At this point, the conservatism represented by AM 770 KTTH has become a joke in Seattle. No one takes Jason Rantz seriously, and everyone has forgotten about the promising political career of that Burger Prince. This created a vacuum that is now filled by Brandi Kruse, a Q13 Fox commentator whose self-claim to fame is the ability to see beyond the divisions of current local and national politics. “The Divide with Brandi Kruse is a Sunday morning political program that searches for common ground on issues dividing Americans," states her bio on the Fox affiliate's website.
Common ground... Let's move on.
Kruse believes she isn't locked into the leftist mindset, and that she can, when needed, toss a criticism or two at the right. She is, in short, splendidly beyond ideology. And so she speaks for those who want to say something negative about homeless people but feel as if they can't do so because much of the city's politics is directed by leftist ideology and its unreasonable adherents. But she is not on the right. Kruse isn't homophobic, or racist, or a Christian nut. She styles herself as a cosmopolitan person who just so happens to see things as they are. And this aspect of her thinking, her mode of self-perception, is what makes her supremely ideological, as one of the top critics of ideology, Slavoj Žižek, would instantly recognize.
Because the goal of this post is to explain what Kruse-ism is, and it has the benefit of not being long.
If Seattle looked like this under Republican leadership, would it get more or less attention in the local press? Would coverage be different? Something tells me there would be less of a hesitancy from the local blogosphere to call it what it is - a failure of leadership. https://t.co/x1k79s54H4
— Brandi Kruse (@BrandiKruse) April 19, 2021
To begin with, Kruse-ism is nowhere near new. It just had less visibility until the city's radio right spiraled out, as exemplified by Dori Monson's temporary suspension from covering the Seahawks after he posted a "transphobic tweet."
So here are the tenets of Kruse-ism, (its holy trinity, as it were):
• Assume that the left controls the media most people consume and therefore directs the agenda.
• Make the reasonable-sounding claim that individuals have a moral obligation to pull their own weight. This is where the idea that the homeless actually have places to go but much prefer sleeping in our parks gets its juice from. The homeless are just a bunch of horses that can't be pulled to water. The left refuses to see the fact of this. Hard-working taxpayers already spend a ton of dough on their inveterate uselessness. And so on.
The city tells me it has offered outreach to everyone living there with 24 referrals since March 26. A spokesperson for the mayor says: "The City has shelter, with wraparound services like case management, available for every person who has been living onsite, long-term."
— Brandi Kruse (@BrandiKruse) April 14, 2021
• Last, but not by any means least: Register extremism on the left as pernicious and as pervasive as extremism on the right. In this world, Kshama Sawant, when standing in front of a mirror, is looking directly at Marjorie Taylor Greene. (To get my gist, you can also imagine that popular .gif of the two Spider-Men pointing at one another.) The absence of a distinction means you can dismiss a brown socialist in the same way you can dismiss an out-and-out white supremacist.
The question is: Will Kruse-ism work? The answer to this question will not be found in Seattle. Kruse-ism has no traction here. Its appeal, if it's at all substantial, is to be found outside of Seattle, and particularly in the white (hence, less diverse) suburbs of this city.
The right lost its grip on the suburbs after the crash of 2008, which wiped out large quantities of white, middle-class wealth and accelerated a diversification process that began in the 1990s as a consequence of the renewal of American urbanism. (SeaTac is now rated by Niche as the third-most diverse suburb in the US.)
The rise of Trump also helped push a substantial number of suburban whites into the moderate zone, which in the US is the area not between the moderate right and the moderate left but between the radical right and the moderate left.
And so, the question we have today is how should this new but very screwy moderate zone in American politics be described? What is its identity? The current split in the GOP is determined by this question.
Now, no one doubts the GOP's influence in the rural areas, but a big part of the Reagan coalition that brought the New Deal era to an end (Christian nutters, white suburbia, white hicks) has been diminished, and it is unlikely that figures such as Rantz, the Burger Prince, and Dori Monson will restore it.
A Republican from Pasco, Washington, announced Wednesday that she will challenge Democrat Patty Murray for a U.S. Senate seat next year. https://t.co/0brtZKPOkD
— Q13 FOX Seattle (@Q13FOX) April 15, 2021
Enter Brandi Kruse. The battle of 2022 will be for the soul of the white suburbs. And Kruse's weapons will be clunky, blunt, and rusty. These are indeed the very same weapons that were used by the right in the 1960s. They led to "white flight." This time around, they may end with "white fright."