It is often said that one should not make too much out of any primary election.The recent Washington State primary may well be the exception. The result is so overwhelming that even Republican Party leaders are expressing concern regarding the general election in November. And the future.
The problem, they say, for statewide elections is King County. Statistically that may be true, but the root problem may be more important to the future than analyzing the magic 40% threshold needed for a Republican in King County.
Statistically, based on current voting trends in the state, a Republican must win, at minimum, 40% of King County to win a statewide race. McKenna got 34.4%. And those who voted for Hadian likely won't vote for McKenna in the general. Nor will those who voted for Pidgeon, vote for Dunn.
Reagan Dunn and Bill Finkbeiner did worse than McKenna in the county.
The gospel of the state GOP has been, "You've got to be a moderate to win." Now some are expressing concern. But will more of the same change political outcomes?
Chris Vance, former Republican state chair, says of the Republican performance in King County, "It's absolutely true, if they don't do better than this in King County---a lot better---they will loose."
Vance says he thinks the problem is the "national brand of the Republican Party" that King County rejects. He says, "Around here the national party is viewed as anti-progress, anti-science, Christian crusaders."
So, what to do? "Moderates" will argue that if only we can drop the bad "brand"---and still get the regressive, anti-science, Christian crusaders to vote for us, we will win in King County and the state.
I rarely agree with Danny Westneat at the Seattle Times, but he said the 3 statewide Republican candidates "got their head handed to them" in King County. He's right. Worst defeat in the past 50 years.
These three candidates did an excellent job letting King County and the rest of us know how far from the anti-science, anti-progress, Christian crusaders they really are.
McKenna has certainly identified himself as "moderate"---the good brand. He is pro-abortion, says he is pro-marriage, but often raises questions in the minds of Christian conservatives, like his negative comments regarding the Boy Scouts position against homosexual leadership. He tells Christians he is a "quiet Christian." He says he is fiscally conservative, and may be, however he tells the press he is not in favor of overturning Obamacare, a plan that will bankrupt the country and trample on religious freedoms, after making opposition to it a signature conservative action as A/G. Who is this man?
Dunn has made it clear to King County that he is both pro-homosexual "marriage" and is pro-abortion. He is also the good brand Republican.
Finkbeiner crossed party lines to be a clinching vote for a homosexual civil rights law several years ago, is married to an active Democrat and says his primary objective will be to "decrease partisan bickering" in Olympia---which usually means to compromise or oppose traditional values, as these 3 have done.
That is such a hollow statement. A political ploy from the distant past.
The State and the country is more polarized than at any time in recent history. And for good reason. There is an epic battle for the soul and future of this country and for each state. It is fiscal. It is moral. It is social. And there is a great gulf between the two ideologies.
Maybe it's time to forget the tired mantra of Sam Reed, Rob McKenna and an army of "moderate" consultants---and in some cases Party leadership, and discover a new paradigm.
Westneat characterizes the State Republican Party as the mythical character Sisyphus. He may be right.
In Greek mythology Sisyphus (play /ˈsɪsɪfəs/ Greek: Σίσυφος, Sísyphos) was a king punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever.
The word "sisyphean" means "endless and unavailing, as labor or a task."
Perhaps it is time to identify new rising leadership who are rock solid conservative, with demonstrated legislative and political experience. Individuals who will not be influenced by the "branding" experts, but rather rise on the foundation of character, experience, personal ability and political acumen. In that order.
Are there state senators or state representatives who are even now gaining that kind of experience, while not abandoning the core moral and fiscal beliefs?
Yes, there are.
Would there be enough votes statewide to elect such a person without the 40% in King County? The numbers I've seen, coupled with the universal political unrest, moral concerns expressed in a thousand different ways and the number of Christian crusaders who don't even presently vote, say there could be.
The accepted Republican "moderate" norm is to move to the so-called "center." Otherwise, they say, you can't win.
Guys. It's not working.
John Koster has run several political campaigns. He is a Christian conservative with terrific skills. So much so that the Seattle Times said he is highly qualified, but they would not endorse him because of his social values. Their opinion meant nothing to the voters in the recent primary. Koster had a very strong showing in the 1st Congressional District primary, beating all other candidates by a substantial margin. He is on the November ballot.
John, I know you read this blog from time to time. You will likely be told forcefully---locally and nationally, you must move to the so-called "center" now that you have soundly beaten all the other candidates who were already romancing the center. You won by simply being who you are. The so-called "moderate" boulder is heavy. In fact it is a millstone. And it will roll back.
Something to think about for those who care about the culture:
Are we destined to play the role of Sisyphus? Or is there a better way, that in time can actually push the rock to the top, helping to restore our culture?
There is a better way. In coming weeks and months, lets think how real change can occur in Washington State. I believe there are, even now, those serving the state who can rise to the occasion without compromise. And win.
It will take unity and resolve among us of the" inferior brand." And a more clear vision. And trusted leadership. But it is possible.
May God help us.
Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Active. Be Blessed.