Rantz: After Seattle’s deadliest year, will Democrats admit failure?

Jan 7, 2024, 6:00 PM | Updated: Jan 8, 2024, 8:45 am

Image: A Seattle police vehicle is seen at a crime scene behind yellow tape in 2022....

A Seattle police vehicle is seen at a crime scene. (Photo courtesy of SPD Blotter)

(Photo courtesy of SPD Blotter)

Last year was Seattle’s deadliest when it came to homicides and overdoses. Both crises directly relate to Democrat policies and laws, but lawmakers have been unwilling to accept any blame.

Seattle saw a record-high number of homicides in 2023 (73). The city (and county) also hit a record-high number of fatal overdoses (1,283), driven mostly by fentanyl. This tragic loss of life most impacted the “communities of color” that Democrats pretend to care most about. Both dubious records are the result of Democrats who defunded police and legalized drugs.

Will Democrats change direction in 2024? There’s reason to believe we’ll go in a better direction but it’s no guarantee.

Democrats are to blame

Democrat laws stopped police from doing their jobs, banning vehicular pursuits in almost all cases and stopping police from speaking to juvenile subjects without a lawyer present. Left-wing prosecutors refused to prosecute, and nonjudgmental judges gave dangerous people endless chances.

Criminals took advantage.

The Democrats at the state level, taking Seattle and King County’s lead, also decided to legalize drugs. Thanks to our porous southern border, drugs flooded our streets. Fentanyl costs under $2 a pill, and drug dealers have long been able to get away with spreading their poison. It’s made an out-of-control homeless situation even more untenable.

Rather than treat the addiction, Democrats handed out pipes and clean needles to addicts, enabling a disease that would end up killing them.

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Will Democrats change?

Seattle voters booted only one of the three incumbent council members running for reelection. While they voted in what’s described as a more moderate council, it’s too early to tell if they will actually govern moderately.

We’ve been burned before. Councilmembers, like Dan Strauss, previously vowed to support the police before immediately turning on them. An agenda promised on the campaign trail doesn’t always appear in council chambers.

Incumbent council member Sarah Nelson, the lone and consistently sane voice on the last council, is legitimately a moderate who wants what’s best for the city. Even when I disagree with her position, I know she intends to do what she genuinely believes is right.

And many of her ideas should be immediately implemented, including offering better pay (and support) to Seattle police. As a business owner, she’s also thinking to support businesses, not bleed them dry with onerous taxes.

But it’s unclear if she’ll be able to do enough to keep would-be council allies from succumbing to the pressures of the radical Left base.

Socialist incumbent Tammy Morales will see to it that the radicals have a seat at the table. She’ll fill the void left with Kshama Sawant’s decision not to seek re-election. She’s likely to develop into an even larger problem on the council now that Nelson was elected council president. Morales will see it as a mission to stop the moderate Democrat from controlling the city.

State pressure

There will also be pressure from Washington state Democrats.

Lawmakers prefiled legislation that takes the state even farther to the Left, which didn’t even seem possible. Yet they’re again trying to pass legislation that lets dangerous felons out of jail before their sentences are up, and deliver voting rights for murderers and rapists. This isn’t the agenda of a party willing to take responsibility for the deaths their policies caused.

The activist pressure will be a lot for a new council to handle. I certainly hope they stave off the extremists and commit to righting the ship.

If anyone can do that, it’s Nelson. But she can’t act alone and history has warned us not to expect major shifts. Hopefully, this time will be the exception.

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Rantz: After Seattle’s deadliest year, will Democrats admit failure?