The Associated Press reports that an Occupy Wall Street protester who publicly identified herself as a Socialist while running to serve on the city council in Seattle has won the election (via Memeorandum):
SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle voters have elected a socialist to city council for the first time in modern history.
Kshama Sawant’s lead continued to grow on Friday, prompting 16-year incumbent Richard Conlin to concede.
Even in this liberal city, Sawant’s win has surprised many here. Conlin was backed by the city’s political establishment. On election night, she trailed by four percentage points. She wasn’t a veteran politician, having only run in one previous campaign.
But in the days following election night, Sawant’s share of the votes outgrew Conlin’s.
“I don’t think socialism makes most people in Seattle afraid,” Conlin said Friday.
While city council races are technically non-partisan, Sawant made sure people knew she was running as a socialist — a label that would be politically poisonous in many parts of the country.
Sawant, a 41-year-old college economics professor, first drew attention as part of local Occupy Wall Street protests that included taking over a downtown park and a junior college campus in late 2011. She then ran for legislative office in 2012, challenging the powerful speaker of the state House, a Democrat. She was easily defeated.
This year, though, she pushed a platform that resonated with the city. She backed efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15; called for rent control in the city where rental prices keep climbing; and supports a tax on millionaires to help fund a public transit system and other services.
During her campaign, she condemned economic inequality, contending that some people aren’t benefiting from the city’s declining jobless rate, ongoing recovery from the recession, and downtown building boom.
In other words, she ran on a “what’s yours is ours” platform. Sound like anyone else you know? Hint: He talked during the 2008 presidential campaign season about how “spreading the wealth” was so important in order to get the American economy growing again.
I despise Occupy Wall Street and the concept of “socialism” and its many forms even more. But one thing I’ll say I respect about Sawant is that she was at least honest about who and what she was. So many other socialists out there masquerade as rank and file “liberals” or “progressives” Democrats but in reality their agendas are much more far left that they are willing to admit to the public. They just don’t like to use the “Socialist” label because it is indeed toxic, as the article noted, in many areas of the country. So they run on platforms that are largely socialistic in nature but call themselves and what they advocate something else in order to appeal to a larger mass of people.
Unhinged nutball “Democrat” Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) labeled this tactic perfectly in an interview with the left wing Salon magazine earlier this year. He called it “stealth socialism” and praised the fact that it was on the rise under the “leadership” of the Obama administration. Democrat darling Howard Dean hobnobs with European Socialists when he thinks no one is looking. Senator Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, is a self-described “Democratic Socialist” who appears as an “independent” on the ballot in Vermont (also the home state of Dr. Dean), and even sometimes brags on his official Senate website about his “socialist successes.” He caucuses in the US Senate with – shock! – Democrats.
It’s time to make more Democrat politicos own up to both their true philosophy and intentions. See a Socialist pretending to be a middle of the road Democrat? Call ’em out on it. Often. And explain what makes them socialists to people who otherwise wouldn’t understand. Because most elected Democrats sure as heck won’t admit it themselves – nor will their like-minded allies in the mainstream media who treat socialism masking itself as “liberalism” as equating to “compassion”, and who view “Democrats” who are really Socialists in sheep’s clothing as “the altruistic people who care about the little guy.”
A little sunlight in this area certainly couldn’t hurt, would it? Well, yes, it might hurt a few political careers … which wouldn’t be a bad thing. Not at all.