Nov 25, 2022
On this Friday show, we present Part 2 of the Hacks & Wonks 2022 Post-Election Roundtable which was live-streamed on November 15, 2022 with special guests political consultants Dujie Tahat and Kelsey Hamlin. In Part 2, the panel breaks down election results for State Legislature seats in the battleground districts of the 26th, 30th, 44th, and 47th LDs, where Democrats prevailed despite fears of backlash from passage of police accountability bills in 2021. They then dive into how the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s race embodied many of the election cycle’s themes - how fearmongering and punitive approaches to public safety lost to positive messaging about addressing root causes, and how the media and editorial boards attempted to drive narratives out of touch with the nuanced conversation voters are ready to have. Finally, the roundtable wraps up with a look at how established organizations and their history of relational organizing won successful initiatives to bring ranked choice voting to Seattle and a higher minimum wage to Tukwila.
As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com.
You can follow Hacks & Wonks on Twitter at @HacksWonks. Find the host, Crystal Fincher on Twitter at @finchfrii and find today’s co-hosts, Dujie Tahat at @DujieTahat and Kelsey Hamlin at @ItsKelseyHamlin. More info is available at officialhacksandwonks.com.
[00:00:00] Bryce Cannatelli: Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I’m Bryce Cannatelli – I’m the Post Coordinator for the show. You’re listening to Part 2 of our 2022 Post-Election Roundtable, with guests Dujie Tahat and Kelsey Hamlin, that was originally aired live on Tuesday, November 15th. Part 1 was our last episode – you can find it in your podcast feed or on our website officialhacksandwonks.com. You can also go to the site for full video from the event and a full text transcript of the show. Thanks for tuning in!
[00:00:43] Crystal Fincher: Okay, okay, okay. Did you do work in any legislative races? I know you did a lot of work, but I don't know if you did any legislative work.
[00:00:52] Dujie Tahat: We didn't do legislative work this year.
[00:00:53] Crystal Fincher: Okay.
[00:00:54] Dujie Tahat: Yeah. We weren't even planning on doing really a bunch of any electoral work and then, you know, suddenly we got a phone call. Yeah, exactly - it was like August and then we got six phone calls and I was like, oh, yeah, all right - sure.
[00:01:10] Crystal Fincher: Nice. In these races, there were some interesting ones. One, legislatively, the 10th Legislative District, which is still too close to call - the lead flipped yesterday, it flipped again today. That one of the legislative districts there got a little dramatic in one of those races. Dave Paul actually looks safe in that race - I think it's safe to say that he is going to win. But whether Democrat Clyde Shavers or Republican Greg Gilday carries the day is still to be determined.
Another huge district, battleground district, and one that people were not at all clear on how that was going to end up was the 26th Legislative District - out in Pierce and Kitsap County, with Emily Randall in a race defending her Senate seat against Jesse Young, who was a Representative. And it looks like Emily Randall has won that race. I would definitely put Emily in the category of people who are in community, connect with community, and leading boldly - not afraid to say where she stands, not afraid to make the case, and take the case to people in her district - and talk with people who agree with her, talk with people who may not agree with her. But I think what we saw there, and what she found, was that she was able to find places of agreement. And people understanding that she's operating in good faith, and even if they don't agree with everything that they heard from her - on the Republican side, that they know that she listens and is willing to act and is willing to fight for a lot of things that just benefit everybody, that don't really have a Democrat or progressive label on it, but just wanting to get people cared for and healthy in the district is a big deal. That certainly was one, but a lot of people were not sure how that was going to end up, but ended up turning out well.
The 30th legislative district and the 44th - two interesting races - full disclosure, did work in those legislative districts, but saw - I think what I noticed in the 30th District especially - this is in South King County, this is mainly Federal Way, some of Auburn in the 30th Legislative District. But you had Jamila Taylor there and you had Kristine Reeves running for the seat that Jesse Johnson ended up leaving. Both were successful, but Jamila actually had a Federal Way police officer running against her in that office - and Federal Way is the city where Jim Ferrell is the mayor. He was certainly - him running for King County Prosecutor - unsuccessfully - but really talking about that punitive - as they call it, law and order - but really punitive punishment-focused rhetoric and rallying against some of the accountability measures that the Legislature took, trying to really blame that on Jamila and others there. And that really just seemed to fall flat - and pretty solid, comfortable victories there for all three candidates in that district - Senator Claire Wilson, Kristine Reeves, and Jamila Taylor. So that was an interesting one where people were wondering - okay, is there going to be a backlash? I saw an article today, I think from Scott Greenstone, where he wrote about - hey, that backlash that people were wondering if it was going to appear, just related to public safety, very much did not appear. And the 30th Legislative District was one of those districts where they really tried to hammer the Democratic candidates with that and make a case on the Republican side, and it just didn't seem to come through.
Similarly in the 44th Legislative District, but had an interesting result there - John Lovick, previous representative, now won his race to be the senator there, along with Brandy Donaghy, who was appointed to the seat, was running for this new term, as well as April Berg, who is a continuing representative there. But again, in that district that used to be a swing district - that used to be the district of former moderate Senator Steve Hobbs, as well as John Lovick, and for years they insisted that - hey, it takes a moderate to win this seat, this is a purple district, they won't elect a progressive Democrat. And then April Berg came along and said, Really? Watch this. And then it seemed to have continued, and what was once a purple district now seems to, as you both talked about before, now seems to be pretty safely blue for the time being. And just an interesting development there, because there was so much in flux at the beginning of the cycle, and now it just seems to be so definitive that they're there.
[00:06:57] Kelsey Hamlin: Can I - oh, okay. Go ahead.
I was going to say, because you touched on it a couple of times - around leading boldly with Emily Randall. And for that matter, like Jamila - and the races really that you just went through - these candidates who lead boldly actually are the ones that get the turnout, that get the motivation from voters that we were talking about earlier. And at the end of the day, they're also being a person, they go and talk to people, they're not just relying on ads that show up on people's TVs to just get people to feel one way or another. But you had mentioned this backlash narrative around, ultimately, police accountability measures that were passed two legislative sessions ago, and a lot of the narrative was - ooh, is there going to be backlash during this midterm? Is this going to impact electability of sitting legislators? And as a result, because that question was even posed, because we're operating from a place of fear, because we're not willing to lead boldly, except for the few great folks of, some of which you just named - that actually really, really impacted the immediately next legislative session, this early 2022 one that just finished. And so those bills were rolled back - all in the name of electability politics - but at the end of the day, when you look at the races of the people who are not involved in that rollback, who in fact opposed it, those are the folks that really pulled the ticket, brought it home. So I'm just really curious around your take of just even the framing of backlash in general, about who we're giving power to for actually taking bold action. Is it backlash, if we're actually doing what is clearly voters' will? So I'm just curious around that conversation in general, because it's played over the course of the past two to three years.
[00:09:11] Dujie Tahat: Can I also add a follow-up question, because I think I was going to ask a similar question - in terms of backlash - because I think there's also the relationship, I think, between sort of local politics, local elections, and then the nationalization. So I think we can definitively say last election cycle last year, when it was all city and county races, was a kind of backlash to - elected a bunch of conservative city council members and city attorneys. And at least in Seattle, in the Seattle area. I'm curious if there's a difference, if there's a meaningful difference between how voters behave in an off-year versus a not-off-year, and then particularly, like the voting for a state legislator versus voting for your mayor in the context of public safety and crime and police, in particular.
[00:10:08] Crystal Fincher: Okay, a few things. One, so even on just last year - and certainly for people in Seattle, they felt that there was a backlash because of the mayoral race and the city attorney race - I think that there were some other fundamentals and pretty clear fundamentals at play. And the other issue is that when you look in the suburbs, we had a number of suburbs elect some of the most progressive city council people that they ever have before. And so I think really what we had was a story of candidates. And I think that especially in the City of Seattle, where the media plays a role in elections in a different way than they do in some of the suburban and rural areas, that that also impacted some races. I think that fundamentals pretty well favored Bruce Harrell, right? I think just looking at voter communications, spending on direct voter communication - the Nicole Thomas-Kennedy race and some of the other races - they were just massively outspent and outdone with direct voter communication. So anytime that there's that much of a lopsided communication delta, it is hard to prevail in that situation. And then when you have unknown people who - it's up to you to define yourself or the opponent to define you - and in those situations, the opponent had a lot more resources to try and define those, that that impacted those races in a different way in Seattle than we saw in some of the suburbs.
But I do think that when it comes to the backlash narrative - our public conversation, the media conversation about public safety is in a very different place than people on the ground. In 2020, with the King County Charter Amendments that brought forth more accountability measures and offices, in addition to appointing instead of electing the sheriff - that wasn't just the only thing that brought forth accountability measures. And despite those charter amendments being dramatically outspent and there being opposition against them, they were passed. And they were passed in just about every council district in the county, right? So this was not - this never has been, as sometimes it is characterized, as well - just those super lefties in Seattle care about like comprehensive public safety and addressing root causes of crime and issues like that. Over and over again, we have seen at the ballot box and in polling - that voters across the county do care about accountability, that whether or not they want more police or not, they all - and I'm using the term all in a near literal sense - 80+ percent when folks at the ballot box are saying, but we also want alternate responses. We understand that - hey, even if I have no issue with an officer, and I think that it's appropriate to call an officer at some period and at some point in time - that when it comes to an issue of someone having a behavioral health crisis, or if someone is unhoused, or if someone is dealing with complex family issues - that sometimes an armed police response is - they're just not equipped to do that, right? And I think that the public conversation in the media has been - well, is it defund or not? Do you back the blue or not? - and it's very binary, shallow conversation. But most voters recognize that it's not an either or most of the time it's an and situation. And what we have done is invested a lot in some portions of the necessary public safety puzzle and have starved other areas. And so we better get to taking action on addressing some of these root causes, on enabling appropriate response.
Just yesterday, there was someone near where I lived, clearly having a behavioral health crisis, right? And there's this helpless feeling that calling the police on this is not - it won't help anyone. It won't help anyone in this situation. But there isn't anyone to call, there is not a resource available to appropriately handle this - and it's frustrating. And it makes you feel helpless. But that's what's missing. And I think lots of people see and feel that and understand that we need to buffet our infrastructure. I think being very defensive and playing into that shallow conversation - is it defund or is it not - that is such an elementary point to start the conversation. Because there's such broad acknowledgement that we do need other things, that we better pay attention to that. So painting that as some controversial lever of what side are you on, does not represent where most people in the public are at. And over and over again, they keep saying - we want you to deal with this more comprehensively. We want to do the things that evidence shows will make these issues better and not keep trying the same failed solutions. We seem to have a few leaders who are dead set on just doing the same old things regardless of the failed continued results. And some media who seem to be very interested in pushing that narrative. I think it is really hard to do that credibly right now, given - once again - the results that we saw so conclusively in the King County Prosecutor's race, the judicial races, some of these county races, these legislative races. And I do think that people understand that - really - public safety is a local issue. And Tiffany Smiley trying to blame Patty Murray just clearly fell flat. But people understand that Patty Murray isn't deciding whether or not to deploy your local policeman, right? That's a local decision. But I also think that the part that's missing is that people have to be held accountable for results there too. And then as we look at the effectiveness of some of these alternate response projects and pilots, and we're looking at metrics, and whether there's a dashboard available and what are they doing - we better be doing that with all of our emergency response, police response and making sure that we're getting out of it a justification for the money that we're putting into it. And if we're not, let's do something that's actually more effective. People's safety is at stake. And I just feel that this political conversation that has enabled a perpetuation of these failed policies that have not stopped people from being victimized are just hurting us all. That was a very long-winded answer, but I have feelings about that. What are your feelings about that?
[00:18:06] Kelsey Hamlin: I also do think there's a level of accountability that needs to happen, even on the consultant side. Who told our legislators that enacted police accountability that was complex, that was like - hey, let's not do vehicle chases anymore at really high speeds because people pretty much always die and you almost never catch anyone. Who decided that that's the thing we want to roll back? These aren't these binary conversations that led to these laws happening in 2020, 2021 and then getting rolled back in the very next year. And getting rolled back in the name of electability, right? Who is using their power to tell our legislators that they should actually in fact hold back on their boldness, that they should not enact these rather complex and very clearly data-driven laws behind not just police accountability, but public safety in general. At the end of the day, it comes down to - hey, let's maybe kill less people this year.
[00:19:06] Crystal Fincher: That was always bad advice. I don't - clearly there was some advice given with that, but - look, Democrats, Republicans are going to call you lawless, criminal-loving, all of that - regardless of what you do. And as - we talked about it on the show before, I think lots of us have talked about this - it was absolutely predictable that even though they did roll those back, Republicans attacked Democrats as if there was no rollbacks and as if nothing had happened. So instead of acting defensive and scared of what you are doing, do the right thing. Make the case for doing the right thing. Take the case to the voters. If you are actually connected to community, you can do that with credibility, right? And with success. But just looking at a poll and going - uh oh, this looks scary, we better backpedal and - yeah, that was a frustrating thing to watch happen.
[00:20:17] Dujie Tahat: And now to take it back to the start of this conversation, it's like - you didn't need to do it. We didn't need to do it because we increased majorities, despite all of the contextual historical indicators pointing to us losing majorities. We actually gained them - so we didn't need to do it.
[00:20:37] Crystal Fincher: Didn't need to do it. And yeah, that was very unnecessary. I hope there are lessons learned from that. There need to be lessons learned from that.
Just wrapping up some of these legislative races, we talked about the 44th. The 47th, which we actually did quite a bit of work in, was an interesting race. And I think the 47th Legislative District holds a lot of lessons for a lot of people there. This was a district - and it's part of Kent, Covington, part of Auburn, Maple Valley - that area in South King County. But there was - starting off - two Black Republicans - one - and then a third running in that district who was a Ukrainian refugee. There were two open seats, an open Senate seat, an open House seat, and then one incumbent running - Debra Entenman on the Democratic side. On, for the Democratic challengers, we had a primary with Carmen Goers that - it was a Black woman who was a Republican active in the Chamber of Commerce against Shukri Olow and Chris Stearns on the Democratic side in the primary. And in the Senate seat, you had Bill Boyce a Black Republican, who's currently a Kent City Councilmember, running against - in the primary - Claudia Kauffman and Satwinder Kaur. Claudia Kauffman had formerly been a Senator and then Satwinder Kaur was a sitting Kent City Councilmember. And so just - this was interesting - it's in South King County, one of the most diverse areas in the country, an area where the school district has more languages spoken than almost any other district in the country. But what we saw here was the Republican Party making some inroads with non-white candidates, at least. And the Republican Party being active on the ground and active in school board races and active in faith communities, whether it's mosques or gurdwaras or churches, and activating on the ground in a way that I don't think a lot of people have been paying a lot of attention to. But we need to, and we need to be showing up in those areas as progressives if we want to continue - to engage and continue to win and continue to advance policy in these areas. This manifested in - during, in the school district races, we have had votes in the Kent School District from people who called themselves Democrats to ban books with queer content, right? This is a weird time and a weird kind of mishmash of people and issues and interests.
Fortunately in this race, Claudia Kauffman wound up prevailing on that side in the primary. In the one House seat, that open seat, a Republican actually didn't even make it through - there were three Republicans who did not make it to the general election, the two Democrats did. Chris Stearns ended up winning that race. So this was a district where candidates ran hard. There was a lot of money spent in this district, a lot of electioneering going on. But - and it wound up still fairly close in that Senate race. And so the help and the village was needed, as it is in so many areas, to get this race across. But this is - this turned out well, but we cannot take our foot off of the gas. We can't take our eye off of the ball - because the Republican Party is organizing in ways that we're used to seeing the Democratic Party doing. And we can't take that for granted and need to be in all the spaces - and not cede faith spaces to Republicans and not cede rural communities to Republicans. And to make sure that what we're talking about helps and brings value to those people in those places, as well as everywhere else. And so just an area where good things happen - I think this is another district that moving forward is going to be more reliably blue. But it's not going to be - I think in most of these - they're going to continue to need work. These aren't places where we can be - ah, we won, we're safe. We don't have to do anything else. This is when the work begins and when action is needed - I think that is the case. Any other thoughts on the legislative races from either one of you?
With that, I just want to talk about the King County Prosecutor race for a moment. What did you see here, Kelsey, in terms of this race and why it turned out, how it turned out?
[00:26:05] Kelsey Hamlin: Oh my goodness. I think everything we've talked about tonight is - was culminated, more or less, in that race, right? Whether you want to go look at the media and the narrative going on there - and this just false take that Ferrell was going to be as high and mighty as he was prophesized to be. And whether you're looking at polling, or whether you're looking at media and some articles that came out on him, or whether the framing is the backlash that's going to happen - is literally Jim Ferrell culminated in real-time with the person. And at the end of the day, I just - I didn't see his work as fruitful. I didn't see it based in community. I know Leesa Manion's been showing up in spaces continuously - she's not a new face to me. And it just didn't - the narrative writ large didn't really track with what I felt in my gut. And it's always interesting to see it play out, given the context of NTK as a prior race - it happened locally and how big of a deal that was. And so it's really satisfying to see it turn out the way that I had felt it in my gut. And it - yeah, I just think the boldness is where it's at. And as long as you make your values clear, as long as you're clear about it and you're a real human being to fellow people - the job is not as hard as we make it out to be - if you just try and get those things there. Dujie, what was your take?
[00:27:52] Dujie Tahat: Yeah, I think for me - I'm really struck by King County voters just generally being happy with King County, like the government of King County. Leesa Manion represents an extension of the current prosecuting attorney and people seem really happy with Satterberg. And I think to our point of having, being able to hold two competing thoughts at once and not giving into the binary, I think Satterberg is actually a pretty good exemplar of somebody who's started off as a Republican during the era of punitive - just punitive - policy, to someone who is advocating very much for diversion programs. And you're seeing this also coming off of a King County electorate that just passed a bunch of charter amendments to improve policing in 2020. So you're seeing, I think, an electorate that is primed to have these nuanced conversations in a way that is totally divorced, I think, from the coverage. Like you pointed out, the narratives are what they are, but the electorate is continuing to have a more nuanced take and make it really, really abundantly clear that it actually - it's not even either-or, and it's not even really all that close, right? I don't, I can't think of - this is the closest race that I can think of at a county level that has to do with the criminal justice reform, or the executive, or the prosecuting attorney. People, I think, are just like generally pretty happy.
[00:29:34] Crystal Fincher: Yeah - it's really - this is interesting. This is also a race that we did work in with our firm. And I don't know that the - that voters were really happy with the way that things are, but they're definitely unhappy and do not like the punitive approach. And are really saying - okay, I hear from, I'm hearing one thing from Jim Ferrell - very punitive, very punishment-based, but punishment does not equate to safety. And really, it seems like voters do want action that equates to safety and have come to the conclusion that just punitive punishment does not, as the evidence shows. And I think what helped Leesa was an articulation of an expansion of some stuff, an expansion of some strategies from where they were - with the city attorney, with the prosecuting attorney's office for quite some time - but really an articulation of - okay, we are moving forward there, we do want to keep people more safe. But we're going to have to address some root causes of these issues and just throwing people in jail is not, as we have seen, is not going to get the job done. So we better have some other strategies to address gun violence, to address intimate partner violence, to address just the range of things that we're seeing and dealing with - from property crime to violent crime. And I think that she just articulated a vision that was closer to what King County voters feel is the solution. So I think - I think there were just two different visions and voters made a clear choice of where they want to be and what they want to see. And I think - also in this one - now it's time for action. And I know that she's planning on hitting the ground running, has - is very familiar with the office and this role. I also think that people valued just the familiarity and experience there. And understanding what it's going to take to make some of these changes and shifts within that office and managing people and going through that was helpful.
But I think that - I really do hope that just in the media ecosystem overall, that there is an acknowledgement that clearly we have some media entities that were really hoping for the punishment narrative to take hold, but it just hasn't, it's not a thing. Can we please move on and talk about all of the different issues, all of the different possibilities and solutions now - because there's a ton to talk about, there's a ton to explore. And if we start covering that, exploring it - we're all going to be better off and help everyone understand where we're moving, and where we can move to, and how to make people more safe.
[00:33:00] Kelsey Hamlin: Yeah. And let's name too, that it's not even just media at large, but specifically editorial boards and these columnists - that are sticking with that status quo punitive narrative that doesn't actually resonate with people, and still trying to drive that home where it's not there. I'll also name too, 'cause editorial boards have a lot of power, but I'll also name too that Leesa's message was just positive - more positive about change - and Ferrell's was the exact opposite. But that's a messaging statistic and stat and tactic that we know very well - that if you just have a more positive message, it will resonate more with people.
[00:33:42] Dujie Tahat: And I think that you are also touching on - you've made more clear what I meant, which is - it is not that maybe people are happy with the conditions as they are right now, as much as I think the county is more primed to have the conversation of where we go from here, as opposed to some of the narrative setters - I think that people generally - people have voted, specifically voters in King County, because of what has been on the ballot lately - understand that there is a more nuanced set of choices and that there's actually an alternative to the sort of binary punitive or abolish everything.
[00:34:19] Crystal Fincher: Yeah. I think you are exactly right. And so now I want to talk about a big City of Seattle election that you two had a little bit to do with there - the choice before Seattle voters to change the way that they voted. And if they did want to change the way that they voted, was it going to be approval voting or ranked choice voting? How did this play out and how did ranked choice voting prevail?
[00:34:57] Dujie Tahat: I think people wanted it - I think that's ultimately at the end of the day what happened, right? I think people understand that our democracy is not working as well as it could be. I think people in Seattle have a history of willing to make improvements that strengthen our democracy, like Democracy Vouchers and stronger campaign finance laws. And despite everything editorial boards can do to throw barriers at not changing the way we do things, people still saw through that and voted for it - not for nothing. Editorial boards were wrong on democracy - The Seattle Times editorial board was wrong on Democracy Vouchers too, they were wrong on ranked choice voting. The position that our democracy is just fine - we shouldn't do anything to tinker with it - is at best intellectually dishonest. And I think a lot of people understand what ranked choice voting is - over 50 jurisdictions across the country already use it - Alaska just elected a Democrat because of it. New York City elected a mayor and the most diverse city council it's ever had. It's pretty obvious and intuitive. The process was maybe a little complicated, and it was - it was frankly, complicated - but that shouldn't be a reason to not do the right thing, which was so often the sort of biggest argument against the campaign.
[00:36:32] Crystal Fincher: Now in this, you talk about editorial boards - you had both The Seattle Times and The Stranger editorial boards recommending a No on the first question - saying don't change the way things are voting. I think The Urbanist recommended Yes and for voting for ranked choice voting, but The Seattle times recommended a No vote and just leave the second choice about which one blank. The Stranger said a No vote, but choose ranked choice voting. Urbanist had a Yes vote and ranked choice voting. So in that kind of a situation where you have, especially entities like The Times and The Stranger that have been so consequential in elections with how they've made their choices, how did you fight against that and prevail?
[00:37:30] Kelsey Hamlin: Yeah. I think a component of it is RCV as a kind of movement and a - RCV being ranked choice voting - as a kind of movement and thing that's come up from the ground across the country, it's not just in Washington, has had the benefit of having just an organic group of people already there waiting. This isn't as if it popped up out of nowhere, at least on the ranked choice voting end. There's the same people that have advanced mail-in ballots, that have fought for same-day voter registration, that fought for Democracy Vouchers - are the same exact people that are behind the campaign asking for ranked choice voting to be on the ballot for voters to choose. A lot of that groundwork was already there and that helped us out at the end of the day. The margin isn't the biggest margin in the world for that first question about change. It's funny to me the way the endorsements landed because, just on the common sense front, it - the question is, yes, do you want change or no, we don't want change - everything's fine, democracy is fine - not crumbling at all. Like writ large it's silly on its face, but at the end of the day, the process question - the one and two - we haven't seen since - someone had pointed out today - since 2014. It's that preschool question of you have to vote Yes, and then you have to vote which thing you want. And that's really the only kind of comparable instance that we have to compare how we did to another instance that had the same setup. It was a confusing layout, but RCV itself is not confusing - Dujie has movie nights with his kids all the time, and it's always - hey, let's pick our first, second and third choice for which movie we want to watch tonight. And then you phase them out and have another go around - it's not hard. You can do it with kids. We do it intuitively when we go to any ice cream shop, or restaurant, or go to the grocery store. At the end of the day, there was a lot of organic movement in the first place that helped us out.
And there was a lot of field efforts across the board, thanks to that organic volunteer presence and people that were ready, where we did a lot of field effort across Seattle and not just centric to one area that we thought was strong or not. As far as patterns go for the results, I find it painfully accurate that a lot of the pro-ranked choice voting crowd, pro-let's-improve-our-democracy folks and votes tend to be with renters - it's with younger folks and with renters - that's the strongest demographic that had voted for ranked choice voting. And it also matches the core arterials that you see on land use, the multifamily zoning that you see in land use. And we see this pattern over and over again in a place like Seattle, where the more progressive voters are with renters, are in those districts that are more dense and not exclusive and more affordable. So you see this really multifaceted thing coming out in the voter results if you try to take a closer look at it.
[00:40:46] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:40:49] Dujie Tahat: And to get at what you're saying, Crystal, in terms of what do we do once we have these endorsements that are - malpractice, to put it nicely, I think for us it became about - okay, we have more voices than the editorial board has to make a better case for the editorial boards. And we basically wanted to overdrive, to flood the ecosystem with really good op-eds basically and LTEs to sort of supplement the paid voter contact we were already doing, to supplement the organizing that was happening. And I think - we placed a lot of them in the last in the last 10 days of GOTV, and I think that those are really meaningful and really important - because in terms of - we've been having a conversation all night about narrative setting and who gets to set narrative. And I don't, personally and just as a firm, I don't think that shouldn't be left to editorial boards, right? Especially if what we have and the issues that we're representing and the communities that are going to benefit from the solutions we're proposing has a greater set of people, then what we're going to do is flood the ecosystem with those voices. And we'll do everything we can to shift that narrative. We're not maybe going to have the same symmetrical set of powers, but it's certainly - it's certainly important - we don't show up, we should. Or we don't - we don't not show up.
[00:42:17] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, absolutely. There is one last initiative, as our time is coming to a close, that I did want to talk about, that was very exciting, and I thought was very well executed. And that was the Raise the Wage Tukwila initiative to raise Tukwila's minimum wage. As you watch this play out, what were your thoughts about it?
[00:42:42] Dujie Tahat: I think that this is another sort of example of where fundamentals really bore out, right? I think that - and it's a continuation of - the Fight for $15 happened in South King County, it's only natural that South King County pushed that even further. You had the Transit Riders Union, Washington CAN - organizations who had been organizing, just doing relational organizing for years, not just showing up for this single campaign - turn on their networks for this one campaign that is a part of this broader set of things that they're advocating for. And I think, again, related to the conversation we've been having, it's like how much - people, I think what I love about our conversation, is that we all recognize that voters are pretty smart and they all actually know that if you're just showing up this one time because of a moment of self-interest, or if you're here every single day to talk to me about what my life is like, and that you're offering a solution that will actually meaningfully impact that. And that's where, how that campaign ran. I'm really interested in, and this was also a little bit modeled in the RCV campaign, but there's a distributed organized canvassing model. And trying to see how that model might apply in different parts of the state and how that might scale - I haven't had a chance to look at the numbers yet. I think there's a really interesting promise there too, and implications for other races. But all of that too is only made possible by the years of relational organizing and showing up every single day too - that's not a thing you can just build in August for your GOTV operation in six to eight weeks.
[00:44:24] Crystal Fincher: Completely agree. What'd you think, Kelsey?
[00:44:28] Kelsey Hamlin: Yeah. I mean, this - just like Dujie said, had come up after the Fight for $15. I also believe there was a SeaTac fight for wages as well, right before that. And so I think this is just a culmination of a lot of work on the ground that had already been there in the first place. So again, just like we've been talking about when you're in community, when you're showing up, when you're present and you're listening to people and not just telling them - that is when people will show up for you in return - because it matches, because it lines up, because you're on the same page. And at the end of the day, like the fight for wages and the discussion on inflation, the discussion on abortion rights, and this discussion on unaffordability and housing - these things are all connected at the end of the day. And people, voters realize that - and a lot of campaigns that oppose changes like this and even opposed ranked choice voting and don't want a minimum wage - I remember Seattle Times way back, when it first started, was very skeptical even after a study came out on it. A lot of the people that pose these types of things - one, pop up out of nowhere and then two, aren't connecting the dots between just these issues that in our real lives we experience every single day. And that's just the connection that we have to be making when we're talking to people on their doorstep. So yeah, I think it's a really great celebration and a fight that deserves a lot of applause on behalf of the organizations that are involved in them, especially Seattle Transit Riders Union and Washington CAN - they've been around for a very long time and I'm very proud of them.
[00:46:15] Crystal Fincher: I agree and well said.
And with that, the roundtable comes to a close. I want to thank our panelists, Dujie Tahat and Kelsey Hamlin, for their insight in making this an engaging and informative night. To those watching online, thanks so much for tuning in. If you missed any of the discussion tonight, you can catch up on the Hacks & Wonks Facebook page, YouTube channel, or Twitter where we're @HacksWonks. Special thanks to essential members of the Hacks & Wonks team and coordinators for this evening, Dr. Shannon Cheng and Bryce Cannatelli. If you missed voting in the election, or if you know someone who did, make sure to register to vote, update your registration, or find information for the next election at myvote.wa.gov. And as a reminder, even if you have been previously incarcerated, your right to vote is restored and you can re-register to vote immediately upon your release, even if you are still under community supervision. Be sure to tune in to Hacks & Wonks on your favorite podcast app for our midweek interviews and our Friday week-in-review shows or at officialhacksandwonks.com.
I've been your host, Crystal Fincher - see you next time.