But what ought to be setting off GOP sirens is that the supposedly more sober and cautious suburbs are becoming nearly as left-wing as the city.
Take Issaquah. It was known as “Swingtown, WA,” due to the way the town swiveled between Republicans and Democrats. But last week Issaquah backed Murray by 73 percent to 27 percent. Murray won Bellevue by 40 points, Kirkland by 44 and Redmond by a crushing 50 points.
Even in the south end and other points distant from Seattle, the GOP is reeling. Murray won both Federal Way and Auburn by about 60-40.
The problem for Republicans isn’t that this was an unusual setback. It’s that it’s the new normal. For four elections in a row, the blue vote totals have soared in the ‘burbs — this latest one coming without Trump himself even on the ballot. It means the party’s desultory “MAGA” image around here is becoming baked in.
Some of the suburbs are starting to vote kind of Seattle-like even on hot-button urban issues such as crime.
Take the nonpartisan King County prosecutor’s race. It pitted a “get tough on crime” candidate, Jim Ferrell, against a candidate offering a more nuanced approach, Leesa Manion. Manion campaigned heavily on ramping up alternative sentencing and court diversion programs while also saying more resources are needed for traditional law enforcement.
The “get tough” candidate lost. This was despite rising violent crime. He lost in Seattle, which might be expected, but he also lost in a host of suburbs.
Does this settle our go-hard or go-soft debate about crime? Probably not, but it may make the picture clearer. The point is: It’s not solely a Seattle thing anymore.
As for the future of our local politics, the GOP’s prospects seem dismal. As long as the national party continues its jihad against reproductive rights and Trump looms off to the east like a mushroom cloud, it’s hard to see how local Republicans will escape the toxic fallout.
The bottom line is the GOP doesn’t just have a “Seattle problem” anymore. It has spread. The suburbs, which once may have formed a buffer of moderation around the city, are becoming the city.