Look, I know how crazy our national political scene is. Sara and I joke that the NPR News Summary we listen to every night should be renamed “Crazy shit Trump did today.” (We try prompting our Google Home with this cue once a week and it never works, but it makes us happy.)
But I think I told myself that it wasn’t so bad locally, at least over here in Western Washington. Yeah, I knew we had our share of loonies, but they generally did their thing east of the mountains. Read the recent The New Yorker piece about the sheriff of Klickitat County or check out the podcast Bundyville by Leah Sottile, which touches on Republican state representative Matt Shea’s dark appeal, if you wonder what I’m talking about.
I truly understood just how deranged it had all become, though, when I sat down to read the Snohomish County Local Voter’s Pamphlet in preparation for casting my primary vote. Now, I was used to local characters like Mike the Mover and Goodspaceguy, who ran for some office nearly every year to promote their cause. Their’s is a lighthearted kind of lunacy, akin to that of the Congressional District 1 candidate whose voter statement was a poem: “In 2016, I ran on my plan called Real Deal, We were facing so any problems it would make a nun steal. Since that time, Congress has stabbed us in our backs, Making a bonanza for dirty lawyers and their political hacks.” It goes on.
But this year, it was clear that “pandemic derangement syndrome,” coupled with the ongoing chaos coming out of the Oval Office, had inspired a different class of nutcase. There were a number of candidates who claimed “Trump Republican Party” as their affiliation, somehow different from the mainstream Republican Party. “Elect me,” promised one such candidate (I’ll pass on promoting the names of these folks, but you can find them easily), “I will drop everything, go to D.C., and support every legislative action that helps Trump succeed, so we all prosper again.” Another candidate tips his hat to a QAnon hot button with the claim that “WWG1WGA, so, I can’t lose. We will change it from the tippy top.”
But derangement was distributed well beyond the Trump Republican Party. It also infected a gubernatorial candidate who claimed the Fifth Republic Party and vows “Israel is the enemy”; a Democrat Party candidate who wants to “redefine ‘race’ based on hair color”; and–by far my favorite–the candidate from the StandupAmerica Party whose platform consists almost entirely of the repeated phrase: “Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!”
There are some candidates who are rational and experienced, with a track record of making decisions based on what is best for their communities. I’m voting for them.