Stine: Democracy failed us in Kshama Sawant recall

Dec 17, 2021, 11:29 AM | Updated: 11:54 am
Sawant recall turnout, democracy...
Turnout for the bid to recall Kshama Sawant was around 53%. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Taken from Thursday’s edition of KIRO Nights.

With the attempted recall of Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant appearing to have fallen short, I have some thoughts.

Attempt to recall Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant fails

Democracy is a very precious, fragile thing. And democracy, unfortunately, requires a well-educated population. This is the fundamental flaw in a democracy: A democracy fails itself when people are undereducated on an issue, or maybe they’re blinded by their political preferences.

I would say in the instance of this recall, democracy in practice was successful. People went out, they voted, their voices were heard. However, it failed in the sense that someone who allegedly violated COVID-19 protocols by admitting protesters into city hall during a June demonstration, misused council resources to promote her Tax Amazon ballot initiative, and led a protest to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s house was allowed to stay in office.

Smart people, intelligent people, people who are not political activists, would look at that list and they would say, “that’s not someone who should be in politics.” But unfortunately, there are people out there who I will say are stupid, and they are politically motivated. As a result of this, they become useful idiots for political activists. They’re not people who actually want to help their community, but instead want to inject their political preferences into other people’s lives. That is when democracy fails.

I’ll give you another example. Democracy failed during the 2020 presidential election. Now, obviously, the election was not stolen from Donald Trump, and if you believe that, I will debate you on my show. But it failed because we went from Donald Trump to Joe Biden, who is maybe one of the most corrupt, crony politicians to ever exist. What’s unfortunate about it is that what people are getting now is the same neoliberal agenda that people were trying to get away from, both on the right and on the left.

December election date likely made Sawant recall vote closer than it would have been

There are leftists out there who hate this neoliberal agenda that we see from the Biden administration and are deeply frustrated by it, but they voted for Joe Biden anyway because he wasn’t Donald Trump. That is a sad state to be in, where we don’t pick the best candidate for the job anymore. We just pick the least worst candidate, and that’s bad for democracy.

If people do a rudimentary search into Joe Biden’s political career, his voting record is egregious. It’s disgusting. And yet people will throw a defensive line back at me and they’ll say, “well, at least he’s not Donald Trump.” I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about someone who has 40 years of using his position as a senator to reap nothing but profit and benefit for himself and his friends.

Whether it’s for the recall of a Seattle councilmember or a presidential election, that is how democracy fails.

Listen to KIRO Nights weeknights from 7 – 10 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Stine: Democracy failed us in Kshama Sawant recall