Offering daily news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tim Eyman’s wealthy benefactors funding Rodney Tom’s attacks on Justice Wiggins

Newly filed reports with the Public Disclosure Commission show that several of Tim Eyman’s top wealthy benefactors are working with Medina’s Rodney Tom to fund $350,000 worth of attack ads against Supreme Court Justice Charlie Wiggins, who is one of three incumbents seeking reelection to the state’s highest court this year.

Tom’s political action committee, disingenuously named “Judicial Integrity Washington”, previously targeted Chief Justice Barbara Madsen in the Top Two election. Although the PAC spent several hundred thousand dollars in an attempt to defeat her, Madsen still managed to swamp both of her opponents, winning 63.9% of the vote. And she enjoys the support of all the state’s major newspaper publishers, whose recommendations in judicial contests can have some influence.

Having apparently concluded that Wiggins is actually more vulnerable than Madsen, Rodney Tom has decided to change targets for the general election, hoping to knock out at least one of the justices responsible for striking down the League of Education Voters’ I-1240 (charter schools) and Tim Eyman’s numerous unconstitutional schemes to starve public services by requiring a two-thirds vote to pass revenue bills in the Washington State Legislature.

“Judicial Integrity Washington” has so far raised $453,100.00. $350,000 of that is from billionaire Kenneth Fisher of Camas. Kemper Freeman, Jr. of Bellevue has given $50,000, and former wireless mogul John Stanton has given $50,000 as well. Artie Buerk has given $3,000 and Rodney Tom himself gave $100.

Those are the only contributions on record to date.

Rodney Tom is the PAC’s sole officer. The PAC’s C1-PC lists him as both the “campaign manager” and the Treasurer.

The PAC is Tom’s operation, but Tim Eyman is also peripherally involved.

Not coincidentally, Eyman yesterday sent out an email to his followers eviscerating Wiggins and calling for his ouster from the Supreme Court.

“Charles Wiggins is an embarrassment and deserves to be removed from office,” snapped Eyman. “He and Barbara Madsen and Mary Yu are running for reelection and on the November ballot. They all feel entitled to their positions and annoyed that they need to defend their indefensible rulings.”

(Emphasis is Eyman’s.)

As usual, Tim Eyman has no idea what he’s talking about. I have seen each of the aforementioned justices this year out on the campaign trail, and I can attest that Eyman’s characterization of them is false. Justices Yu, Madsen, and Wiggins are some of the most accessible jurists I’ve ever met. They are glad to engage citizens in conversation and talk about issues like access to justice. They are very serious about complying with judicial ethics rules, and follow those to the letter.

Eyman’s vicious and vindictively worded email from yesterday suggests he has been itching to take a swing at Justice Wiggins for some time.

Wiggins, readers may recall, memorably defeated Richard Sanders six years ago, leaving Tim Eyman with just one friend on the Supreme Court: Jim Johnson. Johnson subsequently chose to retire and was succeeded by Mary Yu, one of the few jurists to have struck down an Eyman initiative at the trial court level.

All three justices enjoy strong bar associating ratings.

Justice Mary Yu is rated “Exceptionally Well Qualified” across the board. Justice Barbara Madsen has three “Exceptionally Well Qualified” ratings and one “Well Qualified” rating. Justice Charlie Wiggins, meanwhile, has four “Exceptionally Well Qualified” ratings and two “Well Qualified” ratings.

None of their opponents appear to have any “Exceptionally Well Qualified” ratings.

The last time the right wing in Washington made a major play for positions on the Supreme Court was ten years ago, when the once powerful Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) spent large sums of money in an attempt to knock out incumbent Justices Gerry Alexander and Susan Owens. The BIAW spent over a million dollars in 2006 to elect their handpicked candidates, but voters resoundingly returned Alexander and Owens to the bench for new terms.

Tom’s attack ads against Madsen were ineffective back in the summer, but he’s evidently convinced Eyman’s benefactors to give him another massive pile of cash so that he can try to pick off a different Supreme Court justice.

Rodney Tom was once a state lawmaker who worked on causes like ensuring homeowners victimized by negligent construction had access to justice.

Now, like Tim Eyman, he’s a mouthpiece for right wing billionaires.

Ignore the Seattle Times editorial board and the naysayers — vote YES on Sound Transit 3

To the astonishment of no one, the Seattle Times editorial board this week published an editorial formally recommending a “no” vote on Regional Proposition 1, the bold and much needed plan to expand light rail, commuter rail, and express bus service that’s on the ballot in urban Puget Sound.

Vote to Approve Regional Proposition 1

NPI urges an “Approved” vote on Regional Proposition 1 (Sound Transit 3)

Commonly known as Sound Transit 3 (ST3), Regional Proposition 1 is a once in a generational opportunity for Washington’s urban residents to ensure that transit can keep up with regional growth and expand to meet the mobility needs of communities across King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties, where the vast majority of the state’s population is concentrated.

Proposition 1 would authorize Sound Transit to expand our light rail spine north to Everett, south to Tacoma, east to downtown Redmond, west to West Seattle, northwest to Ballard, and southeast to Issaquah.

Proposition 1 would also significantly expand bus service. New bus rapid transit lines would be created to run on I-405 and SR 522, while existing ST Express service would be significantly enhanced.

Additionally, Sounder commuter rail would expand, getting a new southern terminus in DuPont and running more frequently.

ST3 is the result of years of extensive outreach and planning conducted by Sound Transit, yet the Seattle Times editorial board bizarrely calls it “rushed onto the presidential-year ballot”. It’s no secret that the Blethen-owned Times doesn’t like Sound Transit, but this editorial makes it sound like the scribes the paper employs simply haven’t been paying attention to ST’s work at all.

At NPI, we have, and we can attest that the groundwork for Sound Transit 3 has been laid over the course of many years because we’ve been participants in it.

We stepped up to contribute our ideas when Sound Transit announced it was updating its Long Range Plan. We traveled to Olympia to lobby the Legislature to give Sound Transit the revenue authority it needed to ensure ST3 would not be dependent solely on one volatile revenue source like ST2 was. And when Sound Transit asked the public what the final plan to submitted to voters should look like, we weighed in. So did many other citizens and organizations.

We’re very happy with how ST3 turned out. So are many local leaders across the region. A plethora of city councils have endorsed ST3 because they recognize that a robust transit system leads to greater opportunity and broad prosperity.

When people are free to get to where they want to go without being forced to drive, they can liberate themselves from traffic.

For transit to be appealing to people who have the means to drive, it must be convenient, frequent, clean, and reliable. That means it needs to run in its own right of way. Building new right of way is not cheap, simple, or easy, which accounts for ST3’s significant price tag. But it is definitely worth it. Ask anyone who regularly rides University Link since it opened to the public back in March.

The Blethens and the scribes they employ have become less harsh towards Sound Transit since 2008, when we voted resoundingly to pass ST2. But they’re still undermining the noble cause of transit for all with their call to reject ST3.

In an apparent attempt to sound more reasonable than it did eight years ago, the Times has adopted a mantra, “Press pause!”, which it originally debuted back in June when Sound Transit’s Board was preparing to submit ST3 to voters.

Perhaps the most galling part of this editorial are the passages that refer to Sound Transit 2 and omit the context needed to understand that vote and this one.

The Times opines:

Pressing pause would not doom the region to traffic hell nor would it kill transit.

Sound Transit already has funding to build a bus-and-rail network that will handle most of the region’s transit demand through 2040.

The Sound Transit 2 project now under way extends light rail from Seattle to Lynnwood and almost to Federal Way, and between Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond. This ST2 work will be done by 2023 no matter what — we’re already paying for it. That won’t slow or stop if the region spends another year or two refining plans for its future expansion.

The Times disingenuously fails to mention that none of “this ST2 work” would be happening at all if they’d gotten their way in 2008. They emphatically called for ST2’s rejection that year, after having enthusiastically backed Sound Move (ST1) only twelve years prior. (That prompted this response here on the Cascadia Advocate, which The Stranger’s Dan Savage called “required reading”.)

The Times now seems to be tacitly admitting that Sound Transit 2 is a good thing. So are they going to admit they were wrong in 2008 when they characterized ST2 as “a bad proposal” consisting of “a few stops at hugely expensive stations”?

I rather doubt an apology will be forthcoming, but I still wouldn’t mind seeing one.

If that weren’t bad enough, the Times again omitted vital facts with this next bit:

Remember, voters rejected ST2 in 2007 because the original proposal was too big and unwieldy. That didn’t kill transit. Voters pressed pause, leadership produced a more reasonable plan and ST2 was approved the following year.

That is not a good explanation of what happened in 2007.

Here’s a better one.

In 2007, at the behest of state lawmakers, voters were presented with a plan called Roads & Transit, which was the result of a shotgun marriage arranged by the Legislature between the now-dissolved RTID and Sound Transit.

RTID, short for Regional Transportation Investment District, was an entity created by the Legislature to fund urban highway construction.

The Legislature told RTID and Sound Transit they needed to go to the ballot together with a plan to invest money in roads as well as transit.

After voters rejected the joint plan required by this shotgun marriage, Sound Transit’s pollster conducted research to find out why people voted no. The key finding that came out of that research was that voters did not want to vote on a package that combined road projects with transit projects.

So Sound Transit went back to the ballot alone in 2008 — a presidential year — with a plan comparable to what it had offered the previous year (though a bit scaled back), and voters enthusiastically said yes. As before, the plan called for expanding light rail north, south, and east, and expanding ST Express and Sounder.

RTID, meanwhile, ended up getting killed. It was unceremoniously dissolved, while Sound Transit began moving forward with its Phase 2 implementation.

Since we voted on ST2, Sound Transit has demonstrated it can consistently deliver projects on time or ahead of schedule and under budget. The agency is very well run and has been lauded locally and nationally for its strong track record. Its new CEO, Peter Rogoff, left a federal position to run the agency because he considered it to be a fantastic opportunity. That’s a credit to the great work of CEO Emeritus Joni Earl and her team, who endured years of bad press as they turned ST around.

But all of this great work apparently doesn’t count for much, because the Blethens and their scribes still don’t trust Sound Transit. They say:

Pressing pause would direct regional leaders to produce a more reasonable plan with more accountability, including periodic public votes, rather than allow a perpetual blank check that ST3 offers Sound Transit.

ST3 is not a “perpetual blank check”. Sound Transit is not asking voters to give it money so it can build something to be determined later; it is asking voters to authorize a specific set of projects connecting specific neighborhoods that would be completed by specific dates. The estimates are conservative (accounting for the long timeframes, which the Times also complained about) in keeping with Sound Transit’s philosophy of under-promising and over-delivering. Many of the proposed projects may be completed sooner, especially if federal funding can be secured.

And what is meant by “periodic public votes”? Do the scribes at the Times not realize that elections themselves are a public service, and cost money?

Holding more frequent votes on transit expansion would mean incurring additional costs, because we’d be in the habit of paying to vote on whether to build a set of projects before we actually start paying to build those projects.

And it would mean more confusion and uncertainty. Sound Transit can work with Patty Murray to pursue federal funds and collaborate with cities on project delivery much more effectively if it doesn’t have to go back to the ballot every other November to get another station or segment approved.

It seems to us that in calling for “periodic public votes” on transit expansion (without ever defining “periodic”), the Times is holding Sound Transit to a very different standard than it holds WSDOT, which is responsible for highways, ferries, freight mobility programs, and Amtrak Cascades in partnership with Amtrak and ODOT, the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Last year, the Governor and Legislature agreed on a major transportation package, Connecting Washington, giving WSDOT the go-ahead to design and construct a slew of highway projects all over the state. Unlike ST3, those highway projects have not been subjected to a public vote, nor are they likely to be.

By the way, here’s what the Times editorial board had to say about Connecting Washington in July of 2015, after the package was finalized:

Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a $16.2 billion transportation-investment package that had been hammered out over two years of grueling negotiations with lawmakers. It is a very good, well-balanced deal for Washington state. It includes funding to finish the Highway 520 bridge and other megaprojects, and provides transit grants. It is well worth the 11.9-cent-per-gallon gas-tax increase.

Well worth the gas tax increase and also, apparently, the bonds the state is selling to obtain additional financing for the projects (lest we forget).

So the $16 billion Connecting Washington package was “well worth it” (and, by implication, WSDOT can be trusted to deliver it) but ST3 isn’t worth it — and Sound Transit can’t be trusted with $27 billion in new tax revenue?

That’s some tortured logic. Are the Blethens and their writers aware that research shows the public has a higher regard for Sound Transit than WSDOT?

We do not have “periodic public votes” on WSDOT’s plans and projects, but that doesn’t mean that WSDOT is without oversight. We have a Governor and a Legislature for that, as our state’s founders intended.

Sound Transit is likewise governed by elected officials. With the exception of the Secretary of Transportation, all members of Sound Transit’s board are county executives, city and council councilmembers, and mayors.

The elected officials WSDOT answers to have the power to direct WSDOT to move forward with megaprojects without a public vote. However, the elected officials Sound Transit answers to cannot sign off on system expansion on their own; state law requires that proposals for system expansion go before the voters.

That is why we are voting this month and next month on ST3.

Sound Transit’s leadership did their homework prior to submitting ST3. The plan is ambitious because people have told Sound Transit they want an ambitious plan.

Accountability is a popular buzzword in politics, but when it’s not defined, it really doesn’t mean much. Sound Transit is already a heavily scrutinized agency with a citizen oversight panel that undergoes regular audits, and the Seattle Times goes out of its way to feature the agency’s critics in its news coverage and on its editorial page — sometimes even simultaneously, as you can see from this screenshot:

Screenshot of Seattle Times bashing Sound Transit 3

The Times baselessly suggests that if the region says no to ST3, voters will get an opportunity to vote on a “more reasonable” plan next year or the year after.

That is highly unlikely. If ST3 goes down, we probably won’t see another proposal for Sound Transit system expansion until 2020, which is the next election that will see high turnout. And we can expect that a future proposal will cost much more, while delivering less than what we’d get with this plan. Saying no to ST3 means waiting longer and paying more to connect communities to our rail spine.

We’ve squandered opportunities to invest in high capacity transit before, like when we turned down Forward Thrust in the 1960s.

Eight years ago, a majority of voters in Sound Transit’s jurisdiction made the wise decision to ignore the Seattle Times and the naysayers and pass Sound Transit 2. We must do that again this year, so we can accelerate the buildout of the rail spine that our region needs and complement it with even better bus service.

We can continue to stew in ever-worsening congestion on our highways, or we can vote to liberate more of our communities from traffic by passing ST3.

We hope you’ll join us in making the latter choice.

Vote APPROVED on Regional Proposition 1.

Paul Ryan keeps invoking Bernie Sanders to rile up his base, delighting Bernie’s team

Bernie Sanders and his team are certainly having a banner week.

While the Vermont Senator travels the country campaigning for Hillary Clinton, his team has been working to fully capitalize on Paul Ryan’s recent attempts to rile up his right wing base by invoking Sanders as a bogeyman.

Team Sanders has responded by sending out a series of fundraising appeals to raise money for Democratic candidates running downballot in key congressional races.

Ryan first invoked Sanders last Friday while speaking to a group of University of Wisconsin students, warning of what would happen should Democrats retake the Senate majority by defeating some of Mitch McConnell’s enablers.

“If we lose the Senate, do you know who becomes the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee? A guy named Bernie Sanders. You ever heard of him?” Ryan said, emphasizing his words for dramatic effect.

It wasn’t long before Ryan’s memorable comments became the basis for an email appeal sent out to Bernie’s rather large campaign list:


Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan issued a very dire warning this week. You need to see it:

“If we lose the Senate, do you know who becomes chair of the Senate Budget Committee? A guy named Bernie Sanders. You ever heard of him?”

You heard the man. Let’s take back the Senate.

Four of our best opportunities to take back the Senate are in Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Each race is incredibly close. But if the Democratic nominees win, we will have a far more progressive Senate – and a majority to enact our progressive agenda.

The final FEC fundraising deadline of the campaign is Wednesday at midnight. Split a $4 contribution now between Catherine Cortez Masto, Maggie Hassan, Deborah Ross, and Katie McGinty before tomorrow’s deadline.

How close are these races? The latest poll averages have Deborah Ross down by just two points in North Carolina. In Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto is up by two. Maggie Hassan is down by a little more than two points in New Hampshire. And in the tightest race of all, Katie McGinty is up by less than a half percent in Pennsylvania.

Four Senate seats we need for a majority. Four dedicated leaders who could serve with Bernie Sanders. At most a two percent difference in the polls for every race.

Your contributions can be the difference between victory and defeat in each of these elections. Small-dollar contributions from emails like this can push Catherine Cortez Masto, Deborah Ross, Maggie Hassan, and Katie McGinty over the top on election day.

With tomorrow’s FINAL fundraising deadline for the FEC, the time is now for us to step up and help take back a Senate majority.

Split a $4 contribution between the campaigns of Catherine Cortez Masto, Deborah Ross, Maggie Hassan, and Katie McGinty before tomorrow’s deadline.

You can make the difference in this election to take back a Senate majority. Thank you.

In solidarity,

Jeff Weaver
Team Bernie

This first email generated nearly half a million dollars, prompting several follow-up appeals which have also been very successful… like this one from Wednesday, which was signed by Bernie Sanders himself:


I heard what Paul Ryan said about me: that if the Republicans lose the Senate, I will be the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

That sounds like a very good idea to me. It means that we can establish priorities for working people, and not just the billionaire class.

What would be equally exciting is if the Democrats took back the House, and Congressman Ryan was no longer Speaker. That would mean the clearest possible path to enact our agenda – the most progressive agenda of any party in American history.

In the last day, you have responded tremendously to our call to support four leaders who will help shift the balance of the Senate. More than 20,000 people have contributed more than $900,000 to ten candidates who are inspired by the political revolution.

During our campaign we pushed ourselves to reach goals that many thought impossible. That is why we set a very big, very audacious goal that we didn’t know if we could reach, but that we thought it was very important to try. But you’re about to smash that $1 million goal.

So, we’re going to need a bigger goal.

Let’s raise $2 million before tonight’s final FEC deadline of the campaign for candidates for the House and Senate.

Can you start with a $3 contribution between Paul Clements, Catherine Cortez-Masto, Deborah Ross, Zephyr Teachout, Morgan Carroll, Nanette Barragan, and Rick Nolan?

Consider for a moment the power that exists in the U.S. Senate. Right now, the Republican majority is using their power to block any meaningful action on addressing income inequality or climate change. In addition, without a Democratic majority the Senate is refusing to confirm federal judges and, incredibly, has left open a critical seat on the Supreme Court.

With a Democratic majority, we can change all of that. What Paul Ryan is specifically afraid of is the power of the budget committee. That committee defines the spending priorities of the entire government. The work of that committee says how much revenue the government should have, and where its money should go.

I have some thoughts on how the government should allocate its spending. I’m sure you do, too.

The first step to being able to enact our progressive agenda is taking back the Senate. And if we take back the House… well, the sky is the limit for what we can achieve.

Help us reach for our new, audacious goal of raising $2 million for candidates for the House and Senate by midnight tonight. Add a $3 contribution now split between Paul Clements, Catherine Cortez-Masto, Deborah Ross, Zephyr Teachout, Morgan Carroll, Nanette Barragan, and Rick Nolan.

Thank you for all you do.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

Paul Ryan’s operatives responded by forwarding the email to their own list in an attempt to generate more cash for endangered Republicans:

— Fowarded Message —

From: Paul Ryan
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2016 5:09 PM
Subject: FWD Bernie’s Email (Please Read)

I spoke last week about what would happen if we lose our majority in Congress. It looks like Bernie Sanders was listening, because a staffer showed me the message he sent to his supporters yesterday….

Read it and find out why it is so important to hold the House and Senate this November.

Bottom line: we must stop Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, and the Progressive Democrats from taking over Congress. Please consider making a donation today to stop this dangerous, progressive agenda.

Thank you.

Let’s do this,

Paul Ryan
House Speaker

But two can play at that game, and Bernie’s team has now responded in kind.


It looks like you got Paul Ryan’s attention. And he’s not happy.

The Speaker of the House forwarded the email Bernie sent to you to his entire fundraising list. You can see what he said below.

Paul Ryan really doesn’t like that you donated more than $1.8 million in two days to take back the House and Senate (which is an AMAZING feat, and something for which we are so grateful).

He even put in a big, red button when he forwarded Bernie’s email that says “HELP STOP SANDERS.”

We’ve got their attention. Now let’s show what we really can do.

Split a $3 contribution between Bernie’s thirteen candidates for the House and Senate so we can take back Congress, make Bernie a committee chairman in a Democratic Senate, and enact our progressive agenda.

The incredible contributions you’ve made in the last two days are completely changing the dynamics of these races for Congress. We are so grateful, because your support means campaigns can train more volunteers, talk to more voters, and turn out more people on Election Day.

Paul Ryan knows the tremendous impact you’re having, and he’s scared. Let’s keep it going.

In solidarity,

Team Bernie

Paul Ryan’s intention in invoking Bernie Sanders  may have been to rile up his base, but what he may not have realized is that he was also doing the Democratic Party and its ticket a big favor at the same time.

Democratic Party leaders have been longing to see Sanders deploy his campaign machinery and email list in support of Democrats running downballot. Ryan’s comments provided Team Bernie with the perfect grist for a days-long series of reinforcing email blasts appealing for funds to help Democratic candidates in pivotal U.S. Senate contests — right in the middle of October.

Thanks to Paul Ryan, Bernie Sanders supporters have a better appreciation for what  the future could hold. Effective activism is all about sizing up the possibilities and working to turn those into reality, not aimlessly dwelling on the past.

Bernie Sanders may not have won the Democratic nomination for President, but he could be a very influential leader in a Democratically-controlled United States Senate. He could be a key committee chair, perfectly positioned to shape legislation.

I have been telling other activists this for months, but I’m so glad that the Republican Speaker of the House has now come out and said the same thing.

Ryan’s intent was to use Sanders as a bogeyman, as bait for his base. But in bringing up Sanders, Ryan also legitimized him — affirming his importance in this election.

In the span of less than twenty seconds, Ryan concisely painted a vivid picture of the fiercely beloved progressive Senator’s potential role in the 115th Congress… and his comments have clearly excited the imaginations of Sanders’ legions of supporters, who have now been reminded of what is possible instead of what might have been.

Team Bernie has now exploited Ryan’s comments to the tune of nearly $2 million. That’s a lot of money for downballot Democrats in key races.

“If we lose the Senate, do you know who becomes the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee? A guy named Bernie Sanders. You ever heard of him?”

Yes, Paul Ryan, I’ve heard of Bernie Sanders. I was a proud delegate for him to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. And like millions of other people in this country, I’d love to see him as the chairman of a key committee in the United States Senate come January — whether that’s Appropriations or HELP.

Liveblogging the final presidential debate of 2016 from the great Pacific Northwest

Good evening, and welcome to NPI’s live coverage of the final presidential debate of 2016. NPI staff will be watching and sharing impressions of the debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump as it progresses. The debate, sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, is being broadcast on all major networks as well as Facebook and Twitter.

We recommend C-SPAN if you’re livestreaming the debate as opposed to watching it on a cable or broadcast television network.

The University of Nevada-Las Vegas is hosting the debate, which will be moderated by Fox’s Chris Wallace. The format is as follows:

The debate will be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on major topics to be selected by the moderator and announced at least one week before the debate. The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond.

Candidates will then have an opportunity to respond to each other. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.

Our live coverage begins below.

We will begin…

UPDATE, 6:10 PM (Andrew): Wallace’s first question is about the Supreme Court. Hillary Clinton gave a superb answer, talking about the need to overturn bad decisions like Citizens United.

UPDATE, 6:11 PM (Greg Evans): Donald Trump discusses Justice Ginsburg’s ‘attacks’ on his character at length before addressing the question itself. The people he will appoint see ‘the Constitution the way it is meant to be.’

UPDATE, 6:14 PM (Andrew): Bad framing here from Chris Wallace on gun responsibility. Most Americans want to see gun safety laws, including laws that mandate universal background checks.

UPDATE, 6:14 PM (Andrew): “Let me bring Mr. Trump back in,” Chris Wallace says.

UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Andrew): “I am very proud to have the endorsement of the NRA,” Donald Trump says. “We are going to appoint justices that feel very strongly about the Second Amendment.”

UPDATE, 6:16 PM (Andrew): “Do you want to see the court overturn Roe v. Wade?” Wallace says. “That’ll happen automatically, in my opinion,” Trump says.

UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Greg Evans): Trump says Clinton was very upset about the DC vs Heller decision, and that people ‘who feel very strongly about the second amendment’ would not. Otherizing people who support certain limited restrictions on gun access is typical of dangerous identity politics and part of Trump’s political handbook.

UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Andrew): Clinton notes that many states, controlled by Republicans, are attempting to roll back women’s reproductive rights and defunding Planned Parenthood. “I will defend Planned Parenthood,” Clinton says. “We have come too far to have that turned back now.”

UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Andrew):

UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Andrew): Trump sips water while Clinton fields a follow-up question from Chris Wallace about abortion (framed, of course, using right wing values).

UPDATE, 6:20 PM (Andrew): Clinton slams Trump for his fearmongering. She’s in top form here.

UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Greg Evans): Clinton calls out Trump’s scare tactics and visceral language around ‘partial birth’ abortions: “that is not what happens, and that is scare-rhetoric.”

UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Andrew): We’re now moving on to immigration. While we don’t like Chris Wallace’s framing of questions, he’s helping keep the debate focused on issues instead of attacks on character.

UPDATE, 6:23 PM (Andrew): Sniff. Another defective mic?

UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Greg Evans): Single biggest problem is ‘heroin pouring over our borders…we cannot give amnesty…now we’re gonna build a wall…we’ve got some bad bad people in this country…bad hombres’ -Donald Trump

UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Andrew): Clinton doing a great job here explaining what Trump’s deportation schemes would actually look like.

UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Andrew): “We are a nation of immigrants and we are a nation of laws — and we can act accordingly,” Clinton says.

UPDATE, 6:27 PM (Andrew): Chris Wallace interrupts Trump in order to allow Clinton to respond. One of the few times we’ve seen a moderator effectively cut Trump off.

UPDATE, 6:29 PM (Andrew): Big league, believe me! Drink…

UPDATE, 6:31 PM (Andrew): Clinton: “Will Donald Trump admit and condemn that the Russians are doing this [trying to influence the 2016 presidential election]?”

UPDATE, 6:31 PM (Andrew): Chris Wallace admonishes the audience to keep quiet.

UPDATE, 6:31 PM (Andrew): Trump slams Clinton for pivoting, then does a pivot of his own.

UPDATE, 6:32 PM (Andrew): Puppetry of the Presidential Campaign…

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Greg Evans): Clinton ignores question in order to pin Russian involvement in hacks on Trump. Trump notices it and calls it a ‘nice pivot,’ but he then proceeds to ramble on and return to his weak spot of Russian links to his campaign.

UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Andrew): “I’ve never met Putin,” Trump says, for like the umpteenth time. He’s really flailing here.

UPDATE, 6:36 PM (Andrew): Clinton explains how launching a nuclear strike works, reminding the audience that Donald Trump can’t be trusted with the nuclear codes.

UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Andrew): Moving on to the economy… and more right wing/anti-government framing from Chris Wallace.

UPDATE, 6:43 PM (Andrew): C-SPAN’s debate feed seems to be having some problems. If that’s affecting you, switch to PBS’ NewsHour feed on YouTube.

UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Andrew): Chris Wallace has shown his colors. He never should have been asked to moderate this debate.

UPDATE, 6:47 PM (Andrew): Trump has no idea how to bolster American manufacturing or protect jobs.

UPDATE, 6:49 PM (Andrew): Clinton unequivocally says she’s against the TPP — now, after the election, and as President.

UPDATE, 6:52 PM (Andrew): Clinton compares her thirty years of experience to Trump’s, drawing stark contrasts.

UPDATE, 6:52 PM (Andrew): “She gave us ISIS,” Trump says, lying through his teeth.

UPDATE, 6:54 PM (Andrew): Trump falsely accuses of Clinton and Obama of inciting violence at his rallies.

UPDATE, 6:54 PM (Andrew): Trump claims every woman who has accused him of groping or kissing is lying.

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Andrew): “Donald thinks belitting women makes him bigger,” Clinton says.

UPDATE, 6:57 PM (Andrew): Trump tries to pivot away from his lies about encounters with women by bringing up the damn emails.

UPDATE, 7:02 PM (Andrew): Sounds like Clinton anticipated a Clinton Foundation question from Wallace.

UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Andrew): Clinton retakes control of the debate by bringing up Trump’s taxes again.

UPDATE, 7:06 PM (Andrew): Wallace seems to be trying to get Trump to stop, but Trump will not stop.

UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Andrew): Trump refuses to pledge to accept the result of the election, potentially setting the stage for an Election Night where he doesn’t concede.

UPDATE, 7:08 PM (Andrew): You’re not excused, Donald.

UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Andrew): “This is how Donald thinks,” Hillary Clinton says, after citing multiple examples of times Donald Trump said things were rigged against him.

UPDATE, 7:13 PM (Andrew): Clinton expresses hope that the offensive to retake Mosul will be successful, pledging not to put U.S. troops back into Iraq (not counting special forces and advisors).

UPDATE, 7:17 PM (Andrew): “‘Google Donald Trump Iraq’,” Hillary Clinton tells the nation.

UPDATE, 7:18 PM (Andrew): Clinton reminds Trump that she was in the Situation Room participating in the decisionmaking for Operation Neptune Spear while he was doing Celebrity Apprentice.

UPDATE, 7:20 PM (Andrew): Clinton reminds Trump that Bernie Sanders is supporting her and campaigning against him as the most dangerous person to be nominated by a major party for President in modern U.S. history. Trump apparently couldn’t think of a response.

UPDATE, 7:26 PM (Andrew): This segment of the debate was brought to you by Peter G. Peterson.

UPDATE, 7:27 PM (Andrew): Our infrastructure deficit is what we should be talking about. We’ve had a national debt for nearly all of our history; we won two world wars on borrowed money.

UPDATE, 7:29 PM (Andrew): “We are going to ask the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share,” Clinton says, making the case for progressive revenue reform at the federal level.

UPDATE, 7:30 PM (Andrew): Terrible final question. Right wing framing galore.

UPDATE, 7:32 PM (Andrew): Fox’s Wallace is just making stuff up.

UPDATE, 7:33 PM (Andrew): “I want to enhance benefits for low income workers,” Clinton says. #ExpandSocialSecurity

UPDATE, 7:35 PM (Andrew): Strong closing statement by Hillary Clinton.

UPDATE, 7:36 PM (Andrew): Doubling down on his campaign themes, Trump is countering Clinton’s optimism with loads of cynicism.

UPDATE, 7:37 PM (Andrew): And we’re done, finally.

UPDATE, 7:37 PM (Andrew): Chris Wallace closes with a pitch to Americans to vote.

Washington’s incumbent Secretary of State could be doing more to lead on cybersecurity

Responding to Donald Trump’s absurd recent allegations about election rigging, incumbent Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman today published a sternly-worded statement rebuking her party’s nominee (though not by name) and expressing full confidence in Washington State’s own elections systems.

Said Wyman:

In recent days, we have heard heated campaign rhetoric about American elections being “rigged” and somehow predetermined. This kind of baseless accusation is irresponsible and threatens to undermine voter confidence on this most basic foundation of democracy.

As a twenty-four year election administrator at the state and local level, with close relationships with the national elections community, federal security experts and independent academics, I have full and complete confidence in our system. Every eligible ballot will be handled securely and will be tabulated carefully and accurately.

As ballots go out this week, I am pleased to note that our paper-based system creates an audit trail. Our state registration system remains cybersecure and our tabulation systems in the counties are air-gapped and not connected to the Internet.

We have multiple layers of security, both physical and electronic.

Voter fraud in the United States is considered extraordinary unlikely by experts. The voting system is highly decentralized, with each state, red, blue and purple, running their own elections with a total of over 9,000 election professionals who are directly accountable to elected or appointed officials. The culture is that professionals leave their personal politics at the door and treat every ballot with integrity.

This is quite true of our 39 tireless county auditors and election directors. Our counties operate with full transparency and welcome observers, some even using live webcams to show ballot processing.

It makes no sense that election managers would somehow indulge in a conspiracy across party lines and state lines.

As with concerns about cybersecurity, Washington remains vigilant to any possible voter fraud. Voters should have trust in our elections system. My hope is that every registered voter will confidently cast their ballot. We will ensure their ballot is tabulated just as they cast it. There will be no rigging on our watch.

The paper trail our vote-by-mail system produces is indeed a great thing, and we’re glad to see Secretary Wyman denouncing Donald Trump’s recent comments.

But we have not forgotten that she recently called for legislation that would allow her office to conduct “citizenship checks”. As she says in the release above, voter fraud in the United States is considered extraordinarily unlikely by experts. We agree, and that’s why we don’t need “citizenship checks” of our voter rolls.

Republicans in other states (like North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) have used nonexistent “voter fraud” as an excuse to ram through voter suppression schemes that target Democratic voters. Some Republicans have even admitted that the point of these laws are to disenfranchise voters.

Like Pennsylvania Republican Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), who boasted in 2012, “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania — done.” (Pennsylvania ultimately supported Barack Obama, but the law did cost the Democratic nominee some support, as Republicans intended.)

Washington State doesn’t need citizenship checks, but it does need a strong commitment from its next Secretary of State to bolster cybersecurity.

Kim Wyman’s Democratic challenger Tina Podlodowski has made this a campaign issue. Last month, Wyman’s office put out a press release announcing that a “design flaw” in the state’s MyVote voter lookup tool had been corrected. The release neglected to thank Podlodowski’s campaign for flagging the issue. The “design flaw” exposed voter data that isn’t supposed to be available to the public.

That particular issue has been corrected, but there are other steps that Washington’s Secretary of State should take to improve cybersecurity.

Here are several recommendations from NPI.

Force HTTPS on all websites

As a security-conscious organization, NPI is a proponent of secure protocols that encrypt data as it travels across the Internet.

One of the most important protocols available to us is HTTPS, which utilizes Transport Layer Security, or TLS, for its modern implementation. (TLS replaces the now deprecated Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL.)

Over the past two years, we’ve worked to enable HTTPS on all of the websites we maintain, and route insecure HTTP requests to HTTPS instead.

Try to connect to over HTTP, and you’ll find you can’t — you’ll be upgraded to HTTPS automatically by default.

The Secretary of State should follow suit, as should all public agencies at all levels of government — local, state, and federal. At present, HTTPS is not required on all websites operated by the Secretary of State. Recently, the main website ( went HTTPS only, which we’re glad to see, but this is not yet the case for many other domains/subdomains the Secretary of State controls.

Here are some examples of pages/URLs where HTTPS is not yet being forced:

For HTTPS to be properly forced, all images, scripts, and embedded media must be served over HTTPS, otherwise mixed-content warnings will be generated.

A quick crawl of by NPI found a number of pages that still have insecure content, such as this one, this one, and this one.

Qualsys Labs grades as having an “A” on its highly useful secure hosting server test, which is reassuring.

( also scores an “A” along with other NPI websites.)

Reset passwords by having the user follow a link and answer questions

The Secretary of State’s website allows Washingtonians to create online accounts in order to do business with the office electronically. For example, a citizen may create an account to file initiatives online. If you lose your password, it’s possible to reset it without having to call up the Secretary of State’s office.

Unfortunately, the password reset tool currently sends new passwords across the Internet, unencrypted, in the body of an email. That’s bad.

Here’s an example password reset message that the system currently generates:

Your password has been reset at. You may login with your email address and password below at

Notice the URL above begins with the http:// prefix, not https://. Because is now HTTPS by default, the user is thankfully redirected and cannot login over an insecure connection. This used to be an issue but has been corrected.


Note that this is a fake email address substituted for a real one.

New Password: r3o!OhvUjqr

Note this is an fake password generated by NPI, replacing the one that came in the actual email generated today from the Secretary of State’s system.

Office of the Secretary of State, Elections Division
520 Union Ave SE, Olympia 98501
PO Box 40229, Olympia 98504

Making matters worse, users aren’t prompted to change passwords once they login, nor is it obvious how to update one’s account information once logged in using the insecurely sent password. We recommend the Secretary of State do the following:

  • Make it simple and easy for users to update their passwords once logged in. For example, on the initiatives portal, there should be a prominent links to Manage My Account / Update My Password on the My Filings screen, and every other screen a user sees while logged in to the system.
  • Send users a link to change their password and put that in the body of the email instead of sending the new password in the body of the email. The link should expire after twenty-four hours or less. The new password should be chosen by the user and should meet minimum complexity requirements. Punctuation should be allowed and encouraged in all passwords.
  • Require users to set up answers to a set of security questions and provide the correct answers to at least two of those questions before allowing the account password to be reset. Questions like “What is your mother’s maiden name?” should be avoided. Questions like “What is your favorite vacation spot?” are more appropriate. Users should also be able to create their own questions. Users who cannot answer the security questions should be prompted to call the Secretary of State to unlock their account.

Harden web applications

Like NPI, the Secretary of State’s office uses software such as WordPress to manage content. By doing some quick inspecting of the website’s source code and probing for README files, I was able to learn a lot about the software the site is running, including plugins, and what versions of that software are currently in use. This could be valuable information to someone trying to break in.

For security reasons, I’m not going to elaborate any further in this post regarding what I found, as I believe in practicing responsible disclosure.

NPI recommends the Secretary of State take steps to harden its web applications to guard against unwanted intruders. Steps that should be taken include tightening permissions, enabling defenses that can thwart and deflect brute force attacks, and preventing plugins from embedding HTML comments in web page source code.

Implement Content Security Policy and XSS protection

For bonus points, the Secretary of State’s office ought to begin working on implementing Content Security Policy across all of its websites.

This is something we’re starting to work on at NPI, to take our sites’ security to the next level. It’s done by setting server headers.

As Mozilla’s wiki explains:

Content Security Policy (CSP) is an HTTP header that allows site operators fine-grained control over where resources on their site can be loaded from. The use of this header is the best method to prevent cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities. Due to the difficulty in retrofitting CSP into existing websites, CSP is mandatory for all new websites and is strongly recommended for all existing high-risk sites.

The primary benefit of CSP comes from disabling the use of unsafe inline JavaScript. Inline JavaScript — either reflected or stored — means that improperly escaped user-inputs can generate code that is interpreted by the web browser as JavaScript.

By using CSP to disable inline JavaScript, you can effectively eliminate almost all XSS attacks against your site.

Replacing inline JavaScript is certainly not simple or easy to do — it takes work. But implementing CSP leads to securer websites. We intend to do it, and we urge the Secretary of State to commit to doing it as well.

X-XSS-Protection can and should be implemented in the meantime to protect users who use Internet Explorer or Chrome/Chromium.

The recommendations outlined above, incidentally, are recommendations that we would urge every public agency everywhere to adopt.

But because the Secretary of State’s office is responsible for so much vital recordkeeping, coordinating with Washington’s thirty-nine county governments, it should be a cybersecurity leader, setting a good example for all to follow.

Tim Eyman: “All the initiatives are awful this year – vote no over and over and over again”

Big media may think of Donald Trump as the star of the 2016 election cycle, but here in Washington State, the real stars of this election are not people, but ideas. Washington’s ballot this year features a plethora of worthy progressive policy proposals, from raising the minimum wage to passing extreme risk protection orders to putting Washington on record as calling for a federal constitutional amendment stipulating that corporations are not people and money is not speech.

The right wing, meanwhile, failed to qualify anything at all, for the first time in decades. That’s left notorious political scam artist Tim Eyman pretty disgruntled.

In an email this morning to his followers, Eyman bemoaned the progressive movement’s dominance of the ballot, instructing his followers to simply vote no on every statewide initiative plus Sound Transit 3 (which only appears on the ballot in urban King, Snohomish, and Pierce County precincts).

The Donald Trump admirer opened his email with this plea: “Don’t let the crazies take over the insane asylum. All the initiatives are awful this year – vote NO over and over and over again when you get your ballot.”

By crazies, Eyman means us — all the progressive organizations and people who are working hard to raise our state and region’s qualify of life. And presumably, insane asylum is Eyman’s inappropriate, ridiculous metaphor for Washington State.

(You know, Tim, if you don’t like living in a state with a progressive majority, you don’t have to stay here. America’s a free country. There are states and communities elsewhere in the country you can move to where right wing politics predominate.)

The initiative happens to be a progressive invention. Well-meaning activists brought it to Washington State over a hundred years ago with the intention of giving the people the power to enact laws needed to protect and improve everyone’s well-being. They promoted it as a tool for the common good. They likely never imagined it being hijacked to serve a militant, extremist agenda.

But, sadly, that’s what happened in the late 1990s when Tim Eyman came along. Eyman realized the initiative could be wielded as a weapon, and he made qualifying schemes to defund public services and wreck government his business.

In his early years, Eyman pretended to be an unpaid volunteer, but was eventually forced to admit he was diverting money from his initiative factory to line his own pockets. Eyman subsequently dropped his initiative factory’s Permanent Offense moniker, but did not abandon the concept that had prompted its name, and was able to keep going even after having been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

The stem of progressive is progress. Progress in a democratic society is only possible when people are given the opportunity for vote for a better future… in other words, when the qualified electors of the society have the ability to elect representatives who will make their communities freer, safer, and more prosperous, or approve laws themselves that would do the same.

When elections are a choice between the status quo or going backwards, there is no opportunity for progress. It’s vital that progressives oppose destructive schemes like Eyman’s initiatives, but is even more vital that progressives offer Washingtonians the opportunity to vote on ideas that will make our state better.

And that’s exactly what is happening in 2016. To Eyman’s chagrin, progressives this year are once again using the initiative in accordance with its original intended purpose — allowing citizens to vote on worthy ideas that died or could not get traction in the Legislature. Meanwhile, he’s got nothing. More significantly, neither do any of his confederates. Progressives own Washington’s 2016 ballot.

That’s a big deal. It is very, very satisfying to see Eyman in the position of having to call for a NO vote on every initiative that’s in front of Washington voters this year.

We at NPI enthusiastically support most of the ideas on the ballot in 2016. We urge a YES vote on I-1433, I-1491, I-1501, I-735, SJR 8210, and Sound Transit 3/Regional Proposition 1. Though we are unable to support I-732 or I-1464 due to defects in each, we would definitely like to see successor initiatives or bills that would tackle the same problems those measures seek to address.

Polling indicates that all of the initiatives we support are likely to pass, because voters like them. That’s very good news. But we need to be ready as a movement to build on these potential successes by qualifying even more progressive ideas to the ballot in 2017 and 2018. Our research shows that voters are hungry for progressive revenue reform and corporate tax accountability. If the Legislature will not act on these priorities, then the people must be given a chance to.

That is, after all, one of the uses for which the initiative was actually intended. In the words of the Direct Legislation League, the leading proponents of bringing the initiative, referendum, and recall to our corner of the country:

We shall need the Initiative in the future to secure the passage of just tax laws. Past experience indicates that tax dodging interests will powerfully oppose such laws.

— 1900s era DLL pamphlet, archived by the Washington State Library

As we finish out this election cycle, we must commit ourselves to staying on offense and bringing an end to the Eyman error. A better future is within reach if we can continue to give the people the power to vote on the progressive ideas we need.

Today is the last day to register to vote online (or by mail) in Washington for 2016 election

Readers, a reminder that today is the deadline to register to vote in Washington for the 2016 general election. We ought to have same-day voter registration — allowing people to register up until and on Election Day — but we don’t. It will be possible to register in-person for a couple more weeks, but that takes much more work. So please, check with your friends and family and ask:

Are you registered to vote?

Voters who join the rolls online by the deadline tonight will get a ballot along with everyone else in about ten days. The United States Postal Service isn’t open for business today (it’s a federal holiday), but the state and county auditors will honor registration forms postmarked by tomorrow, October 11th.

Facebook and Google have both been notifying users about the deadline, which is helping to cause a flurry of activity at the state’s voter registration portal., our main voter information and registration tool, was jammed with online business on Sunday, spiking after the presidential debate last evening. The new record is 23,167, far exceeding the previous one-day record of 13,109 that we set recently with a big assist from Facebook and Google,” said David Ammons, spokesman for incumbent Secretary of State Kim Wyman.

It’s nice that Facebook and Google are encouraging people to register, but the Secretary of State’s office should be doing more than just relying on those firms to get the word out about the deadline. We’d like to see elections officials being more proactive about getting people registered. That’s something Wyman’s Democratic challenger Tina Podlodowski has made a central theme of her campaign.

Podlodowski says she considers the job of Secretary of State to be chief voting officer as opposed to chief elections administrator. She argues that elections officials should be concerned with more than just counting votes — they need to be working constantly on eliminating barriers to voting.

That includes making it easier for historically underrepresented and underserved communities to register and return ballots.

Many communities are celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day today, and accordingly, Podlodowski is urging members of Washington’s native tribes to register if they have not already done so, as their voices need to be heard in this important election.

Wyman, meanwhile, is celebrating all the referrals that the state is getting.

“We are delighted with the new record number of registered voters being set every single day,” she said. “Sunday’s surge was nothing short of amazing, and it looks certain that we’ll have a robust turnout. That level of voter engagement is so good for self-government. We need to hear all voices.”

Getting voters registered is not enough. We also have to encourage people to actually vote. Robust turnout doesn’t happen by accident and is not a certainty — it happens as a result of lots of hard work. Outreach is crucial to high turnout.

Liveblogging the second presidential debate of 2016 from the great Pacific Northwest

Good evening, and welcome to NPI’s live coverage of the second presidential debate of 2016. NPI staff and board will be watching and sharing impressions of the debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump as it progresses. The debate, sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, is being broadcast on all major networks as well as Facebook and Twitter.

We recommend C-SPAN if you’re livestreaming the debate as opposed to watching it on a cable or broadcast television network.

Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri is hosting the debate, which will be moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz.

The format is as follows:

The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which half of the questions will be posed directly by citizen participants and the other half will be posed by the moderator based on topics of broad public interest as reflected in social media and other sources. The candidates will have two minutes to respond and there will be an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate further discussion. The town meeting participants will be uncommitted voters selected by the Gallup Organization.

Our live coverage begins below.

UPDATE, 5:42 PM (Andrew): We are about twenty minutes away from the scheduled beginning of the debate.

UPDATE, 5:44 PM (Andrew): The town hall audience is getting their instructions from debate organizers.

UPDATE, 5:59 PM (Andrew): President Clinton, Melania Trump, and other family members have entered the auditorium where the debate is to take place and taken their seats.

UPDATE, 6:00 PM (Andrew): Moderators Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz are also in place.

UPDATE, 6:04 PM (Andrew): The moderators are ready. The debate is about to begin.

UPDATE, 6:05 PM (Andrew): The candidates have arrived. No handshake…

UPDATE, 6:06 PM (Andrew): First question goes to Clinton. It’s about whether the previous debate featured appropriate content for young audiences.

UPDATE, 6:08 PM (Andrew): Trump begins his two minutes by declaring “I agree with everything she said”.

UPDATE, 6:08 PM (Andrew): Trump: “I guess I am a politician”.

UPDATE, 6:09 PM (Andrew): Trump not answering the question at all. He’s just using the time to make an opening statement. And making an obvious attempt to keep his voice down.

UPDATE, 6:10 PM (Andrew): Anderson Cooper wastes no time in asking about the tapes.

UPDATE, 6:10 PM (Andrew): Trump again insists it was “locker room talk”. NO, IT WASN’T.

UPDATE, 6:11 PM (Andrew): Trump vacillates between attempting to excuse his conduct and claiming he’ll take out ISIS.

UPDATE, 6:12 PM (Andrew): Trump: “No one has more respect for women than I do.” Laugher…

UPDATE, 6:14 PM (Andrew): Clinton’s turn to speak. “I think it’s clear to anyone” that the video “represents exactly who he is”.

UPDATE, 6:14 PM (Andrew): Trump pulling a Pence and shaking his head as Clinton talks. But not interrupting. Not yet.

UPDATE, 6:16 PM (Andrew): Trump: “It’s just words, folks”.

UPDATE, 6:16 PM (Andrew): So is the mic defective again… ?

UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Andrew): Sniff. Sniff. Sniff…

UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Andrew): Words matter, and Trump’s words hurt.

UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Andrew): Trump unloads on Bill Clinton while Hillary Clinton watches with a steely gaze.

UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Andrew): Sniff.

UPDATE, 6:20 PM (Andrew): Clinton quotes Michelle Obama and the audience cheers. Rules are made to be broken, apparently.

UPDATE, 6:22 PM (Andrew): Trump is determined to be as vicious as possible.

UPDATE, 6:22 PM (Andrew): Clinton smiles as Trump drives into conspiracy theory territory.

UPDATE, 6:23 PM (Andrew): Trump just directly threatened Hillary Clinton in front of like a hundred million people. If he wins, he’s coming after her.

UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Andrew): This debate has become a dumpster fire.

UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Andrew): Trump just demonstrated why we call him a neofascist.

UPDATE, 6:28 PM (Andrew): The audience tonight is more than just the people Gallup chose to be part of the town hall, which partly accounts for the cheering, booing, etc.

UPDATE, 6:29 PM (Andrew): Trump is clearly very agitated.

UPDATE, 6:30 PM (Andrew): Never seen anything like this before, ever.

UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Andrew): Clinton doing her very best to show her command of public policy as Anderson Cooper asks a follow-up question about the Patient Protection Act.

UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Andrew): Why is Donald Trump following Hillary Clinton around?

UPDATE, 6:36 PM (Andrew): “You’re going to have plans that are so good,” Trump boasts. Empty talk, empty talk, empty talk, empty talk.

UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Andrew): Trump is one of the biggest stokers of Islamophobia there is.

UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Andrew): Long sniff there. Is Trump going to say tomorrow that he was given a defective microphone again?

UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Andrew): Donald has nothing but sound bites and vicious attacks to offer tonight — punctuated by sniffs.

UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Andrew): Martha Raddatz demands Trump answer the question.

UPDATE, 6:46 PM (Andrew): Trump lies and lies and lies.

UPDATE, 6:47 PM (Andrew): “I’m going to force them right back into their country,” Trump declares.

UPDATE, 6:47 PM (Andrew): Trump keeps bringing up Bernie Sanders. Seems irritated that Sanders is doing so much campaigning for Clinton.

UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Andrew): What a terrible question.

UPDATE, 6:50 PM (Andrew): Clinton uses Raddatz’s awful question as an opportunity to talk about Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

UPDATE, 6:52 PM (Andrew): Trump going off on a tangent again.

UPDATE, 6:52 PM (Andrew): Trump asserts he pays “hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.” Show us!

UPDATE, 6:53 PM (Andrew): Next, a question from the audience about fair taxes.

UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Andrew): How can Clinton be “raising everyone’s taxes massively” when she’s not in office?

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Andrew): Wonder if Trump is struggling to control himself. When it’s not his turn to talk, he seems very restless instead of sitting and listening.

UPDATE, 6:57 PM (Andrew): Clinton doing well here, talking about investing in hardworking families by requiring the wealthy to pay their fair share.

UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Andrew): Clinton knocked Trump by saying he lives in an alternative reality.

UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Andrew): Anderson Cooper again reminds Trump: She didn’t interrupt you.

UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Andrew): Clinton has shown incredible restraint and resolve so far in this debate. Very cool under fire.

UPDATE, 7:02 PM (Andrew): Clinton defending her record as a United States Senator — and explaining a little about how our system of government actually works.

UPDATE, 7:03 PM (Andrew): Martha Raddatz puts her foot down this time: We’re moving on. Thank goodness.

UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Andrew): Clinton’s communications shop is working hard to keep a steady stream of fact checking emails coming as the debate progresses.

UPDATE, 7:06 PM (Andrew): Clinton interrupts for the first time to correct Trump — and again, he’s irritated.

UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Andrew): Trump is speaking to his base tonight. He’s not dropping out of this race. He wants all of his people to turn out. Take note, progressives.

UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Andrew): Trump is having his own Aleppo moment. This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Andrew): Trump no longer making much of an effort to keep his voice down.

UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Andrew): “How stupid is our country?” Trump says. Martha Raddatz interjects.

UPDATE, 7:11 PM (Andrew): “Tell me what your strategy is,” Raddatz asks. Trump ignores her.

UPDATE, 7:12 PM (Andrew): Not much time left, and no questions asked about affordable college, reversing the damage to the climate, women’s health, LGBT rights, or many other topics.

UPDATE, 7:14 PM (Andrew): Moderators keep having to defend themselves because Trump keeps accusing them of unfairness.

UPDATE, 7:14 PM (Andrew): That wasn’t much of a question.

UPDATE, 7:16 PM (Andrew): Trump tries to weave some variation of “Hillary Clinton lied” into each and every answer he gives.

UPDATE, 7:16 PM (Andrew): The guy who is all talk has some nerve complaining Hillary Clinton is all talk.

UPDATE, 7:17 PM (Andrew): Clinton is shining here. Talking about her history of fighting for children and families.

UPDATE, 7:18 PM (Andrew): “Children listen to what is being said,” Clinton notes, decrying the fear caused by the “Trump effect”.

UPDATE, 7:20 PM (Andrew): Clinton points out that Trump never apologizes, never owns his failures (while she has admitted that she’s made mistakes).

UPDATE, 7:20 PM (Andrew): Donald Trump, you have no idea what’s in Hillary Clinton’s heart.

UPDATE, 7:22 PM (Andrew): Trump brings up Benghazi. How predictable.

UPDATE, 7:22 PM (Andrew): Trump on Twitter: “It’s a very effective form of communication.”

UPDATE, 7:24 PM (Andrew): A question about the Supreme Court, and a good question.

UPDATE, 7:25 PM (Andrew): Good — Clinton says she wants to see Citizens United reversed.

UPDATE, 7:26 PM (Andrew): “I want a Supreme Court that doesn’t always side with corporate interests,” Clinton says.

UPDATE, 7:26 PM (Andrew):

UPDATE, 7:27 PM (Andrew): Clinton hammers the Republican Senate for refusing to give Merrick Garland a vote.

UPDATE, 7:27 PM (Rennie): I was late tuning into the debate, but the first thing I noticed is that Trump must have studied a bit this time – quoting poverty and unemployment figures.

UPDATE, 7:27 PM (Andrew): Great answer by Hillary Clinton on the Supreme Court.

UPDATE, 7:28 PM (Andrew): Trump wants to know why Clinton isn’t “putting money into your own campaign”.

UPDATE, 7:30 PM (Andrew): Another falsehood from Donald Trump. The fossil fuels industry’s problems are principally of its own making.

UPDATE, 7:30 PM (Andrew): There is NO SUCH THING as “clean coal”. Just like there’s no such thing as a Donald Trump apology.

UPDATE, 7:31 PM (Rennie): Trump claims EPA is attacking our energy companies and claims that wind and solar aren’t enough. Then starts pushing the “clean coal” myth.

UPDATE, 7:31 PM (Rennie): Trump wants the EPA to not do their job when it comes to regulating energy.

UPDATE, 7:32 PM (Rennie): Clinton speaks about China dumping steel into our economy and Trump buying for his buildings.

UPDATE, 7:33 PM (Andrew): Clinton stresses that her energy policy would focus on reversing the damage to the climate.

UPDATE, 7:33 PM (Rennie): Clinton is pushing natural gas as a “stop gap” measure on the way to getting more clean energy.

UPDATE, 7:34 PM (Andrew): Clinton deftly handled that question.

UPDATE, 7:35 PM (Rennie): Clinton claims to have a plan to revitalize “coal country” – help people who work in the coal industry as coal prices drop.

UPDATE, 7:36 PM (Rennie): When asked on what each candidate respects in the other candidate, Clinton says she respects Trump’s children.

UPDATE, 7:36 PM (Andrew): Trump says he respects that Clinton doesn’t give up. Well, he doesn’t have a choice but to respect that.

UPDATE, 7:36 PM (Rennie): Trump respects that Hillary does not quit and does not give up.

UPDATE, 7:37 PM (Rennie): The debate is ending.

UPDATE, 7:37 PM (Andrew): That concludes the dumpster fire…. er, debate.

UPDATE, 7:37 PM (Andrew): Clinton and Trump shook hands at the end.

Republicans deserve to be stuck with Donald Trump, the monster they created

GOP consumed by crisis as more Republicans call on Trump to quit.

Pressure Mounts on Trump to Step Aside.

Trump Says He Won’t Quit as Republican Officials Abandon Him.

These are just some of the headlines we’re seeing in big media today following The Washington Post’s publication of an extremely lewd, behind the scenes conversation recorded ten years ago between Donald Trump and Billy Bush prior to a taping of a soap opera cameo. Multiple high profile Republican elected officials who had grudgingly or conditionally endorsed him withdrew their support Saturday after Trump failed to demonstrate any genuine remorse for his comments.

Meanwhile, top members of the Bush administration called on Trump to quit the race, which he proceeded to angrily and loudly refuse to do.

“There are no excuses for Donald Trump’s offensive and demeaning comments in the just released video; no woman should ever be victimized by this kind of inappropriate behavior. He alone bears the burden of his conduct and alone should suffer the consequences,” said Senator John McCain, the party’s presidential nominee, in a statement renouncing his endorsement of Trump.

Sorry, Senator McCain, but you cannot deny your culpability here. This is a mess of your party’s making. The seeds for Donald Trump’s nomination were sown long ago. Trump is merely the raw, reptilian manifestation of the nasty and destructive politics that have come to define the modern Republican Party.

The Republican Party began as an antislavery party in the 1800s; many of its leaders were the stalwart progressives of their day who yearned and fought for greater freedom and equality for all Americans. Alas, those days are ancient history.

Today, the Republican Party represents the worst of America. It has been taken over by a prejudiced, xenophobic right wing movement that cannot even be called conservative because its members are not for conserving anything at all.

Many Republicans say Donald Trump doesn’t speak for them. But he is their nominee. And not by accident, either. Trump is not a fluke. Trump is, again, the manifestation of what Republican politics have morphed into.

Trump openly espouses views held by the party’s base. To them, Trump’s raunchy, derogatory commentary is unfiltered and refreshing.

The modern base of the Republican Party consists of people who want to ban an entire religion from this country — something the Constitution of the United States explicitly prohibits — deport millions of families who came here seeking better lives, deny women control over their own bodies, and exacerbate America’s gun violence epidemic by allowing and encouraging firearms to be carried everywhere.

Given their extreme views and their militancy, why would the Republican base find Trump’s horrific comments about women from 2005 problematic?

Many Republican voters are fiercely loyal to Trump, as we saw in Wisconsin just this weekend, where Paul Ryan faced a crowd angry that he had disinvited Trump from making a joint campaign appearance with him.

They’re not unhappy or disgusted that Trump gloated about groping women eleven years ago — they’re unhappy that Paul Ryan is not openly embracing Trump in the wake of the publication of those comments, as they are.

At statehood, Washington was a Republican state, and the Republican Party was home to a strong progressive wing for much of the twentieth century. But those days are long gone now. The governorship of Dan Evans is a distant memory. Today’s Washington State Republican Party is the party of Donald Trump and Tim Eyman, not Dan Evans (or even Slade Gorton).

Washington State Republican Party Chair Susan Hutchison’s response to Trump’s lewd comments was — and I’m not kidding — to claim that Trump “was a Democrat” when he made his remarks. Even if that were true, it would not excuse what Trump said, nor would it justify Hutchison’s indefensible decision to continue supporting a man who deserves no one’s money, no one’s time, and no one’s vote.

It’s hard to believe Hutchison was once a newscaster or a candidate for King County Executive. She’s now a minion for the least qualified person ever to be nominated by a major party for the office of President of the United States. How embarrassing.

The Republican Party is so hostile to progressivism and pragmatism now that it would be surely be unrecognizable to a time traveler from even the 1970s.

The Republican Party’s extreme rightward shift has created huge problems in American politics. When each party had a progressive wing and a conservative wing (in some regions of the country, not all) they were more balanced. Progressives and partial progressives could work with each other across party lines to achieve things. That is increasingly difficult and uncommon everywhere, but especially in Congress.

Now that the Republican Party has been take over by the extreme right, the Democratic Party is the only option now for anyone who wants to belong to anything remotely resembling a “big tent” political party. That’s not a good thing.

We really need at least two parties committed to governing pragmatically. And we don’t enjoy that now given what’s happened to the Republican Party.

The two-party system seems likely to endure — it’s already survived a Civil War, the Gilded Age, two world wars, and a depression — so if that’s what we’re going to continue to have, it’d be ideal for those two parties to be a) an unabashedly progressive party free of neoliberalism, and b) a loyal opposition party containing a mix of partial progressives and reasonable conservatives.

Right now, one of our major parties has become a vehicle for neofascism, while the other faces what you could say is something of an identity crisis.

This is a dangerous development for American politics. This is a dangerous moment in our country’s history. Two men who believe in very un-American ideas (Donald Trump and Mike Pence) have gotten unacceptably close to the Presidency and Vice Presidency of the United States. And again, not by accident. They had help.

Established Republicans like John McCain, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell may not want to admit it or accept it, but they and the Republican Noise Machine enabled Donald Trump’s rise. Trump is their true reflection. They all deserve to go down together, and be replaced by a new two-party system that unequivocally repudiates neofascism, xenophobia, and misogyny.

Frankie’s Pizza and Pasta closing after over two decades in Redmond: An appreciation

At the end of next week, one of the most beloved restaurants in NPI’s hometown of Redmond will be going out of business after a twenty-three year run in the heart of the city’s commercial district — to the dismay of many current and former residents.

Frankie’s Pizza & Pasta has been a fixture on Redmond Way since the early 1990s, offering excellent Italian food at reasonable prices. Its owners announced several months ago that the property the restaurant has called home for many years has been sold to a developer who plans to build a hotel there.

From their announcement on June 8th:

For those of you who have not heard, Frankie’s Pizza and Pasta will be closing our doors in mid-October. Our landlords sold the property to a developer who will be building a hotel.

We will miss our loyal customers and our awesome staff very much, but as our daughter-in-law Jenn eloquently stated “Don’t cry because it’s over, celebrate because it happened.”

We have decided not to re-open somewhere else as after 23 years in business we would like to slow down and pursue other opportunities.

If you or someone you know would like to carry on the Frankie’s name in a new location please contact Frankie for more information.

Also, if you or someone you know is looking for short-term employment we’d love to speak with you about joining the family.

For more details about our future plans, stay tuned to Facebook or stop by the restaurant and say hi. Meanwhile, come see us a lot!

Love and blessings!

Frank & Rhonda

One hundred and twenty-one days have passed since the announcement, and now Frankie’s is entering its final week of operations.

To celebrate Frankie’s run, Frank and Rhonda have planned a series of special closing parties for Friday, October 14th and Saturday, October 15th. Each of these events have already sold out due to high demand.

The last day of regular operations will be Thursday, October 13th. Loyal customers have until close of business on the 13th to enjoy a final traditional meal or two, as the sold-out closing parties will feature buffet dinners.

As regular patrons, the team at NPI is incredibly sad to see Frankie’s end its run. NPI staff and board have celebrated many happy occasions over the years by breaking bread over a table at Frankie’s. When we’ve wanted a pizza or two to keep us going during a long meeting or calling party, we’ve turned to Frankie’s. When we’ve wanted to treat out of town guests to a fine meal, we’ve turned to Frankie’s. And when we’ve wanted to serve Italian food at our events, we’ve turned to Frankie’s.

Program for NPI's 2016 Spring Fundraising Gala

Frankie’s provided the food for NPI’s 2012 and 2016 Spring Fundraising Galas and was recognized in the event programs each year. The image above depicts the front and back of the 2016 gala program.

We like to feature different cuisines at our Spring Fundraising Gala, so over the course of the history of the event, we’ve partnered with different establishments, including Ohana, Uwajimaya, El Toreador, Mediterranean Kitchen, and O’Char Thai. Frankie’s Pizza & Pasta presently holds the notable distinction as the only establishment we have worked with twice on the gala.

Buffet line at NPI's 2016 Spring Fundraising Gala

The buffet line at NPI’s 2016 Spring Fundraising Gala

Frankie’s lasagna and breadsticks were so good in 2012 that we simply had to bring them back for this year’s gala.

In retrospect, that was an extremely fortuitous decision. Had we waited another year to feature Italian cuisine again, we would not have been able to work with Frankie’s for a second time.

Frank, Rhonda, and their employees are some of the nicest, friendliest people you’ll meet anywhere. The food they serve is delicious, and their service is consistently great. They sensibly spice up their menu with seasonal dishes while keeping classics available for loyal customers to order anytime.

They also kindly share recipes with patrons, enabling aspiring cooks to try replicating tasty dishes like garlic parmesan soup at home.

I’ve enjoyed every meal I’ve eaten at Frankie’s over the years, but like other regulars, there are certain items on the menu I’m especially partial to.

These include:

  • Pizzas: In addition to a classic pepperoni pizza, I’m fond of…
    • The Italian Stallion: Frankie’s describes this as “a true meat lover’s pizza! Pepperoni, Italian sausage, salami, hickory smoked bacon, and hickory smoked ham.”
    • The ‘Harvest Moon’ Pie: Frankie’s describes this as “a unique taste of Autumn in the Northwest, featuring hickory smoked Bacon and fresh, organic Washington grown apples with mozzarella, sharp cheddar and a touch of Gorgonzola cheese, chopped walnuts, onions and a Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto.
    • The Artisan Veggie: Frankie’s describes this as “a deluxe vegetarian pizza topped with mozzarella and fontina cheeses, with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh organic spinach, roasted red peppers, red onions and black olives. A delicious combo!”
  • Pastas: It’s hard to pick favorites, but If I had to choose, I’d pick…
    • The Lasagne al Forno: As mentioned, we have twice served Frankie’s lasagna at our gala. Frankie’s offers the aforementioned traditional meat lasagna on their menu, and they also have prepared a vegetarian version of the dish for our galas. Both versions are first-rate.
    • The Spaghetti Napoli: This is one of my very favorite things to order. It comes in four varieties: with fresh marinara, with rich Sicilian meat sauce, with meatballs, and with chicken sausage. They’re all tasty.

It’s hard to believe that after next Saturday, the Frankie’s we know and love will no longer be in business. Though we wish Frankie’s were continuing on in a new location, we understand and respect Frank and Rhonda’s decision to pursue other opportunities. We’ll always be grateful that Frankie’s Pizza and Pasta was a part of our hometown of Redmond for nearly a quarter century.

Grazie di tutto, Frankie’s. You’ll be sorely missed.

Poll Watch: Tina Podlodowski narrowly ahead of Kim Wyman; I-732 well under fifty percent

With November 8th only a month away, we’re starting to see new polling released on a near-daily basis. Today, KOMO TV and Strategies 360 released a new set of results from a recent poll they collaborated on, while Tina Podlodowski’s campaign distributed findings from a poll showing Podlodowski narrowly ahead of incumbent Republican Kim Wyman in the contest for Washington Secretary of State.

With Governor Jay Inslee and U.S. Senator Patty Murray widely expected to cruise to new terms, and Attorney General Bob Ferguson without a Republican opponent this year, the marquee matchups are further downballot.

Perhaps no contest is considered to be as close as that for Secretary of State. Incumbent Kim Wyman is the only Republican currently serving in the executive department, and faces an incredibly strong Democratic challenger in former Seattle City Councilmember and experienced business leader Tina Podlodowski.

In the August Top Two election, Wyman garnered 47.9%. Podlodowski finished only 23,882 votes behind, capturing 46.13% of the vote.

Democrats are fired up about Podlodowski’s chances, while Republicans are increasingly nervous about Wyman’s.

Podlodowski’s campaign has just given them another reason to be concerned by releasing fresh polling that shows Podlodowski ahead.

Normington Petts — which also counts Hillary Clinton, Jason Kander, and Tammy Duckworth as clients — reports that in a survey conducted from September 27th-29th of six hundred likely November voters, 35% of respondents said they planned to vote for Podlodowski, while only 31% planned to vote for Wyman.

“Podlodowski leads despite the fact that nearly twice as many voters know Wyman,” noted NP’s Jill Normington in a memo prepared for public distribution.

“Not only is Podlodowski already ahead of Wyman, the majority of undecided voters are Democrats. Of the 34% who are currently undecided, 53% are Democrats, while 25% are Independents and 22% are Republicans. Moreover, the undecided voters at the Secretary of State level are voting for Governor Jay Inslee for reelection 51%-21%. If Podlodowski has the necessary resources to persuade these undecided voters, she will be in a strong position to win in November.”

The Normington Petts survey has a margin of error of ±4.0%

Meanwhile, Strategies 360 and KOMO TV have released results that show U.S. Senator Patty Murray with a comfy lead over Republican challenger Chris Vance.

“In this poll of 500 likely voters interviewed statewide, 57% said they would vote for Murray, as opposed to 36% for Vance,” reported KOMO’s Robert Mak. “Murray, first elected to the Senate in 1992, maintains a high approval rating with 57% viewing her favorably, and 30% having an unfavorable impression.”

KOMO/Strategies 360 also released results for three of the six initiatives that are appearing on Washington’s ballot. They found:

  • 62% support for Initiative 1433 (minimum wage and paid leave);
  • 79% support for Initiative 1491 (extreme risk protection orders);
  • 42% support for Initiative 732 (CarbonWA’s tax swap scheme).

Back in June, NPI and Public Policy Polling asked a sample of likely voters about these same initiatives, and found the following:

  • 58% support for Initiative 1433 (minimum wage and paid leave);
  • 73% support for Initiative 1491 (extreme risk protection orders);
  • 52% support for Initiative 732 (CarbonWA’s tax swap scheme).

I-1433 and I-1491 polled 4% and 6% higher, respectively, in the KOMO/Strategies 360 poll than in our poll, which suggests that voters are actually becoming more enthused about these progressive ideas, not less. That’s encouraging.

The same cannot be said about CarbonWA’s I-732, a proposal to levy a tax on pollutants and use the revenue to cancel out sales and B&O taxes — including much of what’s left of Boeing’s already-reduced tax obligations.

With a month left to go, I-732 is under water. Only 42% of respondents surveyed by KOMO/Strategies 360 indicated support for I-732. 37% indicated opposition, and 21% reported that they are undecided.

Undecided voters can swing yes or no, as CarbonWA pointed out several weeks ago after Stuart Elway published research showing lackluster support for I-732 and a high number of undecided voters. However, it is more common for undecided voters to break no than yes when a strong opposition campaign is in place to effectively make the arguments against. When in doubt, people tend to vote no.

I-732 arguably faces stronger opposition than any of the other initiatives on the ballot this year. Though NPI would very much like to put a price on pollution, we oppose I-732 because we believe it is fatally flawed. So does the labor community and progressive organizations like OneAmerica.

KOMO/Strategies 360 appear not to have polled on I-1501, I-1464, or I-735, which are also on Washington’s November 2016 statewide ballot.

Liveblogging the 2016 vice presidential debate from the great Pacific Northwest

Good evening, and welcome to NPI’s live coverage of the 2016 vice presidential debate. NPI staff will be watching and sharing impressions of the debate between Democratic nominee Tim Kaine and Republican nominee Mike Pence as it progresses. The debate, sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, is being broadcast on all major networks as well as Facebook and Twitter.

Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia is hosting the debate, which will be moderated by Elaine Quijano, CBS News correspondent and anchor.

The format is as follows:

The debate will be divided into nine time segments of approximately ten minutes each. The moderator will ask an opening question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.

We will begin…

UPDATE, 5:56 PM (Andrew): Thank you for joining our live coverage tonight. The debate will begin in about seven minutes, once the candidates have been introduced.

UPDATE, 6:12 PM (Andrew): Mike Pence keeps shaking his head. Why? Tim Kaine is pointing out things that are true.

UPDATE, 6:12 PM (Andrew): Pence is playing the victim. Nice!

UPDATE, 6:13 PM (Andrew): Kaine jumps in and reminds everyone that Trump is a Putin admirer.

UPDATE, 6:14 PM (Andrew): “You are Donald Trump’s apprentice,” Kaine tells Pence.

UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Andrew): After Pence blasts Clinton’s record, Kaine steps in to defend it.

UPDATE, 6:16 PM (Andrew): Pence blames Clinton for not renegotiating the status of forces agreement with Iraq; Kaine points out the Iraqis didn’t want us to stay.

UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Andrew): This question was brought to you by Peter G. Peterson.

UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Andrew): Pence trying to paint Clinton/Kaine ticket using traditional Republican attack strokes — says they’re for more taxes, more regulation. We’re heard this before.

UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Andrew): Pence mentions trade deals — what trade deals? Opposition to trade deals is a centerpiece of the Trump campaign.

UPDATE, 6:20 PM (Andrew): Kaine outlining the pillars of the Clinton/Kaine economic plan, including an emphasis on entrepreneurship and small business.

UPDATE, 6:20 PM (Andrew): Boo to the phrase “tax relief”. That needs to be banished from every Democratic candidate’s vocabulary.

UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Dominic Barrera): Tim Kain answers questions surrounding donations to Clinton Foundation by contrasting the non-profit’s work against illegal and illegitimate dealings of both the Trump Organization and Trump Foundation.

UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Andrew): Pence is now being asked about Trump’s taxes.

UPDATE, 6:22 PM (Andrew): “More deficits, more debt, more government,” intones Pence.

UPDATE, 6:23 PM (Andrew): You’re a career public servant too, Mike Pence.

UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Andrew): Pence is really struggling here.

UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Andrew): Moderator Elaine Quijano appeals to the candidates to stop talking over each other.

UPDATE, 6:27 PM (Andrew): Kaine: “We will never, ever engage in a risky scheme to privatize Social Security”.

UPDATE, 6:28 PM (Andrew): “I can’t believe you won’t defend your own voting record,” Kaine says, as Pence tries to deflect his attack.

UPDATE, 6:30 PM (Andrew): Ironic that Pence earlier tried to attack Kaine for having rehearsed lines, and then trotted out one of his own: “There they go again.” Glass-house dweller…

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Andrew): The candidates are being much more restrained in this segment than the last two.

UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Andrew): Tim Kaine name checks Philando Castile.

UPDATE, 6:36 PM (Andrew): Good follow up question by Quijano, bringing up Tim Scott’s speech on the Senate floor.

UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Andrew): “I cannot believe that Mike Pence will defend the insult-driven campaign that Donald Trump has run,” Kaine says.

UPDATE, 6:40 PM (Andrew): You don’t wanna go there, Mike Pence. Nobody tops Donald Trump when it comes to insults.

UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Andrew):

Donald Trump’s divisive insults and dangerous policies are so logic-defying and so wildly disturbing that even his own supporters have found them to be unacceptable,” says Clinton’s campaign.

UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Andrew):Even Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, can’t defend Trump’s worst wrongdoings, yet he is asking people to vote for Trump,” the campaign adds.

UPDATE, 6:43 PM (Andrew): Mike “What You Just Heard” Pence is now throwing around the loaded word amnesty.

UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Andrew): Unless Pence is expecting all the immigrants he wants to leave the country to “self-deport”, then there would need to be an unprecedented deportation force.

UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Andrew): Kaine reminds everybody what Trump actually said.

UPDATE, 6:46 PM (Greg Evans): Gov. Mike Pence doubles down on southern border wall saying his and Trump’s immigration plan “begins and ends with border security.”

UPDATE, 6:46 PM (Andrew): Kaine lands another solid hit, and Pence doesn’t have a response. Moving on to a new topic.

UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Andrew): Kaine smoothly details Clinton’s plan to take down the Islamic State group, then mocks Trump’s nonsensical comments.

UPDATE, 6:49 PM (Andrew): Maybe Pence keeps shaking his head because he inhabits his own reality and has pretended not to hear what Donald Trump has been saying.

UPDATE, 6:51 PM (Andrew): Pence would rather not defend Trump, so he’s been pivoting and talking about his own preplanned topics instead. Right after mocking Kaine for having prepared for this debate.

UPDATE, 6:54 PM (Andrew): Hey, Mike Pence: A wise man once said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Andrew): Quijano asks Kaine what “intelligence surge” means.

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Andrew): Kaine basically says it’s about bolstering our human intelligence capabilities. Smart answer… America is addicted to signals intelligence.

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Greg Evans): Pence asked for comments on homegrown terrorism – blames foreign actors, doesn’t seem to understand the issue in any context other than a binary us / them.

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Andrew): An “intelligence surge” also means strengthening our alliances, Kaine says.

UPDATE, 6:57 PM (Andrew): Pence tries to go on the attack about Clinton’s private email server.

UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Andrew): Quijano is being a much more hands-on moderator than Lester Holt was.

UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Andrew): So far, no questions about income inequality. the climate crisis, education, transportation, women’s health, or any other number of important issues.

UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Greg Evans): Pence calls Putin a bully and dictator, while desperately trying to tie Clinton personally to recent Russian provocation.

UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Andrew): The framing of the questions in this debate has been relatively poor.

UPDATE, 7:02 PM (Andrew): “If you don’t know the difference between dictatorship and leadership, you’ve got to go back to fifth grade civic class,” Kaine says.

UPDATE, 7:04 PM (Andrew): Kaine has a message (Trump doesn’t pay taxes) and he’s sticking to it. That’s evidently the strategy the Clinton campaign planned for this debate.

UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Andrew): “Working with our allies in the region” is boilerplate debatespeak.

UPDATE, 7:06 PM (Andrew): Kaine hitting Pence and Trump hard on nuclear nonproliferation.

UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Andrew): Lots and lots of crosstalk in this debate. More than last week’s debate…

UPDATE, 7:11 PM (Andrew): “Don’t put words in my mouth,” snarls Pence.

UPDATE, 7:14 PM (Greg Evans):

It is a big change in terms of the direction Iran was headed, and in the way we saw things.
Israeli Chief of the General Staff, Lt. General Gadi Eizenkot In reference to the Iran nuclear deal, March 2016

UPDATE, 7:14 PM (Andrew): The New York Times has been chatting with Walter Mondale about the debate. Mondale’s not very enthused about what he’s seen so far.

UPDATE, 7:15 PM (Andrew): We’re spending a lot of time on foreign policy.

UPDATE, 7:16 PM (Andrew): Moving on to the threat posed by the North Korean regime… is this just going to be a foreign policy debate?

UPDATE, 7:19 PM (Andrew): Is Pence going to be asked about his opposition to reproductive rights and LGBT rights? If not, that’s a miscarriage of journalism.

UPDATE, 7:21 PM (Andrew): Kaine smiling and chucking as Pence tries to claim Trump is a charitable man.

UPDATE, 7:22 PM (Andrew): Terrible question. Thumbs down for Elaine Quijano as moderator.

UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Andrew): Quijano says we’re going to talk about “social issues” now. But she starts off with another poorly framed question.

UPDATE, 7:25 PM (Dominic Barrera): Tim Kain answers questions surrounding donations to Clinton Foundation by contrasting the non-profit’s work against illegal and illegitimate dealings of both the Trump Organization and Trump Foundation.

UPDATE, 7:26 PM (Greg Evans): Kaine has gotten more confident as the debate wears on, likely due to Pences’ inability to form coherent, well-reasoned responses to the attacks on Trump.

UPDATE, 7:27 PM (Andrew): Pence reminds us he’s an unapologetic theocon.

UPDATE, 7:28 PM (Andrew): “We support the constitutional right of American women to consult their own conscience” and make their own decisions, Kaine says.

UPDATE, 7:29 PM (Andrew): You can shake your head all you want, Mike Pence, but the tape doesn’t lie.

UPDATE, 7:29 PM (Dominic Barrera): 6:21 PM: Mike Pence falsely claims that Hillary Clinton favors a single-payer healthcare system. Her refusal to back such a proposal was a major point of contention in winning over supporters of her primary rival, Bernie Sanders.

UPDATE, 7:29 PM (Andrew): Very strong answer on reproductive rights by Clinton/Kaine.

UPDATE, 7:30 PM (Andrew): Kaine smoothly quotes Scripture and Pence’s response is “You’ve whipped out that Mexican thing again.” Pence adds, “I couldn’t be more proud to stand with Donald Trump”. Uh huh.

UPDATE, 7:31 PM (Andrew): “Why don’t you trust women?” Kaine asks Pence. Boom!

UPDATE, 7:33 PM (Andrew): Ha! Pence says a society can be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable. Indeed. And Republicans like Pence have shown that they don’t want to do anything for our most vulnerable citizens.

UPDATE, 7:34 PM (Andrew): Evidently we’re not going to have a question, let alone a discussion, of LGBT rights.

UPDATE, 7:35 PM (Andrew): We’re basically into closing statements. Pence is talking about a candidate we simply don’t recognize at all.

UPDATE, 7:36 PM (Andrew): Pence’s closing was smoothly delivered.

State of Washington sues Kim Wyman for public disclosure law violations

The State of Washington is suing Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman for multiple public disclosure law violations, Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office announced in a news release this afternoon.

“The complaint alleges the Wyman campaign failed to timely file contribution and expenditure disclosure reports, as required under the state’s campaign finance laws. It also alleges that the campaign failed to timely deposit contributions,” reads a news release from the Attorney General’s office.

Ordinarily, these announcements include a brief statement from the Attorney General himself about the case, but that’s not so in this instance, owing to Ferguson’s decision to recuse himself. (Ferguson and Wyman are both seeking reelection to statewide positions with the backing of their respective parties. Ferguson was nominated last month by the Democratic Party for Attorney General, and Wyman is fervently supported for Secretary of State by the Republican Party).

The complaint against Wyman stems from a citizen action notice sent by the Washington State Democratic Party back in the spring. The matter subsequently came before the Public Disclosure Commission, which investigated.

PDC staff reached the following conclusions, as characterized by the AG’s office:

Wyman filed 11 reports for the campaign’s April 2016 activity 10 days late, disclosing $30,567 in additional contributions in May 2016. The campaign also filed an amended campaign summary report to include the late contribution disclosures, as well as $943 it had failed to account for in a previous report.

After staff presented their findings, the PDC voted to refer the matter back to the Attorney General’s office, since it originated as a citizen’s action.

Before that vote, commissioners expressed a desire to see the matter be settled, given that Wyman had participated in the PDC investigation and sought to take ownership for her campaign’s reporting failures.

However, state’s attorneys have decided to proceed to court with their case.

Since becoming Attorney General, Bob Ferguson has made enforcement of Washington’s public disclosure laws a priority, and has gone after pretty much everybody, from SEIU 775NW to serial offender Tim Eyman. Kim Wyman can hardly complain about unfair treatment — her campaign broke the law and the Attorney General’s office are moving to hold her accountable.

The Washington State Republican Party’s response to the lawsuit was to attack Bob Ferguson, who has a Libertarian opponent in the general election (not a single Republican filed to run against Ferguson):

Here are the facts:

The Wyman campaign treasurer SELF-REPORTED to the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) regarding the late filing of some donation reports.  The mistakes were minor and technical in nature – the public was not harmed in any way. The usual procedure is for the state’s PDC to handle and resolve such routine matters.

However, at the request of the chairman of the Washington State Democrat Party [sic], Ferguson went around the PDC and filed a LAWSUIT against Kim Wyman!

This collusion with the State Democrats is a clear conflict of interest, as Attorney General Ferguson has donated to, and actively campaigned for, Kim’s Democrat [sic] opponent. Even though the AG has had this information for months, he carefully timed his action to make headlines right before ballots arrive in voters’ homes.

This cynical and partisan ‘October surprise’ is intended by Ferguson to favor Kim’s inexperienced left-wing opponent.

The lawsuit filed by Ferguson’s office is a gross abuse of the Attorney General’s office, a waste of taxpayer money, and politically motivated. This is partisan party politics at its worst, designed to harm Kim Wyman,who has an impeccable reputation for serving all citizens of the state. Call Bob Ferguson at […] or email him at […] and tell him: stop the partisan nonsense, stop wasting taxpayer money, stop the lawsuit against Kim Wyman!

What a laugher.

Newsflash to Susan Hutchison: Politics is partisan by its nature. Anyone who holds and defends an opinion or a set of values is a partisan. You ought to understand that better than most people, given that you head up a political party.

If you don’t like partisan politics — or, as you put it, partisan party politics — then you’re in the wrong job. (That’s a nice pointless redundancy you’ve got there, by the way. Why use only one word when you can use two?)

After the Wyman campaign sounded a similar note, Washington State Attorney General’s Office Communications Director Peter Lavallee released a sternly-worded statement admonishing Wyman’s campaign (and the WSRP by extension):

I want to set the record straight: Contrary to any insinuation by the Kim Wyman campaign, Attorney General Bob Ferguson played no role in the decision, the substance or the filing of today’s campaign-finance complaint. Career Attorney General’s Office legal staff made those calls.

The Wyman campaign might have missed this passage in our press release:  ‘Attorney General Bob Ferguson is recused and has been screened from involvement in the matter.’

The following statement from the Wyman campaign is thus inaccurate and highly misleading, suggesting, as it does, personal involvement by the AG: ‘I expect that the Attorney General will follow the PDC’s recommendation to treat this as a minor violation with extenuating circumstances, and that he is not pursuing this purely for political purposes.’

I trust the Wyman campaign will draw the proper distinctions going forward.

Susan Hutchison and the Washington State Republican Party didn’t complain when Ferguson’s office went after SEIU 775NW or the Washington State Labor Council. But now that it’s Kim Wyman who’s had a complaint filed against her, they’re up in arms and crying foul. It certainly seems they’re on edge about the possibility of losing an office they’ve controlled for over fifty years.

Republican Kim Wyman’s call for “citizenship checks” of voters draws swift condemnation

Incumbent Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman made it known this morning that, if reelected, she will be asking the Legislature to enact legislation to at least partially implement the privacy-infringing federal “REAL ID” Act in order to “check for citizenship of people who want to register and vote in Washington”.

“Our package is reasonable; it’s long overdue,” Wyman said in a news release. “Our laws are not working the way they need them to. We need to construct laws and processes to verify voter eligibility on the front end of the voter registration application. We are here today to propose some sensible and concrete solutions to correct this problem. The time for action is now.”

“People are understandably frustrated about this situation and we are frustrated as well. It’s time for action in the January session,” she added.

Democratic challenger Tina Podlodowski promptly blasted Wyman’s announcement.

“Secretary of State Kim Wyman is showing her true partisan Republican colors in an effort to score political points on voting access issues,” Podlodowski said in response to Wyman’s announcement. “Like her party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, she is intentionally inflaming anti-immigrant sentiments by suggesting non-citizens are trying to vote in Washington State.”

“As a daughter of two immigrants who became naturalized citizens, I’m appalled by how low Kim Wyman is willing to stoop to try and paint immigrants in Washington State as perpetuators of voter fraud, a continuing Republican narrative in the 2016 election that is simply not true. Shame on her.”

OneAmerica’s Rich Stolz also strongly denounced Wyman’s posturing.

“We are appalled at Secretary Wyman’s Trump-style exploitation of the Burlington tragedy to win political points,” Stolz said in a statement sent to NPI. “With the Burlington investigation still underway, and even after news reports had confirmed that Arcan Cetin was in fact a citizen, Secretary Wyman this morning announced policy proposals taken out of the right-wing voter suppression playbook.”

“As Secretary Wyman acknowledged herself, the penalties for non-citizen voting are severe — up to five years in prison, a $10,000 fine and likely deportation.”

“Instead of proposing policies that weaken our Democracy by placing unnecessary barriers between citizens and their right to vote, Wyman should focus on ensuring that the upcoming election reverses the trend — under her leadership — of dwindling voter turnout,” Stolz added. (Analysis published by NPI shows that voter turnout has been consistently falling during Wyman’s tenure as Secretary of State.)

The ACLU of Washington, which has long been a leading advocate for the right to privacy in the Evergreen State, registered its opposition as well.

“The ACLU of Washington is disappointed in the Secretary of State’s proposal, which is a solution looking for a problem,” said Shankar Narayan, ACLU of Washington Technology and Project Director. “There is no credible evidence of non-citizens voting in Washington — such actions are already a felony in Washington and could lead to an individual being deported. Rather than adding layers of bureaucracy that will deter legitimate voters or falsely stigmatizing immigrants, our public officials should be making the ballot more, rather than less, accessible.”

“Commandeering state drivers’ licenses to become de facto national ID cards is an expensive proposal that would rely on flawed federal databases. Doing so would not improve public safety and would add needless burden to the process of getting a license. Washington can do better than this flawed policy,” Narayan commented.

Legislators have already been discussing how and whether to respond to the Department of Homeland Security’s latest manufactured deadlines for complying with provisions of the more than decade-old REAL ID Act.

“Bipartisan work on REAL ID has been underway in the Legislature for several years – led by House Speaker Frank Chopp, Democratic Representative Judy Clibborn and Republican Senator Curtis King – with legislation already scheduled to be introduced in the 2017 Session,” Podlodowski observed.

“The conversation on REAL ID and Automatic Voter Registration has been developing with Wyman sitting on the sidelines. Only now, after a recent tragedy, is she stepping forward to score political points.”

The aforementioned tragedy is the mass murder of five people at Cascade Mall in Burlington: Sarai Lara (16), Chuck Eagan (61), Belinda Galde (64), Beatrice Dotson (95), Galde’s mother, and Shayla Martin (52). In the wake of the shooting, news media questioned whether suspected perpetrator Arcan Cetin (who has confessed to the murders) was in fact an American citizen.

In our view, Wyman and her team inappropriately used Cetin’s terrible crime and the reporting surrounding it as fodder for their news release.

The release quotes Wyman is saying:

“This issue pales in comparison to the tragedy of five innocent lives lost. But when the citizenship of Mr. Cetin was publicly called into question as part of the story, it shined a bright light on the fact that under current state law, as election administrators, we are not able to confirm the citizenship of any registered voter.”

This issue doesn’t have anything to do with what happened in Burlington.

NPI believes our response to Washington’s declining voter turnout needs to include eliminating barriers to voting, not creating new ones.

Wyman’s news release today improperly conflates several issues — specifically, the federal government’s manufactured REAL ID deadlines and Washington’s response, the accuracy and integrity of the state’s voter rolls, and what needs to be done to effectively implement automatic voter registration.

Wyman’s call for “citizenship checks” sounds akin to a photo identification scheme for Washington State. Washington is mostly vote by mail, with only a few accessible voting centers, so Republicans can’t argue we need a law that would require voters to present certain forms of photo ID at polling places.

But Kim Wyman is now arguing that “election administrators” like her need to be able to verify if a voter is in fact a citizen.

Why? As far as the rights of natural persons are concerned, guilty until proven innocent is incompatible with the values our country was founded on.

Our initial response to hearing this proposal was to ask some questions, namely:

  1. Which provisions of the REAL ID Act of 2005 are you proposing to comply with? (The law has a troubled history and its implementation is very incomplete, having been repeatedly delayed.)
  2. What is the estimated/approximate cost of your proposed legislation?
  3. How will it be paid for?
  4. Are you actually preparing a draft of agency request legislation, or are you going to defer to partner legislators to work on that?
  5. What do you say to those who contend full adoption/implementation of REAL ID could violate the constitutional rights guaranteed to Washingtonians by the Washington State Constitution?

Wyman’s staff did not offer answers to these questions, except to say that Wyman anticipates working with Judy Clibborn and Curtis King, the respective current chairs of the House and Senate Transportation Committees, on this legislation.

(That’s assuming that voters preserve the status quo in Olympia. The parties are battling furiously for control over both chambers. Republicans’ hopes of winning both have largely faded, while Democrats are emboldened about expanding their House majority and electing a majority in the Senate as well.)

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