Kim Wyman speaking at a WWRC breakfast
Secretary of State Kim Wyman speaks at a breakfast for the Washington Wildlife & Recreation Coalition (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

This year’s con­test for Sec­re­tary of State in Wash­ing­ton fea­tures two women who each won their first state-lev­el elec­tion in 2012 and have been serv­ing in the state­house for eight years straight: Repub­li­can incum­bent Kim Wyman and Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger Gael Tar­leton, NPI’s most senior boardmember.

Though they are close to the same age and deeply inter­est­ed in the same issues, Wyman and Tar­leton have sharply diverg­ing views on what the job of Sec­re­tary of State should look like in the twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry. They also have very dif­fer­ent back­grounds. While they’ve both lived and worked in Europe, they took very dif­fer­ent paths to end up as can­di­dates for statewide office in 2020.

Wyman is a for­mer youth sports offi­cial and recre­ation leader who began work­ing for Thurston Coun­ty in 1991, first as Assis­tant Record­ing Man­ag­er, lat­er as Elec­tions Man­ag­er, and final­ly as Audi­tor, a posi­tion she held until becom­ing Sec­re­tary of State in 2013. A native of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, Wyman lived abroad in Ger­many with her hus­band for sev­er­al years before mov­ing to the Pacif­ic North­west. She is a proud Wash­ing­ton State Cer­ti­fied Elec­tion Administrator.

Wyman earned her bach­e­lor’s degree from Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­si­ty, Long Beach and her mas­ter’s degree from Troy State University.

Tar­leton is a for­mer senior defense intel­li­gence ana­lyst for the Pen­ta­gon who man­aged busi­ness oper­a­tions for a For­tune 500 com­pa­ny in Rus­sia fol­low­ing the col­lapse of the Sovi­et Union. After mov­ing to the Pacif­ic North­west and work­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton for sev­er­al years, Gael ran for a posi­tion on the Seat­tle Port Com­mis­sion and won. She was reelect­ed in 2011. In 2012, she emerged from a crowd­ed field to become the suc­ces­sor to State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mary Lou Dick­er­son. She has been reelect­ed four con­sec­u­tive times.

Tar­leton has two degrees from George­town Uni­ver­si­ty: a bach­e­lor of sci­ence in for­eign ser­vice and a mas­ter of arts in government.

As men­tioned above, the can­di­dates have sharply diverg­ing views on what the job of Sec­re­tary of State should look like in the twen­ty-first century.

Wyman argues that the job is prin­ci­pal­ly min­is­te­r­i­al and should be held by some­one who has hands-on expe­ri­ence admin­is­ter­ing elections.

As she puts it:

“As your Sec­re­tary of State, it’s my respon­si­bil­i­ty to admin­is­ter an elec­tion and instill con­fi­dence in the process. I have made it a cen­tral theme of my cam­paigns to focus on the integri­ty of elec­tions and not get involved in par­ti­san cam­paign attacks. They come and go, but our elec­tions need to stay secure every sin­gle day.” (From a cam­paign email sent May 28th, 2020.)

Tar­leton argues that the job is about much more than empow­er­ing coun­ty audi­tors to run sat­is­fac­to­ry elec­tions. In her view, Wash­ing­ton sore­ly needs a Sec­re­tary of State who will pro­tect vot­ers from threats to elec­tions — espe­cial­ly for­eign adver­saries — and sig­nif­i­cant­ly expand vot­er out­reach to improve turnout.

As she puts it:

“It’s time we had a Sec­re­tary of State who is not only pre­pared for the cur­rent threats to our elec­tions, both for­eign and domes­tic, but also sup­ports and leads efforts to expand vot­er par­tic­i­pa­tion and engage­ment. I’m com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing every vot­er and every vote.” (From her cam­paign website.)

While Wyman has empha­sized qual­i­fi­ca­tions and pro­fes­sion­al­ism in her past cam­paigns, she’s tak­en that theme to a whole new lev­el this year by disin­gen­u­ous­ly advo­cat­ing that the posi­tion should be made nonpartisan.

That’s right — non­par­ti­san.

Wyman’s let’s take the par­ti­san­ship out of this posi­tion pitch — tai­lor made for Wash­ing­ton State’s edi­to­r­i­al boards, which have been eager­ly gob­bling it up — appears to be the com­plete extent of her plat­form for chang­ing the office.

Real­ly and tru­ly. If you look at her web­site, there’s no issues page there.

The clos­est Wyman comes to pre­sent­ing a set of pri­or­i­ties for the future is a sin­gle para­graph on her Accom­plish­ments page, where she says:

I want to con­tin­ue to work with all coun­ty audi­tors to make sure our elec­tions depart­ments across the state have the space, equip­ment, and trained staff to con­tin­ue to deliv­er secure elec­tions to all vot­ers; I want to improve the stor­age and preser­va­tion of our state’s his­to­ry by com­plet­ing our Library/Archives Build­ing; and I will con­tin­ue to make all resources in the Sec­re­tary of State’s office avail­able to those who need it the most by work­ing with groups and indi­vid­u­als to learn where improve­ments can be made.

That’s not actu­al­ly an agen­da for the future, it’s just a promise from Wyman to keep doing the bare min­i­mum of what the job requires. Work­ing with coun­ty audi­tors, over­see­ing the com­ple­tion of ongo­ing projects, and build­ing rela­tion­ships with peo­ple who care about the state’s his­to­ry and arti­facts is some­thing either can­di­date for this job would be doing if they won.

Tar­leton, by con­trast, has a Poli­cies page where she dis­cuss­es her ideas to improve vot­ing access, elec­tion secu­ri­ty, and elec­tion inno­va­tion. It’s not lengthy, but it is sub­stan­tive, with spe­cif­ic ideas pre­sent­ed for each priority.

Wyman has now been our Sec­re­tary of State for near­ly eight years.

After near­ly two terms in office, she ought to have a set of well honed ideas for improv­ing and mod­ern­iz­ing the office. But I have not not heard any.

Instead, the mes­sage Wyman’s cam­paign is putting out is, you should reelect me because I’m a pro­fes­sion­al, where­as my oppo­nent is a high­ly par­ti­san Demo­c­rat backed to the hilt by the state par­ty chair who was my oppo­nent in 2016.

And, when she talks to edi­to­r­i­al boards: This posi­tion should be non­par­ti­san.

What makes Wyman’s rhetoric about non­par­ti­san­ship so disin­gen­u­ous is that she’s pro­mot­ing the idea of elim­i­nat­ing the par­ty label on the bal­lot next to the posi­tion while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly run­ning for reelec­tion as a par­ti­san Republican.

Wyman could have mod­eled the very behav­ior she says she wants to see by declar­ing no par­ty pref­er­ence in her bid for a third term and run­ning as an unaf­fil­i­at­ed can­di­date. But she did­n’t. Instead, she filed as a Republican.

And she has been cam­paign­ing, with gus­to, as a Repub­li­can, on the (most­ly vir­tu­al) cam­paign trail. Because she is a Repub­li­can, through and through. Even despite neo­fas­cist Don­ald Trump’s takeover of the Repub­li­can Party.

Occa­sion­al­ly, Wyman has put out a pub­lic state­ment soft­ly dis­agree­ing with some­thing that Trump has said, but that has pret­ty much been the extent of her diver­gence from Trump. I don’t doubt Wyman’s sin­cer­i­ty when she says she isn’t vot­ing for Trump. But she has not joined the oppo­si­tion to Trump, or done any­thing to hold her own par­ty account­able for the incred­i­ble dam­age that it has inflict­ed upon our coun­try’s demo­c­ra­t­ic institutions.

Wyman could have cho­sen a dif­fer­ent path.

She could have left the Repub­li­can Par­ty alto­geth­er, like oth­ers have, and demon­strat­ed that she tru­ly believes in “non­par­ti­san­ship”.

Or she could have remained a Repub­li­can, but fol­lowed the exam­ple of the late Slade Gor­ton, who joined Repub­li­cans for the Rule of Law and took action to hold Don­ald Trump account­able for his dis­gust­ing abus­es of power.

Sad­ly, she did­n’t do either of those things.

Since our state’s edi­to­r­i­al boards can­not be both­ered to exam­ine Wyman’s record under a micro­scope and com­pare her rhetoric to her actions as a can­di­date and a pub­lic offi­cial, I’m going to lay it out in detail, so that any­one can see and weigh the evi­dence for them­selves. Vot­ers deserve to have access to this information.

Speak­ing of trans­paren­cy, since Gael Tar­leton is a North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute board­mem­ber and donor — a rela­tion­ship that we have dis­closed in every sin­gle arti­cle we’ve pub­lished about this race — read­ers should know that nei­ther Gael nor her cam­paign staff or her con­sul­tants were involved in the writ­ing of this post.

I relied prin­ci­pal­ly on mate­r­i­al from the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate archives and the Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Com­mis­sion for the dis­cus­sion below. Some mate­r­i­al is from Gael’s cam­paign, but it’s mate­r­i­al the cam­paign pre­vi­ous­ly made public.

Some­thing else that read­ers should know is that although I’m sup­port­ing Gael’s cam­paign as an indi­vid­ual (NPI does­n’t endorse can­di­dates for office), I have con­sis­tent­ly tried to keep a dia­logue going with Kim Wyman and her staff. I like Kim as a per­son; she has always been friend­ly and cor­dial in every con­ver­sa­tion I’ve had with her, and I am glad she has been suc­cess­ful in bat­tling colon cancer.

I fre­quent­ly vis­it her office when I’m in Olympia, chiefly to talk to her staff about areas of mutu­al con­cern between NPI and them, and I have been doing so since the posi­tion was held by her pre­de­ces­sor Sam Reed (who I con­sid­er to be one of our most dis­tin­guished retired polit­i­cal lead­ers) because I believe in build­ing bridges and gov­ern­ing in a bipar­ti­san fash­ion when­ev­er possible.

Coop­er­a­tion is a pro­gres­sive val­ue. NPI is always glad to work on issues with peo­ple from across the ide­o­log­i­cal spec­trum wher­ev­er we can find agreement.

There are many points on which we as an orga­ni­za­tion are in agree­ment with Kim Wyman. For exam­ple, we agree that Wash­ing­ton’s major polit­i­cal par­ties should use a pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry to allo­cate all of their nation­al con­ven­tion del­e­gates, some­thing that final­ly hap­pened for the first time this year.

We also agree that the Nation­al Archives’ facil­i­ty in Seat­tle should not be closed.

We’re each enthu­si­as­tic sup­port­ers of the Wash­ing­ton Wildlife & Recre­ation Coali­tion, a bipar­ti­san effort orig­i­nal­ly formed by Mike Lowry and Dan Evans.

And we agree that only hand­writ­ten sig­na­tures made with pen and paper should be accept­able for qual­i­fy­ing mea­sures to the bal­lot in Wash­ing­ton.

I could go on, but I think these exam­ples nice­ly illus­trate my point.

Let’s now take a look at Wyman’s record and exam­ine the evi­dence, which defin­i­tive­ly shows that she is a par­ti­san Repub­li­can who is active in par­ty pol­i­tics despite claim­ing not to play in par­ty pol­i­tics at the state and local level.

Exhibit A: Wyman’s role in electing Republican Secretaries of State in other states elsewhere in the country

At an event this week host­ed by the Asso­ci­a­tion of Wash­ing­ton Busi­ness, Wyman admit­ted that she has been at the fore­front of efforts to elect Repub­li­cans to posi­tions sim­i­lar to the one that she holds in oth­er states.

Said Wyman:

“I do play — and I guess play is the right word — in nation­al elec­tions because I’m not over­see­ing those elec­tions, so yes, I did par­tic­i­pate with my col­leagues who are Repub­li­can Sec­re­taries of State to elect some of the oth­er Secretaries.”


Gael Tar­leton’s cam­paign wast­ed no time in issu­ing a press release in which the cam­paign list­ed off some of the peo­ple who Wyman has helped to elect.

Addi­tion­al­ly, ProP­ub­li­ca report­ed last week that a Trump-sup­port­ing right wing attor­ney (the the Her­itage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky) held secret meet­ings with Repub­li­can state elec­tion offi­cials like Wyman to dis­cuss how to advance bogus nar­ra­tives about “vot­er fraud”.

Wyman’s cal­en­dar shows that she was a par­tic­i­pant in one of the meet­ings.

In addi­tion, Wyman has repeat­ed­ly billed her cam­paign for air­fare con­nect­ed with Repub­li­can Par­ty meet­ings and pre­sen­ta­tions. (There are no sim­i­lar expens­es asso­ci­at­ed with Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty meet­ings; Wyman isn’t into bipar­ti­san outreach.)

Kim Wyman's travel to Republican functions
Air­fare expens­es billed to the cam­paign dur­ing the 2020 cycle (Data: Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Commission)

In 2019, Wyman trav­eled to Wash­ing­ton, D.C. to tes­ti­fy against H.R. 1, the For the Peo­ple Act intro­duced by House Democ­rats. Though H.R. 1 sen­si­bly pro­posed to bring bal­lot access reforms pio­neered in the Pacif­ic North­west to all states in the coun­try, Wyman non­sen­si­cal­ly spoke against the leg­is­la­tion.

You’d nev­er catch a “non­par­ti­san” elec­tions pro­fes­sion­al “play­ing” in elec­tions at the nation­al lev­el, work­ing to elect peo­ple who favor purg­ing vot­er rolls and erect­ing bar­ri­ers to vot­ing. That is the behav­ior of a Repub­li­can partisan.

Exhibit B: Wyman’s involvement in local Republican Party events and her comments to attendees of those events

There is per­haps no bet­ter evi­dence demon­strat­ing that Kim Wyman is a par­ti­san Repub­li­can than her reg­u­lar par­tic­i­pa­tion in Repub­li­can Par­ty events.

Though Wyman has only admit­ted to “play­ing” in nation­al elec­tions, the truth is, she is extreme­ly active in Repub­li­can pol­i­tics at the state and local level.

Here are some exam­ples from back in the spring.

On April 5th, Wyman spoke to a meet­ing of the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty Cen­tral Com­mit­tee. She spoke for about five min­utes and took ques­tions for six min­utes. On April 30th, she appeared at Steve O’Ban’s e‑kickoff. On May 12th, 2020, she spoke to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton Young Repub­li­cans. On May 21st, she was the fea­tured speak­er of the Colum­bia Basin Repub­li­can Women.

Wyman’s cam­paign itself has been hold­ing events for Repub­li­can audiences.

Kim Wyman's Republican Women in Government event
E‑poster adver­tis­ing Kim Wyman’s Repub­li­can Women in gov­ern­ment event

For instance, on August 27th, Wyman’s cam­paign held a vir­tu­al event called “Repub­li­can Women in Gov­ern­ment” with Lyn­da Wil­son and Jacquelin Maycumber.

Nat­u­ral­ly, no Demo­c­ra­t­ic office­hold­ers were on the pro­gram… because the event was by Repub­li­cans, for Republicans.

In addi­tion to appear­ing at par­ty func­tions, Wyman has also attend­ed and spo­ken at the Roanoke Con­fer­ence, an annu­al strate­gic gath­er­ing in Ocean Shores that works on the advance­ment of right wing caus­es. Roanoke attracts Repub­li­can elect­ed offi­cials, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of right wing think tanks, talk radio hosts, new­ly recruit­ed can­di­dates, and activists. also reg­u­lar­ly speaks at events for oth­er Repub­li­can candidates.

Last year, at Repub­li­can J.T. Wilcox’s annu­al salmon bake (anoth­er exam­ple of Wyman’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in Repub­li­can pol­i­tics), Wyman absurd­ly pitched her reelec­tion cam­paign to a friend­ly audi­ence by claim­ing that the work her office has been doing would pre­vent peo­ple from going up and down I‑5, reg­is­ter­ing to vote in every sin­gle coun­ty, and com­mit­ting vot­er fraud.

Ril­ing up the Repub­li­can base about “vot­er fraud” is of course some­thing Don­ald Trump and his kids do all the time. Below, by press­ing play, you can hear Kim Wyman tepid­ly try her hand at it her­self at the tail end of a speech.

Is it any won­der that Wyman gen­er­al­ly refrains from con­demn­ing Don­ald Trump by name? She’s Dr. Jekyll when she’s speak­ing to nation­al reporters about Wash­ing­ton State’s expe­ri­ence with vote at home, and Mr. Hyde when in front of Repub­li­can audi­ences. Pulling off that bal­anc­ing act would­n’t be pos­si­ble if she were to cross Don­ald Trump, Ron­na McDaniel, and nation­al Republicans.

Exhibit C: Wyman’s history of going on Trump-supporting right wing talk radio shows

Kim Wyman reg­u­lar­ly appears on shows host­ed by right wing talk radio hosts in Wash­ing­ton State, includ­ing Jason Rantz and Todd Her­man, who are Repub­li­can pro­pa­gan­dists. A true “non­par­ti­san” elec­tions pro­fes­sion­al who attempts to stay above pol­i­tics would not go on such shows and then fail to rebut base­less attacks on Wash­ing­ton State’s sys­tem of elec­tions by right wing con­spir­a­cy theorists.

Here is one of Todd Her­man’s seg­ments fea­tur­ing Wyman. This was record­ed back in August. It’s unmis­tak­ably a con­ver­sa­tion between two Republicans.

Yes­ter­day, Wyman was on Jason Rantz’s show yet again.

If Kim Wyman had a pol­i­cy of reach­ing out to local media across the ide­o­log­i­cal spec­trum, her appear­ances on right wing talk radio might not be so prob­lem­at­ic, but she has no such pol­i­cy. We know from our own expe­ri­ence. In eight years, Wyman has nev­er reached out to NPI about any­thing. All of the afore­men­tioned dia­logue between NPI and her office has been ini­ti­at­ed from our end.

Exhibit D: Kim Wyman is part of the state Republican Party’s money matrix — as both a contributor and recipient

If you run an advanced search of the Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Com­mis­sion’s data­base, you’ll find dozens upon dozens of instances where Kim Wyman’s cam­paigns (for Audi­tor and Sec­re­tary of State) either gave mon­ey to Repub­li­can Par­ty orga­ni­za­tions or accept­ed mon­ey from Repub­li­can Par­ty organizations.

You can see the raw data for your­self here.

Wyman’s cam­paigns (“typ­i­cal­ly bear­ing the name Cit­i­zens for Kim Wyman”) have giv­en mon­ey to many Repub­li­can coun­ty par­ty orga­ni­za­tions as well as the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty. I found $1,162.50 worth of con­tri­bu­tions from her cam­paigns to Repub­li­can com­mit­tees by doing a quick search.

Addi­tion­al­ly, Wyman has been giv­ing mon­ey to Repub­li­can can­di­dates for office every sin­gle cycle since becom­ing Sec­re­tary of State.

Here are some examples:

  • Kel­ly Cham­bers for State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive ($75 on 08/02/2018)
  • Chris Gildon for State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive ($75 on 07/31/2018)
  • Bruce Dammi­er for Pierce Coun­ty Exec­u­tive ($100 on 12/08/2015)
  • Greg Kim­sey for Audi­tor ($75 on 04/03/2018, $100 on 03/10/2016)
  • Andy Hill for State Sen­ate ($75 on 05/30/2014)
  • Steve O’Ban for State Sen­ate ($50 on 06/10/2014, $33.00 on 06/17/2014)
  • Sharon Brown for State Sen­ate ($50 on 10/28/2014)
  • Lin­da Kochmar for State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive ($50 on 04/27/2014)

As Sec­re­tary of State, Wyman has also per­son­al­ly giv­en mon­ey to the Main­stream Repub­li­cans of Wash­ing­ton, the What­com Coun­ty Repub­li­cans, the Kit­sap Coun­ty Repub­li­cans, and the 45th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict Republicans.

The Repub­li­can Par­ty, in turn, has pro­vid­ed Wyman with lots of mon­ey for her cam­paigns. The Ben­ton Coun­ty Repub­li­cans so far are Wyman’s sin­gle largest 2020 con­trib­u­tor, hav­ing giv­en $5,000. (Par­ty orga­ni­za­tions can give more to can­di­dates than indi­vid­ual donors can.) The Repub­li­can State Lead­er­ship Com­mit­tee, a nation­al arm of the Repub­li­can Par­ty based in D.C., has giv­en $2,000.

In 2016, the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty gave Wyman $130,000 and anoth­er $37,434.22 in in-kind con­tri­bu­tions; the Ben­ton Coun­ty Repub­li­cans gave $6,500. The Thurston Coun­ty Repub­li­cans donat­ed $2,000.

If this “should be a non-par­ti­san race,” as Wyman stat­ed in a May 28th, 2020 email, then why is she run­ning as a Repub­li­can and rais­ing mon­ey from Repub­li­can Par­ty orga­ni­za­tions for her can­di­da­cy? And why does Wyman give mon­ey almost exclu­sive­ly to Repub­li­cans and right lean­ing can­di­dates on a reg­u­lar basis when she claims not to “play” in Wash­ing­ton State elections?

Exhibit E: Wyman’s efforts to coerce the Democratic Party into adopting a presidential primary for the 2016 cycle

In 2015, Kim Wyman request­ed leg­is­la­tion that she false­ly claimed would “require” the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty to uti­lize a pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry for del­e­gate allo­ca­tion in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, rather than work­ing con­struc­tive­ly with the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty to achieve her goal of a pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry used by both major polit­i­cal par­ties (a goal shared by NPI).

You can watch the press con­fer­ence where she unveiled this leg­is­la­tion on TVW. I was there, and I asked one of the ques­tions dur­ing the sub­se­quent Q&A.

A tru­ly non­par­ti­san Sec­re­tary of State would nev­er have attempt­ed to use the leg­isla­tive process to uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly infringe upon the First Amend­ment rights of any polit­i­cal par­ty. But Kim Wyman fig­ured she could use the pow­er of her office to com­pel the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty to adopt a pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry, rather than invest­ing any time in out­reach and relationship-building.

(The leg­is­la­tion she request­ed would­n’t have had an impact on the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty, which was then already com­mit­ted to the primary.)

Wyman’s gam­bit did­n’t work. In fact, her actions helped spur advo­cates of a pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry with­in the state Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s Cen­tral Com­mit­tee (myself includ­ed) to vote for a del­e­gate selec­tion plan that exclu­sive­ly uti­lized caucuses.

A foot­note: In 2019, the Leg­is­la­ture’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic majori­ties passed leg­is­la­tion to reform the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry request­ed and sup­port­ed by the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, with Wyman reduced to being a bystander. Pas­sage of that leg­is­la­tion set the stage for the par­ty’s adop­tion of the pri­ma­ry for 2020.

I would have much more respect for Kim Wyman if she was seek­ing reelec­tion as either an inde­pen­dent, non-affil­i­at­ed can­di­date in accor­dance with her cho­sen 2020 theme of “non­par­ti­san­ship”, or as a Repub­li­can vocal­ly speak­ing out against Don­ald Trump’s attacks on our democracy.

But instead of choos­ing one of those prin­ci­pled paths, Wyman is try­ing to have it both ways so she can max­i­mize her chances of get­ting reelected.

She is doing her best not to alien­ate Don­ald Trump’s base, because that’s a bloc she’s count­ing on hav­ing the sup­port of in her campaign.

Com­pared to oth­er Repub­li­can can­di­dates and office­hold­ers, Wyman might look and sound pret­ty rea­son­able. That’s how bad things are! But we in Wash­ing­ton State have always had high expec­ta­tions and stan­dards of can­di­dates who run for office. This is a time for tough ques­tions and for accountability.

We know that our coun­try is slid­ing towards autoc­ra­cy right now.

What’s Kim Wyman’s response? Tip­toe around Don­ald Trump and claim to be “non­par­ti­san” while zeal­ous­ly prac­tic­ing par­ti­san pol­i­tics as qui­et­ly as possible.

Just as there’s a dif­fer­ence between not being a racist and being antiracist, there’s a dif­fer­ence between not open­ly sup­port­ing Trump and oppos­ing Trump.

This is a time when great courage is need­ed. I rec­og­nize that it’s hard­er for peo­ple like Kim Wyman who hold con­ser­v­a­tive val­ues to speak out against Don­ald Trump, because so many peo­ple who hold con­ser­v­a­tive val­ues are part of his cult.

But it should­n’t just be Democ­rats who are work­ing to save Amer­i­ca from Trump. The oppo­si­tion to Trump ought to be bipar­ti­san. And cross-ideological.

Because Don­ald Trump is a poison.

The Lin­coln Project rec­og­nizes this. Repub­li­cans for the Rule of Law and Repub­li­can Vot­ers Against Trump (projects of Defend­ing Democ­ra­cy Togeth­er) rec­og­nize this. So do John Kasich, Cindy McCain, and Col­in Powell.

Why can’t Kim Wyman?

If we don’t drain the poi­son out of our body politic, it will destroy the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca. If Trump and his goons aren’t stopped, there will be noth­ing left for any­one who con­sid­ers them­selves a con­ser­v­a­tive to con­serve. Includ­ing and espe­cial­ly our tra­di­tion of free, fair, and com­pe­tent­ly admin­is­tered elections.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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