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Opinion >  Column

Spin Control: Congress Sucks Party may not elect a candidate, but it will express the mood of most voters

There may be nothing more creative than a Washington candidate entering an election for which he or she has no chance of winning and taking a flier when filling in the “party preference” space on the petition for candidacy.

Because the Washington top two primary does not select a Democratic and Republican winner, a candidate can – in theory, anyway – move on to the general election without a D or an R after his or her name. It has never happened in a statewide race since the primary law took effect, but hope springs eternal for some candidates.

It can be a way of standing out in a large gaggle of candidates for a particular office. Attempts at creative naming often happen in a race with a slew of relative unknowns and can signal, with a wink and a nod, something or everything about their beliefs.

This is beyond the smattering of candidates from real, but small, established political organizations like the Socialist or Socialist Workers, Libertarian or Green parties. They may get their day in the sun and survive a contested primary at some point, although it wouldn’t be wise to bet the rent it will be in 2020.

This campaign season, in a governor’s race that tops three dozen candidates, Washington voters will have a candidate claiming to prefer the American Patriot Party, which should not be confused with the Stand Up America Party listed for another. There is a candidate listing the Propertarianist Party and another preferring the Fifth Republic Party. (Apparently I lost track of the Fourth.)

Three gubernatorial candidates claim to prefer the Trump Republican Party, which would seem to be a redundancy considering President Donald Trump is the head of the GOP.

It’s at least less confusing than a Central Washington legislative candidate listing himself as a Classical Democrat – is that a Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson kind of Democrat? Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both ran as new and different kinds of Democrats, and they haven’t been out of office long enough to be “classics,” even applying the standard used to denote “classic rock.”

The race for an open seat in the 10th Congressional District also has drawn a crowd and a couple of innovative party monikers. One candidate claims preference for the Essential Workers Party, which may be a dig at COVID-19 shutdown rules that deem some jobs essential and others nonessential, or could signal that this person knows the essence of being a worker. In either case, he’s likely to trail another candidate who lists the Congress Sucks Party as his preference.

After all, for every person who thinks their job is essential, there’s probably two who think Congress sucks.

Criticisms yet to come

Spokane leaders took to the bully pulpit last week to complain that Gov. Jay Inslee had turned down their request to open up parts of the local economy earlier than most of the state. That lament was echoed the following morning by U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who blasted Inslee on Fox News, and by the regional spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, who seems to be unaware that Inslee dropped out of the presidential race months ago.

As the head of state, Inslee is the easy target for such criticism. But as the newspaper pointed out the next morning, the governor didn’t make the call, state Health Department Secretary John Wiesman did.

Wiesman didn’t say “no” so much as “I can’t tell whether I can say yes,” because the criteria for larger counties like Spokane haven’t been set. The current criteria are for counties with fewer than 75,000 people, and Spokane hasn’t been that small for more than a century.

Spokane officials knew that was the cutoff when they submitted their request for a variance. They could’ve waited for the new criteria, even though Inslee has been squishy about when it would be announced, then submitted the request if the county met the new rules. Instead they submitted their request early and were shocked – shocked! – to discover it wasn’t approved.

One can only imagine future events, such as:

A news conference in which local officials say they are disappointed their bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics isn’t among the finalists because it doesn’t have the requisite average snowfall on Mount Spokane. We don’t consider it a no, they’ll say, but a chance to rework the numbers and try again for 2034.

Followed by a news conference to say they are surprised Amazon won’t reconsider Spokane for its next co-headquarters, despite not having the infrastructure or tax breaks the company requires. We thought Amazon would be more impressed that Spokane has cheap labor, local officials will say.

Followed by a news conference to say they are somewhat perturbed the Seahawks rejected a proposal to play a preseason game at Albi, even though the stadium doesn’t meet NFL standards for seating, oh, and luxury boxes. We tried to show them an average Albi crowd to prove how easy social distancing is there, local officials will say.

Followed by a news conference to say Spokane is being discriminated against by the Democratic National Committee for rejecting their proposal to host the 2024 National Convention, despite the fact the city has less than one-third of the hotel rooms needed for such a gathering. As is typical, they will say, Democrats ignored small businesses and refused to count the motels along Sunset Highway and Sprague Avenue and KOA campgrounds, which would raise that to half the requirement.

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