Amazon: Kshama Sawant’s Accidental Ally
District 3 Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant is a bloviating failure who hates Amazon. And Amazon hates her back. She wanted to tax them for hiring people, after all. Yet Amazon just made her re-election this year much more likely.
Sawant needs to go. In addition for fighting for the known policy disaster that is rent control, she is a shill for her Socialist Alternative Party, who operates in an ethically gray area. She and her staff are apparently impossible to work with—oh, and half her funding comes from outside Seattle. Yikes.
If nothing else, as chair of the Human Services, Equitable Development and Renters Rights Committee on the council, Sawant cancelled 11 of 14 meetings between July of 2018 and Feb 2019. Based on this spate of cancellations one might presume that Seattle is affordable, doesn’t have a homeless crisis, and is a deeply equitable city… It’s not, it does, it isn’t. Sawant is that status quo.
Not surprisingly, Amazon helped create a PAC in part to stop her re-election bid for District 3. That’s smart. The PAC, named CASE, The Civil Alliance for a Sound Economy, pays lip-service to plenty of desirable goals: better transit, solving homelessness, etc., but a big hope of theirs must be to stop Sawant. That’s fine. She’s terrible. Bizarrely though, CASE, with its milquetoast name, went ahead and gave Sawant a clearer path to victory.
How? In a six-way primary for D3 among two hard lefties, three progressive pragmatists, and one Pat Murakami (she’s…different), CASE/Amazon endorsed the last place pragmatist in terms of fundraising: Egan Orion. They put at least $107K behind him.
Orion seems like a nice enough guy. He would be an improvement over Sawant. Almost anyone would be. The problem is that CASE picked the 3rd place pragmatist in this 6 way race. They could easily split the pragmatist vote!
Does no one at Amazon understand game theory?
Orion raised the least amount of money in the reasonable progressive group. The other reasonable candidates Logan Bowers and Ami Nguyen are pounding the pavement. They have far more in-district donations and democracy vouchers than Orion. Before the CASE nod, Bowers and Nguyen out-raised Orion by around 2x! Then, with a wave of their tactless hands, CASE made Orion viable—not against Sawant in a 6 way primary, but against the other progressive pragmatists!
What on God’s green earth are you doing Amazon?
CASE should have backed Bowers.* He is the first place pragmatist in terms of fundraising. But, by giving a leg up to the last place pragmatist and splitting that vote, “Amazon” could easily be responsible for a worst case situation for Seattle: Sawant Vs. Zach DeWolf/Murakami.
Between DeWolf’s aggressive commitment to virtue signaling platitudes and Murakami’s incomprehensible and troubling positions, they could also easily lose to Sawant. And we’re talking about shades of Chipotle aftermath at best no matter who wins in this scenario.
Amazon/CASE, you made a prime game theory mistake. You made another Sawant term far more likely. If no pragmatist makes it to the general, take a good long look in the mirror. In the dirty world of unlimited corporate political spending, it could be you who kept a harmful socialist ideologue in power.
That’s incompetence at an unfathomable scale.
*Full disclosure, I’ve donated $258 dollars in cash and $100 in vouchers to Bowers. You SHOULD vote for him if you want to make Seattle affordable, walkable, bikeable, sustainable, livable, equitable, compassionate, and the envy of the developed world. He’s also out-raised every other candidate running who uses democracy vouchers. Only Sawant raised more with her laregly outside of Seattle “Big Socialist” machine, one that opted out of the democracy voucher program.