feels!

Just think: Don­ald Trump no longer has the nuclear codes. Stephen Miller no longer works in the Exec­u­tive Office of the Pres­i­dent. Mike Pom­peo no longer speaks for this coun­try as its top diplo­mat. Amer­i­ca’s wrong wing no longer has the pow­er to sab­o­tage the cen­sus, sup­press sci­ence, put kids in cages, start wars, or loot and plun­der our pub­lic lands from with­in the White House.

That’s worth cel­e­brat­ing. We had to over­come a lot to get to this moment.

Last night, as I was con­tem­plat­ing what to write today, an email came from the Biden-Har­ris tran­si­tion press office: the Dai­ly Guid­ance and Press Sched­ule for Wednes­day, Jan­u­ary 20th, 2021, the first day of the Biden-Har­ris admin­is­tra­tion. Open­ing that email and look­ing through the sched­ule for today was incred­i­bly grat­i­fy­ing. This is real, I thought. This is hap­pen­ing. Our nation will have real lead­er­ship again from peo­ple who under­stand the val­ue of service. 

We can­not, of course, for­get that over 400,000 Amer­i­cans have died from SARS-CoV­‑2, a virus that the now-end­ed Trump-Pence regime bare­ly both­ered to com­bat. We can­not for­get the crimes against human­i­ty per­pe­trat­ed at our bor­ders, or the aid and com­fort giv­en to Amer­i­can fas­cists and auto­crat­ic regimes around the world by the peo­ple who occu­pied our exec­u­tive branch for four years, or the thir­teen bar­bar­ic exe­cu­tions they arranged, or the con­tin­u­a­tion sys­temic racism that they endorsed, or the envi­ron­men­tal destruc­tion they plotted.

But we must and should com­mend our­selves for all we did to fight against all of the above and reach this moment. When you’re going through hell, keep going, the old adage goes. And so we did. For four years, we kept going, with the under­stand­ing that we would need to fight until we could­n’t anymore.

Some of com­pan­ions on this jour­ney, sad­ly, did­n’t make it.

When Joe Biden and Kamala Har­ris took the oath a short time ago, I thought of the stal­wart pro­gres­sive activists we’ve lost over the last few years. Peo­ple like Al Gar­man, Elaine Phelps, Priscil­la O’Leary, and Alex Hen­drick­son. They did­n’t live to see the end of the Trump error, but they’re with us in spir­it nonetheless.

In elect­ing Biden and Har­ris, those of us who remain have ful­filled our oblig­a­tions to them to car­ry on their work, and put our coun­try on a path to a bet­ter future.

Today, in their hon­or, and in the mem­o­ry of every­one we’ve lost to COVID-19 or police bru­tal­i­ty, we begin a new chap­ter in Amer­i­ca’s sto­ry. A chap­ter that we hope will be char­ac­ter­ized more by progress and pos­si­bil­i­ties real­ized than by tragedy and suf­fer­ing. Let’s go for­ward, fur­ther into the light, together.

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

Joe Biden and the Salish Sea: Will cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline mean Alberta’s bitumen crude oil is headed to our waters?

When long­time, long-wind­ed Sen­a­tor Joe Biden was tapped as Barack Obama’s run­ning mate in 2008, Repub­li­can foe John McCain chor­tled to an aide: “Well, good for Joe. But, boy, Oba­ma will nev­er get a word in edge­wise now.”

A very dif­fer­ent Joe Biden will be sworn in Wednes­day at noon East­ern (9 AM Pacif­ic) as America’s forty-sixth pres­i­dent. He is still emo­tion­al – wit­ness the Delaware going-away cer­e­mo­ny Tues­day – but has learned to be brief, suc­cinct and focused on right­ing the ship of state. Bor­row­ing the George H.W. Bush phrase, he is tak­ing charge of a coun­try in the “deep doo-doo.”

Amidst the flur­ry of exec­u­tive orders expect­ed is a major Biden action direct­ed at thwart­ing cli­mate dam­age. It’s an action that will have rever­ber­a­tions for Wash­ing­ton, British Colum­bia and the Sal­ish Sea. Our new pres­i­dent is expect­ed to ter­mi­nate the Key­stone XL pipeline as one of his first acts in office.

The con­tro­ver­sial pipeline is designed to car­ry 800,000 bar­rels of oil a day from the tar sands of Alber­ta through Mon­tana, South Dako­ta, South Dako­ta, Nebras­ka, Kansan and Okla­homa, bound for refiner­ies on the Gulf Coast.

Already, there is yelp­ing from the Great White North.

“We hope Pres­i­dent-elect Biden will show respect for Cana­da and sit down at the very least and talk to us,” said Alberta’s drill-baby-drill Pre­mier Jason Ken­ney. Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau did not exact­ly raise a bat­tle flag, say­ing: “Our gov­ern­ment is mak­ing sure Canada’s views are heard and con­sid­ered by the incom­ing admin­is­tra­tion at the high­est levels.”

The “high­est lev­els” mean Biden’s cli­mate advis­er, ex-Sec­re­tary of State John Ker­ry, who rec­om­mend­ed in 2015 that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma reject Key­stone XL. Oba­ma pulled the plug, but Trump gave green light to the project in 2017.

How does that impact us?

Pos­i­tive­ly, in that it impedes extrac­tion of bitu­men crude and Alberta’s role as a cen­ter of a car­bon econ­o­my that fuels glob­al warming.

We see it on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border.

Our win­ter snow­packs are shrink­ing, riv­er flows are down, droughts are more fre­quent, vast tracts of for­est have been killed by the pine bark bee­tle, and we’ve expe­ri­enced for­est and range land con­fla­gra­tions that British Colum­bia Pre­mier John Hor­gan has termed “the new normal.”

By pulling the plug on Key­stone XL, how­ev­er, Biden puts the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment on the spot to com­plete an even larg­er project.

The Trans-Moun­tain Pipeline expan­sion, if com­plet­ed, would have a capac­i­ty of 890,000 bar­rels a day. The oil would be head­ed this way, start­ing in Alber­ta and trav­el­ing through British Colum­bia to a pipeline ter­mi­nus in Burn­a­by, B.C. An expand­ed tank farm would be locat­ed on the road up to Simon Fras­er University.

The oil would be bound for export, mean­ing a sev­en­fold increase in tanker traf­fic through some of North America’s most sen­si­tive marine waters. The tankers will trav­el out Bur­rard Inlet, and through Haro Strait – which sep­a­rates our San Juan Islands and B.C.’s Gulf Islands – and hence out the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The tankers will tra­verse feed­ing grounds of our south­ern res­i­dent orca whale pop­u­la­tion, pass the mouth of the Fras­er Riv­er – home to major and endan­gered sock­eye salmon runs – past pass both Cana­di­an and Amer­i­can nation­al park prop­er­ties. At the often-fog­gy mouth of the Strait, Olympic Nation­al Park is near­by to the South, Canada’s Pacif­ic Rim Nation­al Park near­by to the north.

Any tanker spill would be cat­a­stroph­ic, which is why Pre­mier Hor­gan and Wash­ing­ton Gov. Jay Inslee have opposed Trans-Mountain.

But Cana­di­an courts have reject­ed efforts to block the project.

The Cana­di­ans’ response record, even with small spills, does not bol­ster con­fi­dence. At the behest of Trudeau’s Lib­er­als, the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment now owns the Trans-Moun­tain project, an indi­ca­tion of its commitment.

Want to see the envi­ron­ment at stake?

When win­ter snows melt, dri­ve to Deer Park in Olympic Nation­al Park, up a ver­ti­cal mile from marine waters.

The view looks up Haro Strait to world-renowned islands, down to Vic­to­ria, and part way out the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Just as Vic­to­ria is no longer dump­ing sewage into the Strait, we face greater risk of a tanker spill..

The Biden admin­is­tra­tion will, of course, do much more in its ear­ly days.

The Unit­ed States will rejoin the Paris Cli­mate Accord. The new admin­is­tra­tion will tack­le an environment/climate agen­da that first took shape in Jay Inslee’s brief 2019 bid for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion. Its pro­vi­sions for pro­tect­ing pub­lic lands first appeared as part of Sen­a­tor Eliz­a­beth Warren’s campaign.

Over the last half cen­tu­ry, the Northwest’s res­i­dents have kept the region liv­able, in part, by keep­ing bad things from happening.

The clear cut­ting of ancient forests on fed­er­al lands was stopped by spot­ted owl law­suits. Con­gress lim­it­ed tanker size in the Sal­ish Sea, pre­vent­ing any pipeline ter­mi­nus on the U.S. side of the border.

The Trump admin­is­tra­tion tried to remove restraints and set the tim­ber indus­try, min­ing com­pa­nies and Big Oil loose on the pub­lic domain. It sought to dras­ti­cal­ly restrict pub­lic input allowed under the Nation­al Envi­ron­men­tal Pol­i­cy Act. It has sought to lift the Clin­ton-era “Road­less Rule” to open nine mil­lion acres of Alaska’s Ton­gass Nation­al For­est, to tim­ber har­vest and oth­er com­mer­cial activity.

The Biden admin­is­tra­tion has made clear it intends to lift kids out of pover­ty, raise the min­i­mum wage, begin restor­ing the mid­dle class… and pro­tect the envi­ron­ment and address the cli­mate crisis.

Bold goals, which have the sup­port of Sen­a­tors Cantwell and Mur­ray, and Democ­rats in Washington’s con­gres­sion­al delegation.

At the same time, how­ev­er, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers promis­es to resist envi­ron­men­tal ini­tia­tives as rank­ing Repub­li­can mem­ber of the House Ener­gy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee. Expect her to be a reverse Rachel Car­son. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dan New­house chairs the West­ern Cau­cus, a group of Repub­li­can House mem­bers allied with the tim­ber, min­ing and oil/gas industries.

Pro­gres­sives will need to back the forty-sixth pres­i­dent, but make sure he will have our backs when it comes to safe­guard­ing shared waters of the Sal­ish Sea. Our wor­ries should be heard and con­sid­ered at the high­est level.

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

Secretary of State Kim Wyman is thinking of quitting the Republican Party. Great idea!

The lone remain­ing Repub­li­can statewide elect­ed offi­cial on the Left Coast is open­ly pon­der­ing sev­er­ing ties with the par­ty, NPR report­ed today.

Sec­re­tary of State Kim Wyman, shak­en by Don­ald Trump’s attacks on democ­ra­cy and our cher­ished tra­di­tion of free and fair elec­tions, acknowl­edged in a state­ment that the Repub­li­can Par­ty is no longer a par­ty that believes in republicanism.

Said Wyman:

I think every Repub­li­can elect­ed offi­cial right now in the coun­try is real­ly hav­ing to do some soul search­ing about why they’re Repub­li­can, and what it means to them, and why they are a part of the the par­ty. I know I have been doing that.

Before a bal­lot was print­ed, before any elec­tion offi­cial even knew who was going to be on the bal­lot, the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States was talk­ing about rigged elec­tions, and that it was the only expla­na­tion that was plau­si­ble for him losing.

Reflect­ing on the attack on the Capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6th, Wyman added:

If that’s what my par­ty stands for now, I don’t know that I can con­tin­ue being a Repub­li­can, because that’s not what repub­li­can­ism is about.

Last autumn, we pub­lished a lengthy and care­ful­ly researched report detail­ing Wyman’s involve­ment in the Repub­li­can Par­ty, includ­ing the Repub­li­can Par­ty at the nation­al lev­el. We put that post togeth­er because we felt that vot­ers deserved access to that infor­ma­tion before the elec­tion concluded.

It end­ed up as one of the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate’s most read posts of 2020.

By that point in the cam­paign, Wyman had spent months telling edi­to­r­i­al boards, civic groups, and vot­ers that the posi­tion she was run­ning for should be “non­par­ti­san” while seek­ing reelec­tion as a Repub­li­can.

I point­ed out that this was disingenuous:

Wyman could have mod­eled the very behav­ior she says she wants to see by declar­ing no par­ty pref­er­ence in her bid for a third term and run­ning as an unaf­fil­i­at­ed candidate.

But she didn’t. Instead, she filed as a Republican.

And she has been cam­paign­ing, with gus­to, as a Repub­li­can, on the (most­ly vir­tu­al) cam­paign trail.

Because she is a Repub­li­can, through and through. Even despite neo­fas­cist Don­ald Trump’s takeover of the Repub­li­can Party.

Occa­sion­al­ly, Wyman has put out a pub­lic state­ment soft­ly dis­agree­ing with some­thing that Trump has said, but that has pret­ty much been the extent of her diver­gence from Trump.

I don’t doubt Wyman’s sin­cer­i­ty when she says she isn’t vot­ing for Trump. But she has not joined the oppo­si­tion to Trump, or done any­thing to hold her own par­ty account­able for the incred­i­ble dam­age that it has inflict­ed upon our country’s demo­c­ra­t­ic institutions.

Since that post was writ­ten and pub­lished, Wyman has become more crit­i­cal of Don­ald Trump, and more open about the anguish she feels about the direc­tion of the Repub­li­can Par­ty. These lat­est com­ments are very encouraging.

Kim Wyman at the 2020 meeting of the Electoral College

Wash­ing­ton Sec­re­tary of State Kim Wyman acknowl­edges kind words from an elec­tor at the 2020 meet­ing of the Elec­toral Col­lege in Olympia (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

By open­ly talk­ing about her polit­i­cal iden­ti­ty and reveal­ing that she’s doing some soul search­ing, Wyman is mov­ing clos­er towards being the role mod­el we’d like to see her be. Kudos to her for being will­ing to dis­cuss her feel­ings of pain and dis­ap­point­ment open­ly. It takes courage to go on the record like that.

As men­tioned, Wyman has talked about mak­ing her job non­par­ti­san. If she were to dis­af­fil­i­ate from the Repub­li­can Par­ty and make out­reach to groups across the ide­o­log­i­cal spec­trum a pri­or­i­ty, then she would be prac­tic­ing more of what she preached dur­ing her cam­paign. It would be a well-received move.

We are always inter­est­ed at NPI in work­ing with peo­ple of all polit­i­cal per­sua­sions to find agree­ment and advance wor­thy causes.

We have appre­ci­at­ed the oppor­tu­ni­ty to engage with Kim Wyman and her staff on issues like get­ting the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty to adopt a pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry for del­e­gate allo­ca­tion, mod­ern­iz­ing the Cor­po­ra­tions & Char­i­ties Fil­ing Sys­tem (CCFS), and fix­ing issues with Vote­WA and vote.wa.gov. From 2013 to the present, Wyman’s office has always been approach­able, and we appre­ci­ate that.

It can be hard to leave behind an insti­tu­tion you’ve been part of for a long time and have fond mem­o­ries of. But when an insti­tu­tion has become as bro­ken and destruc­tive as the Repub­li­can Par­ty has, it’s the right thing to do.

Monday, January 18th, 2021

Incoming Biden-Harris team signals it will avoid repeating many of Obama’s missteps

“If his­to­ry repeats itself, and the unex­pect­ed always hap­pens, how inca­pable must Man be of learn­ing from expe­ri­ence,” the cel­e­brat­ed Irish play­wright and polit­i­cal activist George Bernard Shaw wrote a lit­tle more than a cen­tu­ry ago.

At this incred­i­bly fraught and per­ilous moment in Amer­i­can his­to­ry, we don’t just need steady, com­pas­sion­ate gov­er­nance — we need savvy, capa­ble lead­er­ship with a respect and appre­ci­a­tion for his­to­ry and a will­ing­ness to learn from it.

For­tu­nate­ly, the tran­si­tion work done by our next Pres­i­dent and Vice Pres­i­dent dur­ing the past few weeks sug­gests that they will be enter­ing office mind­ful of the risk of unforced polit­i­cal errors and leg­isla­tive malpractice.

The last time Democ­rats had a tri­fec­ta at the fed­er­al lev­el (con­trol of the White House, U.S. House, and Sen­ate) at the begin­ning of Barack Oba­ma’s pres­i­den­cy in 2009, the coun­try was in the throes of anoth­er cri­sis — the Great Recession.

Though Oba­ma’s team was able to sta­bi­lize the econ­o­my, res­cue the auto indus­try, and low­er unem­ploy­ment, they were not able to facil­i­tate an inclu­sive recov­ery, or posi­tion the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty for a suc­cess­ful midterm elec­tion cycle. We’re still liv­ing with the con­se­quences of their mis­steps over a decade later.

There is much to like and admire about Barack Oba­ma. There were many pro­gres­sive pol­i­cy advances dur­ing his pres­i­den­cy. But any fair appraisal of his tenure has to con­sid­er his mis­takes and fail­ures as well as his successes.

Espe­cial­ly in times of cri­sis, a new admin­is­tra­tion’s ear­ly deci­sions are extreme­ly con­se­quen­tial. That’s why it’s so reas­sur­ing to see Biden and Har­ris mak­ing moves that will keep our coun­try and the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty out of some of the traps the Oba­ma team fell into back in 2009. Here’s a few exam­ples of what I mean.

The American Rescue Plan

Joe Biden’s ini­tial sig­na­ture leg­isla­tive pro­pos­al is called the Amer­i­can Res­cue Plan. It’s a near­ly $2 tril­lion eco­nom­ic relief pack­age that would pro­vide direct finan­cial assis­tance to mil­lions of Amer­i­cans, raise the min­i­mum wage, fund nation­wide vac­ci­na­tion pro­grams, and help strug­gling small businesses.

Amer­i­can Res­cue Plan Fact Sheet

The pro­pos­al is more than twice as big as Pres­i­dent Oba­ma’s ini­tial sig­na­ture leg­isla­tive pro­pos­al in 2009 — the Amer­i­can Recov­ery and Rein­vest­ment Act (ARRA), which was only about $831 bil­lion in size.

ARRA was good leg­is­la­tion, but it was­n’t near­ly as big as it should have been, which lim­it­ed its poten­cy and effec­tive­ness. A cri­sis is a ter­ri­ble thing to waste, and it would make absolute­ly no sense for Biden-Har­ris to pro­pose a small or medi­um scale relief pack­age at the out­set of their admin­is­tra­tion. They need to go big — as big as they pos­si­bly can. In fact, we’d love to see the scope of this pro­pos­al increased even fur­ther, with more aid for state and local governments.

The greater the invest­ment, the more fis­cal­ly respon­si­ble the pack­age will be, even if the invest­ments are not paid for with new tax rev­enue. When your house is burn­ing down, you don’t wor­ry about the cost of putting out the fire — you focus on putting out the fire. That’s exact­ly what we need to be doing right now. Kudos to Biden and Har­ris for propos­ing a plan that is much big­ger in scope than ARRA was. Con­gress should expand it even fur­ther, not water it down.

The Amer­i­can Res­cue Plan is also a great name for the pack­age. It’s mem­o­rable and easy to say, and it prop­er­ly invokes pro­gres­sive framing.

George Lakoff would be proud.

The Democratic National Committee

The best known arm of the nation­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty is the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee, or DNC, which does­n’t have the breadth of pow­er its most tren­chant crit­ics seem to think it does, but is nev­er­the­less important.

The DNC has an unde­mo­c­ra­t­ic, unwrit­ten tra­di­tion of let­ting incum­bent Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­dents (or, more accu­rate­ly, their polit­i­cal advis­ers) decide who should serve as DNC Chair when the par­ty holds the White House, and then sim­ply installing that per­son with­out com­pet­i­tive elections.

Oba­ma’s team used that pow­er bad­ly. They weak­ened the DNC in two huge ways.

First, rather than invest­ing in the par­ty, they set up a com­pet­ing, inef­fec­tive polit­i­cal appa­ra­tus called Orga­niz­ing For Amer­i­ca, or OFA, which was sup­posed to be the suc­ces­sor to the ground­break­ing Oba­ma cam­paign that lift­ed Oba­ma to vic­to­ry in 2008. After Oba­ma’s suc­cess­ful reelec­tion in 2012, OFA began to with­er on the vine along with the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty. It nev­er became a polit­i­cal force.

Sec­ond, they repeat­ed­ly installed as DNC Chair elect­ed offi­cials who could not give the par­ty and the job their undi­vid­ed atten­tion and loyalty.

Their first pick was then-Gov­er­nor Tim Kaine of Vir­ginia, who had sen­a­to­r­i­al ambi­tions and ulti­mate­ly stepped down from his posi­tion to pur­sue those ambi­tions. Their sec­ond pick was Deb­bie Wasser­man Schultz, who arguably turned out to be the most dis­as­trous DNC Chair the par­ty had ever seen. (After Wasser­man Schultz was picked, I wrote a post here express­ing my con­cerns about her selec­tion, which end­ed up being entire­ly justified.)

Rather than pick­ing a gov­er­nor or mem­ber of Con­gress to head the DNC, Biden’s team has nom­i­nat­ed Jaime Har­ri­son, who is avail­able for par­ty­build­ing fol­low­ing his loss in the South Car­oli­na U.S. Sen­ate race to Trump apol­o­gist Lind­sey Gra­ham, who once denounced Trump and now can­not quit him.

Since Har­ri­son isn’t an elect­ed offi­cial, he will be able to focus full time on build­ing a strong DNC. His selec­tion has been hailed by state par­ty chairs all over the coun­try, who are thrilled at the prospect of a strong part­ner at the DNC.

With Har­ri­son as chair, the par­ty will be bet­ter posi­tioned to avoid a repeat of the hor­rif­ic 2010 midterms, when Repub­li­cans wiped out the Demo­c­ra­t­ic U.S. House major­i­ty and took over gov­er­nor­ships and state­hous­es across the country.

Biden’s team is also plan­ning to invest in the par­ty at all lev­els as opposed to attempt­ing to build a sep­a­rate polit­i­cal oper­a­tion, which is real­ly, real­ly smart.

Personnel is policy: Promising nominees for key positions

Twelve years ago, Barack Oba­ma dis­ap­point­ed many of his strongest sup­port­ers when he named wrong­head­ed neolib­er­als like Rahm Emanuel, Lar­ry Sum­mers, and Tim Gei­th­n­er to key posi­tions with­in his administration.

Biden (and Har­ris) appear to have tak­en note. They’ve assem­bled a more promis­ing eco­nom­ic and reg­u­la­to­ry team for their administration.

Here are some of their key nominees:

  • Janet Yellen, Sec­re­tary of the Trea­sury. The for­mer Fed Chair has a good rep­u­ta­tion among pro­gres­sive law­mak­ers and is also wide­ly respect­ed across the polit­i­cal spec­trum. Yellen is extreme­ly smart and very savvy, and under­stands the need to build a more inclu­sive economy.
  • Gary Gensler, SEC Chair. The hard-charg­ing Gensler believes in going tough on Wall Street, which is great news for the coun­try. Dur­ing the Oba­ma years, Gensler was a leader in push­ing for tough rules on deriv­a­tives. Now, he’ll be in a prime posi­tion to crack down on cor­po­rate abus­es that went unad­dressed dur­ing the Trump error.
  • Rohit Chopra, CFPB Direc­tor. Chopra is Biden’s choice to head the Con­sumer Finan­cial Pro­tec­tion Bureau, the fed­er­al agency cre­at­ed by Eliz­a­beth War­ren to safe­guard Amer­i­cans and their wal­lets against greedy big banks and oth­er unscrupu­lous finan­cial insti­tu­tions. Chopra helped War­ren set up the agency and can be trust­ed to restore its strength.
  • Cecil­ia Rouse, Chair of the Coun­cil of Eco­nom­ic Advis­ers. Rouse, the dean of the Prince­ton School of Pub­lic and Inter­na­tion­al Affairs, is a well regard­ed labor econ­o­mist. She pre­vi­ous­ly served in Oba­ma’s Coun­cil of Eco­nom­ic Advis­ers and is respect­ed by pro­gres­sive orga­ni­za­tions that work on eco­nom­ic secu­ri­ty issues. She is expect­ed to have an equi­ty focus.

The Cab­i­net and exec­u­tive team Biden and Har­ris have built are def­i­nite­ly not as pro­gres­sive as the team that Bernie Sanders or Eliz­a­beth War­ren would have built, but this team does lean more to the left than Oba­ma’s, and that’s progress.

The administration’s next moves are just as crucial

Biden and Har­ris will end their tran­si­tion in a strong posi­tion. They’ve cho­sen a record num­ber of nom­i­nees for key posts and will have a more coop­er­a­tive Unit­ed States Sen­ate thanks to the momen­tum-build­ing vic­to­ries in the Geor­gia runoffs only two weeks ago, which end­ed Mitch McConnel­l’s Repub­li­can majority.

How­ev­er, the road ahead is per­ilous. Biden and Har­ris are inher­it­ing a hor­rif­ic pub­lic health emer­gency, a debil­i­tat­ing eco­nom­ic cri­sis, and a dis­in­for­ma­tion-plagued soci­ety from Don­ald Trump and Mike Pence. If that weren’t bad enough, Amer­i­ca’s rela­tion­ships with its allies have been bad­ly dam­aged, and the coun­try’s adver­saries embold­ened. In about every respect, the coun­try is in a weak­er and more frag­ile state than it was four years ago when Barack Oba­ma left office.

Arguably, the biggest mis­take that Barack Oba­ma made in 2009–2010 is one I haven’t men­tioned yet: allow­ing the Bush admin­is­tra­tion and Wall Street to escape account­abil­i­ty for their wrong­do­ing. Oba­ma incor­rect­ly con­clud­ed that the coun­try would be best served by mov­ing on instead of pros­e­cut­ing those respon­si­ble for hor­rif­ic human rights vio­la­tions and eco­nom­ic injustices.

It was­n’t, of course.

Biden and Har­ris must not make that mistake.

Account­abil­i­ty is a pre­req­ui­site for heal­ing. It is a neces­si­ty. Incom­ing Attor­ney Gen­er­al Mer­rick Gar­land must launch a broad, wide rang­ing crim­i­nal probe into the wrong­do­ing com­mit­ted by Don­ald Trump, his fam­i­ly, and his associates.

The peo­ple involved in the loot­ing and plun­der­ing of this coun­try dur­ing the last four years must be brought to jus­tice. That includes Trump’s Repub­li­can enablers in Con­gress, like Andy Big­gs, Mo Brooks, Josh Haw­ley and Ted Cruz.

His­to­ry tells us that appease­ment does­n’t work against neo­fas­cists and bul­lies. They must be con­front­ed. They must be fought. We have no objec­tion to Joe Biden’s calls for uni­ty and heal­ing, but we can only have uni­ty and heal­ing if we deal with the grave threat to our democ­ra­cy and our future that’s in front of us.

Can Joe Biden and Kamala Har­ris rise to the chal­lenge? We have faith they can. We’ll be doing our part to encour­age them to gov­ern pro­gres­sive­ly and wisely.

Monday, January 18th, 2021

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Nonviolent direct action is what makes negotiation possible

Today is Mar­tin Luther King Jr. Day, and like we do every year in hon­or of Dr. King’s mem­o­ry, I’m post­ing an excerpt from his Let­ter From Birm­ing­ham Jail.

In these pas­sages, Dr. King makes the case for the val­ue of direct action (cit­ing the exam­ples of sit-ins, march­es, and so forth) to his audi­ence, explain­ing that non­vi­o­lent direct action sets the stage for nego­ti­a­tion. His­to­ry, he observed, has shown that civ­il rights advances are nev­er achieved except through pressure.

Many decades have elapsed since these words were writ­ten. Sad­ly, racism and injus­tice remain a painful real­i­ty for many peo­ple in this country.

Nev­er­the­less, the strug­gle for greater free­dom and equal­i­ty continues.

Here’s Dr. King. (Note that typos are con­tained in the orig­i­nal manuscript.)

You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, march­es and so forth? Isn’t nego­ti­a­tion a bet­ter path?” You are quite right in call­ing for nego­ti­a­tion. Indeed, this is the very pur­pose of direct action.

Non­vi­o­lent direct action seeks to cre­ate such a cri­sis and fos­ter such a ten­sion that a com­mu­ni­ty which has con­stant­ly refused to nego­ti­ate is forced to con­front the issue.

It seeks so to dra­ma­tize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.

My cit­ing the cre­ation of ten­sion as part of the work of the non­vi­o­lent resister may sound rather shocking.

But I must con­fess that I am not afraid of the word “ten­sion.”

I have earnest­ly opposed vio­lent ten­sion, but there is a type of con­struc­tive, non­vi­o­lent ten­sion which is nec­es­sary for growth.

Just as Socrates felt that it was nec­es­sary to cre­ate a ten­sion in the mind so that indi­vid­u­als could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfet­tered realm of cre­ative analy­sis and objec­tive appraisal, so must we see the need for non­vi­o­lent gad­flies to cre­ate the kind of ten­sion in soci­ety that will help men rise from the dark depths of prej­u­dice and racism to the majes­tic heights of under­stand­ing and brotherhood.

The pur­pose of our direct action pro­gram is to cre­ate a sit­u­a­tion so cri­sis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.

I there­fore con­cur with you in your call for negotiation.

Too long has our beloved South­land been bogged down in a trag­ic effort to live in mono­logue rather than dialogue.

One of the basic points in your state­ment is that the action that I and my asso­ciates have tak­en in Birm­ing­ham is untimely.

Some have asked: “Why did­n’t you give the new city admin­is­tra­tion time to act?” The only answer that I can give to this query is that the new Birm­ing­ham admin­is­tra­tion must be prod­ded about as much as the out­go­ing one, before it will act.

We are sad­ly mis­tak­en if we feel that the elec­tion of Albert Boutwell as may­or will bring the mil­len­ni­um to Birmingham.

While Mr. Boutwell is a much more gen­tle per­son than Mr. Con­nor, they are both seg­re­ga­tion­ists, ded­i­cat­ed to main­te­nance of the sta­tus quo. I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be rea­son­able enough to see the futil­i­ty of mas­sive resis­tance to desegregation.

But he will not see this with­out pres­sure from devo­tees of civ­il rights.

My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a sin­gle gain in civ­il rights with­out deter­mined legal and non­vi­o­lent pressure.

Lam­en­ta­bly, it is an his­tor­i­cal fact that priv­i­leged groups sel­dom give up their priv­i­leges vol­un­tar­i­ly. Indi­vid­u­als may see the moral light and vol­un­tar­i­ly give up their unjust pos­ture; but, as Rein­hold Niebuhr has remind­ed us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

Take a few min­utes today to read the whole thing.

Sunday, January 17th, 2021

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted on Donald Trump’s removal

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives vot­ed on remov­ing Don­ald Trump dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, Jan­u­ary 15th, 2021.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

IMPEACHING DONALD TRUMP FOR THE SECOND TIME: Vot­ing 232 for and 197 against, the House on Jan­u­ary 13th adopt­ed an arti­cle of impeach­ment (House Res­o­lu­tion 24) charg­ing Pres­i­dent Trump with “incite­ment of insur­rec­tion” for his role in prompt­ing a dead­ly assault on the Capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6th by a vio­lent mob of his sup­port­ers. A Sen­ate tri­al on the arti­cle will be held after Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden takes office Jan­u­ary 20th.

The vote fol­lowed the House­’s impeach­ment of Trump in Decem­ber 2019 over his deal­ings with Ukraine, mak­ing him the only pres­i­dent to be impeached twice.

The arti­cle includ­ed word­ing from Sec­tion 3 of the post-Civ­il War 14th Amend­ment, which bars from future gov­ern­ment office any fed­er­al or state offi­cial who has “engaged in insur­rec­tion or rebel­lion” against the Unit­ed States or giv­en “aid or com­fort to the enemies.…”

All 222 Democ­rats in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives sup­port­ed the arti­cle and 197 of the 207 Repub­li­cans who vot­ed were opposed to it. The ten Repub­li­cans vot­ing for impeach­ment were Reps. David Val­adao of Cal­i­for­nia, Adam Kinzinger of Illi­nois, John Katko of New York, Peter Mei­jer and Fred Upton of Michi­gan, Antho­ny Gon­za­lez of Ohio, Tom Rice of South Car­oli­na, Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler and Dan New­house of Wash­ing­ton and Liz Cheney of Wyoming.

Dan New­house, R‑Washington, said: “There is no excuse for Pres­i­dent Trump’s actions. The pres­i­dent took an oath to defend the Con­sti­tu­tion against all ene­mies, for­eign and domes­tic. Last week, there was a domes­tic threat at the door of the Capi­tol, and he did noth­ing to stop it.”

Dan Bish­op, R‑North Car­oli­na, said the arti­cle dis­miss­es the pres­i­den­t’s right to free speech. “Con­gress can dis­ap­prove, revile, con­demn, even cen­sure, but you can­not, con­sis­tent with the rule of law, pun­ish that which the Con­sti­tu­tion’s 1st Amend­ment declares pro­tect­ed. If you do it, the vio­la­tors of duty to this Constitution…will be those who vote for this arti­cle of impeachment.”

A yes vote was to impeach the president.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (9): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler and Dan Newhouse

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 13 aye votes, 4 nay votes

REMOVING PRESIDENT TRUMP BY 25TH AMENDMENT: Vot­ing 223 for and 205 against, the House on Jan­u­ary 12th passed a non-bind­ing res­o­lu­tion (House Res­o­lu­tion 21) call­ing on Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence to invoke 25th Amend­ment pro­ceed­ings to remove Pres­i­dent Trump from office.

Pence had already announced he would not do so.

Under Sec­tion 4 of the amend­ment, if the vice pres­i­dent and a major­i­ty of Cab­i­net mem­bers declare in writ­ing to the pres­i­dent pro tem­pore of the Sen­ate and speak­er of the House that the pres­i­dent “is unable to dis­charge the pow­ers and duties of his office,” the vice pres­i­dent imme­di­ate­ly becomes act­ing pres­i­dent with full exec­u­tive duties and powers.

Mary Gay Scan­lon, D‑Pennsylvania, said:

“Any oth­er pres­i­dent with an ounce of char­ac­ter would have resigned after see­ing the bloody con­se­quences [at the Capitol].”

“Any oth­er admin­is­tra­tion would have invoked the 25th Amend­ment long ago. I don’t care if the pres­i­dent incites a riot against Con­gress on his first day or the last day of his or her pres­i­den­cy, such an act is a crime against our gov­ern­ment much less against the peo­ple who are par­a­lyzed or killed in the attack. If a pres­i­dent can refuse to acknowl­edge [this] to Amer­i­can vot­ers, then incite a coup to stay in pow­er with­out pun­ish­ment, then our democ­ra­cy is lost.”

Tom McClin­tock, R‑California, said:

“The 25th Amend­ment specif­i­cal­ly address­es the inca­pac­i­ty of the pres­i­dent to dis­charge the duties of his office. It was nev­er intend­ed as a polit­i­cal weapon when Con­gress does­n’t like the way he dis­charges those duties… Every act we take builds a prece­dent for future acts. Once Con­gress asserts this new role as arm­chair psy­chi­a­trists and a new pow­er to equate intem­per­ate speech with func­tion­al dis­abil­i­ty, the most impor­tant pil­lars of our gov­ern­ment — sta­bil­i­ty, the rule of law and the sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers — will frac­ture. It won’t affect this pres­i­dent, but it will stop future pres­i­dents from this day forward.”

A yes vote was to use the 25th Amend­ment to remove the president.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Vot­ing Nay (3): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

Key votes ahead

The Sen­ate will debate the new admin­is­tra­tion’s nation­al secu­ri­ty nom­i­nees in the week of Jan­u­ary 18th, while the House sched­ule was to be announced.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in NPI’s week­ly How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture is pro­vid­ed by Votera­ma in Con­gress, a ser­vice of Civic Impulse, LLC. All rights are reserved. Repro­duc­tion of this post is not per­mit­ted, not even with attri­bu­tion. Use the per­ma­nent link to this post to share it… thanks!

© 2021 Civic Impulse, LLC. 

Friday, January 15th, 2021

Loren Culp, Stephen Pidgeon scrap their absurd lawsuit against elections officials

Defeat­ed Wash­ing­ton State guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date Loren Culp and his sad excuse for an attor­ney Stephen Pid­geon have pulled the plug on Culp’s mali­cious and base­less law­suit against the State of Wash­ing­ton alleg­ing that the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion was fraud­u­lent, Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son’s office says.

“Rather than con­cede grace­ful­ly, Mr. Culp has used this law­suit to dis­tract from the mag­ni­tude of his loss and to sow con­fu­sion. Mr. Culp also fundraised off his base­less alle­ga­tions, even as the coun­try has erupt­ed in vio­lence stoked by the types of reck­less alle­ga­tions made in this lit­i­ga­tion. This past week has put into stark relief the dam­age that has been wrought by such untruths,” the Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s office declared in a court filing.

Fer­gu­son warned Pid­geon — a racist and a con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist — that if he did not with­draw the suit, the state would move to seek sanc­tions against him.

The threat worked, and the suit was with­drawn with prej­u­dice, mean­ing that it can­not be refiled. Pid­geon was paid $50,000 by Culp to insti­gate the suit.

Stephen Pidgeon presenting oral argument

Stephen Pid­geon offers oral argu­ment at a Feb­ru­ary 2020 hear­ing in Garfield Coun­ty v. State (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

In addi­tion to his work with Culp, Pid­geon is also a long­time asso­ciate of Tim “Chair­man” Eyman. Eyman has repeat­ed­ly described Pid­geon “bril­liant” and likes to gush about his nonex­is­tent legal acu­men. Of course, in real­i­ty, in addi­tion to hold­ing a pletho­ra of un-Amer­i­can views, Pid­geon is a failed can­di­date for statewide office and a high­ly unsuc­cess­ful attor­ney who often los­es cases.

He and Eyman teamed up mul­ti­ple times in 2020 to file law­suits against the state regard­ing the emer­gency mea­sures tak­en to pre­vent the spread of COVID-19. Their law­suits did­n’t go any­where, but Eyman was nev­er­the­less suc­cess­ful in get­ting gullible reporters to show up and give him lots and lots of coverage.

In an attempt to explain their retreat, Culp and Pid­geon offered a pletho­ra of excus­es to their rabid fol­low­ers dur­ing a Face­book Live event.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp

Repub­li­can guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date Loren Culp

Culp claimed the law­suit was being pulled because the path ahead was treach­er­ous… or, as he put it, a “mine­field”. That’s misleading.

Pid­geon said the law­suit was nixed due to “tech­ni­cal­i­ties”. That’s false.

In fact, Pid­geon was forced to with­draw the law­suit because it had no mer­it what­so­ev­er. It fraud­u­lent­ly alleged fraud. It would have been a waste of pub­lic resources for it to have been giv­en any con­sid­er­a­tion in any courtroom.

The Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty is tired of Pid­geon not being held account­able for his unac­cept­able, unpro­fes­sion­al con­duct. The par­ty announced today that a com­plaint has been filed against Pid­geon with the Wash­ing­ton State Bar Asso­ci­a­tion by attor­neys Dmitri Iglitzin and Gabe Frumkin.

“We can­not come back from this assault on our democ­ra­cy unless those involved in the degra­da­tion of our Con­sti­tu­tion and demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions under­stand that such rep­re­hen­si­ble behav­ior will have severe con­se­quences,” said Tina Pod­lodows­ki, Chair of the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Party.

“When any pub­lic offi­cial or offi­cer of the court betrays their sacred oath to defend our Con­sti­tu­tion, account­abil­i­ty for those actions must be swift. Wash­ing­to­ni­ans will not tol­er­ate the use of our judi­cial sys­tem for shame­less self-pro­mo­tion at the expense of the rule of law.”

The com­plaint against Pid­geon can be read below.

Bar com­plaint against Stephen Pidgeon

We’re glad to see Pid­geon final­ly being held account­able for a change. We hope he’s dis­barred and is forced to leave the legal profession.

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

NPI again urges Washington State Legislature to embrace equity with a capital gains tax

This evening, the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate Ways & Means Com­mit­tee is hear­ing tes­ti­mo­ny on Sen­ate Bill 5096, which would levy a cap­i­tal gains tax at the state lev­el to fund essen­tial pub­lic ser­vices and make our upside down tax code more equi­table. Prime spon­sored by Sen­a­tor June Robin­son (D‑38th Dis­trict), SB 5096 would levy a nine per­cent cap­i­tal gains tax begin­ning Jan­u­ary 1st, 2022.

A short time ago, I tes­ti­fied in sup­port of the bill on NPI’s behalf, urg­ing that it be giv­en a “do pass rec­om­men­da­tion”, and explain­ing that our research has con­sis­tent­ly found sta­ble sup­port among Wash­ing­ton vot­ers for a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy for more than half a decade.

We first asked vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton how they feel about a cap­i­tal gains tax in 2015, and we have con­tin­ued to ask every year since then.

Our May 2020 respons­es are below.

Capital gains tax poll finding (May of 2020)

QUESTION: Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose tax­ing the cap­i­tal gains of wealthy indi­vid­u­als to help pay for pub­lic schools, col­leges and universities?

ANSWERS:

  • Sup­port: 59% 
    • Strong­ly Sup­port: 42%
    • Some­what Sup­port: 17%
  • Oppose: 32%
    • Some­what Oppose: 11%
    • Strong­ly Oppose: 21%
  • Not Sure: 9%

Note that more respon­dents said they strong­ly sup­port a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy than the total num­ber who said they were opposed.

We also found in that same sur­vey about that an almost iden­ti­cal per­cent­age of vot­ers feel that schools in Wash­ing­ton are still under­fund­ed, despite the Leg­is­la­ture’s work to respond to the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.

School funding poll finding (May of 2020)

QUESTION: Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose tax­ing the cap­i­tal gains of wealthy indi­vid­u­als to help pay for pub­lic schools, col­leges and universities?

ANSWERS:

  • Agree: 60%
    • Strong­ly agree: 35%
    • Some­what agree: 25%
  • Dis­agree: 31% 
    • Some­what dis­agree: 15%
    • Strong­ly dis­agree: 16%
  • Not Sure: 9%

Our May 2020 sur­vey of 1,070 like­ly 2020 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Tues­day, May 19th through Wednes­day, May 20th, 2020.

It uti­lizes a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines and text mes­sage answers from cell phone only respondents.

The poll was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.0% at the 95% con­fi­dence level.

As men­tioned, we’ve always found majori­ties in sup­port of ded­i­cat­ing a cap­i­tal gains tax on high earn­ers to edu­ca­tion. How­ev­er, there’s also strong sup­port among Wash­ing­to­ni­ans for a hybrid approach, with some rev­enue being ded­i­cat­ed to schools and some rev­enue being ded­i­cat­ed to low­er­ing tax­es for low and mid­dle income fam­i­lies who cur­rent­ly pay more than their fair share, as we can see from the respons­es to this ques­tion that we asked in Octo­ber of 2019.

Capital gains tax poll finding (October of 2019)

QUESTION: If Wash­ing­ton’s Leg­is­la­ture levies a state cap­i­tal gains tax on the sale of assets like stocks, bonds, or pre­cious met­als by the very wealthy, how should the rev­enue be used: do you think the mon­ey should go only to the Edu­ca­tion Lega­cy Trust account to fund ear­ly learn­ing, pub­lic schools, col­leges, and uni­ver­si­ties; should the mon­ey be used exclu­sive­ly to reduce tax­es for low income fam­i­lies and small busi­ness own­ers; or should the mon­ey be used for a com­bi­na­tion of edu­ca­tion fund­ing and reduc­tions in tax­es for low income fam­i­lies and small busi­ness owners?

ANSWERS:

  • Think rev­enue should go only to the Edu­ca­tion Lega­cy Trust account: 21%
  • Think it should be used exclu­sive­ly to reduce tax­es for low income fam­i­lies and small busi­ness own­ers: 12%
  • Think it should be used for a com­bi­na­tion of edu­ca­tion fund­ing and reduc­tions in tax­es: 48%
  • Not Sure: 19%

Our Octo­ber 2019 sur­vey of nine hun­dred like­ly 2019 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field Octo­ber 22nd-23rd, 2019.

The sur­vey used a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines and text mes­sages to cell phone only respondents.

As with the May 2020 sur­vey, this poll was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling for NPI, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.3% at the 95% con­fi­dence level.

Unlike Crosscut/Elway, when we ask about sup­port for a cap­i­tal gains tax in our statewide sur­veys, we always men­tion what it could hypo­thet­i­cal­ly pay for. That’s because you can­not accu­rate­ly gauge how vot­ers feel about a pro­posed rev­enue mea­sure unless you tell them how the rev­enue would be used. All bud­gets con­tain appro­pri­a­tions; oth­er­wise, they would not make any sense.

There are two sides to every math­e­mat­i­cal equa­tion, and leav­ing out the invest­ment side will yield flawed data every time. Tax­es have a pur­pose. Thy can and should be thought of as invest­ments. By pool­ing our resources togeth­er, accord­ing to our abil­i­ty to pay, we can afford great pub­lic ser­vices that allow us to lead more ful­fill­ing lives and be eco­nom­i­cal­ly secure.

One more note about our polling: In pub­lic opin­ion research, it’s impor­tant to have a rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ple. Oth­er­wise, the data could be flawed. Unlike the instant polls you some­times see on tele­vi­sion (Sin­clair’s KOMO is very fond of those), or polls on social net­works, our polls are sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly accurate.

Our poll­ster uses a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy to ensure that the sam­ple is rep­re­sen­ta­tive. Blend­ed means that respons­es are gath­ered through more than one medi­um. It’s not suf­fi­cient just to call peo­ple at their homes any­more because many peo­ple (and almost all young peo­ple) don’t have land­lines anymore.

The notion of account­ing for “cell­phone only vot­ers” has also become dat­ed. Nowa­days, an out­right major­i­ty of respon­dents to our peri­od­ic statewide sur­veys do so via text mes­sage. That was true for both our Octo­ber 2019 poll and our May 2020 poll, which the ques­tions above are from.

Our elec­toral polling serves as a mea­sur­ing stick to allow us to gauge how rep­re­sen­ta­tive our sam­ples are. In Octo­ber of 2020, we polled on every sin­gle statewide can­di­date elec­tion and released the results right here on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate. In each race we polled, our research cor­rect­ly fore­shad­owed the win­ner, even in races where there were large num­bers of unde­cid­ed voters.

We are proud of our strong part­ner­ship with Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling and the work that we put into ensur­ing that our ques­tions are neu­tral­ly worded.

It has been over half a decade since Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee first pro­posed a cap­i­tal gains tax as part of his bud­get. Though much has changed dur­ing those six years, one thing has­n’t: vot­ers’ enthu­si­asm for mak­ing our tax code more equi­table with a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy. We’ve talked about doing this for long enough. Vot­ers have elect­ed strong Demo­c­ra­t­ic majori­ties for two cycles run­ning now. They want and expect results. It’s time for the Leg­is­la­ture to deliver.

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

Republican lawmakers are still harping about building access, even after attack on Capitol

Hav­ing seem­ing­ly lost their enthu­si­asm for defend­ing Don­ald Trump and dis­put­ing the results of the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Repub­li­cans at the fed­er­al and state lev­el have turned to grum­bling loud­ly about the secu­ri­ty mea­sures that have been put into place in our state and fed­er­al cap­i­tals, both to pre­vent the spread of COVID-19 and to stop domes­tic ter­ror­ists from hurt­ing and killing people.

In addi­tion to requir­ing the wear­ing of masks and prac­tic­ing phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing, Democ­rats at the fed­er­al lev­el have intro­duced new secu­ri­ty mea­sures, includ­ing screen­ings for weapons and dan­ger­ous objects out­side of the entrance to the House cham­ber. Thou­sands of Nation­al Guard troops are now sta­tioned in and around the Capi­tol, as well, to ensure the build­ing can­not be suc­cess­ful­ly attacked and ran­sacked again, and a new fence sur­rounds the Capitol.

Joe Flood The Capitol protected by the DC National Guard

After the failed coup attempt, a fence has gone up around the Capi­tol, pro­tect­ed by the DC Nation­al Guard. (Pho­to: Joe Flood, repro­duced under a Cre­ative Com­mons license)

So far, Repub­li­cans seem the most upset about the secu­ri­ty screenings.

For mem­bers of Con­gress to enter the floor of the U.S. House, we now have to go through intense secu­ri­ty mea­sures, on top of the secu­ri­ty we already go through. These new pro­vi­sions include search­es and being wand­ed like crim­i­nals. We now live in Pelosi’s com­mu­nist Amer­i­ca!” howled Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Deb­bie Lasko.

What’s the prob­lem, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Lasko? if you haven’t done any­thing wrong, then you have absolute­ly noth­ing to wor­ry about… right? After all, that’s what Repub­li­cans like you have been telling the rest of us for years!

“You are cre­at­ing a prob­lem you do not under­stand the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of,” snarled a very upset Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Steve Wom­ack to Capi­tol Police when he entered the House cham­ber ear­li­er this week.

Actu­al­ly, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Wom­ack, that’s a per­fect descrip­tion of what you and your col­leagues have been doing. By con­tin­u­al­ly enabling Don­ald Trump and his insur­rec­tion­ist fol­low­ers, you set the stage for all the changes that are now hap­pen­ing in our seat of gov­ern­ment, includ­ing these more strin­gent secu­ri­ty screen­ings out­side the House cham­ber that annoy you to no end.

So much for “Law and Order!” and respect­ing law enforcement.

Once again, Repub­li­cans have proven that they are whol­ly unwill­ing to accept the rules and stan­dards that they want to impose on every­body else.

Every time I enter a cour­t­house (local, state, fed­er­al), I go through a met­al detec­tor and send my belong­ings through an x‑ray machine. And often get wanded.

I wish it weren’t nec­es­sary, but I under­stand the wis­dom of ensur­ing that peo­ple don’t bring guns or oth­er weapons into courtrooms.

Why should the Capi­tol be any dif­fer­ent, espe­cial­ly giv­en the hor­ror of last week? And why should mem­bers of Con­gress be treat­ed any dif­fer­ent­ly than any­one else com­ing to the Capi­tol? As any secu­ri­ty expert knows, an insti­tu­tion is only as strong as its weak­est link. A trai­tor­ous law­mak­er allowed to bypass secu­ri­ty screen­ings could eas­i­ly cause may­hem. Dis­turbing­ly, many of the Repub­li­cans sent by vot­ers to Con­gress are Trump cult mem­bers who are more loy­al to him than the Con­sti­tu­tion, as today’s impeach­ment vote once again proved.

(It has also been report­ed that some Repub­li­can law­mak­ers were show­ing insur­rec­tion­ists around the Capi­tol in advance of the Jan­u­ary 6th attacks.)

If the goal is “Law and Order!”, then mak­ing sure that only trust­ed, trained police offi­cers are car­ry­ing guns in the Capi­tol seems like an extreme­ly pru­dent idea.

Here at the state lev­el, Repub­li­cans have com­plained bit­ter­ly that parts of the Capi­tol Cam­pus are off lim­its to the pub­lic and sur­round­ed by a chain-link fence with yel­low cau­tion tape, patrolled by the Wash­ing­ton Nation­al Guard.

They keep ask­ing, rhetor­i­cal­ly, why peo­ple can’t be allowed inside the Capi­tol to watch their gov­ern­ment at work. But they know why: it’s not safe.

The Wash­ing­ton Capi­tol Cam­pus is more than just the Ever­green State’s seat of gov­ern­ment. Like the U.S. Capi­tol, it’s also a work­place. Repub­li­cans may feel com­fort­able putting their lives at risk by ignor­ing pub­lic health guid­ance and rec­om­men­da­tions from secu­ri­ty experts in the wake of the Capi­tol attack, but they can­not be allowed to put oth­ers’ lives at risk with their absurd demands.

The argu­ment that the tem­po­rary clo­sure of some of our pub­lic build­ings is a trag­ic for­fei­ture of our God-giv­en lib­er­ties is ridicu­lous. These build­ing restric­tions have not caused peo­ple to lose their con­sti­tu­tion­al rights. For exam­ple, it’s still pos­si­ble to protest, even on the Capi­tol cam­pus, as unwise as that may be.

Giv­en the Repub­li­can Par­ty’s lega­cy, it’s odd they’re so bent out of shape about these build­ing clo­sures. Recall, for a few moments, all of the mea­sures they have pre­vi­ous­ly insist­ed on and defend­ed as nec­es­sary to wage a “War on Terror”.

Remem­ber the Boston Marathon bomb­ings? In the wake of those hor­ri­ble events, the author­i­ties effec­tive­ly shut down an entire city for sev­er­al days while they hunt­ed down the per­pe­tra­tors. I don’t remem­ber hear­ing any com­plaints from Repub­li­cans about that. Inde­fen­si­bly, many Repub­li­cans sim­ply do not regard white Chris­t­ian ter­ror­ists as a threat like they do Islam­ic ter­ror­ists, even though white Chris­t­ian ter­ror­ists are the big­ger threat accord­ing to secu­ri­ty assess­ments.

Hap­pi­ly, this isn’t 1921. It is not nec­es­sary to be phys­i­cal­ly present to observe one’s gov­ern­ment at work first­hand. Even before the pan­dem­ic and the recent rise in domes­tic ter­ror­ist activ­i­ty (includ­ing not only the attack on the Capi­tol, but the breach­ing of the gates to the Exec­u­tive Man­sion grounds in Olympia), watch­ing com­mit­tee meet­ings and floor activ­i­ty on TVW was a more advan­ta­geous way to mon­i­tor the goings-on in the state­house than observ­ing in person.

It’s so advan­ta­geous, in fact, that peo­ple who work on the Capi­tol Cam­pus, includ­ing reporters and leg­isla­tive assis­tants, use it exten­sive­ly, despite being in close phys­i­cal prox­im­i­ty to the rooms where the broad­casts are originating.

Why leave the office when TVW can bring the action to you?

That said, we agree that it is valu­able for peo­ple to be able to vis­it the seat of their gov­ern­ment and walk the same halls their elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives walk. Vis­it­ing the state capi­tol and the U.S. Capi­tol is an expe­ri­ence every­one ought to have. Accord­ing­ly, we ful­ly sup­port the restora­tion of phys­i­cal pub­lic access to these sacred build­ings when it is safe. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, right now, it isn’t.

You might think mem­bers of a par­ty that fer­vent­ly bran­dish­es the phrase “Law and Order!” as a ral­ly­ing cry would under­stand this, but sad­ly, you’d be wrong.

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

America’s wrong wing tries bevy of ploys to recover from the trashing of the U.S. Capitol

Don­ald Trump is on the ropes, rat­ings at Fox are down, cor­po­rate PACs are cut­ting off dead-ender defend­ers of the occu­pant of the Oval Office, major tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies have kicked Trump off their plat­forms, and Belt­way-based media have dis­cov­ered – big time – the ter­ror threat posed by mili­tia groups.

Our tele­vi­sion screens are filled with mug shots of guys who look like they were sired in the sex scene from the movie “Deliv­er­ance.”

How does the right — or, more accu­rate­ly, wrong — wing plan to regroup with Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden assum­ing office in a week, and Democ­rats tak­ing con­trol of the Unit­ed States Sen­ate the moment Kamala Har­ris becomes Vice President?

Sev­er­al approach­es are being sent up the flag­pole or sent out on the air­waves or in email fundrais­ing blasts. Which do you think will endure?

“Contrition is #$%&?@!”

The immor­tal words of Nixon press assis­tant Ron Ziegler appear to have been embraced by Trump. Texas-bound on Tues­day morn­ing, Trump claimed his remarks to a pre-insur­rec­tion riot were “total­ly appropriate.”

He also tried to equate the coup attempt at the U.S. Capi­tol with sum­mer demon­stra­tions at the East Precinct sta­tion in Seat­tle and the Mark O. Hat­field Fed­er­al Cour­t­house one hun­dred and eighty miles to the south.

In Trump’s words: “If you look at what oth­er peo­ple have said, politi­cians at a high lev­el about the riots dur­ing the sum­mer, the hor­ri­ble riots in Port­land and Seat­tle and var­i­ous oth­er places, that was the real problem.”

“The left is dividing America”

After two months of claim­ing the Novem­ber 3rd elec­tion was “stolen,” or indulging Trump’s fan­tasies, the incum­ben­t’s defend­ers are now wash­ing hands, Pilate-like, for their role in the insur­rec­tion. Their claim? Democ­rats are divid­ing America.

“Over fifty mil­lion Amer­i­cans believe the elec­tion was stolen,” Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jim Jor­dan, R‑Ohio, recent Pres­i­den­tial Medal of Free­dom recip­i­ent, intoned on Decem­ber 4th. “I’ve nev­er said this elec­tion was stolen,” Jor­dan told col­leagues Tues­day in the House Rules Committee.

Deposed Fox News mouth Bill O’Reilly has tweet­ed: “The lat­est impeach­ment fias­co is hurt­ing the coun­try, caus­ing even more hatred, and Democ­rats don’t even care, do they?” Or, in the words of Newt Gin­grich: “The left has to learn that they can’t sup­press the voic­es of sev­en­ty-four mil­lion peo­ple,” refer­ring to the Trump vote in Novem­ber. Eighty-one mil­lion Amer­i­cans vot­ed for Joe Biden, folks rarely men­tioned on con­ser­v­a­tive media..

Round up the usual targets

Fox appears to be going into oppo­si­tion mode, as it did when Barack Oba­ma and Joe Biden were in office. Pro­gres­sive House mem­bers from “The Squad” are being depict­ed as the pow­ers behind Biden. When House Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi sharply put down a hos­tile ques­tion, she was described as out of con­trol.

Of impeach­ment, says Gingrich:

“The will of the Amer­i­can peo­ple has to be sub­or­di­nat­ed to the will of Pelosi. Trump has to be impeached to stop him from run­ning again. Pelosi fears the Amer­i­can peo­ple might pick him if they were allowed to.”

Fox is relent­less­ly claim­ing that its com­pe­ti­tion – CNN in par­tic­u­lar – plans to go soft on the Biden admin­is­tra­tion, even as its host con­duct one soft­ball inter­view after anoth­er with Repub­li­can mem­bers of Congress.

The all-purpose word: Hypocrisy

The con­stant theme of right wing media, even when Trump was rid­ing high, is that we’re get­ting picked up. At the infa­mous Jan­u­ary 6th ral­ly, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mo Brooks, R‑Alabama, declared: “Today is the day Amer­i­can patri­ots are tak­ing down names and kick­ing ass.” Rudy Giu­liani called for “tri­al by combat.”

Brooks and Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Paul Gosar, R‑Arizona, tried to gin up atten­dance in advance of the ral­ly. Yet, Trump and his pilot fish are claim­ing that they are being per­se­cut­ed, as Big Tech is dous­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion and delet­ing death threats.

“Unre­strained Tech Titans Tar­get Con­ser­v­a­tives,” said a head­line this morn­ing on Fox News. Or Trump address­ing sus­pen­sion of his Twit­ter account, describ­ing it as “a con­tin­u­a­tion of the great­est witch hunt in the his­to­ry of politics.”

“I think it’s caus­ing tremen­dous anger,” added Trump.

When threats are made, blame the other side

From the Bill O’Reilly spin zone comes this expla­na­tion of the U.S. Capi­tol insur­rec­tion: “How the left’s hatred infect­ed the right.”

Sean Han­ni­ty and Tuck­er Carl­son have picked up the theme, that four years of attacks on Trump spared the fires on Capi­tol Hill last Wednesday.

The theme has also been picked up local­ly by KTTH pun­dit Rantz, who blames all vio­lence on the left, and by the Face­book page of State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jen­ny Gra­ham, R‑Spokane, who often makes unin­tel­li­gent state­ments. Gra­ham, who has linked to con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, has redou­bled her Seat­tle bashing.

Ersatz appeals for peace

House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy refused for two months to acknowl­edge that 81 mil­lion Amer­i­cans elect­ed Biden as President.

Even after the Capi­tol was trashed, he vot­ed against cer­ti­fy­ing the elec­toral votes from Ari­zona, along with more than half the House Repub­li­can caucus.

Yet, there was McCarthy, putting in a post-insur­rec­tion phone call to Biden appeal­ing for peace. The Rev­erend Franklin Gra­ham has been Trump’s lead­ing shill in the evan­gel­i­cal com­mu­ni­ty and depict­ed both Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­ate can­di­dates in Geor­gia as god­less baby-killers.

Graham’s reac­tion to the insur­rec­tion? With­out men­tion­ing the attacks on Capi­tol Police, he has cel­e­brat­ed Nation­al Law Enforce­ment Day.

He has called for a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion meet­ing between the Pres­i­dent-elect and the Pres­i­dent who still denies los­ing. “Thank you, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, for your con­cil­ia­to­ry words to the nation last night,” Gra­ham tweet­ed after Trump read a script more than a day after the trashing.

“Let’s come togeth­er… on our knees,” said Gra­ham, who has been run­ning late night tele­vi­sion ads invit­ing Seat­tleites to come to God.

What to make of this?

Repub­li­can offi­cials accept no respon­si­bil­i­ty for actions they helped trig­ger last week. They are retreat­ing behind test­ed themes, e.g. we’re being picked on, to ral­ly the believ­ers. They will quick­ly piv­ot to attacks on Biden and the com­pe­tent crew of peo­ple he has picked to staff the Exec­u­tive Branch.

“Those who sow the wind shall reap the whirl­wind,” Win­ston Churchill said mem­o­rably, halfway through World War II.

That cer­tain­ly seems to be happening.

Still, there are armed and dan­ger­ous peo­ple out there, and a for­mi­da­ble pro­pa­gan­da machine. The wrong will right itself. The dam­age it has caused to Amer­i­ca goes far beyond bro­ken win­dows and trashed U.S. Capi­tol offices.

And it is not going away.

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Donald Trump has become the first person holding the presidency to be impeached twice

For the sec­ond time in thir­teen months, Don­ald Trump has been impeached for high crimes and mis­de­meanors by the Unit­ed States House of Representatives.

Vot­ing two hun­dred and thir­ty-two to one hun­dred and nine­ty-sev­en, the House agreed to trans­mit a sin­gle new arti­cle of impeach­ment to the Sen­ate. Every Demo­c­rat who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the vote backed the arti­cle, along with ten Repub­li­cans who crossed over. Five mem­bers of the House did not vote.

Before today, no Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States had ever been impeached twice, and only two oth­er pres­i­dents had been impeached once (Andrew John­son and Bill Clin­ton; Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached by the House.)

NPI thanks the U.S. House for uphold­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States by impeach­ing Don­ald Trump for a sec­ond time. It had to be done, and it is done.

We are dis­ap­point­ed that only ten House Repub­li­cans found the courage to vote for impeach­ment after Trump incit­ed an attack on the Capitol.

Near­ly two hun­dred oth­er Repub­li­cans chose to stick with Trump despite that, includ­ing top House Repub­li­cans Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise.

For­tu­nate­ly, the Democ­rats held togeth­er and stood for the Constitution.

“We must think on what Lin­coln told us,” House Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi told her col­leagues in floor remarks sup­port­ing impeach­ment.

“We, even here – even us here – hold the pow­er and bear the respon­si­bil­i­ty. We, you and I, hold in trust the pow­er that derives most direct­ly from the peo­ple of the Unit­ed States, and we bear the respon­si­bil­i­ty to ful­fill that oath that we all swear before God and before one anoth­er: the oath to defend the Con­sti­tu­tion against all ene­mies for­eign and domes­tic, so help us God.”

“We know that we face ene­mies of the Con­sti­tu­tion. We know we expe­ri­enced the insur­rec­tion that vio­lat­ed the sanc­ti­ty of the peo­ple’s Capi­tol and attempt­ed to over­turn the duly record­ed will of the Amer­i­can people. ”

“And we know that the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States incit­ed this insur­rec­tion, this armed rebel­lion, against our com­mon country.”

“He must go. He is a clear and present dan­ger to the nation that we all love. Since the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in Novem­ber – an elec­tion the Pres­i­dent lost – he has repeat­ed­ly held about – lied about the out­come, sowed self-serv­ing doubt about democ­ra­cy and uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly sought to influ­ence state offi­cials to repeal real­i­ty.  And, then, came that day of fire we all experienced.”

“The Pres­i­dent must be impeached, and, I believe, the Pres­i­dent must be con­vict­ed by the Sen­ate, a con­sti­tu­tion­al rem­e­dy that will ensure that the repub­lic will be safe from this man who is so res­olute­ly deter­mined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.”

“It is indis­putable that Don­ald Trump incit­ed insur­rec­tion­ists to launch the most dead­ly and destruc­tive assault on the Unit­ed States Capi­tol since the War of 1812,” said U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jaya­pal in a state­ment fol­low­ing the vote.

“He told these domes­tic ter­ror­ists — many asso­ci­at­ed with white nation­al­ist groups — to ‘stand by.’ Then he urged them to ‘fight like hell.’ Next, he pro­claimed, ‘we are going to the Capitol.’ ”

“The insur­rec­tion­ists fol­lowed these orders from the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States, and car­ried out a vio­lent attack on our coun­try with the intent of over­tak­ing Con­gress, over­turn­ing this elec­tion and under­min­ing our democracy.”

“We must urgent­ly remove Don­ald Trump from office to pro­tect our coun­try, our Con­sti­tu­tion and our very democ­ra­cy. We must send a clear mes­sage to the Pres­i­dent that the Unit­ed States Con­gress and the Amer­i­can peo­ple will not stand by and allow one man to turn our democ­ra­cy into an autoc­ra­cy; that we will not stand by while that man incites insur­rec­tion­ists to launch a dead­ly assault on our coun­try. We must hold him accountable.

“Just over a year ago, I vot­ed to impeach this pres­i­dent. My vote was for the Con­sti­tu­tion and for ‘We, the Peo­ple.’ The threat that Don­ald Trump posed to Amer­i­ca then has only con­tin­ued to escalate.”

“The Sen­ate must imme­di­ate­ly vote to con­vict Don­ald J. Trump for incite­ment of insur­rec­tion and remove him from office.”

“The assault by pro-Trump extrem­ists on Jan­u­ary 6 was not just an attack on the Unit­ed States Capi­tol but an attack on the Unit­ed States and our democ­ra­cy,” said U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Adam Smith. “After Pres­i­dent Trump and his sup­port­ers spent months spread­ing lies and pro­pa­gan­da about the elec­tion, Pres­i­dent Trump’s sup­port­ers attempt­ed to stage a coup and over­turn the results of our free and fair pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and end our democ­ra­cy as we know it.”

“Every­one involved in this attack must be held account­able, includ­ing the Pres­i­dent. There is no ques­tion that Pres­i­dent Trump incit­ed this vio­lence start­ing with his per­pet­u­al lies about the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, encour­ag­ing his sup­port­ers the morn­ing of the attack, and utter­ly fail­ing to quell vio­lence and respond suf­fi­cient­ly after the attack had begun.”

“From the begin­ning, the lies about the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion stoked by Pres­i­dent Trump and his co-con­spir­a­tors, includ­ing many Repub­li­cans in Con­gress, are not about elec­tion fraud but a brazen attempt to hold onto pow­er by any means nec­es­sary, even at the cost of lives and our democracy.”

“With only sev­en days left in office, Trump has demon­strat­ed he is unfit to remain in office a sin­gle day longer. Incit­ing an insur­rec­tion in an attempt to main­tain pow­er war­rants the imme­di­ate impeach­ment of Pres­i­dent Trump, also ensur­ing his dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion from hold­ing any pub­lic office in the future.”

“All Amer­i­cans who believe in the rule of law and our Con­sti­tu­tion must hold Pres­i­dent Trump account­able for his actions and I urge my Sen­ate col­leagues to con­vict and remove him.”

“A week ago, an armed mob assault­ed the very embod­i­ment of our democ­ra­cy, the U.S. Capi­tol, said U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Suzan DelBene.

“This was more than just an assault on a build­ing. It was an insur­rec­tion per­pe­trat­ed against our gov­ern­ment to stop Con­gress from ful­fill­ing its con­sti­tu­tion­al duty to cer­ti­fy the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion results.

“The sit­ting Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States unde­ni­ably incit­ed the dead­ly events of Jan­u­ary 6. He sum­moned his sup­port­ers and urged them to attack.”

“Dur­ing his ral­ly­ing cry to them ear­li­er in the day, Pres­i­dent Trump false­ly said, ‘we won this elec­tion, and we won it by a land­slide.’ He made state­ments that encour­aged and fore­see­ably result­ed in the law­less assault on the Capi­tol, includ­ing ‘if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a coun­try any­more.’ He lat­er failed to imme­di­ate­ly call on his sup­port­ers to stop the attack.”

“As a result of these vio­lent actions, five Amer­i­cans died and fifty police offi­cers were seri­ous­ly injured, includ­ing fif­teen offi­cers who were hospitalized.”

“Today, with my sup­port, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives passed a bipar­ti­san arti­cle of impeach­ment against Pres­i­dent Trump. He vio­lat­ed his oath of office to pre­serve, pro­tect, and defend the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States. He con­tin­ues to be a dan­ger to our nation­al secu­ri­ty as long as he remains the com­man­der-in-chief. He should be held account­able and barred from hold­ing fed­er­al office in the future.

“Some ask, why do this now, and to that I answer: How can we not?”

“It is crit­i­cal that we hold a pres­i­dent account­able for his dan­ger­ous actions. Inac­tion would be an abdi­ca­tion of Con­gress’ duty and a fail­ure to uphold our oath of office. We must be a coun­try where no one is above the law.”

“Last week Pres­i­dent Trump encour­aged an angry mob of his sup­port­ers to ‘walk down to the Capi­tol’ and ‘…fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a coun­try any­more.’ He fanned the flames, and then when giv­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty to ask the vio­lent, sedi­tious mob storm­ing the Capi­tol to back off and go home, he said he loved them and con­tin­ued to spread the lies that the elec­tion was rigged and that he won,” added U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kim Schrier.

“The Pres­i­dent is a dan­ger to our coun­try and a threat to our nation­al secu­ri­ty. We had all hoped that Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence would step up and invoke the Twen­ty-Fifth Amend­ment. That would be the most expe­di­tious way to revoke the pow­er of the pres­i­den­cy from Don­ald Trump. Since Vice Pres­i­dent Pence has refused to do this, the House must do its duty and impeach the Pres­i­dent. We can­not allow him to hold this office any longer and endan­ger any more lives. That is why I vot­ed today to impeach Pres­i­dent Trump for incite­ment of insurrection.”

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

Jaime Herrera Beutler will be one of the Republicans voting to impeach Donald Trump

In 2019, when the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives first act­ed to impeach Don­ald Trump, only Democ­rats and inde­pen­dents vot­ed to hold the cur­rent occu­pant of the Oval Office account­able for his high crimes and misdemeanors.

This time, impeach­ment will pass with bipar­ti­san sup­port. We still don’t know how many Repub­li­cans will vote to impeach. But we do know that at least one from our region will be among their num­ber, and that is Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, who rep­re­sents the 3rd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, span­ning South­west Washington.

Here’s Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Her­rera Beut­ler’s state­ment on the mat­ter.

The Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States incit­ed a riot aim­ing to halt the peace­ful trans­fer of pow­er from one admin­is­tra­tion to the next. That riot led to five deaths. Peo­ple every­where watched in dis­be­lief as the cen­ter of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy was assault­ed. The vio­lent mob blud­geoned to death a Capi­tol police offi­cer as they defaced sym­bols of our free­dom. These ter­ror­ists roamed the Capi­tol, hunt­ing the Vice Pres­i­dent and the Speak­er of the House.

Hours went by before the Pres­i­dent did any­thing mean­ing­ful to stop the attack. Instead, he and his lawyer were busy mak­ing calls to sen­a­tors who were still in lock­down, seek­ing their sup­port to fur­ther delay the Elec­toral Col­lege cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. House Repub­li­can Leader Kevin McCarthy describes plead­ing with the Pres­i­dent to go on tele­vi­sion and call for an end to the may­hem, to no avail.

The Pres­i­dent attacked Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence on Twit­ter while Pence was in a secure room hav­ing fled from the mob that had breached the Sen­ate floor threat­en­ing to hang him.

Final­ly, the Pres­i­dent released a pathet­ic denounce­ment of the vio­lence that also served as a wink and a nod to those who per­pe­trat­ed it: “I love you,” he said to them, “you are special.”

More hours of destruc­tion and vio­lence ensued before law enforce­ment offi­cials were final­ly able to clear the Capitol.

The Pres­i­den­t’s offens­es, in my read­ing of the Con­sti­tu­tion, were impeach­able based on the indis­putable evi­dence we already have. I under­stand the argu­ment that the best course is not to fur­ther inflame the coun­try or alien­ate Repub­li­can voters.

But I am also a Repub­li­can vot­er. I believe in our Con­sti­tu­tion, indi­vid­ual lib­er­ty, free mar­kets, char­i­ty, life, jus­tice, peace and this excep­tion­al coun­try. I see that my own par­ty will be best served when those among us choose truth. I believe Pres­i­dent Trump act­ed against his oath of office, so I will vote to impeach him.

Thank you, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Her­rera Beut­ler, for uphold­ing your oath this time around. Your loy­al­ty to the Con­sti­tu­tion will sure­ly incur the wrath of a large num­ber of rabid Don­ald Trump fol­low­ers, some of whom we imag­ine may ille­gal­ly threat­en you. We’re sor­ry for what­ev­er anx­i­ety and stress may come your way as a result of tak­ing this vote. But it is the right thing to do. We believe one day you’ll look back and regard this as one of the finest deci­sions you ever made.