NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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

Friday, May 29th, 2020

Scramble for the Senate: Can Democrats show Colorado’s Cory Gardner the door?

While peo­ple across the coun­try are mon­i­tor­ing the unfold­ing race for the White House between incum­bent Don­ald Trump and pre­sump­tive Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee Joe Biden, Democ­rats are keen­ly aware that the White House is not the only prize they need to win in Novem­ber. Unless Democ­rats win the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the Sen­ate, any Biden pres­i­den­cy will be faced with grind­ing oppo­si­tion from the out­set – as Barack Oba­ma found out to his cost.

The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty is way more pop­u­lar than the Repub­li­can Par­ty is in most states across the coun­try, and there­fore high­ly like­ly to win the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, but the Unit­ed States Sen­ate is anoth­er mat­ter.

The Sen­ate is, in many ways, the ulti­mate anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic ger­ry­man­der.

Thanks to the fact that each state gets two sen­a­tors regard­less of pop­u­la­tion, it takes the sup­port a tiny frac­tion of the pop­u­la­tion (less than 10%) to elect a major­i­ty of the sen­a­tors. Since the Repub­li­can Par­ty is strongest in states with tiny pop­u­la­tions – the red­dest state in the union, Wyoming, is also the small­est by pop­u­la­tion – they have a big built-in advan­tage.

Nev­er­the­less, the 2020 Sen­ate map looks promis­ing for Democ­rats. The Repub­li­cans have to defend almost twice as many seats as the Democ­rats, and all the seats rat­ed as “toss-ups” are held by Repub­li­cans.

One of the most vul­ner­a­ble Repub­li­can sen­a­tors is Cory Gard­ner of Col­orado.

Gard­ner won the pur­ple state in an upset vic­to­ry in 2014 by promis­ing to be “a new kind of Repub­li­can.” Six years lat­er, Col­orado has moved even fur­ther away from the GOP, and Gard­ner has proved him­self to be more like a same-old-same-old Repub­li­can. Dur­ing ral­lies in Feb­ru­ary, Trump and Gard­ner swapped com­pli­ments, with Trump claim­ing that “Cory was with us all the way.”

While this may help Gard­ner win a future job in the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion, it will not win him many votes – Col­oradans over­whelm­ing­ly loathe Trump.

Recent polls of Colorado’s U.S. Sen­ate race show Gardner’s weak­ness in stark fash­ion; he is trail­ing the lead­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­tender by around 17% (although these polls may be out­liers).

John Hickenlooper speaks to Iowans during his presidential campaign

John Hick­en­loop­er speaks to Iowans dur­ing his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign (Pho­to: Gage Skid­more, repro­duced under Cre­ative Com­mons license)

That lead­ing Demo­c­rat is for­mer-Gov­­er­nor John Hick­en­loop­er, who spent most of last year fruit­less­ly pur­su­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­na­tion for the pres­i­den­cy, only to bow out in August when his quixot­ic cam­paign final­ly ran out of cash.

By the time he dropped out, his staffers were prac­ti­cal­ly beg­ging him to con­sid­er a run for the Sen­ate. When he turned his pres­i­den­tial run into a Sen­ate cam­paign, Hick­en­loop­er led Gard­ner in the polls by dou­ble dig­its, and his lead has only increased. His odds have been boost­ed by endorse­ments from pow­er­ful fig­ures and groups with­in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty.

How­ev­er, many pro­gres­sives have been hes­i­tant to throw­ their sup­port behind Hick­en­loop­er. The for­mer Gov­er­nor might have a “D” next to his name, but he rep­re­sents the neolib­er­al wing of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty.

As Colorado’s gov­er­nor, Hick­en­loop­er sup­port­ed the oil and gas indus­try, fight­ing against mea­sures to reg­u­late the frack­ing indus­try. In 2013, he pres­sured Democ­rats to vote against a repeal of the death penal­ty. In the same year, he opposed a civ­il rights bill that was designed to tack­le work­place dis­crim­i­na­tion.

Dur­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pri­ma­ry, Hick­en­loop­er made no efforts to reach out to the pro­gres­sives – in fact, he used cam­paign events to com­pare them to Josef Stal­in.

With record like that, it is hard to know whether replac­ing Cory Gard­ner with John Hick­en­loop­er in the Sen­ate will be worth the effort; there is no guar­an­tee that Hick­en­loop­er will help to pass sen­si­ble pro­gres­sive leg­is­la­tion, and strong evi­dence to sug­gest he will stand in its way, espe­cial­ly if the promi­nent pro­gres­sives on the Biden campaign’s recent­ly announced “joint task forces” use their posi­tion to influ­ence the poli­cies of a future Biden admin­is­tra­tion.

Hick­en­loop­er is not the only Demo­c­rat in the run­ning for Colorado’s Sen­ate seat, how­ev­er. He faces stiff com­pe­ti­tion in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pri­ma­ry from the for­mer speak­er of the state assem­bly, Andrew Romanoff, who has tak­en pains to argue that Gard­ner and Hick­en­loop­er rep­re­sent vir­tu­al­ly the same con­ser­v­a­tive agen­da.

Romanoff has made the Green New Deal the cor­ner­stone of his cam­paign – a smart move in a state where near­ly 80% of vot­ers want Col­orado to move to 100% renew­able ener­gy – and has gar­nered admi­ra­tion and endorse­ments from activist groups includ­ing Our Rev­o­lu­tion and the Sun­rise Move­ment.

While John Hick­en­loop­er has con­sid­er­able advan­tages over Romanoff (the sup­port of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic estab­lish­ment, high name-recog­ni­­tion, and a large cam­paign chest), Romanoff has cre­at­ed a sense of momen­tum in recent weeks by win­ning a series of nom­i­nat­ing events con­vinc­ing­ly to get his name on the pri­ma­ry bal­lot.

Who­ev­er wins the pri­ma­ry (which is sched­uled for June 30), Democ­rats should not take vic­to­ry for grant­ed. Although the nation­al envi­ron­ment is a good one for Democ­rats on paper, COVID-19 has changed the polit­i­cal equa­tion.

The Democ­rats can no longer rely on enthu­si­as­tic young vol­un­teers to bring their mes­sage door to door, as hap­pened in the 2018 midterm elec­tions.

At the same time, Repub­li­cans find that their supe­ri­or fund­ing (the prod­uct of ram­pant polit­i­­cal-cor­po­rate cor­rup­tion) gives them an advan­tage in polit­i­cal adver­tis­ing – adver­tis­ing that will be seen by more peo­ple than ever before, as the Great Lock­down large­ly con­fines peo­ple to their homes.

This dynam­ic was evi­dent in last Tuesday’s spe­cial elec­tions, where Repub­li­cans gained two House seats. They out­spent the Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates in each case.

As well as hav­ing more mon­ey than his Demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­nents (he cur­rent­ly has $9.6 mil­lion to Hick­en­loop­er and Romanoff’s com­bined $5.7 mil­lion), Cory Gard­ner has the advan­tage of being an unde­ni­ably skill­ful politi­cian.

He was described in a pro­file piece by Politi­co as “sil­ver-tongued” and “high­ly dis­ci­plined with­out sound­ing pro­grammed.” Andrew Romanoff agreed with the assess­ment: “A lot of Democ­rats under­es­ti­mate his skill as a politician…people have said to me ‘Cory is toast,’ but that’s com­plete­ly wrong.”

Thursday, May 28th, 2020

Most Washingtonians not sure who they’ll vote for in state’s 2020 Supreme Court races

Around four out of five like­ly 2020 Wash­ing­ton vot­ers are unsure who they’ll be sup­port­ing in this year’s con­test­ed State Supreme Court races, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s lat­est statewide poll has found.

Asked whether they would vote for incum­bents G. Helen Whiten­er (for Posi­tion #6) and Raquel Mon­toya-Lewis (for Posi­tion #3), or their chal­lengers Richard Serns and David Lar­son, the vast major­i­ty of respon­dents said they were not sure. The fig­ure of unde­cid­ed vot­ers was 81% for the race for Posi­tion #6 (Whiten­er vs. Serns) and 78% for Posi­tion #3 (Mon­toya-Lewis vs. Lar­son).

13% of respon­dents indi­cat­ed a pref­er­ence for Jus­tice Whiten­er for Posi­tion #6 and 6% indi­cat­ed a pref­er­ence for Whiten­er’s oppo­nent, Serns.

14% of respon­dents indi­cat­ed a pref­er­ence for Jus­tice Mon­toya-Lewis for Posi­tion #3 and 8% indi­cat­ed a pref­er­ence for Mon­toya-Lewis’ oppo­nent Lar­son.

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

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

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

The full text of our ques­tion in the race for Posi­tion #3 and the answers were:

QUESTION: The can­di­dates for Wash­ing­ton State Supreme Court Posi­tion #3 this year are David Lar­son and Raquel Mon­toya-Lewis. If the elec­tion were held today, who would you vote for?

ANSWERS:

  • David Lar­son: 8%
  • Raquel Mon­toya-Lewis: 14%
  • Not sure: 78%

And for Posi­tion #6:

QUESTION: The can­di­dates for Wash­ing­ton State Supreme Court Posi­tion #6 this year are G. Helen Whiten­er and Richard S. Serns. If the elec­tion were held today, who would you vote for?

ANSWERS:

  • G. Helen Whiten­er: 13%
  • Richard S. Serns: 6%
  • Not sure: 81%

The results for these races are sim­i­lar to NPI’s 2018 State Supreme Court find­ing from two years ago, when we asked like­ly vot­ers whether they pre­ferred the excep­tion­al­ly well qual­i­fied Jus­tice Steven Gon­za­lez or his oppo­nent, con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Nathan Choi. In that sur­vey, 74% of vot­ers said they were not sure, while 16% pre­ferred Choi and only 10% pre­ferred Gon­za­lez.

At the time we released our 2018 find­ing, we expressed our deep con­cern that vot­ers might open up their bal­lots with­out hav­ing heard much about the can­di­dates. We asked oth­er media out­lets to step up and join us in cov­er­ing the race. Sev­er­al reporters respond­ed and rose to the occa­sion, notably pub­lic radio’s Austin Jenk­ins and KIRO7’s Essex Porter. Their report­ing that autumn was instru­men­tal in help­ing Wash­ing­to­ni­ans make an informed deci­sion.

Jus­tice Gon­za­lez ulti­mate­ly received 67.58% of the vote in the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion, win­ning reelec­tion in a land­slide and car­ry­ing every coun­ty in the state.

The result was a val­i­da­tion of the impor­tance of ele­men­tal polit­i­cal report­ing.

As judi­cial can­di­dates, Choi and Gon­za­lez appeared on the bal­lot with no par­ty des­ig­na­tion or oth­er infor­ma­tion pro­vid­ed, mak­ing it hard for any­one with­out a firm grasp of Wash­ing­ton State pol­i­tics to eas­i­ly tell them apart.

Con­tests for exec­u­tive and leg­isla­tive posi­tions in Wash­ing­ton are typ­i­cal­ly par­ti­san, whether at the state or coun­ty lev­el, but all judi­cial posi­tions are non­par­ti­san. What’s more, judi­cial can­di­dates are restrict­ed in terms of how they may cam­paign by the Code of Judi­cial Con­duct.

A judge or jus­tice may be well known to mem­bers of the bar, but the same does not hold true for the gen­er­al pub­lic. This lack of aware­ness in judi­cial elec­tions is a recur­ring issue that we have to deal with every year, for Wash­ing­ton vot­ers are tasked with decid­ing who should sit on the bench at mul­ti­ple lev­els… munic­i­pal court, dis­trict court, Supe­ri­or Court, Court of Appeals, and Supreme Court.

Jus­tices Whiten­er and Mon­toya-Lewis end­ed up on the Supreme Court through the process of appoint­ment; the depar­ture of their pre­de­ces­sors mid-term cre­at­ed vacan­cies that Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee had the respon­si­bil­i­ty of fill­ing, and his office took that respon­si­bil­i­ty extreme­ly seri­ous­ly. How­ev­er, it’s the vot­ers who will decide who ought to serve on the Court over the long haul.

Full terms on the Wash­ing­ton State Supreme Court are for six years, so the result of a Supreme Court race is pret­ty con­se­quen­tial.

A grand total of four seats on the Court are up for elec­tion this year.

Incum­bent Jus­tices Debra Stephens (cur­rent­ly the Chief Jus­tice) and Charles W. John­son did not draw any chal­lengers, so they will remain in office.

That leaves two con­test­ed posi­tions: the afore­men­tioned races between Whiten­er and Serns and between Mon­toya-Lewis and Lar­son.

It’s cru­cial that vot­ers know who these can­di­dates are and what their qual­i­fi­ca­tions are so they can make an informed deci­sion this fall.

Wash­ing­ton State’s media out­lets are among the few orga­ni­za­tions that are in a posi­tion to address the lack of aware­ness in judi­cial elec­tions.

By car­ing about the Supreme Court races, talk­ing to the can­di­dates, and putting togeth­er sto­ries for vot­ers’ ben­e­fit, pub­lish­ers in the Ever­green State can pro­vide a crit­i­cal pub­lic ser­vice dur­ing this his­toric pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year.

We appre­ci­ate that this is a tough time for peo­ple work­ing in jour­nal­ism; the pan­dem­ic is neg­a­tive­ly affect­ing the work of many news­rooms.

But we’ll all be bet­ter off if these races get the cov­er­age they deserve.

We’re com­mit­ted to doing our part to cre­at­ing that cov­er­age, and we hope oth­er media orga­ni­za­tions will join us. We plan on check­ing in on these Supreme Court races again this autumn, and hope­ful­ly, when our next sur­vey comes back, we will find a small­er num­ber of vot­ers who are not sure as to their choice.

And this sum­mer, you can expect to see a Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate series pro­fil­ing 2020 judi­cial can­di­dates, includ­ing — but not lim­it­ed to! — our Supreme Court hope­fuls.

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

COVID-19 Update: Food, fraud, the homeless, strikes, the courts and miscalculations

It’s time for anoth­er install­ment of of our spe­cial series COVID-19 Update, bring­ing you the lat­est devel­op­ments on the nov­el coro­n­avirus out­break that pub­lic health author­i­ties here and across the coun­try are work­ing to mit­i­gate.

Wash­ing­ton

On Tues­day, May 19th, the Fire­stone Pacif­ic Foods pro­cess­ing facil­i­ty in Van­cou­ver was closed due to an out­break that result­ed in thir­­ty-eight infect­ed employ­ees. It also result­ed in a “pause” of Clark Coun­ty upgrad­ing to Lev­el 2 sta­tus, and Clark Coun­ty Pub­lic Health is present­ly work­ing with Fire­stone to redeem the sit­u­a­tion.

A sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion is sad­ly unfold­ing at the Stemilt Grow­ers Old sta­tion facil­i­ty – twen­­ty-five employ­ees on a pack­ag­ing line crew out of six­ty have test­ed pos­i­tive for COVID-19 as of May 23rd — but no “pause” is present­ly under con­sid­er­a­tion as a result with­in Chelan Coun­ty.

On Thurs­day, May 21st, state offi­cials con­firmed that hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits were stolen in what appears to have been a “coor­di­nat­ed crim­i­nal attack” through the cre­ation of thou­sands of fraud­u­lent accounts.

We at NPI strong­ly rec­om­mend that you cre­ate an account on the state Employ­ment Secu­ri­ty Divi­sion web­site and then link your Social Secu­ri­ty Num­ber to that account as a means of pre­vent­ing fraud through use of your per­son­al data.

If you already have a Secure Access Wash­ing­ton (SAW) account because you’ve use DOL’s Licen­seX­press to renew your dri­ver’s license, sim­ply login with your cre­den­tials on the ESD web­site and then cre­ate your pro­file. Cre­at­ing the pro­file is the essen­tial step that you must to take to deter fraud.

Also last Thurs­day, state Insur­ance Com­mis­sion­er Mike Krei­dler extend­ed his emer­gency order to facil­i­tate health­care cov­er­age in terms of the means by which access is avail­able and diag­no­sis is attempt­ed.

Pacif­ic, Cowlitz, Grant, Island, Jef­fer­son, Mason and San Juan coun­ties were approved on Sat­ur­day, May 23rd, to move into Phase II of Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s “Safe Start” plan. They join four­teen oth­er coun­ties in Phase II.

Mean­while, a Tim Eyman hyped demon­stra­tion against Gov­er­nor Inslee’s stay home, stay healthy orders — which report­ed­ly drew around four hun­dred par­tic­i­pants — took place at the Yaki­ma Speed­way.

As not­ed in the state’s COVID-19 — Risk Assess­ment Dash­board, more than one third of new cas­es are hap­pen­ing in Yaki­ma Coun­ty.

Almost 20% of new cas­es are from fruit-pack­­ing ware­hous­es.

Lack of PPE on the job has ini­ti­at­ed work actions, which have devel­oped into full-blown strikes over a num­ber of issues left unre­solved over the years.

Contro­ver­sy regard­ing home­less sweeps in var­i­ous neigh­bor­hoods in Seat­tle since the start of the pan­dem­ic final­ly being addressed by their City Coun­cil.

Funds will no longer be avail­able to clear camps that don’t rep­re­sent an “active” health risk, and the city will be pro­vid­ing show­er trail­ers, portable toi­lets and hand-wash­ing sta­tions across the city to improve access to hygiene.

King Coun­ty Metro is con­sid­er­ing adopt­ing a reser­va­tion sys­tem to man­age rid­er access to bus­es that are part of its Night Owl ser­vice between 1 AM and 5 AM, in order to ensure best use of exist­ing resources.

Rid­er­ship has declined sig­nif­i­cant­ly since the onset of the pan­dem­ic.

Com­pared to last year, depend­ing on the day of the week, esti­mat­ed rid­er­ship in the morn­ings has dropped 75–84%, mid­day and evening rid­er­ship has dropped 60–67%, and late-night to ear­ly morn­ing rid­er­ship is down an esti­mat­ed 53–57%.

The Wash­ing­ton State Depart­ment of Labor and Indus­tries has approved a set of rules effec­tive start­ing May 26th which are meant to cite and fine busi­ness­es vio­lat­ing the stay home, stay healthy orders by cre­at­ing an unsafe work­place.

Final­ly, right wing activists are up in arms a month after the Wash­ing­ton State Supreme Court, in a 5–4 vote on April 23rd, denied a peti­tion from Colum­bia Legal Ser­vices demand­ing the ear­ly release of thou­sands of inmates with­in Wash­ing­ton state pris­ons to pro­tect them from falling vic­tim to COVID-19 due to con­di­tions with­in the facil­i­ties, most espe­cial­ly over­crowd­ing.

Because the peti­tion’s con­di­tions for release were sole­ly focused on the health, age and time towards com­ple­tion of sen­tence of the pris­on­ers, if accept­ed as pre­sent­ed, the peti­tion could have poten­tial­ly released vio­lent pris­on­ers, although it’s very like­ly that there would have been excep­tions placed on an accept­ed form of the peti­tion that would ensure vio­lent crim­i­nals remained in cus­tody.

State Supreme Court jus­tices Mon­­toya-Lewis, Gon­za­lez, McCloud and Yu vot­ed in favor of grant­i­ng relief sought by the peti­tion. Jus­tice Mon­­toya-Lewis was appoint­ed by Gov­er­nor Inslee to the state Supreme Court in Decem­ber of 2019 and is run­ning for elec­tion to the seat in her own right this year.

This deci­sion did not have an effect on the over three hun­dred pris­on­ers released by Gov­er­nor Inslee on April 16th, pos­si­bly to be expand­ed to over 1,100 over time, due to health con­cerns.

Ore­gon

The State Supreme Court has decreed thay Bak­er Coun­ty Cir­cuit Judge Matthew Shirt­cliff either vacate his recent rul­ing (which has been stayed for the moment), or more com­plete­ly explain his rul­ing and give both the church­es involved in the suit and the state the abil­i­ty to present argu­ments that but­tress their cas­es.

Shirt­cliff had opined last week that Brown’s order was invalid.

Brown’s stay at home order has been extend­ed to July 6th, but most coun­ties are present­ly in Phase I of the state’s “Build­ing a Safe & Strong Ore­gon” plan.

Some con­fu­sion seems to exist regard­ing Port­land’s pan­dem­ic-era response to home­less­ness. Jon­ny Lewis, with the city’s Home­less­ness and Urban Camp­ing Impact Reduc­tion Pro­gram, said on May 19th that they would con­tin­ue to clear camps that pose the great­est pub­lic health risk, but that in gen­er­al peo­ple and their prop­er­ty would not be moved. How­ev­er, on May 21st, sweeps took place in the Old Town and Chi­na­town dis­tricts of the city, exac­er­bat­ing fears.

Ida­ho

Gov­er­nor Brad Lit­tle ini­ti­at­ed the sec­ond stage of a four-stage reopen­ing of the state on May 16th. On Fri­day the 22nd, Lit­tle and the Depart­ment of Health and Wel­fare’s Elke Shaw-Tul­loch joined togeth­er at a press con­fer­ence to estab­lish new plans to increase test­ing and attempt to inte­grate it with improved lev­els of con­tact trac­ing, phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing and per­son­al hygiene to be effec­tive.

Notable is that anti­body test­ing will have a  lim­it­ed role in this new process.

There were also issues with the state Depart­ment of Health and Wel­fare track­ing web­site the next day. A num­ber of cas­es were miss­ing, tab­u­lat­ed incor­rect­ly or declared in the incor­rect coun­ty of ori­gin. Ida­ho offi­cials have been try­ing to resolve those issues and set yes­ter­day as their tar­get date for get­ting them fixed.

The hard, cold numbers

Wash­ing­ton state has had 21,422 cas­es and 1,093 attrib­ut­able deaths.

335,801 peo­ple have been test­ed.

Ore­gon has had 4,038 cas­es and 148 attrib­ut­able deaths.

116,992 peo­ple have been test­ed.

Ida­ho has had 2,731 cas­es and 82 attrib­ut­able deaths.

43,629 peo­ple have been test­ed.

British Colum­bia has had 2,550 cas­es and 162 attrib­ut­able deaths.

138,043 peo­ple have been test­ed.

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

Let’s think + act beyond presidential politics to build a progressive agenda for America

Edi­tor’s Note: We are pleased today to wel­come our friend Shasti Con­rad to the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate to share her thoughts on chart­ing a path for­ward in the wake of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s 2020 nom­i­nat­ing sea­son. Shasti is the first woman of col­or to serve as the Chair of the Mar­tin Luther King Junior Coun­ty Democ­rats. She has worked for three Nobel Lau­re­ates and for Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma and Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders over the last four pres­i­den­tial cam­paign cycles. Most recent­ly, she was the Nation­al Direc­tor of Sur­ro­gates for the Bernie 2020 cam­paign.

In the after­math of Bernie Sanders sus­pend­ing his sec­ond pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, the crush of autop­sy reports has been over­whelm­ing. What went wrong? What does it mean for the pro­gres­sive move­ment? Where do we go from here?

I’ve been sur­prised and at times deeply dis­ap­point­ed by many of the twists and turns this time around. I did not expect to be where we are now, and I don’t think any can­di­date or seri­ous pun­dit pre­dict­ed the road we trav­eled to get here.

I can­not say with absolute cer­tain­ty where we are head­ed.

Still, as some­one whose first polit­i­cal job was with Vice Pres­i­dent Biden, fol­lowed by a West Wing role in the Oba­ma White House and two pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns with Bernie Sanders, when I think about the future, I bring all these expe­ri­ences to bear.

Through­out the cur­rent cycle, poll after poll has shown broad and often over­whelm­ing sup­port for the poli­cies and ideas Bernie cham­pi­oned: A Green New Deal. Can­celling stu­dent debt. Health­care as a right for all. Once writ­ten off as pipe dreams, these are ideals near­ly all of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls embraced in part, if not entire­ly, and that Democ­rats in local and state pri­maries across the coun­try, in red states and blue, hold cen­tral to their cam­paigns.

The par­ty has moved to the left, and so many jus­ti­fi­ably cred­it Sen­a­tor Sanders and mil­lions of orga­niz­ers across the coun­try for the change.

This year should have been the year the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty nom­i­nat­ed a bold pro­gres­sive leader to be the next Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States.

But here we are. In the mid­dle of a pan­dem­ic, try­ing to get young peo­ple, women, and peo­ple of col­or to ral­ly around Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden.

If any­thing, the pan­dem­ic is show­ing us how pro­gres­sive poli­cies are need­ed in times of crises and hard­ship. Wouldn’t you feel bet­ter know­ing that your health­care wasn’t tied to employ­ment and that we had a sol­id safe­ty net in place to get us through these times? As a mil­len­ni­al, what a dif­fer­ence life would be with­out stu­dent debt hang­ing over­head and block­ing any chance of build­ing a nest egg to pre­pare for uncer­tain peri­ods like this. After recent stim­u­lus checks, Uni­ver­sal Basic Income does not seem quite so out­landish an idea any­more, does it?

And some­how “they” found a way to send that mon­ey pret­ty quick­ly, espe­cial­ly once the Nar­­cis­­sist-in-Chief could put his name on those checks.

Mil­lions of Amer­i­cans – a major­i­ty in most cas­es – agree with us that pro­gres­sive poli­cies make sense. NPI’s own research has demon­strat­ed this.

More Amer­i­cans today embrace pro­gres­sive poli­cies as the best path to a more per­fect union. Still, the result of our cam­paign and of pro­gres­sive cam­paigns of the past sug­gest oth­er­wise. I believe that on the ques­tion of why pro­gres­sives have not had greater elec­toral suc­cess is not a ques­tion of pol­i­cy, but on how we orga­nize and grow. It is the inter­nal dynam­ics of how we all move togeth­er that we have to work through before we can win the high­est office in the land.

I have also seen how the Demo­c­ra­t­ic estab­lish­ment often views pro­gres­sives as the kids who will even­tu­al­ly learn that the world sim­ply does not work the way they hoped it would. There is a sense of want­i­ng to tamp down the hope­ful­ness and ide­al­ism that is at the core of poli­cies that aim to cre­ate a bet­ter world for the most mar­gin­al­ized. At one time, those of us work­ing for Oba­ma were con­sid­ered the upstart pro­gres­sives who were too young to ‘get it’ and would nev­er win.

But now those kids have grown up and are in a posi­tion to be the lead­ers shap­ing the agen­da. We can hold on to the hope and ide­al­ism Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma instilled in us, or we can react to set­backs by with­draw­ing from activism.

We must do what we can to stay cen­tral to the dis­cus­sion and push the agen­da.

I believe that the roadmap ahead for pro­gres­sives must be tiered and viewed in terms of prag­mat­ic action and philo­soph­i­cal long-term solu­tions.

Tier 1: Imme­di­ate actions for 2020 cam­paign cycle

First, pro­gres­sive activists need to work col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly togeth­er to ensure that we get enough del­e­gates to ensure as pro­gres­sive a plat­form as pos­si­ble, both nation­al­ly and with­in every state’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty.

Sec­ond, we need to ral­ly around Eliz­a­beth War­ren for Vice Pres­i­dent. We need a pro­gres­sive vice pres­i­dent and War­ren is best posi­tioned to be that per­son. This will require sup­port­ers of oth­er can­di­dates to put their per­son­al alle­giances aside, ral­ly around the pro­gres­sive plat­form, and make it clear that we will not sim­ply go along with a neolib­er­al agen­da that leaves out the most mar­gin­al­ized.

I know that many pro­gres­sive vot­ers would pre­fer a dif­fer­ent result. If you got trolled on Twit­ter by some­one from a dif­fer­ent cam­paign, I under­stand. It was painful to work as pos­i­tive­ly as pos­si­ble for a can­di­date and be reduced to a prob­lem­at­ic label. But we need to set those feel­ings aside and ral­ly for the pro­gres­sive who has the best shot at work­ing with­in the sys­tem to unrig it.

War­ren fought her way through resis­tance dur­ing the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion and she is our best shot at get­ting some­one who will stand up for the pro­gres­sive plat­form with­in a Biden Admin­is­tra­tion. Biden has com­mit­ted to a female run­ning mate and the oth­er prob­a­ble choic­es are unlike­ly to ful­ly sup­port pro­gres­sive poli­cies. We will not get all that we want, but we will have a bet­ter chance at get­ting some.

Third, we must move past the divides of the past and think of our­selves as the forty mil­lion-plus Amer­i­cans who have rec­og­nized that the cur­rent sys­tem does not work for the dis­ad­van­taged. Not me, us. And it is a big us.

I gen­uine­ly believe that we are the major­i­ty, but our abil­i­ty to work togeth­er and play the game so that we win has left a lot to be desired.

Peo­ple who are com­fort­able can and do treat pol­i­tics as a game, and we must fight some of this on their terms in order to make progress.

Last­ly, do not take your ball and go home. Every time we give into despair about the bat­tles we’ve lost and walk away, we lose ground. This work has nev­er been easy. Ask any­one who has ever had to fight for their rights. Many peo­ple who start­ed the work to end slav­ery, women’s suf­frage, and the civ­il rights move­ment didn’t live long enough to reap the ben­e­fits from vic­to­ry, but still they fought. This work is long and ardu­ous. But we have to stay engaged to cre­ate change.

Tier 2: Longer Term Adjust­ments Need­ed

Reframe to win

As 2020 wore on, I real­ized that many Democ­ratic vot­ers and par­ty lead­ers did not want a polit­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion or swift, bold change. They want­ed a return to nor­mal­cy, of life before Trump. A life where they gen­er­al­ly trust­ed their gov­ern­ment and, per­haps, did not have to pay atten­tion. They could rest in the com­fort of their sin­­gle-fam­i­­ly homes and jobs that cov­ered them just enough to not be in pover­ty.

The Bernie Sanders cam­paign fol­lowed a mod­el of many oth­er rev­o­lu­tion­ary lead­ers by try­ing to cre­ate class sol­i­dar­i­ty amongst the 99%.

If we could all see how the bil­lion­aires were so deeply cor­rupt, and this cor­rup­tion affect­ed every­one else’s lives, per­haps we could tru­ly fight to make the gov­ern­ment more rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the rest of Amer­i­ca and lev­el the field against pri­vate inter­ests. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, human psy­chol­o­gy does not work like that.

We are aspi­ra­tional by nature, and we want to believe that we belong with the class that is right ahead of ours… the myth of upward mobil­i­ty. If you have a house with two bed­rooms and one car, you like­ly think you are just around the cor­ner from your friend who has a house with three bed­rooms and two cars.

You are sure he’s very nice, but can’t pos­si­bly be bet­ter than you, and if you just get your lucky break then you too can have what they have.

Van Jones said at one point that peo­ple in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic estab­lish­ment (and many Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers) want to get back to “nor­mal,” while pro­gres­sives look at that “nor­mal” – the way things have been – as a key part of the prob­lem.

Addi­tion­al­ly, we should rethink the lan­guage we use in describ­ing our move­ment. For many Amer­i­cans, the word rev­o­lu­tion evokes fear and destruc­tion.

Rev­o­lu­tions are rarely peace­ful, and pow­er is almost nev­er giv­en eas­i­ly to those demand­ing it. In fact, when you are accus­tomed to priv­i­lege, even equal­i­ty can feel like oppres­sion. I recent­ly fin­ished watch­ing the series, “The Amer­i­cans,” which fol­lows KGB spies in Amer­i­ca dur­ing the 1980s.

As a 1980s baby, I did not have the same cul­tur­al touch­points as folks who lived through the Cold War and who remem­ber the sto­ries of Russia’s bread­lines.

The brouha­ha over Bernie’s state­ment about Cuba seemed strange to me, because I am not con­nect­ed to those sto­ries of rev­o­lu­tion in Cuba.

But for oth­er gen­er­a­tions, and com­mu­ni­ties like Cuban-Amer­i­­cans in Flori­da, rev­o­lu­tions are not beau­ti­ful, fun ideas. They are ter­ri­fy­ing bat­tles over ide­ol­o­gy that leave a lot of destruc­tion behind. I under­stand bet­ter, now, how the gen­er­a­tions before mine would balk at a rev­o­lu­tion.

I think the bet­ter term to lead with is trans­for­ma­tion.

I believe that we can trans­form this coun­try into one that is about mutu­al sup­port, col­lab­o­ra­tion, and inno­va­tion. One where we look out for one anoth­er.

One that is free from cap­i­tal­is­tic greed and abuse.

We often look for heroes, there­fore since the indus­tri­al era, we have looked at busi­ness­men (and I do mean men) as the keys to soci­ety work­ing.

Carnegie, Rock­e­feller, Gates: we are so blessed to have them. They are smarter than us, they work hard­er than us, they deserve their mon­ey.

Then they throw some of their earn­ings they make from our labor to good caus­es, and we lift them up as the epit­o­me of Amer­i­can Great­ness.

Lis­ten­ing to com­men­ta­tors on CNN and MSNBC peri­od­i­cal­ly bemoan­ing why there would be any need to hate bil­lion­aires is all you real­ly need to know about our addic­tion to want­i­ng to keep them on their pedestals.

In a post-COVID-19 era, we have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to uplift those who choose to help oth­ers, such as front­line work­ers. In our nar­ra­tives, we can call them heroes, but we must also make sure that our poli­cies reflect the val­ue we place in them.

Grow­ing up, I was taught the creed: “The first go last, the last go first.” It does not mat­ter what you have, if there are peo­ple who have less than you, it is your job to fight for them. We do this work to use our priv­i­lege to help the most mar­gin­al­ized. Until that sen­ti­ment is more com­mon­ly felt by mid­dle income fam­i­lies, mak­ing them see their futures tied in with the poor, we’ll nev­er be able to have the lev­el of sol­i­dar­i­ty need­ed to wrest con­trol from the wealthy and pow­er­ful.

Uplift and ampli­fy women of col­or lead­ers

For the last four years, I have had to fight to be seen with­in the Bernie Sanders move­ment as a woman of col­or. Exter­nal­ly, I found myself white­washed by big media; inter­nal­ly, I was not always val­ued or lis­tened to.

The loud white men of the move­ment call­ing for puri­ty tests and send­ing snake emo­jis to Eliz­a­beth War­ren made it hard for con­sen­sus build­ing. An inabil­i­ty to com­pro­mise and work with peo­ple on the polit­i­cal spec­trum may give you the moral high ground, but it does not leave much room for the sus­tain­able changes that are need­ed to build a long-term move­ment for insti­tu­tion­al changes.

On the Bernie cam­paign, many of our strongest sur­ro­gates were women of col­or: State Sen­a­tor Nina Turn­er and Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Alexan­dria Oca­­sio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashi­da Tlaib and Prami­la Jaya­pal, to name a few.

Pramila Jayapal speaking at a Sanders campaign event

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaya­pal speak­ing at a Bernie 2020 event (Pho­to: Ruairi Vaughan/NPI)

They were able to ener­gize the base and cred­i­bly speak to the impor­tance of the inter­sec­tion­al­i­ty of the pro­gres­sive move­ment.

Women of col­or have had to learn how to find the right mes­sag­ing to get done what needs to get done. They have had to open doors that have long been closed. Plat­form­ing and cen­ter­ing women of col­or needs to hap­pen for the pro­gres­sive move­ment to grow into the places it needs to suc­ceed.

Hav­ing observed how remark­able lead­ers oper­ate in rooms of pow­er, I sin­cere­ly believe that in Amer­i­ca, one’s race and gen­der inform how you learn to han­dle your­self. If you have always been in the major­i­ty group, you’re not chal­lenged as often to have to mod­er­ate your­self to make oth­ers feel com­fort­able.

You are allowed to be ful­ly who you are.

You are often or com­plete­ly allowed to state your thoughts and opin­ions with­out chal­lenge. You do not have to learn that you have to com­pro­mise to be heard.

As a woman of col­or, I have to eval­u­ate the social and pow­er dynam­ics in every major room I walk into. Even though I have learned to stay true to myself, I have had to devel­op the skills to lis­ten, to com­pro­mise and to com­mu­ni­cate effec­tive­ly to a diverse audi­ence that may not come from my back­ground.

For decades, the end­less work of adjust­ment has been exhaust­ing and has still too often kept me on the side­lines.

Now, as the cul­ture shifts, par­a­digms are start­ing to change. The skills to lis­ten, adapt mes­sag­ing to the spe­cif­ic moment and to work col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly across diverse per­spec­tives has changed from a defen­sive skill into a major asset.

Being able to build a diverse coali­tion and work along­side peo­ple whose val­ues are sim­i­lar, but whose tac­tics might not be the same, will be essen­tial for pro­gres­sives to build leg­isla­tive major­i­ties and defend those leg­isla­tive majori­ties.

We are not always com­fort­able with mov­ing from being the under­dog to being the leader of the pack, but we will have to learn how to include those who we may not com­plete­ly agree with, in order to grow the move­ment. I believe par­tic­u­lar­ly that women of col­or under­stand how to nav­i­gate a long­shot sta­tus to being at the table, and they deserve more oppor­tu­ni­ties to do so. As Shirley Chisolm said, “If they won’t give you a seat at the table, bring a fold­ing chair!”

Cel­e­brate incre­men­tal vic­to­ries, keep fight­ing for trans­for­ma­tive change

Pro­gres­sive and Demo­c­ra­t­ic activists get too spun around the axle regard­ing pres­i­den­tial pol­i­tics. Every four years, as if we were going all in on the Olympics, we put in every­thing we’ve got to win the big seat. Then, exhaust­ed, many of us lose faith, and wait to fall in love all over again in anoth­er four years.

Mean­while, the Repub­li­cans keep plow­ing through for the downbal­lot races.

As a result, they now con­trol the major­i­ty of state leg­is­la­tures, and they use their major­i­ty there and in the Sen­ate to pack as many friend­ly judges as they can into both the fed­er­al and state court sys­tems. So many of us get caught off guard every time we hear these sta­tis­tics, but it has been true for decades.

We need to have all hands on deck to work to defeat not just Don­ald Trump, but the Repub­li­can ide­ol­o­gy and chaos that helped to elect Don­ald Trump.

We need to win back the Sen­ate and we need to reclaim state leg­is­la­tures.

Note the dif­fer­ence between how Repub­li­can ver­sus Demo­c­ra­t­ic mem­bers of Con­gress, Repub­li­can ver­sus Demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nors, and Repub­li­can ver­sus Demo­c­ra­t­ic state leg­is­la­tures regard the lives of those on the front­line of the present pan­dem­ic and look at who they finan­cial­ly sup­port.

There is no clear­er exam­ple of why we must fight for these seats of pow­er.

We need to be build­ing up pro­gres­sive lead­ers for the next gen­er­a­tion, help­ing them to get elect­ed to state leg­is­la­tures, city coun­cil seats, into state and Fed­er­al judge­ships and as coun­ty pros­e­cu­tors. “Not me, us” has to out­live any one leader.

I believe that there is a home for the forty mil­lion peo­ple who vot­ed for pro­gres­sive can­di­dates this cycle and for the major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans who want health­care to be avail­able to every­one as a human right, fed­er­al gun safe­ty leg­is­la­tion, a Green New Deal, and a gov­ern­ment that is built of, by and for the peo­ple. We just have to build it togeth­er, cel­e­brate the vic­to­ries, learn from the defeats to rise above and win next time, and keep fight­ing for tru­ly trans­for­ma­tion­al sys­temic change!

Monday, May 25th, 2020

Massive unemployment fraud reminds us that online signature gathering is a terrible idea

As Wash­ing­ton State geared up to respond to the eco­nom­ic rever­ber­a­tions of Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s stay home, stay healthy orders ear­li­er this spring, a Niger­ian fraud ring dubbed “Scat­tered Canary” by the secu­ri­ty com­mu­ni­ty saw an oppor­tu­ni­ty to make out like ban­dits. Armed with the spoils of numer­ous data breach­es, they insti­gat­ed a cyber heist, fil­ing tons of fraud­u­lent unem­ploy­ment claims with Wash­ing­ton State’s Employ­ment Secu­ri­ty Depart­ment (ESD).

We don’t yet know how much they stole, but it’s in the hun­dreds of mil­lions.

“To some degree, Wash­ing­ton and its work­ers are the lat­est casu­al­ties in an era of ris­ing iden­ti­ty theft,” report­ed The Seat­tle Times in a sto­ry on the theft.

“Fil­ing for unem­ploy­ment insur­ance in Wash­ing­ton and many states requires the sort of per­son­al infor­ma­tion — Social Secu­ri­ty num­bers, birth dates, address­es — that is depress­ing­ly easy to steal or buy on the dark web, thanks to mas­sive data breach­es such as the 2017 attack on cred­it report­ing agency Equifax that allowed access to records of more than 145 mil­lion indi­vid­u­als.”

“Indeed, offi­cials at ESD and at WaT­e­ch, the agency that man­ages the sys­tem the state uses to authen­ti­cate users for ESD and oth­er state agen­cies, have repeat­ed­ly insist­ed that when thieves have enough per­son­al infor­ma­tion, it’s dif­fi­cult to stop peo­ple from fil­ing fraud­u­lent claims with­out also obstruct­ing legit­i­mate fil­ers,” the Times sto­ry (by Jim Brun­ner, Paul Roberts, and Patrick Mal­one) went on to explain.

ESD and WaT­e­ch offi­cials are absolute­ly right.

Ever heard the adage “On the Inter­net, nobody knows you’re a dog?”

This is the dilem­ma that Wash­ing­ton State offi­cials are wrestling with.

Wash­ing­to­ni­ans under­stand­ably like the ease and con­ve­nience of doing busi­ness online — includ­ing with their gov­ern­ment, which belongs to them — but online sys­tems are unfor­tu­nate­ly high­ly sus­cep­ti­ble to fraud. It’s triv­ial to mas­quer­ade as some­one else if you have their per­son­al iden­ti­fy­ing infor­ma­tion. Triv­ial.

The bad guys know it’s hard for the author­i­ties to sort out legit­i­mate claims from ille­git­i­mate ones with­out mak­ing every­one jump through addi­tion­al hoops, which almost defeats the pur­pose of offer­ing peo­ple the abil­i­ty to file for unem­ploy­ment online. They used that knowl­edge to scam Wash­ing­to­ni­ans on a large scale.

On the Inter­net, nobody knows you’re a sophis­ti­cat­ed Niger­ian fraud­ster.

Pub­lic agen­cies aren’t the only enti­ties that are grap­pling with the twin prob­lems of iden­ti­ty theft and cyber­crime. So are com­pa­nies of all sizes in the pri­vate sec­tor. Fraud in ecom­merce is also a huge and grow­ing prob­lem… a prob­lem that has large­ly been left to banks and mer­chants to man­age as a cost of doing busi­ness.

We’ve all become accus­tomed to zero fraud pro­tec­tion guar­an­tees. Spot a fraud­u­lent charge on your cred­it card state­ment? No prob­lem, just call the bank (or cred­it union) and report it. The charge will be reversed, pron­to, and the card re-issued at no cost. At no direct cost to you, that is.

We may have decid­ed as a soci­ety to tol­er­ate a lot of fraud when it comes to our eco­nom­ic activ­i­ties, but that mod­el sim­ply does not work for elec­tions.

That’s why, as I wrote sev­er­al weeks ago, we need to emphat­i­cal­ly reject all attempts to allow online sig­na­ture gath­er­ing.

This dis­turb­ing case of cyber fraud ought to serve as a reminder of how dif­fi­cult it is to val­i­date some­one’s iden­ti­ty over the Inter­net. And val­i­dat­ing iden­ti­ty is the crit­i­cal step in deter­min­ing whether a mea­sure has earned the req­ui­site sup­port from vot­ers need­ed to qual­i­fy for place­ment on the bal­lot.

Cur­rent law (in Wash­ing­ton State and in most oth­er places) allows peti­tion­ing on paper only. Vot­ers must phys­i­cal­ly sign a peti­tion for their sig­na­ture to count.

That’s the way it needs to stay.

NPI knows of sev­er­al law­suits in which plain­tiffs are present­ly ask­ing judges to issue orders decree­ing that sig­na­ture gath­er­ing should be able to take place online due to the pan­dem­ic. These requests should be uni­form­ly denied. This pan­dem­ic must not be the pre­text for the fur­ther destruc­tion of pub­lic con­fi­dence in elec­tions.

NPI also knows of non­prof­its that are claim­ing to have devel­oped tech­nol­o­gy that can safe­ly facil­i­tate online sig­na­ture gath­er­ing… like Map­Light.

No non­prof­it mak­ing such claims is to be trust­ed.

The Inter­net is unques­tion­ably use­ful for many things, but it is not an appro­pri­ate medi­um for sig­na­ture gath­er­ing. Sig­na­ture fraud (on paper peti­tions) is already a prob­lem. The last thing any­one who cares about the integri­ty of our democ­ra­cy should want to do is make that prob­lem worse by a fac­tor of a zil­lion… which is exact­ly what would hap­pen if online sig­na­ture gath­er­ing were to be per­mit­ted.

Sunday, May 24th, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (May 18th-22nd)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, May 22nd, 2020.

The House was in recess.

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

CONFIRMING RATCLIFFE AS INTELLIGENCE CHIEF: On a par­ty-line vote of 49 for and 44 against, the Sen­ate on May 21st con­firmed Rep­re­sen­ta­tive John L. Rat­cliffe, R‑Texas, as the nation’s top intel­li­gence offi­cial.

He becomes the sixth direc­tor of nation­al intel­li­gence (DNI) since the office was cre­at­ed after 911 to improve coor­di­na­tion among the sev­en­teen U.S. civil­ian and mil­i­tary intel­li­gence agen­cies. Rat­cliffe, 54, ardent­ly defend­ed Don­ald Trump dur­ing House impeach­ment hear­ings last year, prompt­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tors to ques­tion whether he would inde­pen­dent­ly over­look the Amer­i­can spy appa­ra­tus or, instead, shape intel­li­gence to please the White House.

Repub­li­cans said his mem­ber­ship on the House Select Com­mit­tee on Intel­li­gence and back­ground as a fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor qual­i­fy him to become DNI, and they point­ed to his pledge of inde­pen­dence dur­ing Sen­ate con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings.

Dur­ing brief debate before the con­fir­ma­tion vote, no Repub­li­can sup­port­er cit­ed Rat­clif­fe’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions for the posi­tion.

Charles Grass­ley, R‑Iowa, said: “With this new posi­tion comes great respon­si­bil­i­ty. [Rat­cliffe] will have tremen­dous pow­er to do good and to be trans­par­ent. I would like to remind [him][that]transparency brings account­abil­i­ty, and the pub­lic’s busi­ness ought to be pub­lic. In con­clu­sion, please, Con­gress­man Rat­cliffe and, please, the greater intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, remem­ber you were cre­at­ed by statute, but Con­gress was cre­at­ed by the Con­sti­tu­tion.”

Our own Ron Wyden, D‑Oregon, said: “With Don­ald Trump as pres­i­dent and William Barr as attor­ney gen­er­al, the lead­er­ship of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty is one of democ­ra­cy’s last lines of defense. That is why the Amer­i­can peo­ple need a [DNI] who under­stands how the law pro­tects their rights.… Noth­ing that John Rat­cliffe has said dur­ing his con­fir­ma­tion process or through­out his career pro­vides a glim­mer of hope that he is a per­son who would speak truth to pow­er and stand up for the rights of Amer­i­cans.”

A yes vote was to con­firm the nom­i­nee.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Nay (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell

Not Vot­ing (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray

Cas­ca­dia total: 2 aye votes, 3 nay votes, 1 not vot­ing

CONFIRMING TRAINOR AS ELECTION COMMISSIONER: On a par­ty-line vote of 49 for and 43 against, the Sen­ate on May 19th con­firmed James E. Train­or III of Austin, Texas, for a seat on the Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion.

The FEC is a post-Water­gate pan­el charged with enforc­ing cam­paign-finance laws in fed­er­al con­tests. It pub­lish­es can­di­dates’ cam­paign finance data, enforces rules for cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions and spend­ing and super­vis­es the pub­lic fund­ing of pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. An attor­ney spe­cial­iz­ing in elec­tion law, Train­or advised Don­ald Trump’s 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. He becomes the fourth mem­ber of the six-mem­ber FEC, giv­ing it a quo­rum for con­duct­ing busi­ness for the first time since late August. There was no Sen­ate floor debate on Train­or’s nom­i­na­tion.

A yes vote was to con­firm the nom­i­nee.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell

Cas­ca­dia total: 2 aye votes, 4 nay votes

Key votes ahead

The House will vote in the week of May 25th on extend­ing the For­eign Intel­li­gence Sur­veil­lance Act, while the Sen­ate will be in recess.

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

© 2020 Thomas Vot­ing Reports.

Saturday, May 23rd, 2020

The Pandemic is Personal: Ed Hodapp on staying at home in America’s wealthiest city

Editor’s note: Wel­come to The Pan­dem­ic is Per­son­al, a week­ly series focus­ing on on how the nov­el coro­n­avirus (SARS-CoV­‑2) is affect­ing the every­day lives of peo­ple through­out the Pacif­ic North­west. We hope to enlight­en you and reflect on what you and oth­ers are address­ing as this pan­dem­ic runs its course.

If you have a sto­ry to tell, please feel free to con­tact us.

Ed Hodapp, who lives in Sam­mamish, has worked in the tech­nol­o­gy and soft­ware indus­tries for over forty years. He enjoys sci­ence, math and his­to­ry, and has been involved in pol­i­tics since 1984, when he was a Hart vol­un­teer.

Recent­ly, I learned that I live in the wealth­i­est city in Amer­i­ca based on medi­an income. So how is sur­viv­ing the crud in a place like this, for a per­son like me?

(By the way, I call COVID-19 the crud; you may have oth­er names, but I have heard so many that I just stick with the crud.)

And as we will learn, for an incred­i­bly small thing that we know so much about struc­tural­ly, we are just learn­ing to appre­ci­ate the many facets of how the crud uses our cells to attack us. So some­thing gener­ic seems appro­pri­ate.

I have many advan­tages over so many oth­ers, most­ly not earned, and I live in a nice neigh­bor­hood filled with peo­ple in about the same posi­tion, more or less.

(Nev­er trust a per­son who claims to have earned a posi­tion in a place like this. Luck and lar­ce­ny are the typ­i­cal tick­ets for entry here.)

Luck­i­ly for me, I was just lucky. I was born at a time when I could expect low cost edu­ca­tion; I enjoyed math­e­mat­ics and physics; and I fell in love with pro­gram­ming com­put­ers. I was born into a mid­dle class, blue col­lar fam­i­ly, when those still exist­ed, and I did­n’t want for any­thing impor­tant grow­ing up.

Even when I had to work hard and spend many hours work­ing, it was always fun for me. So I can sit here after more than six­ty years on this earth, and be grate­ful for being so incred­i­bly lucky.

I guess it is also rel­e­vant to tell you some per­ti­nent facts regard­ing the crud and my house­hold. We are three — myself, my wife, and my niece. Each of us check off at least one or more box­es on the health con­di­tions that can make the crud lethal, so we are very con­cerned not to catch it. But as we learn more about our com­mon ene­my, per­haps oth­ers should be very con­cerned as well.

I am over six­ty, and have dia­betes, high blood pres­sure, and have two defects in my coro­nary arter­ies that I was born with. My wife is over six­ty-five, suf­fers from asth­ma, and some odd autoim­mune issues that puz­zled the doc­tors at Stan­ford back when we lived in the Bay Area. Our niece suf­fers from hypothy­roidism and seems to also have some odd autoim­mune issues.

The crud comes to us

The crud seeped into our life like some kind of slow­ly devel­op­ing night­mare.

There were reports from Chi­na about a SARS-like dis­ease in a place called Wuhan. As seems com­mon with so many of my friends, I was focused on try­ing to get my expen­sive health­care cov­er­age to do the things that they were sup­posed to be doing. I was­n’t focused on Wuhan. Because of changes in employ­ment, and my wife join­ing Medicare, every­thing was a mess. We had some sig­nif­i­cant bills from a (thank­ful­ly!) mild stroke my wife suf­fered in Sep­tem­ber, and the strug­gle to get bills paid by the var­i­ous insur­ance com­pa­nies is still ongo­ing.

We may be well off com­pared to most, but we are cer­tain­ly not in any posi­tion to pay off hos­pi­tal bills with­out seri­ous pain. So I was not real­ly pay­ing atten­tion.

I read a report about a doc­tor in Wuhan who tried to spread the word about this new dis­ease and had been sup­pressed in turn by gov­ern­ment offi­cials.

It seemed it might be much worse than orig­i­nal­ly described. That, unlike SARS, it was not being con­tained, and was spread­ing direct­ly between peo­ple. I decid­ed that it would be a good time to add to some of the earth­quake sup­plies that I was already plan­ning to get some­day. I start­ed read­ing more arti­cles about the crud.

Then came the news that a per­son had car­ried the crud from Chi­na to our area. This was bad, but still seemed man­age­able.

But the news that a high school stu­dent in Kirk­land, who had not trav­eled any­where, and did­n’t know any­one who had, some­how had con­tract­ed the crud, was dev­as­tat­ing. It was here in our com­mu­ni­ty, and spread­ing.

Sud­den­ly those high­er num­bers of deaths for old­er peo­ple and peo­ple with under­ly­ing health con­di­tions became very impor­tant.

It was all so con­fusing and vague.

Noth­ing was cer­tain, but I knew we would have to pre­pare to make sig­nif­i­cant changes in our lifestyle and told my fam­i­ly so.

I knew that these would be hard for my wife and my niece.

Both are used to going out of the house fre­quent­ly. The stroke had made my wife more home-bound than before, but my niece had the ener­gy of the young and many local friends. My niece was also tak­ing class­es at Lake Wash­ing­ton Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy to pre­pare to enter a nurs­ing pro­gram.

Some of her friends were already in the that nurs­ing pro­gram.

Some had been, as part of the pro­gram, to the now infa­mous Life Care Cen­ter of Kirk­land nurs­ing home. One of the nurs­ing instruc­tors became ill. It was just anoth­er bit of luck that my niece had­n’t applied to the nurs­ing pro­gram yet.

The exec­u­tive in charge of my office decid­ed that any­one with a per­son that was espe­cial­ly vul­ner­a­ble to the crud in their house­hold would be able to work from home. This was before any offi­cial cor­po­rate or gov­ern­ment phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing rules were in place. Again, I was lucky. After a few more trips into the office, I start­ed to work from home exclu­sive­ly.

I usu­al­ly like work­ing from home. I had no idea what kind of adven­ture await­ed me this time though. But the fear of con­tact with infect­ed peo­ple was imme­di­ate­ly reduced. I will always be grate­ful to that exec­u­tive.

Fear, uncer­tain­ty, and doubt

I bought a copy of The Great Influen­za: The Sto­ry of the Dead­liest Pan­dem­ic in His­to­ry, by John M. Bar­ry. It was a fright­en­ing read.

It seems that for all of our tech­nol­o­gy and sci­en­tif­ic advances, we were repeat­ing many of the exact same mis­takes from one hun­dred years ago.

It struck me that the com­mu­ni­ties that did the best at what we are now call­ing phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing had the best out­comes.

And despite all of our exact knowl­edge about the pathogen, we are left just as help­less to prop­er­ly under­stand this nov­el dis­ease.

Just like before, we have had anec­do­tal reports of cures, and just like one hun­dred years ago, qui­nine is one of them. Just like before, we keep doc­u­ment­ing new and alarm­ing ways that the dis­ease may progress, ways that it can attack us, and things that we ini­tial­ly learned that may not be cor­rect.

And where our supe­ri­or knowl­edge should have giv­en us an advan­tage over those one hun­dred years ago, our lead­er­ship and tech­nol­o­gy let us down.

We still lack the abil­i­ty to test for the crud. And per­form ade­quate con­tact trac­ing. And just like before, mass graves are being cre­at­ed in some cas­es to han­dle the num­bers of dead peo­ple. Dif­fer­ent cen­tu­ry, same ol’ stuff.

We were told about the woe­ful­ly inad­e­quate num­bers of ven­ti­la­tors avail­able in our coun­try for a pan­dem­ic of this kind.

Then we learned that unlike oth­er dis­eases where ven­ti­la­tors are used, only 20% to 30% of the peo­ple put on them will live, not the usu­al 50% to 60%.

We learned about oth­er vital organs being attacked; the liv­er, the kid­neys, the diges­tive tract, per­haps the ner­vous sys­tem, even our blood — which appears to clot sud­den­ly, in some cas­es.

We learned that while we were devel­op­ing the crud’s spe­cial form of pneu­mo­nia, our lungs would con­tin­ue to expel car­bon diox­ide, yet slow­ly cease to intake oxy­gen, and that not notic­ing this would result in faster and deep­er breaths that do more dam­age to our lungs. Sud­den­ly, pulse oxime­ters were fly­ing off the shelves.

All of these things height­en the sense of alarm and unease. Social media plat­forms are abuzz with posts about it. How many of you have friends who have caught it?

I have at least one, who has thank­ful­ly recov­ered. One acquain­tance died. The news­pa­pers are full of sto­ries. I now sub­scribe to sev­en news­pa­pers as a result, to get a bet­ter idea of what’s real­ly going on. I am a mem­ber of the Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion for the Advance­ment of Sci­ence (AAAS), so I get print copies of Sci­ence mag­a­zine every week and can search arti­cles online. There is plen­ty of infor­ma­tion to fuel the anx­i­ety about the crud. (Time to search out that DVD of On the Beach…?)

There is one source of arti­fi­cial­ly induced anx­i­ety that is whol­ly unnec­es­sary.

It is the com­plete lack of faith in our nation­al lead­er­ship.

Per­haps even more dis­con­cert­ing than the Trump regime’s incom­pe­tence are the efforts of a group of right wing bil­lion­aires to under­write the activ­i­ties of right wing pro­tes­tors who are try­ing to rein­vig­o­rate the Tea Par­ty move­ment in a des­per­ate attempt to improve Repub­li­cans’ elec­toral chances this autumn.

They talk of a return to nor­mal­cy, but that’s a fan­ta­sy. Mass graves are not nor­mal. We don’t even know how many peo­ple are dying – some states are delib­er­ate­ly down­play­ing or hid­ing deaths like­ly to be from the crud. Trump’s own regime is all but demand­ing that the CDC declare low­er num­bers of deaths from the crud than is real­is­tic. We do know that we have had a large increase in “excess” deaths over the aver­age that would typ­i­cal­ly occur over time.

We have allowed a ter­ri­ble toll of stu­pid con­tra­dic­tions to creep into our soci­ety. This pan­dem­ic has sharp­ened their shad­ows for us.

But for some, they don’t want these things fixed; they want us to break trail through the pan­dem­ic for them, while they go into hid­ing in their under­ground bunkers. After all, they worked hard to cre­ate these stu­pidi­ties.

The new nor­mal

The most notice­able thing about the new nor­mal for me, is that get­ting enough sleep, and being able to con­cen­trate on some­thing with­out being eas­i­ly dis­tract­ed is very dif­fi­cult. Like I said before, I usu­al­ly like to work from home, but now I dis­cov­er that what I real­ly liked about it was that my wife would go to work or go out shop­ping, and my niece would go to school or out with friends.

I was then left won­der­ful­ly alone to focus on the code I was writ­ing, with only the snores of two lit­tle Yorkies to dis­turb me.

Now I have to put foam earplugs in my ears, which does not endear me to any­one else in the house, includ­ing the Yorkies. But despite my earplugs, we all are learn­ing to get along bet­ter. We did­n’t start off that way, but being in such close prox­im­i­ty, with­out relief, has forced us to work hard­er at being nicer to each oth­er.

This is one of the pos­i­tives for our home. It’s not per­fect, but it works.

One of the things about work­ing from home that is affect­ing many peo­ple is the hap­haz­ard and woe­ful­ly unreg­u­lat­ed way that many of us access the inter­net.

The Inter­net is no longer an intrigu­ing new medi­um that is incon­ve­nient to lose access to. It is instead a vital con­nec­tion to the world that is every bit, if not more, vital than the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry tele­phone sys­tem it has been dis­plac­ing.

Our local cable provider is incred­i­bly inept at diag­nos­ing and fix­ing issues in their infra­struc­ture that affects large swaths of their cus­tomers.

We spent over two weeks with flail­ing ser­vice, until in des­per­a­tion, I pinged the CEO on LinkedIn. That got a response. We do not need this added stress and annoy­ance, though. We need an FTC-enforced ser­vice lev­el agree­ment with ISPs, with prop­er penal­ties for fail­ure to per­form.

Since we are all on the crud’s hit list, we decid­ed to avoid going into inte­ri­or spaces out­side of our home if at all pos­si­ble. So far, we have suc­ceed­ed in that.

This means that we have had to resort to the var­i­ous deliv­ery ser­vices to get gro­ceries. As time goes on, this means less and less Ama­zon, and more oth­er ser­vices like Instacart. We also use Cost­co’s home deliv­ery ser­vice.

See’s Can­dies has a pick­up ser­vice, so we can get some sweets, too (we haven’t, but we prob­a­bly will soon). We have some nice sumo oranges com­ing to us.

We are still learn­ing how to order gro­ceries online. We get too much of some things and not enough of oth­ers. We are still too used to going off to our local Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mar­ket for the few things we missed. The time delay between order­ing and deliv­ery takes more dis­ci­pline and plan­ning than we are yet capa­ble of.

It was per­haps a lit­tle fun at first; now it is just anoth­er annoy­ance.

But stay­ing home is a bit tire­some after awhile. I used to vis­it one of my neigh­bors with a suit­able alco­holic bev­er­age in hand, and we could talk about local and nation­al pol­i­tics. Recent­ly, when we had nice weath­er, we decid­ed to meet in my dri­ve­way. We brought our own chairs and booze, and chat­ted away ami­ably for a few hours. Wow. What a dif­fer­ence that made in my mood.

A cou­ple out walk­ing stopped and talked to us, so they were invit­ed to the next gath­er­ing at my neigh­bor’s dri­ve­way. Our wives joined us, and we had three cou­ples chat­ting away like mag­pies. I under­stand that even though we were main­tain­ing more than six feet of sep­a­ra­tion, that this would not be con­sid­ered an essen­tial ser­vice, so any risk is unjus­ti­fied. But we will prob­a­bly do it again.

It is just too much fun, and we try to be very care­ful.

Since we are out­side, it seems less risky than going into a gro­cery store, but then, get­ting food is an essen­tial task.

Where now?

What is next for us? It seems that we are still learn­ing more about the crud, or bet­ter put, the dis­ease that the crud induces in our bod­ies.

Some states are exper­i­ment­ing with relax­ing phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing.

All evi­dence that we have avail­able tells us that these exper­i­ments will end bad­ly, with more peo­ple in ICU rooms, and more peo­ple in mass graves.

I am glad that I do not live in one of those states. I got lucky again.

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

Scramble for the Senate: Can Democrats pick up a seat in Arizona with Mark Kelly?

Although the race for the White House is at the fore­front of atten­tion in the run-up to the gen­er­al elec­tion in Novem­ber, there is more at stake for the coun­try than Don­ald Trump’s re-elec­­­tion. Elec­tions for thir­ty-three seats in the U.S. Sen­ate will be held on the same day, and the Democ­ratic Par­ty once again has a chance to retake con­trol of the cham­ber since los­ing it to Mitch McConnell in 2014.

The impor­tance of the upcom­ing elec­tions was hint­ed at ear­li­er this month by Mitch McConnell’s deci­sion to recon­vene the Sen­ate, in spite of the fact that about half of the Sen­ate is over six­ty-five years old and Wash­ing­ton D.C. is still expe­ri­enc­ing a steady uptick in coro­n­avirus cas­es. The Repub­li­can leadership’s deci­sion to drag sen­a­tors back to the cap­i­tal from across the coun­try – most­ly for the pur­pose of jam­ming through Trump judi­cial and exec­u­tive nom­i­nees – shows that they are wor­ried that the clock is tick­ing down on their time in pow­er.

To wrest back con­trol of the Sen­ate, the Democ­rats need a net gain of either three or four seats, depend­ing on who wins the pres­i­den­cy. The party’s path to vic­to­ry is com­pli­cat­ed, but polls have shown the par­ty’s prospects improv­ing over time.

If the Democ­rats want to win back the Sen­ate, they will need a win the spe­cial elec­tion for Arizona’s junior Sen­ate seat. That’s the race we’ll look at in today’s install­ment of Scram­ble for the Sen­ate :: 2020.

This elec­tion in the Grand Canyon State is rat­ed as a “tossup” by Cook Polit­i­cal Report, but if the Democ­rats don’t win there, they are unlike­ly to win else­where.

The incum­bent Repub­li­can, Martha McSal­ly, is a par­tic­u­lar­ly weak can­di­date.

McSal­ly was defeat­ed in her run for Arizona’s oth­er Sen­ate seat in 2018, los­ing to Demo­c­rat Kyrsten Sine­ma. McSal­ly was the first Repub­li­can to lose a Sen­ate race in Ari­zona since the 1980s, and her defeat was wide­ly blamed on a poor­­­ly-run cam­paign, in which she cozied up to Don­ald Trump despite his low approval rat­ing in the state. Despite the embar­rass­ing defeat, she was appoint­ed to her cur­rent posi­tion by Gov­er­nor Doug Ducey, to serve out the remain­der of John McCain’s term.

In con­trast to McSally’s weak posi­tion, her Demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­nent is one of the strongest con­tenders in the entire coun­try.

Mark Kel­ly is a new­com­er to elec­toral pol­i­tics, but has a great deal of expe­ri­ence in the polit­i­cal world thanks to his wife, for­mer Con­gress­woman Gab­by Gif­fords.

Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords

U.S. Sen­ate can­di­date Mark Kel­ly and his wife, for­mer Con­gress­woman Gab­by Gif­fords (Cam­paign pho­to)

The cou­ple rock­et­ed to nation­al fame in 2011 in trag­ic cir­cum­stances; an assas­si­na­tion attempt on the con­gress­woman killed six peo­ple and left her with brain dam­age. Gif­fords resigned from her posi­tion, but she and her hus­band stayed in the pub­lic spot­light thanks to their staunch sup­port of gun respon­si­bil­i­ty.

In 2018, McSal­ly tried to use her record as an Air Force vet­er­an as a dif­fer­en­tia­tor against her Demo­c­ra­t­ic rival, to lit­tle effect. This time around, her mil­i­tary cre­den­tials will prob­a­bly mat­ter even less. McSal­ly may have flown in the cock­pit of a fight­er jet, but Mark Kel­ly has pilot­ed a Space Shut­tle. As both a Navy pilot and an astro­naut, Kel­ly has a sto­ried career that he can ref­er­ence con­stant­ly – to the extent that his cam­paign logo seems to be draw­ing inspi­ra­tion from Starfleet.

Mark Kelly (left) has flown multiple missions in the Space Shuttle

Mark Kel­ly (left) has flown mul­ti­ple mis­sions in the Space Shut­tle (Pho­to: NASA, repro­duced under Cre­ative Com­mons license)

Kel­ly is not just an impres­sive can­di­date with a resume that would make a polit­i­cal con­sul­tant drool; he has a for­mi­da­ble cam­paign machine. Kelly’s high pro­file before his Sen­ate run and his tight rela­tion­ship with the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Party’s estab­lish­ment ensured that his cam­paign would be flush with funds from the start.

Unlike most Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lengers, Kel­ly has been able to con­sis­tent­ly out-raise the Repub­li­can incum­bent, rais­ing over $20 mil­lion last year.

This finan­cial advan­tage may be one of the key fac­tors in the race.

Many Democ­rats have found that the stay-at-home orders prompt­ed by the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic have made tra­di­tion­al cam­paign­ing activ­i­ties dif­fi­cult. Mean­while, vot­ers forced to stay at home are the­o­ret­i­cal­ly exposed to more adver­tis­ing than ever through TV and online, which makes the Repub­li­can Par­ty’s strength – hav­ing more cor­po­rate mon­ey to spend on polit­i­cal ads – more pow­er­ful.

In the case of Ari­zona, though, McSal­ly is like­ly to be out­spent by Kel­ly.

Besides, her 2018 cam­paign proved that she is not very effec­tive at using cam­paign ads to her advan­tage. How much mon­ey you have mat­ters, but what is ulti­mate­ly more impor­tant is how you spend it.

While a lot can change in six months, espe­cial­ly in the era of COVID-19, right now, cir­cum­stances in the Grand Canyon State are look­ing good for the Democ­rats.

Ari­zona has been slid­ing away from the Repub­li­cans for a num­ber of years and Mark Kelly’s can­di­da­cy seems to be accel­er­at­ing that process. In the past month alone, polling shows Kelly’s lead over McSal­ly increas­ing by 4%.

Div­ing into the details only makes the sit­u­a­tion look worse for Repub­li­cans. Mari­co­pa Coun­ty (Arizona’s most pop­u­lous coun­ty and a for­mer Repub­li­can strong­hold) has seen Kelly’s lead increase from 5% to 18% over the past year. Mean­while, on the statewide lev­el, inde­pen­dents break for Kel­ly by a two to one mar­gin.

If Mark Kel­ly wins, he is unlike­ly to be a notable pro­gres­sive voice in the Sen­ate. His cam­paign plat­form large­ly reflects the incre­men­tal­ism that the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s estab­lish­ment prefers, but there are good rea­sons for pro­gres­sives to be excit­ed about his cam­paign. Vic­to­ry in Ari­zona – a bor­der state that Trump nar­row­ly won in 2016– would be a land­mark rejec­tion of Trump’s racist, anti-immi­­­grant agen­da.

Fur­ther­more, Kel­ly is a pow­er­ful advo­cate of gun respon­si­bil­i­ty with a com­pelling per­son­al sto­ry to back his advo­ca­cy. He could do a whole lot of good for the coun­try if Ari­zo­nans elect him to the Unit­ed States Sen­ate.

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

NPI poll finds Joe Biden on track for landslide Washington State win in November 2020

Pre­sump­tive 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Joe Biden enjoys a twen­ty-two point lead over incum­bent Don­ald Trump in Wash­ing­ton and is on track to car­ry the Ever­green State in a land­slide this Novem­ber, a new sur­vey con­duct­ed for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute has found.

59% of respon­dents sur­veyed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling from Tues­day, May 19th to Wednes­day, May 20th, said they would vote for Biden this fall, while only 37% said they would vote for Trump. 5% said they were not sure.

Four years ago, when PPP asked Wash­ing­ton vot­ers about the pres­i­den­tial race on our behalf, only 49% said they would vote for pre­sump­tive Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee Hillary Clin­ton, while 37% said they would vote for Trump. 13% were not sure.

Clin­ton went on to receive 54% of the pop­u­lar vote, while Trump received 38%.

This week’s find­ing mir­rors our find­ing from last autumn, when we found that Eliz­a­beth War­ren, Joe Biden, and Bernie Sanders would all do almost equal­ly well against Don­ald Trump. 60% expressed sup­port for War­ren in a head-to-head matchup against Trump, while 59% expressed sup­port for Biden and 58% expressed sup­port for Sanders if they were to face Trump.

(59% is also the per­cent­age of respon­dents who said they would vote for an unnamed Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger to Don­ald Trump in our May 2019 sur­vey.)

Half a year has now passed since our Octo­ber 2019 sur­vey, but Biden’s posi­tion in Wash­ing­ton State remains com­plete­ly unchanged. Also unchanged is Trump’s posi­tion. Note that in 2016, our poll found him at 37% against Clin­ton; this year’s sur­vey finds him at 37% against Biden. That is the exact same per­cent­age.

What that sug­gests is that Trump’s base is about the same size, per­cent­age wise, as it was in 2016; it has expe­ri­enced nei­ther net growth nor net shrink­age.

On the oth­er hand, the uni­verse of vot­ers aligned with Trump’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­nent has grown by about ten points from 2016 to 2020. That’s great news for the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, which is hop­ing for a big year.

Here are the statewide num­bers again, and the exact ques­tion we asked:

QUESTION: If the can­di­dates for Pres­i­dent this fall were Demo­c­rat Joe Biden and Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump, who would you vote for?

ANSWERS:

  • Joe Biden: 59%
  • Don­ald Trump: 37%
  • Not sure: 5%

Now, here are the num­bers by age, par­ty, and race/ethnicity:

QUESTION: If the can­di­dates for Pres­i­dent this fall were Demo­c­rat Joe Biden and Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump, who would you vote for?

ANSWERS:

  • Age
    • 18 to 29: 59% for Biden, 31% for Trump, 10% not sure
    • 30 to 45: 64% for Biden, 31% for Trump, 5% not sure
    • 46 to 65: 58% for Biden, 38% for Trump; 4% not sure
    • 65 & old­er: 53% for Biden, 44% for Trump, 3% not sure
  • Par­ty
    • Demo­c­ra­t­ic: 94% for Biden, 4% for Trump, 1% not sure
    • Repub­li­can: 87% for Trump, 10% for Biden, 3% not sure
    • Inde­pen­dent: 52% for Biden, 38% for Trump, 10% not sure
  • Race/Ethnicity
    • Hispanic/Latino
      • 66% for Biden
      • 34% for Trump
    • White
      • 57% for Biden
      • 39% for Trump
      • 4% not sure
    • Asian or Pacif­ic Islander
      • 62% for Biden
      • 20% for Trump
      • 17% not sure
    • Black/African Amer­i­can
      • 81% for Biden
      • 4% for Trump
      • 15% not sure
    • Native Amer­i­can
      • 72% for Biden
      • 16% for Trump
      • 13% not sure
    • Oth­er
      • 63% for Biden
      • 34% for Trump
      • 3% not sure

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

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

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

If Joe Biden car­ries Wash­ing­ton State by twen­ty-two points this Novem­ber, his mar­gin of vic­to­ry would sur­pass even that of Barack Oba­ma’s from 2008, which was one of the biggest Demo­c­ra­t­ic routs in Amer­i­can polit­i­cal his­to­ry.

Here are the results of the pop­u­lar vote in Wash­ing­ton State for Pres­i­dent and Vice Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States going back six­ty years for com­par­i­son:

YearDemo­c­ra­t­ic Nom­i­nee%Repub­li­can Nom­i­nee%
2016Hillary Clin­ton54.30%Don­ald Trump38.07%
2012Barack Oba­ma56.16%Mitt Rom­ney41.29%
2008Barack Oba­ma57.34%John McCain40.26%
2004John Ker­ry52.82%George W. Bush45.64%
2000Al Gore50.13%George W. Bush44.56%
1996Bill Clin­ton49.84%Bob Dole37.30%
1992Bill Clin­ton43.41%George H.W. Bush31.97%
1988Michael Dukakis50.05%George H.W. Bush48.46%
1984Wal­ter Mon­dale42.86%Ronald Rea­gan55.82%
1980Jim­my Carter37.32%Ronald Rea­gan49.66%
1976Jim­my Carter46.11%Ger­ald Ford50.00%
1972George McGov­ern38.64%Richard Nixon56.92%
1968Hubert Humphrey47.23%Richard Nixon45.12%
1964Lyn­don B. John­son61.97%Bar­ry Gold­wa­ter37.37%
1960John F. Kennedy48.27%Richard Nixon50.68%

We have to go all the way back to 1964 to find a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in which the mar­gin of the win­ning can­di­date’s pop­u­lar vote was greater than twen­ty points in Wash­ing­ton. That was the elec­tion in which Pres­i­dent Lyn­don Baines John­son, or LBJ, thor­ough­ly trounced Repub­li­can nom­i­nee Bar­ry Gold­wa­ter.

Our research has con­sis­tent­ly indi­cat­ed that the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion could be incred­i­bly his­toric. If Joe Biden wins Wash­ing­ton State by a big mar­gin, we could see a notice­able coat­tails effect that boosts the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s can­di­dates up and down the bal­lot.

Think blue wave, part two.

The par­ty has can­di­dates run­ning in every sin­gle leg­isla­tive dis­trict in the state, and it has strong chal­lengers tak­ing on three of the Repub­li­cans’ most promi­nent in-state office­hold­ers: U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, Sec­re­tary of State Kim Wyman, and Trea­sur­er Duane David­son. Their expect­ed chal­lengers are Car­olyn Long, NPI’s Gael Tar­leton, and Mike Pel­lic­ciot­ti, respec­tive­ly.

“Since 2016, we’ve seen a his­toric surge in com­mit­ment to pub­lic ser­vice across our state and I couldn’t be more proud of the can­di­dates we have run­ning in every leg­isla­tive dis­trict,” said Tina Pod­lodows­ki, Chair of the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, in a state­ment released after Fil­ing Week had con­clud­ed.

“This fall, vot­ers will have a chance to do more than reject the failed lead­er­ship of Don­ald Trump, they’ll have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to elect a new gen­er­a­tion of com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers who they can trust to steer our state through the pub­lic health and eco­nom­ic cri­sis we’re fac­ing,” Pod­lodows­ki added.

Pod­lodowski’s coun­ter­part, Caleb Heim­lich, the Chair of the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty, feels very dif­fer­ent­ly. He and his staff claim that vot­ers are tired of Demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nance, and they con­tin­u­al­ly talk of turn­ing Wash­ing­ton red.

“The stakes are high­er than ever this elec­tion and after years of unsus­tain­able bud­gets and tax increas­es on hard­work­ing Wash­ing­to­ni­ans, it’s our turn to fight back,” Heim­lich said in a May 14th mes­sage to the Repub­li­can Par­ty’s statewide email list. “After what Democ­rats did last ses­sion, vot­ers all across the state want to see real change, and that starts right at home in our local com­mu­ni­ties.”

The stakes are indeed high, but all the data we have sug­gests that a super­ma­jor­i­ty of Wash­ing­ton vot­ers want more Demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nance, not less. Don­ald Trump’s deeply cor­rupt, self-serv­ing regime just isn’t work­ing for them. How­ev­er, Jay Inslee’s data-dri­ven, sci­ence-ori­ent­ed, pub­lic health based lead­er­ship is.

COVID-19 and its fall­out will unques­tion­ably be the defin­ing issue of the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. But even before the pan­dem­ic hit, Biden and the Democ­rats were on a strong tra­jec­to­ry in Wash­ing­ton State. Our lat­est poll find­ing shows that the par­ty remains on that tra­jec­to­ry, even though our state’s eco­nom­ic health and social fab­ric have pro­found­ly changed with­in a mat­ter of weeks.

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

Matt Shea is leaving the Legislature. Are his wings clipped, or is he now unrestrained?

One of the most notable imme­di­ate out­comes of this week’s can­di­date fil­ing in Wash­ing­ton state was the absence of mil­i­tant Matt Shea of Spokane Val­ley, who has occu­pied a posi­tion in the Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture for over a decade.

Before his first elec­tion, Shea was a co-founder and direc­tor of the Wash­ing­ton Fam­i­ly Foun­da­tion, a zeal­ous right wing advo­ca­cy group that merged with the Fam­i­ly Pol­i­cy Insti­tute of Wash­ing­ton, which is an affil­i­ate Focus on the Fam­i­ly, the Fam­i­ly Research Insti­tute and the Alliance Defense Fund, all focused on pol­i­cy and reli­gious lib­er­ty as per­ceived by rad­i­cal right wing Chris­tians.

Start­ing in 2009, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Shea became a peri­od­ic guest on Alex Jones’ Infowars, and fur­ther cul­ti­vat­ed his rela­tion­ships with the rad­i­cal right through as many oth­er out­lets as pos­si­ble.

As a result of these rela­tion­ships, he has both devel­oped a close rela­tion­ship with and is alleged­ly a mem­ber of both the Oath Keep­ers and Lib­er­ty for All III%.

In Novem­ber of 2011, he pulled a firearm from a glove com­part­ment dur­ing a con­fronta­tion with anoth­er motorist that was report­ed by the police lat­er as a road rage inci­dent. Shea was even­tu­al­ly charged with pos­ses­sion of a loaded firearm in a vehi­cle with­out a con­cealed weapon per­mit, which he had let expire.

He paid a fine and the charge was even­tu­al­ly dropped in return for hav­ing com­mit­ted no fur­ther crim­i­nal vio­la­tions over the course of a year.

Shea has pre­vi­ous­ly been accused of destruc­tive, unac­cept­able behav­ior – dur­ing divorce pro­ceed­ings from his first wife, which was grant­ed in Jan­u­ary of 2008, she request­ed mul­ti­ple restrain­ing orders because of alleged prob­lems with con­trol­ling his tem­per, and fur­ther alleged that he had been relieved of his weapon at one point while serv­ing in the mil­i­tary in Iraq.

In 2015, at a demon­stra­tion for gun rights on the steps of the Capi­tol, Shea declared that Ini­tia­tive 594, which required back­ground checks on pri­vate pur­chas­es of firearms, and which had been passed over­whelm­ing­ly by the vot­ers the pre­vi­ous Novem­ber, was uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. He intro­duced leg­is­la­tion which would inval­i­date or sig­nif­i­cant­ly weak­en it, but each of his attempts failed.

In April of that same year, Matt Shea tried to twist to his advan­tage the fly­ing of the flag of the People’s Repub­lic of Chi­na at the Capi­tol as a diplo­mat­ic cour­tesy when Chi­nese ambas­sador Cui Tiana­ka paid a cour­tesy call on Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee.

In August of that same year, at a demon­stra­tion against Planned Par­ent­hood in North Spokane, he said “There is no dif­fer­ence between Planned Par­ent­hood, and what Dr. Josef Men­gele did in Ger­many in the 1940s.”

To round out the year, he par­tic­i­pat­ed in a demon­stra­tion against a recog­ni­tion by the Spokane City Coun­cil of local Mus­lim con­tri­bu­tions to the com­mu­ni­ty, link­ing CAIR (the Coun­cil on Amer­i­­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions) to sharia law and its incom­pat­i­bil­i­ty with the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States.

2016 began with the occu­pa­tion of the Mal­heur Nation­al Wildlife Refuge and Shea’s inter­ven­tion and involve­ment in it, not the least of which, lat­er in the year, was pre­sent­ing par­tic­i­pant in the occu­pa­tion and con­tro­ver­sial local guns rights activist Antho­ny Bosworth with an annu­al Patri­ot of the Year award. (Shea was lat­er cleared of a result­ing ethics com­plaint for his inter­ven­tion in the occu­pa­tion.)

It con­tin­ued with accu­sa­tions by Shea, which result­ed in a law­suit in 2017 that was even­tu­al­ly set­tled qui­et­ly in 2019, that the firearm of a deputy sher­iff with­in the office of Spokane Coun­ty Sher­iff Ozzie Kne­zovich had links to Roy Mur­ray, some­one who had recent­ly com­mit­ted a triple homi­cide.

It closed with Shea, McCaslin and Tay­lor re-ini­ti­at­ing a long called for effort to split Wash­ing­ton state in two and cre­ate the new state of Lib­er­ty. (The idea of a white nation­al­ist state made up of var­i­ous com­bi­na­tions of por­tions of Ida­ho, Wash­ing­ton, Ore­gon and even Cal­i­for­nia has a long his­to­ry and very deep roots.)

On July 11th, 2018, James All­sup, a for­mer leader of the Col­lege Repub­li­cans at Wash­ing­ton State Uni­ver­si­ty, a par­tic­i­pant in the “Unite the Right” white suprema­cist ral­ly in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia in August of 2017, and some­one affil­i­at­ed with the white suprema­cist group Iden­ti­ty Evropa, gave a talk at a meet­ing of North­west Grass­roots, a con­ser­v­a­tive group close­ly affil­i­at­ed with Shea, which is at odds with more estab­lish­ment Repub­li­cans in the greater Spokane area.

The event even­tu­al­ly led to the res­ig­na­tion of Spokane Coun­ty Repub­li­can Chair Ceci­ly Wright, who ini­tial­ly defend­ed All­sup, and two oth­er mem­bers of their cen­tral com­mit­tee, Vitaliy Mak­ismov and Abi­gail Osborne.

In Octo­ber of 2018, Rolling Stone pub­lished an arti­cle regard­ing Matt Shea, pro­vid­ing him with nation­al expo­sure.

Also in late Octo­ber 2018, Shea was found to have dis­trib­uted a man­i­festo titled The Bib­li­cal Basis for War, which he ini­tial­ly declared was an out­line for a ser­mon regard­ing war dur­ing the peri­od of the Old Tes­ta­ment in the Bible.

It had been received by an indi­vid­ual in August and was even­tu­al­ly hand­ed over to the FBI by Sher­iff Kne­zovich, who made his opin­ions clear. “The doc­u­ment Mr. Shea wrote is not a Sun­day school project or an aca­d­e­m­ic study… It is a ‘how to’ man­u­al con­sis­tent with the ide­ol­o­gy and oper­at­ing phi­los­o­phy of the Chris­t­ian Identity/Aryan Nations move­ment and the Redoubt move­ment of the 1990s.”

(A sec­ond doc­u­ment, “Restora­tion,” focus­ing on how to cre­ate a new soci­ety after a cat­a­stroph­ic event, was made known in 2019 – Shea has not respond­ed to requests to affirm or deny the doc­u­ment as his.)

On Novem­ber 1st, 2018, the FBI opened an inves­ti­ga­tion regard­ing the first man­i­festo. On Novem­ber 26th, 2018, Shea was removed from his posi­tion as Repub­li­can House Cau­cus Chair.

In April of 2019, an arti­cle in The Guardian declared that Shea had tak­en part in a pri­vate inter­net chat in 2017, in response to fears of an “Antifa revolt” that nev­er hap­pened, with three known mem­bers of the local rad­i­cal right, dis­cussing sur­veil­lance, psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions (“psy­ops”) and vio­lent attacks on local indi­vid­u­als they con­sid­ered dan­ger­ous.

One of the par­tic­i­pants in the chat was Antho­ny Bosworth. Shea did not dis­suade the oth­er par­tic­i­pants from the direc­tion in which their con­ver­sa­tion went, and at one point offered to per­form back­ground checks on request.

On May 3rd, 2019, fifty-six Democ­rats signed a let­ter, sent to House Repub­li­can leader J. T. Wilcox, ref­er­enc­ing the points made in the April 2019 Guardian arti­cle. They demand­ed that Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Shea be rep­ri­mand­ed pub­licly, removed from his posi­tion as rank­ing minor­i­ty mem­ber of the House Com­mit­tee on Envi­ron­ment & Ener­gy, and declared that the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Speak­er of the House would ini­ti­ate an inde­pen­dent House inves­ti­ga­tion into the mat­ter.

Less than a week lat­er, The Guardian high­light­ed Shea’s appear­ance on the Prep­per Recon pod­cast in 2018. Prep­per Recon is host­ed by Mark Good­win, who authored the Eco­nom­ic Col­lapse Chron­i­cles, a work of con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian post-apoc­­olyp­ic fic­tion which starts with “Pres­i­dent Al Mohammed’s” Amer­i­ca being denied by the Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund from future bor­row­ing of funds.

Shea pro­mot­ed the con­cept of the Amer­i­can Redoubt, repeat­ed his expec­ta­tion of a sec­ond civ­il war, and ref­er­enced well known cap­i­tal­ist and right wing bogey­man George Soros as a fun­der of orga­ni­za­tions he con­sid­ers un-Amer­i­­can.

In July of 2019, Shea was the sub­ject of an episode of Bundyville, Revis­it­ed, the sec­ond sea­son of the Bundyville col­lab­o­ra­tion between Ore­gon Pub­lic Broad­cast­ing and Lon­greads, which used the occu­pa­tion and stand­off at the Mal­heur Nation­al Wildlife Refuge head­quar­ters near Burns, Ore­gon in 2016 as a jump­ing off point to dis­cuss the polit­i­cal infra­struc­ture of the rad­i­cal right in the “Dry West,” which includes east­ern Wash­ing­ton.

The episode ref­er­enced Shea speak­ing at the Mar­ble Com­mu­ni­ty Fel­low­ship, a Domin­ion­ist “Chris­t­ian covenant com­mu­ni­ty” led by pas­tor Bri­an Byrd.

Domin­ion­ism is a phi­los­o­phy that believes that Chris­tians should “have domin­ion” over all Amer­i­can polit­i­cal and cul­tur­al insti­tu­tions.

(What is often left unsaid is that these Chris­tians should have a very con­ser­v­a­tive, lit­er­al inter­pre­ta­tion of the Bible; that the Ten Com­mand­ments should be the basis of Amer­i­can law. What is also often left unsaid is that Domin­ion­ism is increas­ing­ly blend­ed with Chris­t­ian Iden­ti­ty and oth­er forms of racism and white nation­al­ism.)

In June of 2019, Shea host­ed dis­graced right wing ini­tia­tive pro­mot­er turned guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date Tim Eyman on his right wing radio show. Dur­ing the appear­ance, Eyman pro­mot­ed an ini­tia­tive to repeal mod­est rev­enue reforms that had just been approved by the state Leg­is­la­ture, lav­ished praise on Shea, and spoke glow­ing­ly of Shea’s activ­i­ties, say­ing to Shea: “You’re awe­some.”

On July 29, 2019, the Chief Clerk of the House announced that it hired hired an out­side firm, The Ram­part Group, led by a for­mer mem­ber of the FBI, Kathy Leodler, to “deter­mine whether Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Shea was engaged in, planned or pro­mot­ed polit­i­cal vio­lence against groups or indi­vid­u­als,” deter­mine the extent to which Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Shea was involved if so engaged, and assess the lev­el of threat of such groups or indi­vid­u­als.

In August of 2019, The Guardian revealed that emails from July of 2016 revealed that Shea, for a group called Team Rugged, led by Patrick Caugh­ran, offered vis­i­bil­i­ty through his Face­book page and facil­i­tat­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tion between them and Jack Robert­son, also known as “John Jacob Schmidt.”

Robert­son hosts the white nation­al­ist pod­cast Radio Free Redoubt, which advo­cates for lis­ten­ers to move to the “Amer­i­can Redoubt” in east­ern Wash­ing­ton, Ida­ho and Mon­tana, and, with Shea, cam­paigns for east­ern Wash­ing­ton to secede and form its own state, Lib­er­ty.

In one of the emails, Gaugh­ran told Shea that Team Rugged exist­ed “to pro­vide patri­ot­ic and bib­li­cal train­ing on war for young men.”

Caugh­ran also not­ed that the “bib­li­cal teach­ing” would come at least in part from pas­tor John Weaver, once a lead­ing mem­ber of the Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens, a hate group that oppos­es inter­ra­cial mar­riage and has described black peo­ple as a “ret­ro­grade species of human­i­ty.”

Weaver is also a firearms instruc­tor that has trained mem­bers of The League of the South in firearms train­ing; the group par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Char­lottesville white suprema­cist ral­ly. One of the execu­tors (and an instruc­tor) of Team Rugged is pas­tor Bri­an Byrd of the Mar­ble Com­mu­ni­ty Fel­low­ship.

Also in August, Matt Shea was specif­i­cal­ly asked not to attend a meet­ing of the Spokane Com­plete Count Com­mit­tee, an alliance of local groups deter­mined to improve the count of under­rep­re­sent­ed groups for the 2020 Cen­sus, due to many indi­vid­u­als’ dis­com­fort with him and his close rela­tion­ships with groups anti­thet­i­cal to what they stand for. (Shea had not planned to attend.)

On August 23rd, 2019, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Shea’s leg­isla­tive assis­tant, Rene’ Hola­day, was fired by the Chief Clerk’s Office of the state leg­is­la­ture for par­tic­i­pat­ing in a May event on behalf of pro­mot­ing the state of Lib­er­ty.

At it, she claimed that increas­ing num­bers of Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tors were sup­port­ing the idea as a result of recent suc­cess­ful leg­is­la­tion by Democ­rats, stat­ing, “They actu­al­ly even said — and it was­n’t even Shea that said this, they said this on their own — ‘It’s either going to be blood­shed or Lib­er­ty State.’ Take that to heart.”

On Octo­ber 10th, 2019, a video made pub­lic by the John Birch Soci­ety’s media out­let, the New Amer­i­can, made clear his pref­er­ence for Domin­ion­ism and his hatred of both Islam and of Mus­lims.

On Decem­ber 19th, 2019, the results of the inves­ti­ga­tion by the Ram­part Group were released. The report con­clud­ed that:

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Shea, as a leader in the Patri­ot Move­ment, planned, engaged in, and pro­mot­ed a total of three armed con­flicts of polit­i­cal vio­lence against the Unit­ed States (US) Gov­ern­ment in three states out­side the State of Wash­ing­ton over a three year peri­od to include 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Shea, with mem­bers of COWS and Ammon Bundy, were found to have planned and orga­nized the 2016 Mahleur occu­pa­tion and stand­off.

Per­haps the most damn­ing state­ment in the report was:

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Shea is an attor­ney and mem­ber of the Bar of the State of Wash­ing­ton and pre­sum­ably has knowl­edge of and access to avenues to peace­ful­ly redress griev­ances through the courts but chose to lead his fol­low­ers to stand in phys­i­cal con­fronta­tion at risk of blood­shed and loss of life.

The next day, House Repub­li­can lead­ers expelled Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Shea from their cau­cus. Minor­i­ty Leader J. T. Wilcox declared: “His role as a House Repub­li­can is over.” Shea respond­ed on Face­book, stat­ing “Like we are see­ing with our Pres­i­dent this is a sham inves­ti­ga­tion meant to silence those of us who stand up against attempts to dis­arm and destroy our great coun­try. I will not back down, I will not give in, I will not resign. Stand strong, fel­low Patri­ots.”

At the end of 2019, Shea was laid off from the law firm M. Casey Law, where he had worked for sev­en years. Shea start­ed an indi­vid­ual prac­tice.

In Feb­ru­ary of 2020, House Democ­rats cir­cu­lat­ed a let­ter call­ing for the expul­sion of Shea from the state Leg­is­la­ture because of his engage­ment in the plan­ning and pro­mot­ing of polit­i­cal vio­lence. Repub­li­cans refused to endorse the idea, which would have required at least nine of them to join forces with Democ­rats.

The pan­dem­ic has seem­ing­ly made Shea even more para­noid and bit­ter.

Shea has pub­licly wor­ried that Gov­er­nor Inslee would use the Nation­al Guard to enforce his orders and enact mar­tial law.

He’s echoed com­ments by oth­ers that the COVID-19 virus was cre­at­ed in a Chi­nese “bio­log­i­cal war­fare pro­gram,” and has fret­ted that peo­ple would be forcibly inoc­u­lat­ed when and if a vac­cine becomes avail­able.

He also hasn’t been hap­py with the cre­ation of the West­ern States Pact and its mid-Atlantic equiv­a­lent, con­sid­er­ing them first steps toward seces­sion from the Unit­ed States and an attempt to under­mine Don­ald Trump.

Shea has spo­ken at demon­stra­tions in Olympia on the Capi­tol Cam­pus against Gov­er­nor Inslee’s stay home, stay healthy orders, with his favorite phrase being “Free­dom is the cure,” with which he’s led in chants.

He’s pub­licly sup­port­ed the com­ments of Jason Kin­ley, the newest mem­ber of the Spokane Region­al District’s Board of Health, who has said, among oth­er things, that there is “no wide­ly accept­ed treat­ment” for any exist­ing virus (which ignores med­ica­tions and tar­get­ed antivi­ral treat­ments that have suc­cess­ful­ly coun­tered oth­er virus­es), that hydrox­y­chloro­quine shouldn’t be dis­missed as a treat­ment for COVID-19 suf­fer­ers, and that high dosages of Vit­a­min C should also be con­sid­ered as a treat­ment.

Shea seems obsessed with trail­ers as indi­ca­tors of future con­cen­tra­tion camps, as can be seen on his Face­book page – a pho­to of an iso­la­tion camp in Gold­en­dale for COVID-19 suf­fer­ers was respond­ed to with “Vol­un­tary until they are not.”

And then there is the olive oil inci­dent.

On March 6th, a group from Seattle’s Satan­ic Tem­ple of Wash­ing­ton walked through and around the Capi­tol build­ing, per­form­ing what they called an “invo­ca­tion.” They had request­ed and received a per­mit to do so.

They were asked to change their route slight­ly, to min­i­mize poten­tial dam­age to the Capi­tol build­ing and grounds. They did so.

Shea’s response was a small gath­er­ing of of his sup­port­ers lat­er in the day, with­out request­ing a per­mit to do so before­hand. They prayed out loud, sang, and a few of the group blew from sho­fars, made from ram’s horns.

They then walked rough­ly along the same path as the first group, through and out of the Capi­tol build­ing, pour­ing olive oil on the sand­stone blocks that form the walk­way, the mar­ble Capi­tol steps and the side­walk. This turned out to have been a sec­ond attempt, as some­one from the Wash­ing­ton state Depart­ment of Enter­prise Ser­vices (DES) took away Shea’s first bot­tle of olive oil.

DES after­ward charged Shea $4,761 for the cost of clean­ing up the result­ing mess and min­i­miz­ing dam­age most espe­cial­ly to the porous sand­stone.

Olive oil tra­di­tion­al­ly has a rela­tion­ship in the Bible to the anoint­ing of priests via the book of Exo­dus. In the Catholic and with­in spe­cif­ic Protes­tant denom­i­na­tions, specif­i­cal­ly blessed oils can be used to con­se­crate an altar or ded­i­cate a church.

Giv­en that both Shea and his sup­port­ers at this event were all like­ly Domin­ion­ists, and thus desire a theo­crat­ic gov­ern­ment and soci­ety over which they would rule, they most like­ly believed that their pres­ence as “true” Chris­tians, their prayers and calls to God with their sho­fars, was enough to bless the olive oil they used.

Shea hasn’t yet com­ment­ed on why he declined to run for anoth­er term, and will like­ly dis­cuss it only on terms he finds to his advan­tage.

He has lit­tle love for the Spokane States­­man-Review or the Inlan­der, who have brought unwel­come atten­tion to his destruc­tive activ­i­ties.

He has his own pod­cast, Patri­ot Radio, as part of the Amer­i­can Chris­t­ian Net­work, from which he’ll craft what­ev­er mes­sage he prefers with­out pesky ques­tions.

There are rumors that he might sup­port for­mer Lib­er­tar­i­an (and now present­ly Repub­li­can) Bob Chase in his race to unseat Cathy McMor­ris Rogers, as Chase has been vocal of his sup­port for Shea since his expul­sion, and Shea had sup­port­ed Chase in a run for Spokane Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­er, which had failed.

Regard­less, Shea will still have his net­work of rabid mil­i­tant fol­low­ers. He could use his solo legal prac­tice to file friv­o­lous law­suits against peo­ple and enti­ties he does not like. Or he could use his noto­ri­ety to become a more promi­nent media per­son­al­i­ty, like Alex Jones or Fox’s Lau­ra Ingra­ham.

He may be leav­ing office, but he will remain a men­ace that needs to be coun­tered.

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

Donald Trump is becoming more unpopular in Washington State’s suburbs, NPI poll finds

For the third con­sec­u­tive year, a statewide sur­vey com­mis­sioned by the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute has found that three out of five like­ly Wash­ing­ton vot­ers dis­ap­prove of Don­ald Trump’s job per­for­mance, sug­gest­ing that most peo­ple liv­ing in the heart of Cas­ca­dia have well formed opin­ions about the cur­rent occu­pant of 1600 Penn­syl­va­nia Avenue in the oth­er Wash­ing­ton.

60% of respon­dents sur­veyed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling on NPI’s behalf this week said they dis­ap­proved of Trump’s job per­for­mance, while 35% approved.

5% said they were not sure.

These find­ings are vir­tu­al­ly unchanged from last year (2019), when we found 61% dis­ap­proved of Trump’s job per­for­mance and 35% approved.

Sim­i­lar­ly, the year before that (2018), we found that 59% dis­ap­proved of Trump’s job per­for­mance while 35% approved. 6% were not sure.

Though each of our sur­veys was tak­en a year apart and had a dif­fer­ent sam­ple size, the statewide num­bers have stayed remark­ably con­sis­tent.

Even after impeach­ment and the onset of the nov­el coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic, we’re still see­ing about the same over­all fig­ures as before, which is a tes­ta­ment to the strong feel­ings that peo­ple have about Trump. He is eas­i­ly the most polar­iz­ing per­son to occu­py the high­est office in the land in mod­ern Amer­i­can his­to­ry.

How­ev­er, we did see move­ment in the num­bers at the region­al lev­el. Let’s dive into those. First, here are the statewide num­bers again:

QUESTION: Do you approve or dis­ap­prove of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s job per­for­mance?

ANSWERS:

  • Dis­ap­prove: 60%
  • Approve: 35%
  • Not sure: 5%

Now, here are the num­bers by region:

QUESTION: Do you approve or dis­ap­prove of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s job per­for­mance?

ANSWERS:

  • King Coun­ty
    • Dis­ap­prove: 72%
    • Approve: 23%
    • Not sure: 5%
  • North Puget Sound
    • Dis­ap­prove: 65%
    • Approve: 32%
    • Not sure: 4%
  • South Sound
    • Dis­ap­prove: 69%
    • Approve: 27%
    • Not sure: 4%
  • Olympic Penin­su­la and South­west Wash­ing­ton
    • Dis­ap­prove: 48%
    • Approve: 47%
    • Not sure: 5%
  • East­ern and Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton
    • Dis­ap­prove: 43%
    • Approve: 52%
    • Not sure: 6%

The only region where Trump is above water (at least in this sur­vey!) is East­ern and Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton. 52% of vot­ers there said they approved of Trump’s job per­for­mance, while 43% dis­ap­proved and 6% were not sure.

Last year, we found almost the inverse in that region.

Trump also fared bet­ter in the Olympic Penin­su­la and South­west Wash­ing­ton (coun­ties south and to the west of metro Seat­tle) in this year’s sur­vey.

How­ev­er, his gains among rur­al vot­ers were entire­ly can­celed out by a much high­er mar­gin of dis­ap­proval in the South Sound and North Sound regions.

It seems vot­ers in Pierce and Sno­homish coun­ties are increas­ing­ly aligned with vot­ers in King Coun­ty on the ques­tion of Trump’s job per­for­mance.

This is an omi­nous devel­op­ment for the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty, because statewide majori­ties are made and lost in the North Sound and South Sound regions. Trump’s unpop­u­lar­i­ty could be a drag on the entire par­ty’s tick­et, espe­cial­ly its statewide incum­bents Kim Wyman and Duane David­son.

With no cred­i­ble Repub­li­can can­di­date run­ning for gov­er­nor this year, the par­ty sim­ply does­n’t have a high pro­file fig­ure like Lar­ry Hogan or Char­lie Bak­er who might be able to help it devel­op an iden­ti­ty dis­tinct from Trump’s tox­ic brand. Every sin­gle one of the par­ty’s guber­na­to­r­i­al hope­fuls is a Trump admir­er.

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

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

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

Nation­wide polls show that more Amer­i­cans also dis­ap­prove of Trump’s job per­for­mance than approve, although the dis­par­i­ty is less pro­nounced than it is in Demo­c­ra­t­ic-con­trolled states such as Wash­ing­ton.

Tomor­row, May 22nd, we’ll share our head to head pres­i­den­tial matchup find­ing, which pit­ted pre­sump­tive Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee Joe Biden against Trump. Join us here on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate on Fri­day for a dis­cus­sion of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans’ views on which par­ty should con­trol the White House for the next four years.

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020

New SurveyUSA poll finds support for Jay Inslee going up as scammer Tim Eyman slips

Noto­ri­ous scam­mer and con artist Tim Eyman is expe­ri­enc­ing neg­a­tive momen­tum in his guber­na­to­r­i­al cam­paign while pop­u­lar sup­port for Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee increas­es, a new Sur­veyUSA poll con­duct­ed for KING5 sug­gests.

50% of those sur­veyed in the poll said they would vote to reelect Inslee, com­pared to 39% who said they’d vote to reelect Inslee in Jan­u­ary, in a pre­vi­ous statewide poll also con­duct­ed by Sur­veyUSA for KING5.

Eyman, on the oth­er hand, went from hav­ing 11% sup­port in Jan­u­ary to 8% in the poll con­duct­ed this week, drop­ping into the sin­gle dig­its.

That’s cer­tain­ly embar­rass­ing for Eyman, but is some­thing that hon­est Wash­ing­to­ni­ans who val­ue integri­ty can take great com­fort in.

The oth­er Repub­li­cans in the race have even less sup­port than Eyman.

Phil For­tu­na­to and Joshua Freed each polled at 6%, while Loren Culp polled at 4%. Col­lec­tive­ly, the entire field of Repub­li­can can­di­dates received just 24%, less than half of the sup­port indi­cat­ed for Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee in the sur­vey.

Anoth­er 23% were unde­cid­ed.

SurveyUSA/KING5 poll on gubernatorial race

A sum­ma­ry of Sur­veyUSA’s lat­est find­ings for KING5 in the 2020 Wash­ing­ton guber­na­to­r­i­al race, as of May 20th, 2020 (KING5)

By way of com­par­i­son, four years ago, at about this time, mul­ti­ple sur­veys (by Moore Infor­ma­tion and Elway Research) put Jay Inslee’s sup­port in the mid to high for­ties, while find­ing Repub­li­can chal­lenger Bill Bryant had sup­port at 36%.

Inslee is now run­ning for a third term — some­thing no incum­bent gov­er­nor has sought since the leg­endary Dan Evans in the 1970s — and yet accord­ing to the pub­lic opin­ion research data we have so far, Inslee is find­ing more sup­port among Wash­ing­ton vot­ers than he did for his sec­ond term.

Inslee’s job approval rat­ings have also shot up since Jan­u­ary of 2020.

“By more than 2:1, Wash­ing­ton state res­i­dents say Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee is doing a bet­ter job respond­ing to COVID-19, the Coro­n­avirus, than Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, accord­ing to fresh Sur­veyUSA opin­ion research con­duct­ed for KING-TV in Seat­tle. 61% statewide say Inslee has respond­ed to the pan­dem­ic the bet­ter of the two; 29% say Trump has respond­ed bet­ter,” Sur­veyUSA report­ed.

The poll­ster, which is a long­time KING5 part­ner, also observed that Inslee’s net job approval rat­ing has increased twen­ty-nine points over the past ten weeks, demon­strat­ing that Wash­ing­to­ni­ans are sat­is­fied with Inslee’s man­age­ment of the nov­el coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic, which has whacked Wash­ing­ton’s econ­o­my.

What the data sug­gests to us is that Wash­ing­ton vot­ers are increas­ing­ly com­fort­able with keep­ing Inslee in the state’s top job while total­ly under­whelmed by the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty’s his­tor­i­cal­ly awful field of can­di­dates.

Repub­li­cans like Caleb Heim­lich have claimed that Jay Inslee is vul­ner­a­ble and unpop­u­lar, but that is clear­ly just wish­ful think­ing on their part.

Despite no evi­dence to sup­port their posi­tion, they con­tin­ue to cling to the fan­ta­sy that they’re on the verge of turn­ing the state red, with RNC Chair Rom­na McDaniel insist­ing to right wing talk show host Jason Rantz recent­ly that

KING5’s poll­ster also polled on the Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor’s race and the Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s race. For Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor, Sur­veyUSA found a small plu­ral­i­ty for Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Den­ny Heck, who was the leader among the Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates. That find­ing broke down as fol­lows:

  • Den­ny Heck, Demo­c­rat: 15%
  • Joseph Brum­bles, Repub­li­can: 10%
  • Steve Hobbs, Demo­c­rat: 10% (Hobbs has with­drawn from the race)
  • Ann Davi­son Sat­tler, Repub­li­can: 9%
  • Marko Liias, Demo­c­rat: 6%
  • Unde­cid­ed: 50%

For Attor­ney Gen­er­al, Sur­veyUSA found Bob Fer­gu­son in a com­mand­ing posi­tion.

  • Bob Fer­gu­son, Demo­c­rat (incum­bent): 47%
  • Matt Larkin, Repub­li­can: 8%
  • Brett Rogers, Repub­li­can: 8%
  • Mike Vas­ka, Repub­li­can: 4%
  • Unde­cid­ed: 32%

Sur­veyUSA appar­ent­ly did not ask vot­ers about the statewide par­ti­san race that is like­ly to be the most com­pet­i­tive this year — the con­test between Repub­li­can Kim Wyman and NPI’s Gael Tar­leton, Wyman’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger, for Sec­re­tary of State. That’s the exec­u­tive depart­ment posi­tion that over­sees elec­tions, cor­po­ra­tions, char­i­ties, the state archives, and the state library.

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020

COVID-19 Update: Illegal openings, legal confusion and questionable tests

It’s time for anoth­er install­ment of of our spe­cial series COVID-19 Update, bring­ing you the lat­est devel­op­ments on the nov­el coro­n­avirus out­break that pub­lic health author­i­ties here and across the coun­try are work­ing to mit­i­gate.

Washington

Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son’s office sent cease and desist orders on May 19th, declar­ing vio­la­tions of the state Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act, against two gyms – one in Puyallup and one in Arling­ton – that had been open in spite of Gov­er­nor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” stay at home order.

The co-own­er of the gym in Arling­ton has said that he will join Tim Eyman in his law­suit against the stay at home order. This is not the first set of vio­la­tions – the state Depart­ment of Licens­ing recent­ly revoked the cos­me­tol­ogy oper­a­tor license of the own­er of the Stag Bar­ber Shop in Sno­homish and served him with a cease-and-desist order for doing busi­ness with­out a salon shop license.

A Hob­by Lob­by and a Jo-Ann Fab­ric and Crafts in Spokane, and two bars and a cof­fee shop in Spokane Val­ley have also been vio­lat­ing the stay at home order.

Gov­er­nor Inslee’s response to these vio­la­tions was clear.

Said Inslee: “There’s just no rea­son why cer­tain peo­ple would think they’re kind of spe­cial, and they have cer­tain rights that oth­er cit­i­zens do not. They think they’re above the law, appar­ent­ly… For some irre­spon­si­ble busi­ness lead­ers to besmirch the ones that are respon­si­ble, that just will not stand.”

Four more trib­al casi­nos, which are not under state juris­dic­tion, opened on Mon­day, May 18th. They joined three oth­er casi­nos that opened on May 14th.

The facil­i­ties are allow­ing entry at between 30% and 50% of capac­i­ty, depend­ing on the facil­i­ty, have lim­it­ed their food ser­vice options, and have kept closed their accom­pa­ny­ing hotels and con­fer­ence spaces.

As of this post, ten new coun­ties in Wash­ing­ton state are being allowed to apply to oper­ate under Phase 2 of the Safe Start Wash­ing­ton reopen­ing process. Ten coun­ties are already oper­at­ing under Phase 2 of the process.

Oregon

On Mon­day, May 18th, Bak­er Coun­ty Cir­cuit Judge Matthew Shirt­cliff grant­ed a pre­lim­i­nary injunc­tion Mon­day against Gov­er­nor Kate Brown’s stay at home order. Gov­er­nor Brown declared Oregon’s State of Emer­gency using ORS 401.165, which gives her broad pow­ers in declar­ing a state emer­gency, but some of her more spe­cif­ic actions seem to be in line with ORS 433.441, pro­claim­ing a pub­lic health emer­gency, which can last no more than 28 days and would like­ly require a re-con­ven­ing of the state leg­is­la­ture to re-imple­ment.

Judge Shirt­cliff con­sid­ered the lat­ter to be the pre­dom­i­nant statute in effect, and thus since more than 28 days have passed since the dec­la­ra­tion of the State of Emer­gency, he declared it no longer in effect.

The Ore­gon state Supreme Court, lat­er that evening, issued a tem­po­rary stay on the deci­sion and is present­ly review­ing the case.

Ore­gon is in the process of reopen­ing the state grad­u­al­ly using spec­i­fied guide­lines.

Idaho

On May 14th, the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion (FDA) put out a press release cau­tion­ing about con­cerns with the accu­ra­cy of the Abbott ID NOW point of care test, which in one report was declared as pos­si­bly miss­ing as many as 48% of infec­tions through false neg­a­tives. These tests are in high use in east­ern Ida­ho through a non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tion, Crush the Curve.

Abbott Labs has respond­ed with a press release and by declar­ing the report an “out­lier,” with three oth­er stud­ies declar­ing the point of care test very accu­rate.

The hard, cold numbers

Wash­ing­ton state has had 19,639 cas­es and 1,029 attrib­ut­able deaths.

289,940 peo­ple have been test­ed.

Ore­gon has had 3,726 cas­es and 140 attrib­ut­able deaths.

99,630 peo­ple have been test­ed.

Ida­ho has had 2,476 cas­es and 77 attrib­ut­able deaths.

37,847 peo­ple have been test­ed.

British Colum­bia has had 2,446 cas­es and 146 attrib­ut­able deaths.

125,044 peo­ple have been test­ed.

Tuesday, May 19th, 2020

Joe Biden wins Oregon presidential primary, giving him a clean sweep of the Pacific NW

Pre­sump­tive nom­i­nee Joe Biden has won Ore­gon’s 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry, ear­ly returns indi­cate, giv­ing Biden his fourth con­sec­u­tive win in the Pacif­ic North­west, a region that went big for Bernie Sanders four years ago.

As of 9:30 PM Pacif­ic Time, Biden had a whop­ping 68.84% of the vote (with 289,688 bal­lots cast for him), com­pared to 18.24% for Bernie Sanders, who was just above the via­bil­i­ty thresh­old. Eliz­a­beth War­ren was in third place with 9.17%.

Write-in can­di­dates account­ed for anoth­er 2.06%. Tul­si Gab­bard had 1.7%.

420,844 total votes have been tab­u­lat­ed in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry thus far. The total will increase before the nom­i­nat­ing event is cer­ti­fied.

Biden is win­ning every Ore­gon coun­ty that has report­ed results so far, includ­ing the pro­gres­sive strong­holds of Mult­nom­ah and Lane. Three coun­ties (Yamhill, Kla­math, and Lake) haven’t report­ed any results at all so far.

Sanders’ per­for­mance is Mult­nom­ah (home to Port­land, Ore­gon) is not much high­er than his statewide per­for­mance. He has 23.07% of the vote there com­pared to 18.24% statewide. Biden has over 61% in Mult­nom­ah.

A sub­stan­tial con­tin­gent of Mult­nom­ah vot­ers are clear­ly still in Eliz­a­beth War­ren’s camp, as she has 13.36% of the vote in Mult­nom­ah.

Ore­gon is a vote at home state — the first vote at home state, in fact — so it did not face the same obsta­cles that oth­er states have recent­ly faced in try­ing to hold a nom­i­nat­ing event or state-lev­el pri­ma­ry elec­tion dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic. Vot­ers are mailed bal­lots by the state, which can be returned through the Unit­ed States Postal Ser­vice or direct­ly to elec­tions offi­cials through a drop box.

Pre­vi­ous­ly, Biden won Wash­ing­ton State and Ida­ho’s pres­i­den­tial pri­maries on March 10th, then romped to vic­to­ry in Alaska’a par­ty run pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry, the first nom­i­nat­ing event to be held fol­low­ing Bernie Sanders’ with­draw­al.

Biden’s mar­gin of vic­to­ry in Ore­gon will be far greater than his mar­gins in any oth­er Pacif­ic North­west state, undoubt­ed­ly thanks to the fact that he has been the pre­sump­tive nom­i­nee dur­ing the entire­ty of the vot­ing peri­od. Biden was able to take Wash­ing­ton and Ida­ho out of Sanders’ win col­umn back when Sanders was still an active can­di­date, demon­strat­ing that his can­di­da­cy had far greater appeal amongst Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers than Hillary Clin­ton’s 2016 cam­paign did.

Here’s a com­par­i­son of each nom­i­nat­ing event:

StateJoe BidenBernie Sanders
Ore­gon (in progress)68.84% | 289,688*18.24% | 76,746*
Alas­ka (April 4th)55.3% | 10,83444.7% | 8,755
Wash­ing­ton (March 10th)37.94% | 591,40336.57% | 570,039
Ida­ho (March 10th)48.92% | 53,15142.44% | 46,114

* indi­cates as of press time

Sanders was clos­est to Biden in Wash­ing­ton State, one of his 2016 bas­tions, which he over­whelm­ing­ly dom­i­nat­ed in 2016, when the state used cau­cus­es to allo­cate all of its nation­al con­ven­tion del­e­gates. How­ev­er, Wash­ing­ton’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers ulti­mate­ly joined Ida­ho’s in favor­ing Biden by a plu­ral­i­ty.

Sanders’ cam­paign nev­er recov­ered from the one-two punch of Super Tues­day (March 3rd) and Super Tues­day II, or Mini Tues­day (March 10th).

Though Sanders ini­tial­ly pressed on in the wake of Eliz­a­beth War­ren’s exit, he was unable to secure any key wins, and the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic made it impos­si­ble to do in-per­son field orga­niz­ing cat­alyzed by ral­lies and events. The day after vot­ing end­ed in Wis­con­sin’s pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry, Sanders announced he would sus­pend his cam­paign. He endorsed Biden less than a week lat­er.

Mon­tana, the one oth­er state in the greater Pacif­ic North­west, has yet to hold its nom­i­nat­ing event. The state is slat­ed to hold its pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry on June 2nd.