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.

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

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

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

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

Said Wyman:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I point­ed out that this was disingenuous:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kim Wyman at the 2020 meeting of the Electoral College

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

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

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

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

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

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

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One Comment

  1. I can relate to Sec­re­tary Wyman when it comes to alien­ation from one’s par­ty. I was active­ly involved with mine until I start­ed feel­ing like the old guard. It seemed like a new wave of lead­er­ship was com­ing with which I did­n’t feel like I had much in common.

    # by Mike Barer :: January 20th, 2021 at 7:44 AM