State GOP faces uphill battle if tied to Trump

Democrats have controlled the governorship since 1985. It’s not healthy to have such lopsided control

“In two years, the GOP in King County has lost four Senate seats, five state House seats and a congressional seat, the 8th” (Danny Westneat, “Local GOP Doing an Autopsy on Itself but Hasn’t Quite Isolated the Real Disease,” Seattle Times, Dec. 15, 2018).

As of the 2018 election, Republicans now hold none of the 14 state legislative seats predominately covering King County (which means excluding the 31st). They were wiped out, but, according to Westneat, “They haven’t quite come to grips with what really ails them: Donald Trump.”

The same disaster occurred in California where the Republicans lost 47 of 54 of the state’s congressional seats. The debate with the Republicans is with the leadership at the top of the Republican Party. The problems are clear: Republicans are seen as the “white” party. The reality is that the national racial demographics are changing and the GOP is coping by ignoring that reality. If major changes aren’t made, it’s likely that not only will the Republican Party lose the cities that are predominantly Democratic, but also the suburbs, leaving only the rural areas of the state in GOP control.

Since the majority of the population resides in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane counties, this state will continue to be “blue” for the foreseeable future. The “red” regions of the state will continue to suffer minority status in both the state legislature and the U.S. Congress. Both U.S. senators are long-serving Democrats.

Chris Vance, former Washington state GOP chairman, lamented, “Parties usually analyze why they lost and make adjustments. Not TrumpGOP,” talking about the national party. “They know they lost because of Trump and will keep losing because of Trump. And yet they do nothing. Mass insanity.”

Republicans have a stark choice: Embrace Trump or distance themselves from him. In some blue states, distancing themselves has helped Republicans. New England is an example.

That’s not happening in King County. During the 2018 election cycle, they tried a third alternative, ignoring Trump, but that didn’t work well either. That was the approach Republican Dino Rossi took in the 8th congressional race against rookie Democrat pediatrician Kim Schrier and lost with Schrier gaining 58.07 percent of the King County vote and 52.4 percent statewide.

The state GOP has sent out approving tweets to rural county sheriffs in red counties in the state, approving their nonenforcement of Initiative 1639, the gun-control bill that won by 19 points state-wide and 52 points in King County. This type of doubling-down approach won’t help Republicans in future elections as they become more and more isolated.

Conservative pro-gun state legislators blocked more moderate bills in the recent session, only to find a tougher version successfully winning through the initiative process. That’s not smart politics.

The solution for the King County GOP is to face reality and work toward bipartisan areas of agreement like prison reform where President Trump has been helpful with recent legislation.

Republicans have worked with Democrats to undo some of the harsh mandatory minimum sentencing that occurred in the 1990s. The art of compromise needs to be revived.

Some steps have been taken to deal with the negative image. The new vice-chair of the state GOP is 47-year-old African-American pastor Curtis Harmon of Des Moines. He understands the need for local Republicans to change their image. That’s going to take a great deal of work.

Democrats have controlled the governorship since 1985 and, again, they control both houses of the legislature after the 2018 elections. It’s not healthy to have such lopsided control.

Both parties have something to offer voters. Changing of the guard in Olympia is way past due.

Westneat used the term “autopsy” in his article title. That term is used only for the dead. A resurrection is possible for the Republican Party in Washington state by facing and curing the cause of the “GOP death.” That doesn’t look to be happening as long as President Trump remains in office. GOP leaders will continue to be caught between a rock and a hard place with no way out of “TrumpGOP.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Accelerating equity in STEM education in the Puget Sound

At the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB), headquartered in Seattle’s South Lake… Continue reading

Letters to the editor for the week of Feb. 14

Tommy the turtle — a childhood friend Dear editor, “Tommy the Turtle”… Continue reading

Guest opinion: Legislative ‘wants’ and ‘needs’

With a third of the legislative session nearly gone, lawmakers are starting… Continue reading

How far will Artificial Intelligence go?

The smartest Jeopardy contestant was beaten by a computer. So was the… Continue reading

Confirmation bias in the impeachment proceedings

Most of us believe what we want to believe. Our natural tendency… Continue reading

Letters to the editor for the week of Jan. 31

Voting can bring us together Dear editor, In response to Jerry Cornfield’s… Continue reading

Petty Hutt of Gig Harbor holds a sign that reads “We Stand With Matt Shea,” as she attends a rally Jan. 13 at the Capitol in Olympia. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Throw in the towel on Matt Shea

Majority Democrats realize contentious representative is staying

White nationalism comes to Renton

Let’s just get down to brass tacks — Patriot Front is a… Continue reading

Election quirks: Drop boxes, tossed ballots, fickle voters

Before turning the page on the November election, here are a few questions to ponder.

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Despite ruling on Public Records Act, we need to keep a close eye on Olympia

Washington Supreme Court upholds that state legislators are subject to the Public Records Act.

Republicans chose political power over the Constitution

I’m astounded and appalled that members of both parties in Congress were… Continue reading

The people who use SNAP are already working

SNAP and other welfare benefits help working, low-income families while boosting the economy