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Homefield Advantage

I know. I started with a sports metaphor. But, I'm tired the day after Election Day and that's what I got.

However, this sports metaphor is apt. Plenty of ink is going to be spilled on the Seattle races but what happened in the suburbs where the differences between candidates are starker and the consequences of the elections are more pronounced.

These races are where the off-year elections really hurt progressive candidates. Yes, many progressive candidates won (Shout out to Sofia Aragon, Kristiana DeLeon, Jeremy Barksdale, Zack Hall, Craig Reynolds and more). But, it's frankly amazing that they do given the climate.

Most of the reported results in the suburbs were reported on Election Night with under 30 percent turnout. That low of turnout is going to skew older, more conservative, and more status quo. It is going to make it much, much tougher for progressive candidates to hold their own. The progressive candidates that won as a general rule excelled at doorbelling, outfundraised their opponents and had independent expenditure help. Just on money alone, most of the progressive candidates who won outraised their conservative opponents by five to one. I'm generalizing but the progressive candidates that won as a rule had to work five times harder than the conservative candidates to achieve victory.

This trend is not going to go away. We pretend it's a fair fight but it's not. Conservatives have the home field advantage in off years.

So, what can we do? There will be a bill next year in the legislature to move the off-year elections to the cycle years. Municipal Elections would happen in the even years. This is a good government bill because it would significantly boost turnout in municipal elections. It would also lower the costs of elections because we would skip a year. For us progressives, It also levels the playing field for progressives in the suburbs by significantly changing the demographics of the electorate to be younger and more diverse.

We can keep letting Tim Eyman pass his crazy initiatives in the off-year while high paid consultants on our side trot out the same interest group talking head commercials they've been running for twenty years and lose. We can keep making it harder on great progressive candidates in the suburbs who could make real, substantive differences in their community. We can wring our hands after every off-year election night and wonder what we could have done better.

Or we can try something different. As they say, crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Let's stop being crazy.

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