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Seattle as liberal bastion? Think again.

Heat-mapping our political geography reveals some surprises about America’s most progressive big city.

On a cold evening in late October 2012, voters across Seattle hopped into their late-model Toyota Camrys and set out on a mission.

From Westwood Village to Northgate, they parked at their coffee shops of choice, grabbed their mail-in ballots from the backseat and strode purposefully past two new condo developments and a pet salon. They entered the café to the sounds of Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up,” ordered their non-fat hazelnut latte, opened their ballots and voted for every progressive measure possible.

President Obama’s re-election —  check
Same-sex marriage — approved
Legal pot — on every street corner, if possible!
And, of course, a “yes” vote for every progressive tax and public levy.

Tucking their finished ballots into their signature envelopes, Seattle’s electorate sipped their lattes and stared thoughtfully out the window. What a wonderful day to be truly progressive, they thought. Maybe I should buy a fixed-gear bicycle.

This is the stereotypical view of Seattle’s median voter. According to the conventional wisdom, Seattle’s electorate is full of fiery, uncompromising progressives. They elect socialist councilmembers, gay mayors, and fully endorse the Wars on Christmas, cars and brown bags, both tangible and verbal. Seattle isn’t merely liberal, says this conventional wisdom, it is lock-step liberalism at its most homogenous.

There’s a small problem with this argument: it’s not really true. In reality, Seattle is a city marked by fierce internal divisions — on social policy, taxation, local issues, and just about everything. Certainly, Seattle is a staunchly Democratic city with a heavy liberal tilt.  However, outside of a few neighborhoods, different conceptualizations of “liberalism” flourish. The liberalism of Fremont is not like the liberalism of the Rainier Valley is not like the liberalism of Laurelhurst.

For this analysis, I analyzed precinct results for every Seattle election since November 2008. I limited my analysis to races that demonstrated division along ideological or geographic lines. In total, 47 ballot items made the cut. Each of these ballot items was sorted into four categories – partisan issues (Democrat vs. Republican), social issues, fiscal/tax issues, and local candidate races. 

Results were tabulated for each of Seattle’s 951 voting precincts.Each precinct was assigned a score in all four categories. A score of 100 indicates that the precinct has the strongest progressive voting history in Seattle, while a score of 0 indicates the most conservative record.

The results were stark: although some precincts appeared near the top of all four lists, others had drastically varying positions. Some of Seattle’s bluest neighborhoods have remarkable conservative streaks on taxation, cultural issues, or municipal politics. With these results, I’ve mapped the real extents, and limits, of “Seattle liberalism.”

Partisanship

Seattle is a very Democratic city: for every Mitt Romney voter, there were 6 Barack Obama voters. Still, Romney actually won one precinct — Broadmoor in Madison Park, where he received 56 percent to Obama’s 43 percent. Elsewhere, Republicans, especially further down the ticket, have historically been competitive. Windermere, Laurelhurst, Madison Park, and the Magnolia Bluffs are all dotted with fairweather GOP precincts with substantial conservative minorities. A total of 49 precincts in these areas scored under 50 on the 100-point scale of Democratic partisanship. That’s not many, but it’s enough to make Republicans a significant minority in Seattle’s electorate.

Generally, Seattle’s most Republican-friendly precincts are affluent and located near water view areas. They are rife with “Sam Reed Democrats”: voters who would be hard-pressed to find a Republican Presidential candidate they support, but who are willing to vote for Republicans for technocratic positions. Many of these Democrats crossed party lines to vote for Reed and Rob McKenna in 2008 and Dan Satterberg in 2007, with some supporting competitive Republicans like Kim Wyman and Dino Rossi.


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Comments:

Posted Tue, Jan 21, 7:21 a.m. Inappropriate

Election results suggest, however, that [Seattle residents would] prefer socioeconomic justice come in some other form besides sales tax hikes.

So why do the government heads invariably push regressive tax hikes (sales taxes and car tab taxes)? The rich, public employee unions, and businesses provide the needed political support, and those interest groups want high sales taxes. In contrast, those entities loathe the spectrum of progressive revenue-raisers available to the state and local legislators.

Also, the author's assertion that the taxing districts around here confiscate regressive taxes for "socioeconomic justice" simply isn't true. Take the exceedingly heavy regressive taxing for transit (Metro and Sound Transit). The primary beneficiaries of it are the muni bond financier interest group, the transit operators' union, several multinational engineering and construction firms, BNSF, urban property speculators, and employers located near transit stops (primarily those in urban centers). That regressive taxing is not intended for "socioeconomic justice" - it is a means of socializing costs to increase private profits of favored entities.

crossrip

Posted Tue, Jan 21, 2:35 p.m. Inappropriate

The votes involving sales tax increases were remarkably consistent. It didn't matter much if they were for education funding, housing levies for the poor, public financing, or transit. Across the board, it's the wealthy and the working-class who are most opposed. The details of the proposal don't seem to matter much; even levies specifically targetting social services or housing follow this pattern.

Posted Tue, Jan 21, 7:14 p.m. Inappropriate

Benjamin Anderstone says this:

The votes involving sales tax increases were remarkably consistent. It didn't matter much if they were for education funding, housing levies for the poor, public financing, or transit.

What are you talking about? There haven't been any significant sales tax ballot propositions around here for "education funding, housing levies for the poor, [or] public financing."

There is a tiny .1% sales tax imposed here for criminal justice purposes: maybe that's what you're thinking of?

I believe all the rest of the sales tax ballot propositions were for transit. That's a full 1.8%. The rest of the nation's-highest sales tax rate here is due to the 1% city/county sales tax and the 6.5% state sales tax rate, right?

crossrip

Posted Tue, Jan 21, 8:16 p.m. Inappropriate

Apologies: I meant to write "tax increases," not just "sales tax increases."

I see what you're saying. You're right that none of the "socioeconomic justice" measures in the sample were sales tax increases. They were property tax increases, like the 2009 housing levy. Lower-income areas were still unfavorable to the 2009 measure, *even though* the measure was specifically geared to low-income people, and the measure was less regressive than a sales tax hike. The sentence you quote meant to communicate that these voters don't like regressive taxes (such as the sales tax) even if the regressive taxes are for "socioeconomic justice." I just used "sales tax" as a stand-in because it's the most regressive tax. After all, it follows from these findings that low-income voters would probably be even more hostile to addressing "socioeconomic justice" with a sales tax than they are with property tax.

If I re-wrote the sentence, I'd have it read: "Low-income Seattle voters don't seem to want to address 'socioeconomic justice' through regressive tax measures, of which the sales tax is the most regressive." (Unfortunately, as you point out, there aren't many recent sales tax votes, and most of them are on one subject, so we can't calculate whether low-income voters are actually, in practice, more opposed to sales tax than property tax hikes.)

Also worth mentioning: The only tax vote in my sample where the correlation didn't occur was I-1098, the high-earners income tax from 2010. The low-income precincts really liked that one.

Posted Tue, Jan 21, 9:45 p.m. Inappropriate

Property tax increases are every last bit as regressive as sales taxes. Seattle's "progressives," especially the affluent ones who own their places and don't have to slum it by paying rent, like to imagine that the lack of a "property tax" line in the lease means that taxes aren't passed through to rents. It would seem that the intended recipients of "progressive" "help" know different. Imagine that.

Lesson: Be careful of rescuing people who are smart enough to know when you're lying to them.

NotFan

Posted Tue, Jan 21, 7:44 p.m. Inappropriate

What about electoral approval of property tax increases? Are they thought to be progressive by those who focus on that?

One is reminded of Senator Russell Long (D-LA)'s famous rhyme:
Don't tax you, don't tax me --
Tax that fellow behind the tree.

Seems like everyone here believes that others should pay more taxes.

simorgh

Posted Wed, Jan 22, 7:22 a.m. Inappropriate

What commenters here believe can not change legal policies.

The problem is, all the government heads around here who can change legal polices believe the individuals and families with the least economic means should be subjected to even higher tax impacts. And that's despite the fact that we already have the most regressive state/local taxing structure in the country.

Why don't you try explaining that rigid mindset of the government heads here, "simorgh"?

crossrip

Posted Wed, Jan 22, 11:04 p.m. Inappropriate

pfft. When was the last time a property tax increase wasn't on the ballot? The poor don't own real property in Seattle for the obvious reason, so what "rigid mindset" have you discovered? EVERY YEAR this happens. Will this year's be called "parks legacy" or "bridging the gap"?

Roughly 1 out of 7 Seattle households does not own a car. For the poor, it's about 3 in 7. Of those, most live downtown or are college students.

simorgh

Posted Thu, Jan 23, 7:33 a.m. Inappropriate

Simorgh,

Renters pay property taxes. The 2nd biggest operating expense for an apartment complex is property tax. Anytime a homeowner votes to raise a property tax, they are voting to raise their mortgage payment (since most property taxes are collected by lenders from the homeowner and remitted to the taxing authority). Anytime a renter votes to raise a property tax, they are essentially voting a rent increase on themselves since they remit rent to owner and the owner remits it to the taxing authority. The result is the same, even if the mechanism is different. It is paid by the consumer procuring housing for themselves whether they rent or own.

Posted Thu, Jan 23, 7:16 p.m. Inappropriate

Yes, 1 in 7 residents don't own cars. Which is the same as it's been for a long time. Some are too poor. Others are too old, or too disabled. A handful of hipsters and yuppies who get FAR too much attention don't have cars even though they can afford them.

There are more 2-car households in Seattle than zero-car households.

NotFan

Posted Fri, Jan 24, 4:47 p.m. Inappropriate

Actually it's one in seven HOUSEHOLDS who don't own a car, not one in ten people. My household has three people and two cars.

A commercial tenant with a net-net-net lease will face an increase in rent when property taxes rise. A residential tenant almost always will not. I suspect that "realpolitik" is neither a residential tenant nor a residential landlord, but if s/he is, s/he may have a most unusual escalator clause in the rental agreement.

simorgh

Posted Fri, Jan 24, 7:56 p.m. Inappropriate

Simorgh, you said

"Roughly 1 out of 7 Seattle households does not own a car. For the poor, it's about 3 in 7. Of those, most live downtown or are college students."

I do not think it is appropriate to categorize college students as "the poor". Whether young or old, they may be low income, but given that they are in a learning institution, presumably there to learn something or some skill that will help them find decent careers and work, this category of statistics should not be lumped into "the poor". College students generally are young, and often do not have cars, yet. Or the car may be home at mom and dads and not in the city where dorms do not offer parking for free.

Posted Fri, Jan 24, 8:02 p.m. Inappropriate

Renters certainly pay property taxes. Rents rise due to property tax increases, which inevitably are passed along to renters. As it should be.

Posted Fri, Jan 24, 8:27 p.m. Inappropriate

If there are data showing that rent increases and property tax increases are correlated, let's see them. Most landlords charge what they can get, or they give breaks to their steady reliable tenants to avoid turnover costs.

The point about college students being classified as "poor" is well taken, but the presenters of data do not make the distinction so neither can I.

simorgh

Posted Sun, Jan 26, 8:08 p.m. Inappropriate

If there are data showing that rent increases and property tax increases are correlated, let's see them. Most landlords charge what they can get, or they give breaks to their steady reliable tenants to avoid turnover costs.

Typical Seattle "progressive" who's never been in business, studied economics, or been a landlord.

When demand is slack, landlords will cut rents, usually by means of "one month free" deals. As soon as demand tightens, they will reset rents to account for costs, which include property taxes. That has been happening all over Seattle as the economy has recovered.

The higher the cost base, the higher the rents will up go over time. It starts with the corporate landlords, and then filters down through the small-time landlords. You're a complete fool to believe otherwise, but then what "progressive" here isn't a complete fool?

NotFan

Posted Sat, Jan 25, 11:15 a.m. Inappropriate

Just because property taxes and other operating expenses are not specifically called out to be passed through to a tenant in a resididential lease does not mean that a tenant does not pay them. Rents either cover operating costs and the loan payments or the property is insolvent. So if any costs rise, particularly costs like property taxes that are imposed simultaneously on all property owners, rents rise (if not in the immediately, over the medium and long-term). So even though the mechanism is indirect, renters pay property taxes.

Another possibility is that property taxes and other costs rise to the point that the property is still solvent but returns on the owner's investment fall to the point that they sell and put their capital in assets with a better risk adjusted return. New investors stay away from the sector in favor of sectors with better returns on their capital and time. Supply falls relative to demand, and rents rise.

Make no mistake, whether you are a renter or owner, raising property taxes will raise your cost of housing. Does that mean no one should vote for a property tax increase? No, they just have to decide that the public benefit from the tax justifies the increased cost they will pay. Seattle voters decide that is true all the time.

Posted Sat, Jan 25, 8 p.m. Inappropriate

Rents are set by supply/demand dynamics, not a pass-through of taxes. Likewise, gasoline stations and supermarkets pay property taxes but no one has alleged that property tax increases cause the price of gas and food to rise. A little basic economic education is in order here.

If any of the commenters are landlords or tenants, what is your experience?

simorgh

Posted Sun, Jan 26, 8:16 p.m. Inappropriate

Rents are set by supply/demand dynamics, not a pass-through of taxes. Likewise, gasoline stations and supermarkets pay property taxes but no one has alleged that property tax increases cause the price of gas and food to rise. A little basic economic education is in order here.

If any of the commenters are landlords or tenants, what is your experience?

Supply and demand works over the short term. When demand is slack, landlords will cut rents, usually by means of "one month free" deals. But over time, costs are the basis for rents. In the very small landlord market, rents will typically be tied to what the bigger guys are getting, and to mortgage plus taxes and insurance.

Over time, if costs go up then rents will go up. If demand has been weak for a long time, then as soon as the market recovers the rent will go up, often in a "shocking" (to the tenant) way. It always traces back to costs, because if a landlord tries to gouge, he'll lose tenants even in a tight market.

The lack of an instant response to changes in cost doesn't mean there'll never be a response. Costs are always the foundation of rents. I say this as both a former tenant and as a former landlord. If you think that property taxes don't get passed through, well, that qualifies you as a typical "progressive" who engages in magical thinking.

One of the reasons rents are skyrocketing in Seattle -- and will stay that way -- is that a lot of units have been built, and the owners have big mortgages (and taxes) to recoup. If you think these calculations are done on the back of an envelope, you're a blithering idiot. All of this filters down to the rest of the market over time.

Everyone is looking at costs, including cost of capital. Yes, there are bubbles in both directions. But, over time, the economic fundamentals always come through. Always.

NotFan

Posted Tue, Jan 21, 10:14 a.m. Inappropriate

The shadings of your map would not indicate a true red/blue divide, its more like the difference between a Stalinist Communist and a Leninist Communist.

knlsen

Posted Tue, Jan 21, 11:43 a.m. Inappropriate

One wrinkle will be the rise of libertarian values on foreign policy issues, free expression, legalizing pot, and looking for disruptive (not governmental) solutions to big problems. Won't the Amazon Economy start producing voters like Jeff Bezos, who calls himself a "decaf libertarian"? The only local pols who appeal to this emerging voter are Dow Constantine (a bit) and the tech belt Democrats like Ross Hunter and Reuven Carlyle. Mike McGinn made some inroads here as well. Tim Burgess, with his outcomes-based approach to policy, is another one taking a few steps down this path. It could be that the author's "Sam Reed Democrats" are where these voters are located.

Posted Tue, Jan 21, 5:24 p.m. Inappropriate

David, by 'disruptive solutions to big problems' you mean neoliberalism, creative disruption, or outright revolt?
The irony of the times is that all three of these amount to more of the same. Are we to assume that your use of the word 'solutions' is then itself ironical?

afreeman

Posted Tue, Jan 21, 11:55 a.m. Inappropriate

Given Benjamin's recent Tacoma roots, it would be nice to see him contribute to making Crosscut (and the Seattle media in general) a little more regionally focused. For instance, it would be cool to see these sorts of maps for the South King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County, and the Eastside as well.

Seattle's navel gazing gets tiresome for the nearly 80% of us who live in the media market but not the city limits. It's not so much the coverage of Seattle that's frustrating, it's the lack of coverage of everywhere else in the Puget Sound area.

pika

Posted Tue, Jan 21, 2:13 p.m. Inappropriate

"…wars on..cars.."? I think some of these liberal wars are not so much against cars (they like their Camrys even if they feel a little bit guilty about it) but against the idea of drowning in cars like we all do sometimes.

kieth

Posted Tue, Jan 21, 7:31 p.m. Inappropriate

No, it's a war on cars, plain and simple. The fact that they're hypocritical doesn't change that. The "progressives" hate cars to the point of engaging in magical thinking about their own wheels. They also despise single family homeowners, neighborhood stability, law enforcement, and older people. And, naturally, any idea that they didn't come up with first.

NotFan

Posted Tue, Jan 21, 9:03 p.m. Inappropriate

I have to agree with NotFan. It's a war on cars, plain and simple.

My car is where I am independent. I dream, explore, think, find privacy. As well as go to work, run errands and handle my busy daily life.

My choice of career means I cannot ride a bus or a train, yet I get no working persons commuter lane with preferential rates or speeds for contributing to the economy that makes the mass transit systems run fewer than 3% of the people around where they might want to go.

How is this sustainable or equal? It's not, and it's stifling independence in our young people, and that is appalling.

Posted Tue, Jan 21, 7:23 p.m. Inappropriate

Great article Benjamin. But I'm forever frustrated by the 1-dimensional coverage of voters just because there are only 2 major political parties. The 2 parties exist as a means of waging a competition to get people elected to office. The parties are primarily containers for candidates and donations of money. This article hints at the frustration of lumping people into the red or blue containers but doesn't fully state this.

Since you need at least 50% of the vote, it mathematically precludes more than 2 parties from waging the competition. However, I think it's an incorrect conclusion to state that voters naturally fit in the RED or BLUE containers. It's the only choice they have.

It's kind of like when you go to a large dinner like for a wedding and you're given the choice of 'chicken' or 'fish'. There are lots of other foods people would probably rather choose like steak, vegetarian, italian, chinese or the like. But they are only given 2 choices. It would be a false conclusion to state that people only prefer to eat fish and chicken. It's just that nothing else is offered.

Posted Tue, Jan 21, 9:06 p.m. Inappropriate

Richard B, don't you think it is economy of scale when a wedding only offers you 2 choices for your protein? Most young couples and/or their parents don't have an unlimited budget to spend to the moon and back, so they scale the offerings to their budget.

Posted Tue, Jan 21, 9:38 p.m. Inappropriate

I am usually irritated by that common, smug "progressive" retort about someone's grievance being a "first world problem," as if we're supposed to think that as long as we don't have cholera, everything is just hunky dory.

But there's an exception to every pet peeve, and this is it. Richard Borkowski, the oppression you feel when offered only chicken or fish at a wedding? That's a first world problem on steroids. Really, what's the next complaint on your list? The lack of gluten-free wedding cake?

NotFan

Posted Tue, Jan 21, 7:25 p.m. Inappropriate

I dislike the labeling because it contributes to "progressive" tribalist pigeonholing, but I have to reluctantly acknowledge a lot of truth in this portrait, including as it applies to me, i.e., the "Sam Reed Democrat" bit. I've voted in 10 presidential elections and it's been for a Democrat in all of them, but I voted for McKenna in 2012 and gleefully voted to kick McSpandex to the curb.

Also voted against the $60 car tabs in 2011 and will vote against bailing out King County Metro regardless of what form it takes. As I've begun paying more attention to local issues, I've turned into a blanket "no" vote on all levies, yet remain Democratic for federal offices and "libertarian" on issues like gay marriage.

The problem with all of this in Seattle is that the local "progressives" constantly smear, ignore, and dismiss any disagreement with their craziness as "tea party politics," or some such. They imagine that everyone here is a fact-free, knee-jerk, empty-someone else's wallet, nanny-state, cheeks-sucked-in liberal puritan who's just as eager as they are to tell everyone else how to live their lives.

What really freaks 'em out is a split-ticket voter. Nothing is scarier to any idelogue than an independent voter, which is why both sides routinely insult independents while scheming to come up with ways to hoodwink them. And then they wonder why "independent" grows a little bit in every election cycle.

Seattle's "progressive" mafia is a self-insulated, reality-denying clique of arrogant hyprocrites who very, very badly need to be spanked at the polls. Unfortunately, the voters here won't do it. If we'd not fallen for the "families and education" mantra, and balked at the library ruse, and had gotten rid of O'Brien along with McSpandex, and hadn't elected that nasty, thin-lipped communist, it would've been a cannon shot across the bow.

But there are glimmers here and there. Maybe there'll be more of them. The "progressives" very badly need to be taught a lesson or three about taking votes for granted, but the only way to do that is not to give these doofuses our votes.

NotFan

Posted Tue, Jan 21, 7:30 p.m. Inappropriate

I wondered what that really dense blue blob in the middle was and then realized it was Green Lake. Perhaps it should be green? :)

tvjames

Posted Wed, Jan 22, 2:25 a.m. Inappropriate

This is incredibly useful sociological research, so much so Crosscut would do the public a great service by making it available on-line as a downloadable pdf file (with some way to enlarge the maps to practical legibility), also to make it available (with fold-out maps) as a printed document. Meanwhile many thanks to Benjamin Anderstone for the work and Crosscut for publishing it.

Posted Wed, Jan 22, 7:33 a.m. Inappropriate

Thanks for the cool maps and analysis, but I'd have liked to see you directly address the results of initiative 1098, which I believe would have required a more nuanced assessment of voters' attitudes toward taxes.

You say: "Seattle’s poor do not especially like taxes. This pattern applies not only to regressive bag taxes, but also to school levies, transit funding, and even propositions on social services for the poor."

That's not entirely true.

Many of the precincts which you correctly point out as hesitant to support regressive sales taxes proved eager to vote for a progressive income tax to fund education and health care (many approved at over 60%). This shows that, far from being "conservative" on taxes, voters in these precincts are perhaps by one measure the most progressive tax voters in the city: rejecting regressive measures and voting to approve only those that are progressive in nature. For reference: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABPub/2010/11/30/2013555784.pdf

Posted Thu, Jan 23, 7:21 p.m. Inappropriate

Yes, Seattle's five state senate districts liked an income tax. Interestingly enough, the state's other 45 state senate districts regarded it as whipped cream on dogshit, and therefore it failed.

NotFan

Posted Wed, Jan 22, 9:59 a.m. Inappropriate

If you're rich, you're more likely Republican. What's the new thing we learned?

nullbull

Posted Wed, Jan 22, 12:44 p.m. Inappropriate

If you refuse to be educated (like the average Seattle "progressive"), then you won't learn anything.

NotFan

Posted Wed, Jan 22, 2:33 p.m. Inappropriate

Nullbull -- where they live.

Norge

Posted Thu, Jan 23, 2:34 a.m. Inappropriate

Helpful for burglars.

simorgh

Posted Thu, Jan 23, 7:19 p.m. Inappropriate

Gee, do you really think burglars don't know where the rich people live, and need a Crosscut map to help 'em figure it out?

NotFan

Posted Thu, Jan 23, 6:30 a.m. Inappropriate

What it says: People want likeable candidates. They want services without paying for them and education often times comes from having money. And, along with age comes wisdom. My response to the column, thanks, but duh!

giorgio

Posted Thu, Jan 23, 7:18 p.m. Inappropriate

Your comment is irrelevant, given that nothing in the article dealt with anything you mentioned. But hey, since when haven't people been completely illogical?

NotFan

Posted Thu, Jan 23, 7:36 p.m. Inappropriate

This set of maps, and analysis to go with it, would be especially interesting and useful if Crosscut would do two things:

1. Expand the data to all of King County, and then Snohomish and Pierce Counties.

2. Collect and publish historical data for the city of Seattle, King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties, and perhaps other principal cities, i.e., Bellevue, Tacoma, Everett, Redmond, Federal Way, etc.

I think it would highlight some things that need to be said, such as:

1. Seattle's weight within the three-county area has diminished over time, and Bellevue's has risen.

2. Outside of Seattle, the population of "Sam Reed Democrats" rises quite a lot.

All of this might be in the realm of the obvious, but it gets far too little attention in the city of Seattle's playpen. To listen to the worthies around here, you'd think Seattle still calls the tune. That was true 30 or 40 years ago, but today, Seattle has 620,000 people in a single county of 2 million, not to mention the growth of Snohomish and Pierce.

The "progressives" of Seattle very badly need a reality check. This article is good enough as it goes, but the wider picture would be a lot more useful.

NotFan

Posted Fri, Jan 24, 10:57 a.m. Inappropriate

I think the article is pretty clearly just about Seattle, because Seattle was the place where so many of the the progressive causes had traction. So, there's an interesting detail that a place where progressive issues do well actually has a more complex political makeup than may be apparent from the outside. That's what it's about. There's a point at which your comment goes from "wouldn't be interesting" into "they should have included more data that makes it seem like my ideology is the more popular / correct / better one."

And do you honestly believe that the political differences between the eastside and Seattle, or between Snohomish and King Counties "gets far too little attention" in Seattle? That's a joke right? I read that narrative every single election cycle in Seattle newspapers. I think they've forgotten to write any other kind of article. Also hear it on the radio, and on TV.

nullbull

Posted Sun, Jan 26, 8:42 p.m. Inappropriate

The map works for Seattle, but Seattle is far less of an economic price-giver, so to speak, in the metropolitan area than it once was. There was a time when Seattle set the table for all of the Puget Sound. It is still an important factor as the largest single city, but things have changed.

In 1980, Seattle was 38% of King County. Today, it's 32%. Include Snohomish County, and Seattle went from 30% to 23%. And that relatively gentle slope of Seattle's decline has come mainly from an injection of poor immigrants from Mexico and other destitute Third World places. (Who, interestingly enough, are some of the least "progressive" voters in our world-class burg. How do ya like them apples?) We're not getting much rich immigration, the Amazonian techno serfs in their apodment cubicles notwithstanding. The Hong Kong diaspora that invaded Vancouver? To the extent they come here, they live on the other side of the lake.

In 1960, Seattle was almost 60% of King County. Today, it's 32%. Include Snohomish County, and Seattle was half in 1960, versus 23% today.

Seattle's "progressives" seem to think it's still 1960 in these parts, and that everyone in the Puget Sound revolves around downtown Seattle. It's simply not true. Not only is the population spreading out, but the shift in economic weight has been even more dramatic. The richest people don't live here anymore. They live on the other side of the lake.

Bellevue, once a flyspeck of 12,000, has grown ten-fold in 50 years and now has one-fifth of Seattle's population and a median household income 55% above Seattle's. This is America, and in America money calls the tune. Seattle's "progressive" policies are a dream come true. Not for Seattle, but for the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce. If I were in their shoes, I'd be Kshama Sawant's secret campaign contributor, and I'd be funneling money to support her clones.

I'd especially be doing that if I were Kemper Freeman. If I were him, I'd be leaking all kinds of cash for every Seattle homeless program, especially the ones located anywhere near downtown. Over time, the action in this area has been moving eastward. Hell, they already have their own rich bridge. Give it time. Even the "progressives" will see, but by then it'll be too late -- if it isn't already.

Crosscut doesn't want to talk about this too much, for fear of the invective that the "progressives" would hurl their way. But the numbers don't lie. I'd not only suggest a map of population over time, but one that would include economic and demographic information. Nothing stings so badly as the truth, bluntly stated.

NotFan

Posted Wed, Jan 29, 10:20 a.m. Inappropriate

I don't share NotFan's politics (I'm a "progressive" although not exactly of the stripe he or she is criticizing), but I agree that covering Seattle only far too often makes Crosscut and much of the rest of what ought to be the *region's* media (KCTS even made Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland sit in front of an image of downtown Seattle on the PBS News Hour's post-State of the Union coverage last night, as if no image of downtown Tacoma is available...) look like an elitist hobby rather than a serious endeavor aimed at making the region as functional, sustainable, and fair to all Puget Sound residents as it should be. There are very real social and environmental externalities associated with Seattle's navel gazing.

pika

Posted Fri, Jan 24, 8:05 a.m. Inappropriate

I think these maps really help kids decide what neighborhoods to go Trick or Treat in!

Lily32

Posted Fri, Jan 24, 9:46 p.m. Inappropriate

Interesting analysis. Opting not to clip the precincts to the city land boundary and letting them jut arbitrarily into the Sound and lake is my only critique for an otherwise beautiful set of maps.

nickwelch

Posted Sat, Jan 25, 7:50 p.m. Inappropriate

The clipping was appropriate. Folks outside Seattle couldn't vote for many of the ballot issues and elections which us Seattle people faced, such as McGinn and Sawant. An analysis using only elections which faced King County voters would also be informative, but different.

simorgh

Posted Thu, Jan 30, 9:28 a.m. Inappropriate

It wasn't long ago when "liberal" meant open-minded; pragmatically concerned about the future; open to change. And "conservative" meant locked into past cant, especially the clichés of religion and money/power.
But today Socialists like Sawant and the liberals on the city council are locked into predictable positions that depend on catering to a certain population cohort or to politically-correct clichés. And conservatives, many of whom are still locked into conditioned-reflex religious doctrine, are concerned about the future, mainly because of the decision-making of liberals. But quality of thought in both camps has significantly been debased.

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