NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

Parker Harris backs Manka Dhingra; calls Republican Jinyoung Englund a “façade”

Two weeks ago, inde­pen­dent Park­er Har­ris was offi­cial­ly elim­i­nat­ed as a can­di­date for the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate when the results of the 2017 Top Two elec­tion were cer­ti­fied by King Coun­ty. Now, Har­ris is throw­ing his sup­port behind Man­ka Dhin­gra, say­ing he thinks she’s the best choice for the dis­trict in November.

He writes:

I believe we can win an inde­pen­dent cam­paign with a shoe­string bud­get. I start­ed all alone and, four months lat­er, end­ed with 7% of the vote. If we begin the next cam­paign ear­li­er and with a team of sup­port­ers (all of you) already in place, we can win.

We don’t need a par­ty or a huge bud­get. We just need the right mes­sage, and with your help we can spread it far beyond 7%.

For what it’s worth, I intend to vote for Man­ka Dhin­gra in Novem­ber. I have my doubts that her elec­tion will improve par­ty pol­i­tics or reduce the influ­ence of big mon­ey, but I believe she cares deeply about peo­ple, has many years of use­ful expe­ri­ence, and is will­ing to work hard. So far I have seen zero indi­ca­tion that Jiny­oug Englund is any­thing more than a façade who will do what­ev­er the Repub­li­can cau­cus asks of her.

Of course, these are my own opin­ions. I urge you to do your own research and make your own decision.

Har­ris is cor­rect that it’s pos­si­ble to win elec­tion to pub­lic office run­ning as an inde­pen­dent with­out a par­ty or a big bud­get. But inde­pen­dents rarely win.

The rea­son our coun­try has polit­i­cal par­ties is because it’s much eas­i­er to influ­ence and win elec­tions by team­ing togeth­er with like-mind­ed citizens.

A tru­ly inde­pen­dent can­di­date is a can­di­date who does not asso­ciate with a par­ty or oth­er polit­i­cal groups; there­fore, they can­not enjoy any of the advan­tages that can­di­dates aligned with a par­ty or a fac­tion have. They have to build their own cam­paigns entire­ly from scratch. As Har­ris dis­cov­ered, that’s not so eas­i­ly done.

Har­ris’ per­spec­tive on his rivals is note­wor­thy, con­sid­er­ing that he is not aligned with either of the major par­ties or their funders.

Har­ris’ views mir­ror sen­ti­ments we’ve seen in let­ters to the edi­tor from vot­ers who’ve con­clud­ed Man­ka Dhin­gra is an authen­tic can­di­date they can relate to, where­as Englund is just a loy­al Repub­li­can Par­ty recruit who is seek­ing office to keep Mark Schoesler and his cau­cus in pow­er for anoth­er year.

Here’s an exam­ple. This let­ter ran a few weeks ago in the Red­mond Reporter:

Con­tin­ued stag­na­tion is not an option
Thurs­day, Jun 8th, 2017 | 2:10 PM

As an Inde­pen­dent in the 45th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict who vot­ed for Sen. Andy Hill, Jiny­oung Lee Englund miss­es the mark for me in substance.

Seat­tle has salt water back­ing up the out­flow pipes, 122-year record-break­ing rain­fall events are wash­ing out our roads and bring­ing down mud­slides and we are active­ly start­ing to armor the coast­line. King Coun­ty is build­ing flood pads for local farm­ers and the Port of Seat­tle and util­i­ty com­pa­nies are set­ting new con­struc­tion four feet high­er, as year­ly tem­per­a­ture aver­ages con­tin­ue to rise.

See­ing can­di­dates move into our dis­trict, with ties to mis­in­for­ma­tion groups like the Her­itage Foun­da­tion and par­ti­san cli­mate skep­tics in the Leg­is­la­ture, means we need to know exact­ly where they stand on the issues pri­or to elect­ing them.

What are Englund’s bipar­ti­san thoughts around fund­ing our schools, if not via an income tax or cap­i­tal-gains tax? What is her favored air pol­lu­tion reduc­tion plan — car­bon tax, car­bon fee or cap and trade? Solar jobs are soar­ing in our state, does she pro­pose fol­low­ing the administration’s lead in sup­press­ing these indus­tries here?

Con­tin­ued stag­na­tion is not an option if we tru­ly plan to sup­port and pro­tect our chil­dren, jobs and our indus­tries in Washington’s 45th.

Rachel Mol­loy

Repub­li­cans made a big, bold bet when they decid­ed to recruit Englund to be their stan­dard bear­er… a bet that so far has­n’t paid off.

Hop­ing to de-nation­al­ize the con­test and counter the neg­a­tive effect of Don­ald Trump, Repub­li­can oper­a­tives craft­ed a Tim Eyman-approved cam­paign plat­form for Englund: one devoid of sub­stance but heavy on repet­i­tive anti-tax rhetoric.

To their dis­may, it did­n’t work. Englund fin­ished ten points behind Dhin­gra in the Top Two elec­tion. Dhin­gra gar­nered an out­right major­i­ty of votes and would be in office already under the rules in use in states like Geor­gia or Louisiana, where runoffs only take place if no can­di­date receives a major­i­ty of the vote.

At the time they decid­ed to go with Englund — who had to change her vot­er reg­is­tra­tion to offi­cial­ly become a res­i­dent of the dis­trict a week before announc­ing — Dhin­gra had already been in the race for sev­er­al weeks, and Democ­rats had wast­ed no time coa­lesc­ing around her can­di­da­cy after State Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Lar­ry Springer and Roger Good­man con­firmed they would not be candidates.

Mean­while, Northshore School Board mem­ber Ken Smith (also a non­res­i­dent) had decid­ed to enter the race as a Repub­li­can with­out the bless­ing of the par­ty estab­lish­ment. He uncer­e­mo­ni­ous­ly exit­ed the race a few weeks lat­er after par­ty brass went to work attempt­ing to clear obsta­cles for their hand­picked recruit.

Authen­tic­i­ty mat­ters in pol­i­tics, and Dhin­gra has it in spades.

She con­nects well with vot­ers, knows the com­mu­ni­ties she wants to rep­re­sent, and has a good grasp of the issues. She’s been enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly embraced by the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, to be sure, but she decid­ed to run of her own accord. Englund, on the oth­er hand, was recruit­ed as a foil to her candidacy.

Vot­ers seemed to have picked up on these cir­cum­stances and tak­en them into account, repuls­ing repeat­ed and des­per­ate Repub­li­can attempts to smear Dhin­gra with a load of shame­ful false­hoods and innuendo.

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