“The next conservative President must make the institutions of American civil society hard targets for woke culture warriors. This starts with deleting the terms sexual orientation and gender identity (‘SOGI’), diversity, equity, and inclusion (‘DEI’), gender, gender equality, gender equity, gender awareness, gender-sensitive, abortion, reproductive health, reproductive rights… out of every federal rule, agency regulation, contract, grant, regulation, and piece of legislation that exists.”

These haunting and hateful phrases come from just the first few pages of “Project 2025,” a comprehensive agenda designed by Trump-aligned extremists on how to deliver the “Second American Revolution.” Normally, Democrats avoid scare tactics, but this time the fear is palpable and warranted. With the recent Trump-friendly Supreme Court ruling that gives criminal immunity to the President of the United States, there is credible reason to fear for our fundamental freedoms. Furthermore, this extremist agenda imperils the ability of everyday voters to make their voices heard–the bedrock of our Constitutional Republic–if they do not understand and reject it in November. 

Fights that we thought were over, rights we thought were inalienable, and laws we believed were established are now up for grabs under the guise of making America “pure again,” to borrow their words.

In reading Project 2025, I found that across the 922-page document there were many actions that would specifically challenge law, policy, and funding in Washington, including: 

  • Withdrawing Medicaid funds for any state that requires abortion to be covered under private insurance (which would include Washington); 
  • Repealing Inflation Reduction Act programs that provide grants for environmental science activities (across Washington, people are in the process of applying for these fund); 
  • Gutting the National Labor Relations Board’s enforcement capacity (the Region 19 Office in Seattle just won an unlawful discrimination case for workers in May this year);
  • Using the Department of Justice to increase federal law enforcement presence in jurisdictions (like Seattle) they find to not be enforcing laws as they see fit, and pursuing political opponents. 

…and that’s just the tip of their heinous iceberg. 

That’s why we need leaders who are prepared to act on Day 1 to protect the freedom to access reproductive health care, protect the right to vote, and ensure our economy works for everyone.

During the last Trump presidency, we saw leaders at all levels of government step up. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson took on the Trump administration, filing 97 lawsuits and securing 39 legal victories. The Seattle City Council passed seven pieces of legislation to protect abortion access and allocated $1.75 million to the Northwest Abortion Access Fund. 

But right now, I worry if our city council will be up to the task. Instead of pursuing policies to protect our freedoms, balance the budget, reduce gun violence, and address overdose deaths, this year the council has instead focused on how to roll back minimum wage legislation for gig workers, scrutinized programs serving Black, brown, and frontline communities, and remained frustratingly silent as a corrupted US Supreme Court makes it easier to modify guns into deadlier weapons and erase legal protections for uhhoused neighbors. 

Trust me, in the face of overwhelming national challenges and a deflating presidential debate, I felt the same way as many other Democrats and progressives felt: an overwhelming sense of helplessness and the feeling in my stomach that comes with stress-eating an entire pack of Oreos. 

But, plot twist! You don't get to move to Canada yet. We must redouble our efforts to make a difference at the local level, provide a safe haven for our diverse communities, and set a precedent for progressive, actionable policies across our country. 

Unlike the first Trump presidency, which was full of chaos and uncertainty, they’ve gone full James Bond villain and told us their evil plan. The good news is we can be proactive and act now:

  • Protect immigrants and refugees from threatened mass deportations through scaling legal resources and programming;
  • Ensure state and local abortion access, clinic safety, and safe travel for women in states that deny bodily autonomy;
  • Further codify and protect rights for LGBTQ+ community members and safeguard gender-affirming care and legal protections;
  • Increase our local investment into affordable housing development, preservation, and programs serving people experiencing homelessness;
  • Fight for stronger gun laws, community violence intervention, and other state-based solutions that counteract any federal rollbacks in gun violence prevention;
  • Maintain our state and local efforts to reduce the public health impacts of air and water pollution in the face of attacks on federal laws and rulemaking;
  • Advance climate action on the local level, and organize city and state responses to try and meet targets even if the US withdraws from international responsibilities;
  • Partner with judicial branch leaders to discern and plan for legal action to safeguard rights;
  • Increase revenue by ensuring the wealthiest residents and corporations pay what they owe to proactively plan for the potential (and likely) loss of federal funding. 

If elected to city council, I will work to unite our city and fight for our constitutional rights, working in coalition with other leaders at all levels of government. I’ll demand more from the institutions that we can and must maintain in the face of unprecedented attack. This moment calls for a change at city hall and action from everyday voters to make it happen. Our future depends on it.

Alexis Mercedes Rinck is a candidate for Seattle City Council Position 8 (citywide). A renter in the Central District, she used to wait tables by the Space Needle and now works on policy from the UW Tower.