Seattle Is Now the Symbol of All That Is Wrong with Progressive Politics



Really? NOW. Please explain when Seattle was the symbol of all that is right with progressive politics? It's pretty amazing how self-absorbed and unaware Seattle is with regard to how NOT progressive it is, politically or otherwise. (yeah it's more progressive than other places in this country, but it is not now nor has it ever been as progressive as it believes it is - it is far more provincial than progressive).

Some things to consider:
What is Durkan? The first female mayor in 90 years?
What is or has the DOJ formally investigated Seattle for? (hint: Police Brutality and School Exclusion and Discrimination against non-white students)
What does Seattle have with regard to taxation? THE most regressive tax system in the nation.
What is Seattle's history full of? Anti-labor leadership and deeply entrenched discrimination regarding housing (which is deeply entangled with Seattle's history of segregation).

Some articles to review:


@1 I think you're missing the importance of "symbol" in that sentence. This has nothing to do with what Seattle actually is, but rather how its being used as a symbol, to try to sustain the ramshackle skeleton of the Reagan coalition for one more election.



For Donald Trump, it is always and forever 1983. Like he was frozen in time at the moment he cut the ribbon on Trump Tower.


Harvard gives out economics PhDs to any ol' dummy, it seems.


Sharply observed little piece there CM.
It occurs to me that I am now 65 and I swear I have been reading variations on 'Seattle is going down the toilet' articles my whole life.
Currently the right is not only invested but all in on the idea that Progressive politicians have led to Seattle's imminent ruin.
What crap.
Seattle is going to survive CHOP, Trump, Covid, homelessness, all and any of it and still be one of the most attractive, dynamic urban areas - not only in the country, but in the world - for a long, long time.


"Yes, unemployment is 15 percent in Seattle, yes, that is really up there; but it was nearly 3 percent in January"- your point?


It doesn't matter what you do, the extreme far right will always be able to hire economists to lie about why you should do really stupid things that don't work, so that the rich and ultra-rich pay less in taxes and pay wage earners even less.

Don't fall for it.


"But who is Trump and Vigdor trying to scare? Who is their audience? Oddly enough, it's suburban voters. "

I think you mean "obviously enough". Anyone who has followed Trump knows that he has based his entire political career on Richard Nixon. If Nixon were in a similar bind, he would do the exact same thing. You've lost the cities. Your only chance is to win the suburbs, and you think that painting the cities as lawless, savage places, where socialists are in charge will do it. "Amnesty, abortion, and acid" gets updated to "Defunded police, abortion and pot" (I know, not as catchy).

I don't think it will work. Trump thinks it will work because he is old. Keep in mind, he was 22 when Nixon was elected, an age where most guys were either in Vietnam, or worrying about it. But Trump, being rich, didn't serve, and didn't give a shit. He was OK with sending "all the blacks" to fight the war, since (of course) he didn't know any of them. He didn't really care about the people of the cities, just the stuff. The streets themselves, the buildings, the windows. He is not promising to make the lives of the people in the city better; he is only promising that if you visit the city, it will be more pleasant. This is an appeal to a naive, older suburban voter. What Trump doesn't realize is that few of those voters are still around. Oh, and Biden is one of them, and he knows that is complete malarkey.

Trump is just Nixon with fewer brain cells, or the modern Republican Party on acid. The Republicans have no new ideas. The few good ones have been stolen by the Democrats, and labeled socialist (Obamacare, Yang's reverse income tax, etc.). They are just focusing on their modern roots -- when the modern Republican Party was created, by Nixon. It was all about winning The South, and to do that, they needed to appeal to racist whites. Getting suburban white voters (who feared the big city) was just the coalition needed to win. It probably won't work -- as you wrote, the suburbs have changed -- but never underestimate the stupidity of the American voter.


Yes, rural people don't burn their homes down. Living socially isolated in less population-dense areas, they tend to direct their despair inwards and die of opiod abuse, albeit inside unburnt structures. The rightist con of "I'm a rich winner and I did all by myself; you're a poor loser and you have nobody but yourself to blame" finds more fertile ground out there.


Good article, CM. I agree with you that Vigdor's piece is a bit of a stretch, but the point is that there IS a lot wrong with Seattle-style 'progressiveism', just not what Vigdor sees.

As I see it, Seattle's progressiveism fails in the end bc it's all about appearances, not substance. All the good little white Seattle libs are turning out the march (and the more frisky ones to break things) bc all their little friends are doing it. Everybody's got to get out there and earn their SJW merit badge. It's kind of like that endearing way they all go out and get tattoos, beards, and colored hair to show how unique they are (just like everyone else).

What they WON'T do is any of the real heavy thinking or lifting to make fundamental changes in society. Oh sure, they'll cut SPD's budget by half ('coz that's what the bumper-sticker slogan says to do), and they'll throw a bunch of Other People's Money at the Blacks to shut them up (just like the City bought off Raz Simone with a grant: have we heard from the 'warlord of CHAZ' lately?), but they'll continue to game the system to make sure that their little sprogs will get the best education (see: special SPS 'gifted' programs or enrolling at Lakeside), and all the other ways they 'Opportunity Hoard'.

The current unrest will pass, just as BLM magically disappeared after the 2016 election (it appears to be a thing that magically appears in election years, sort of like a Social Justice (tm) 'Brigadoon'), and things will go back to Business as Usual, with the rich getting richer and the poor - regardless of melanin level - go to Federal Way.


as soon as i see harvard, or yale or somesuch before someone's analysis, i just move along. i know who they are. rhetoriticians defending our indefensible society.

'this is why there can be no public investment...'

'this is why we have to make more billionaires...'

whatever. it's all going to come crashing down eventually, and they will all be saying the exact same things.


What if the vast majority of people are neither left nor right in their core but simply vote for their own best interests? In crowded urban centers this plays out as increased taxes for social services for those that can't compete, transit and liberal social policies because you are exposed to more diversity. In rural areas you see the opposite. If voters begin to leave the city due to covid and more flexible work policies you could see the electorate actually drift to the right as their own priorities change.


I agree with the headline. Seattle, and the state of Washington at large, are an absolute mess. I've lived all over the country and I've never seen such a poorly governed state, which is really saying something these days.


Holy cats, I needed an exercise in gratitude today and here it is. I am so grateful that it isn't my job to edit Mudede. It's like someone put rhetoric in a blender.


Mudede seriously needs to have someone proofread his screeds before he publishes them. Good gawd, the man is trying so hard to be relevant that he misspells easy words. This isn't the first time he's screwed up. I have a difficult time taking writers seriously when they don't even proofread their own work.


@21. Imagine if the Rosetta Stone finders had that attitude.


If you cannot extrapolate meaning without buying your brain a vowel to solve the puzzle you lack imagination and much perception will be lost to the limits of your senses




@22: If the Rosetta Stone had been written like this column, we'd still be thinking of heiroglyphs as cute little pictures. ;-)



You still would, would you? ;-)


Trumpworld hates Seattle because Seattle made them made them feel stupid for drinking Folgers, buying ground pepper and drinking watery beer. Well, that's what they think anyway. But the real reason is what Seattle is, and that is a new proletariat that works in the factories just like all the other factory workers, except they get paid an average wage of $93,000 per year and they have college degrees so they know shit, go places and see the advantage in working collectively to solve collective problems. That's not Cleveland's factory workers. The hoi polloi hate Seattle. And they love to see Seattle and Portland people getting their skulls fractured by rubber bullets and if they have a degree from Harvard in economics, they can't separate their wet dreams from reality in seeing it all come down.... that is, a full 12% of the entire US economy (total tech sector). The challenge for the progressives is how to match the interests of these differnt critters with the traditional working class. Sometimes they get it right; some times they don't.