The Non-Socialist* Case for Shaun Scott

(Cover photo credit: Christopher Grunder - CC BY-SA 4.0 - If anyone wants to let me use a more contemporary photo, let me know. This is only pic I could find that I could use rights wise)

District 4 City Council Candidate, Shaun Scott is a Democratic Socialist. He believes the government should absolutely own and operate more aspects of society than it currently does. His making it into the general election gives hope to his base and other supporters of a more socialist approach to governance.

Nothing in this post is designed to take away from that victory for him and his supporters. This will not be a cynical take. That said, even if you’re not a socialist* and you live in D4, you should strongly consider voting for Scott. Why? Because people in Seattle are struggling and the Council is poorly run. Scott could bring welcome change to the Council in that regard. Not everything is about ideology, sometimes it’s about character and ability.

If you’ve followed Scott’s campaign at all, you’ll see a person of good faith, passionately articulating ideas as selflessly as you’ll see in a political contest. In a country and city where politics seems wholly possessed by heated and narcissistic rhetoric, Scott’s campaign stands out. It stands out for its integrity, its positivity, and yes even its practicality from a non-socialist’s* point of view.

How so? Well as any reader of this blog knows (all 7 of you haha) the evidence is pretty clear. Seattle’s greatest fundamental problem is zoning. Homelessness and unaffordable housing are symptoms of Seattle’s restrictive and racist zoning rules. Between Scott and his challenger Alex Pedersen, it’s far more likely that Scott will advocate for more of the right kind of housing: Duplexes and triplexes. Sure, Scott may argue for more fundamental changes to society that you may not be on board with, but his commitment to density matters most when it comes to homelessness and housing affordability.

Zoning is the purview of the council. Rent control is not. The way Scott campaigns gives one hope that should he make it on the council, he will use the actual levers at his disposal to help people. The way Scott campaigns gives hope that he will work with people he doesn’t fully agree with so long as the result is helping people in Seattle. That’s why you should consider voting for him even if you’re not a socialist.*

We as voters need to look past ideological labels and political tribes if we really want to see results. No matter what ideology you identify with, one thing you should see—at a very minimum—when you look at Scott is a candidate who wants to legalize more housing. The city needs more units. In D4, Scott is our best chance to get them. And if we want people on the council to work across ideologies, then we as voters need to vote across ideology too. Full voter ideological fidelity dooms us all to council dysfunction.

If you think we need more housing and a more productive council—and you live in D4—you should vote for Shaun Scott.

* Worth repeating from another post: “The labels “socialist” or “capitalist” are not helpful or even properly understood by many. The US spent 37.5% of GDP socially in 2015, more than Australia, Ireland, South Korea, and Switzerland. That year, we spent more socially on healthcare as a percentage of GDP than any other country in the OECD (mostly the big developed economies). We’re just crappy “socialists” and “capitalists” right now.”

Nathan Chaffetz