1. The media in town (including us) have settled on the fact that the Democrats flopped in last week's primary election; the Democrats are trying to re-take the state senate and had identified five Legislative Districts where they were going to go after the Republican incumbents in a bid to take down at least two Republicans to secure a 26-23 advantage. (They need the buffer because with just one win, putting them at 25-24, they'd still be dealing with dissident Democratic state Sen. Tim Sheldon, who votes with the GOP).
Anyway, they didn't do well in those five LDs. You need to be at least 45 percent after the primary to threaten the incumbent, and in all but one of the targeted swing districts, the Democratic candidate was stuck around 43 percent (and at 42 percent in suburban Spokane's 6th Legislative District.) The exception was the 45th (Seattle's Microsoft suburbs), where challenger Matt Isenhower managed to get 46.2 to incumbent state Sen. Andy Hill's (R-45, Kirkland) 53.77 ... an okay showing.
But here's something to think about: The Republicans went all in to defend those seats during these low-turnout (read Republican-heavy), off-season (read Republican-heavy) August primaries. And the Democrats, appear to have saved up their cash for the November showdowns, when more of their voters will be out.
We're talking about independent expenditures here, the unlimited campaign spending by supporters on either side of the aisle directed for and against candidates that tip the balance, often with the hard hitting, effective ads that both campaigns proper shy away from.
State Rep. Tami Green (D-28, Tacoma) running against primary winner Republican state Sen. Steve O'Ban (R-28, Lakewood), for example, was hit with $100,292 worth of opposition IEs. Democratic interest groups spent $0 against O'Ban. Republican interest groups spent $37,000 against Isenhower while Democratic groups spent $0 against primary winner Sen. Hill. Republican groups spent $24,311 against Shari Song in the 30th Legislative District while Democrats spent $0 against primary winner Republican Mark Miloscia.
We stand by our primary election analysis that the Democrats have their work cut out for them, but based on the IE spending, Democratic money wasn't on the table in the primary. Now, that their chosen candidates made it through the primary regardless, perhaps the big dollars (calling California billionaire Tom Steyer) will provide a few November surprises.
The apparent ecological innocuousness of widely dispersed populations — as in leafy suburbs or seemingly natural exurban areas—is an illusion.
2. Speaking of challenging conventional wisdom.
The environmental researcher for the local conservative Washington Policy Center think tank retweeted a Washington Post article yesterday showing that environmentalism is a white cause. (Fair enough, though if diversity is your litmust test, the Republican party is cripplingly white too, so, kettle black etc.)
But then WPC researcher Todd Meyers strayed away from a legit criticism into hopelessly ill-informed conventional wisdom, tweeting (and re-tweeted by former AG Rob McKenna, by the way) that the environmental movement was urban, which supposedly highlights green hypocrisy because the environment is evidently rural.
Simple math makes it clear that the environmentally smart thing to do actually is to live in cities—not in the exurbs.
David Owen, the author of Green Metropolis, is the best at explaining the logic on this obvious point:
The apparent ecological innocuousness of widely dispersed populations — as in leafy suburbs or seemingly natural exurban areas—is an illusion. My little town has about 4,000 residents, spread over 38.7 thickly wooded square miles (just eight fewer square miles than San Francisco), and there are many places within our town limits from which no sign of settlement is visible in any direction. But if you moved eight million people like us, along with our dwellings, possessions, vehicles and current rates of energy use, water use, and waste production, into a space the size of New York City, our profligacy would be impossible to miss, because you’d have to stack our houses and cars and garages and lawn tractors and swimming pools and septic tanks higher than skyscrapers, and you wouldn’t be able to build roads and gas stations fast enough to serve us, even if you could find places to put them. Conversely, if you made all eight million New Yorkers live at the density of my town, they would require a space equivalent to the land area of the six New England states plus Delaware and New Jersey. Spreading people thinly across the countryside may make them feel greener, but it doesn’t reduce the damage they do to the environment. In fact, it increases the damage, while also making the problems they cause harder to see and to address.
Metro areas are also more black than the exurbs, by the way, if that's your litmus test.
Washington state, for example, is just 4 percent black, but as you zoom in on King County, the percentage ticks up dramatically (a 65 percent jump in black people) to 6.6 percent.