Hav­ing seem­ing­ly not learned any lessons from Dino Rossi’s four unsuc­cess­ful bids for high­er office this cen­tu­ry, Kim Schri­er’s Repub­li­can oppo­nent Matt Larkin declared this week in an inter­view with The Her­ald of Everett that Wash­ing­ton’s min­i­mum wage should be “clos­er” to the fed­er­al hourly min­i­mum of $7.25.

That’s right: Larkin thinks Wash­ing­ton should low­er its min­i­mum wage, which is present­ly $14.49 an hour and due to rise to $15.72 as of Jan­u­ary 1st, 2023. (In accor­dance with two vot­er approved ini­tia­tives, it’s peri­od­i­cal­ly adjust­ed upwards to account for the cost of liv­ing, unlike the fed­er­al min­i­mum wage.)

While oth­er local Trump fol­low­ers, like Loren Culp, have run cam­paigns in recent years that tried to appeal to work­ing class vot­ers, Larkin appears not to be mak­ing any such effort. Instead, he’s hand­ing Democ­rats a late Octo­ber gift.

The min­i­mum wage has sur­faced before as a key divid­ing line between can­di­dates for high pro­file office in Wash­ing­ton State. As men­tioned, Repub­li­cans like Dino Rossi have paid a polit­i­cal price for sid­ing against work­ing families.

In 2008, Wash­ing­to­ni­ans had a choice between Demo­c­ra­t­ic Gov­er­nor Chris Gre­goire and Rossi, who had nar­row­ly lost to Gre­goire four years prior.

Gre­goire cam­paigned on her sup­port for the min­i­mum wage, while Rossi declared that the min­i­mum wage had nev­er been meant to be a liv­ing wage — just an entry wage. Gov­er­nor Gre­goire won reelec­tion with­out difficulty.

Eight years lat­er, when Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee was run­ning for his sec­ond term against chal­lenger Bill Bryant, the min­i­mum wage was again a cam­paign issue.

Bryant argued that wage increas­es should vary by region with­in the state, and said that Ini­tia­tive 1433, a bal­lot mea­sure to increase the state min­i­mum wage to $13.50 per hour by 2020, would harm most businesses.

Inslee said rais­ing the wage was nec­es­sary to help work­ing fam­i­lies make ends meet and boost the econ­o­my — that there was no place in the state where a fam­i­ly could sur­vive on an income of $1,500 a month. “You can’t do it in Spokane, Ellens­burg, or Wash­tuc­na.” Gov­er­nor Inslee eas­i­ly won reelection.

Nobody mak­ing our state’s min­i­mum wage is well-off… any work­er who is employed full time and mak­ing min­i­mum wage isn’t mak­ing more than around $30,000 per year, and that’s before tax­es. Repub­li­cans, Larkin includ­ed, have been com­plain­ing non­stop about infla­tion and the ris­ing cost of liv­ing, urg­ing vot­ers to blame any eco­nom­ic anx­i­ety or unease they feel on Democrats.

Yet it’s can­di­dates like Larkin who want to increase low income fam­i­lies’ finan­cial pain and hard­ship by cut­ting their pay! Repub­li­cans have offered no solu­tions to address the cost of liv­ing dur­ing these midterms. Instead, all they’ve offered are schemes to make things worse. Like gut­ting Wash­ing­ton’s min­i­mum wage.

Democ­rats say that Larkin sig­naled that he was glass half-emp­ty thinker ear­ly on this cycle when he adopt­ed the non­sen­si­cal mantra “Make Crime Ille­gal Again” as the slo­gan for his cam­paign. Crime is of course already ille­gal, as Democ­rats like Steve Hobbs and Bob Fer­gu­son have point­ed out dur­ing cam­paign speech­es. If an activ­i­ty or behav­ior isn’t against the law, then it can’t be criminal.

Larkin would say that what he means is that crime is get­ting worse and that’s going unad­dressed. In real­i­ty, though, we’ve seen a decline in over­all crime. Vio­lent crime and mur­der have spiked and are high­er than before the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, but not as high as in decades past, like the 1980s.

It might not seem that way to those who watch the five o’clock news every night, because the police blot­ter is the favorite beat of many local news outlets.

Like the old adage says, it it bleeds, it leads.

Larkin and oth­er Repub­li­cans say Democ­rats are to blame for increas­es in vio­lent crime, but if we look across the coun­try, we can see that Repub­li­can-run places are suf­fer­ing from as severe a dis­rup­tion as Demo­c­ra­t­ic-con­trolled cities often false­ly char­ac­ter­ized by right wing media such as FNC as hellscapes.

Schri­er and Larkin are set to debate tonight in Ellens­burg at Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, in what will be their only debate pri­or to Novem­ber 8th.

Adjacent posts

One reply on “Kim Schrier’s Republican challenger Matt Larkin calls for lowering the minimum wage”

Comments are closed.