If you’re looking for evidence of the Recall Sawant campaign operating in bad faith, look no further than their opening salvo: about 38,000 big, double-sided mailers full of the same bullshit Sawant haters have been hurling at her for years from the safety of their rapidly appreciating homes.
On the front, the mailer displays a copy of a petition the campaign wants District 3 residents to sign, which includes the three alleged offenses they’re supposedly so pissed off about: letting protesters into City Hall in the middle of a pandemic, “leading” a protest to the Mayor’s house, and spending around $1,700 to run off some posters and to text out some ads for a Tax Amazon ballot initiative she promoted to make sure the council stuck to its word to tax the rich. On that last charge, last week Sawant acknowledged she violated the city's ethics code and as punishment agreed to pay double what she spent on posters.
On the reverse side, where you’d expect to see a bunch of histrionic language about the gravity of these earth-shattering violations, you instead see a bunch of Clinton Democrat red meat: "SAWANT WANTS VOTERS TO BELIEVE REPUBLICANS ARE BEHIND THE RECALL. THE TRUTH? SHE WORKED AGAINST DEMOCRATS FOR YEARS...AND HELPED ELECT TRUMP."
To state the obvious: evidence that she "worked against Democrats" does not mean "Republicans" couldn't be behind the recall.
THE TRUTH? As The Stranger reported, right-wing moneybags and Sawant's political rivals kickstarted the recall. (Trump donor and ICE landlord Martin Selig chipped in a little money early, and Chamber-backed candidate Egan Orion offered up his email list.)
Has she worked against Democrats for years? Absolutely. But her relentless skepticism of the Democratic party and its operatives remains one of her strongest assets given that party's near-total control of Seattle, King County, and the state. Democrats can be a bunch of spineless, suburban, corporate simps who fail to privilege the interests of the poor, and it's good to have lefties pointing that out from the dais on occasion. Local Democrats seem to agree. In February, 82.5% of the 43rd Legislative Democrats—the only part of the party that really matters in this campaign—backed a resolution to oppose the recall.
As for the charge that she "helped elect Trump," supported with a quote from The Stranger and the Seattle Times? Despite what my honorable colleague Charles Mudede argued from this platform in 2016, I just don't think an op-ed in The Nation and a socialist rally or two really swung the vote in favor of Trump. Neither does FiveThirtyEight. (And contrary to another argument Mudede made in the piece the mailer references, socialists have actually become slightly more relevant in electoral politics, despite their "unrealistic response" to Trump in 2016.)
Other claims in the mailer include a tokenizing cameo from Jim Clyburn arguing that "Sawant's campaign to defund the police is hurting Black Lives Matter," and another suggests that Sawant “actively opposing Joe Biden’s election in 2020” is somehow disqualifying.
First of all, who didn’t actively oppose Joe Biden’s campaign in 2020?? In the March 2020 primaries, around 21,000 people in the 43rd LD voted for Biden. Around 31,500 voted for Bernie Sanders. The mailer suggests Sawant's subsequent digs at Biden are somehow also disqualifying, but Biden won, and it wasn't even close in Washington.
Second of all, though Sawant has been trying to defund the Seattle police since she took office, she didn't start the defund movement that grew from protests last summer. In fact, protesters rebuffed the council member's attempts to recruit them more than once during those months.
Anyway, the mailer clearly seeks to rile up people by relitigating both the 2020 and 2016 elections, which I don't even think the most ardent "I'm with Her" Sawant hater wants to do right now. Seems like they'd have better luck just blaming her for CHOP and moving on with their lives, but I guess there's still plenty of time to make that happen.
The recall campaign needs to gather over 10,000 signatures (and a few thousand more, just to be safe) by mid-October. Given that just over 20,000 people voted against her, that goal seems infinitely achievable. I'm not sure how many signatures they've collected so far, but the latest disclosure reports show the recall campaign with 1,543 individual contributions from D3, compared to only 1,209 D3 contributions for Sawant's solidarity campaign. Both sides combined have raised nearly $1 million on this reactionary nonsense.
If the recall campaign collects enough signatures, they'll turn them into King County elections. The agency will take between two and four weeks to validate and certify those signatures, and after that they'll have to hold an election within 45 to 90 days. So if the recall campaign turns in their signatures by late summer, then the issue might go on the November ballot. If they wait until October, then they'd likely secure a low-turnout standalone election early next year, which would probably favor their cause.