2022 Post-Election Roundtable

2022 Post-Election Roundtable

November 15, 2022



[00:00:00] Crystal Fincher: Good evening and welcome to the Hacks & Wonks Election Roundtable - Post-Election Roundtable. I'm Crystal Fincher - I'm a political consultant and the host of the Hacks & Wonks podcast. And today I'm thrilled to be joined by two of my favorite hacks and wonks to break down what happened in this 2022 general election.

[00:00:29] Crystal Fincher: We're excited to be able to livestream this roundtable on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Additionally, we're recording this roundtable for broadcast on KODX and KVRU radio, podcast, and it will also be available with a full text transcript on officialhacksandwonks.com.

[00:00:48] Crystal Fincher: Our esteemed panelists for this evening are Dujie Tahat. Dujie is CEO and Managing Director of DTC. He's a political and cultural strategist with deep expertise across emerging and established nonprofit advocacy organizations, legislative and electoral campaigns, and Fortune 500 companies. They've developed countless strategic messaging and narrative guides that center Black, Indigenous, and people of color, immigrants, queer folks, elderly Washingtonians, and those experiencing homelessness across a range of issues from environmental justice to housing and labor rights. Informed by their background organizing in the Yakima Valley then among artists and social justice advocates in and around Seattle, Dujie has built a career ensuring people at the margins are pulled to the forefront of political power building, organizational priorities, and communication strategies. Welcome, Dujie.

[00:01:45] Dujie Tahat: Thanks, Crystal - that sounds very impressive.

[00:01:47] Crystal Fincher: It does sound very impressive, doesn't it?

[00:01:50] Crystal Fincher: Kelsey Hamlin is a Principal Consultant at DTC. She's a communicator, organizer, and researcher who worked for four years as a journalist across the Puget Sound before switching over to nonprofit and campaign work. Much of her skillset centers writing, strategic messaging, design, and politics. She's both covered the Legislature and worked to advance policies through it, coordinating with legislators and lobbyists, gathering data and research, and organizing testimony across coalitions that position proposals for the best success as conditions change. Kelsey's personal advocacy, chosen journalistic coverage, and work focus on social justice and the moments, legalities, and policies that touch people's everyday lives. She treasures keeping things accessible to all in spite of deliberately convoluted and racist systems. Welcome, Kelsey.

[00:02:44] Kelsey Hamlin: Thank you, and thanks for having us both here.

[00:02:46] Crystal Fincher: Yes, and we were going to have Djibril Diop join us this evening, but he actually had an emergency pop-up, so we are thinking about him and his family and wish them the best. I'm Crystal - I'm a political consultant. I also have the Hacks & Wonks podcast and am excited to get to breaking down and talking about what happened on Election Night.

[00:03:12] Crystal Fincher: We will start with the Congressional races and one of the biggest upsets, if not the biggest upset, in the country with - in the Third Congressional District, Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez defeating MAGA Republican Joe Kent. So we now see that this is - the race has been called for Marie, she is back in Washington DC now doing her orientation - but this was a long shot. Looking at this race, why was she able to be successful, Dujie?

[00:03:45] Dujie Tahat: Yeah, I think that Marie Gluesenkamp - I think that coming out of Election Night, John Fetterman, the new senator from Pennsylvania, got a lot of headlines for progressive populism and running a campaign of good fundamentals. I think everything that got him to the Senate, you could say about Marie's campaign as well. It was really strong in terms of messaging. She came up against an opponent who was clearly unfit for the office that they were seeking. And I think, not for nothing, voters are smart enough to see through that. The fundamentals for that campaign were really, really good. I think the ecosystem, the progressive ecosystem, also came together and rallied around Marie Gluesenkamp, which is a really fantastic thing and obviously, every little bit mattered for her race in particular. I'm really, really interested in seeing her brand of progressive populism begin to take hold within Washington state in particular. I think that our Democratic Party infrastructure is a little bit afraid to go left sometimes. And I think she's laid out a pretty strong and compelling case for what it might actually look like to lead, to be really, really forward with your values. I'm really excited by that campaign and the implications for future races.

[00:05:13] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, absolutely - and Phil Gardner, who managed that campaign and did an excellent job, talked about this not being a fluke. This wasn't a chance. This wasn't a shock to them. They had a plan. They nailed strategy. They nailed execution - just from the outside looking in. And their take on it, just seeing what Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez said - how did you win this race? What did you do to win people who may not have always voted for Democrats, may generally vote Republican? - and it really is two parts. They made sure they knew how awful - they made sure that everyone knew how awful Joe Kent's views were, and they were extreme. And they gave them an alternative they can be enthusiastic about. And I think, to your point, Dujie, that is the key. It wasn't just, hey, this guy is really bad and scary bad - and to be clear, he was scary bad. But that's not enough, and you have to paint a vision of what you're going to do for people in the district, how you can help people. This is a district that is both suburban and rural, and she had to reach people in all of those areas. And really, it was her strength in the rural areas that allowed her to hang on in this race - when we've seen in prior years, late ballots have allowed Republicans to overtake Democrats in this area. As you looked at this race, Kelsey, what did you see?

[00:06:49] Kelsey Hamlin: Yeah, we definitely had a couple of folks in Clark doing other campaign stuff. And when push came to shove, once Marie made it through the primary, a lot of folks on the ground were - point blank - we're going to pivot and focus on this campaign, because that's where the movement needs to happen and that's what we're going to focus on, because it's that important. So on the ground, you just saw door knocking, you saw volunteers really putting their feet in and digging in their heels to make sure that she made it. And ultimately, that's because she went out there and talked directly to people. You see that with AOC, you see that with Fetterman - and so at the end of the day, what matters is these conversations that Democrats choose to have with people or not with people, and where they choose to have those - because Marie was popular across Clark County, not just in the specific town hubs or city hubs. She was popular in various setups and demographics and in different land use areas, so it wasn't like she stuck to one place and called it good.

[00:07:57] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, absolutely. And in part of a plan, part of a memo that Phil Gardner shared was a breakdown of just kind of what it's going to take to win. And it says to beat Kent and win the election, Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez needs the resources to accomplish three goals. The first one was maximize Democratic turnout in vote-rich Clark County - certainly maximizing in the more Democratic areas was necessary. But also number two - show up everywhere and make the race closer in rural areas. One third of the voters in the district live outside of Clark County in rural areas, and so improving on past performance was absolutely vital. Marie hails from one of those counties, knows how to connect with those voters. She is a rural voter and has talked about her frustrations of being painted with a broad brush as either nonexistent or only concerned with a narrow set of issues. And she talked about everything passionately from abortion to health care coverage, to the economy, to the extremism - back and forth. And then the third thing on the list was build a cross-party coalition for this unique election, recognizing that there were going to be a lot of disaffected people who had traditionally voted Republican, but never for a Republican like Joe Kent, and really giving them an alternative - to her point - that people could be enthusiastic about, not just - well, let me choose between the lesser of the evils. But someone who actually painted a vision for what life could be and how life could improve in that district. And mission accomplished in that way, and so that was absolutely exciting to see - was as excited about that race personally as any of them that I worked on this cycle - just really incredible to see.

[00:09:56] Crystal Fincher: And then, we've talked through on the show a lot of times, but we had the Senate race with Patty Murray and Tiffany Smiley. We had another competitive Congressional race between Kim Schrier and Matt Larkin. As you look at those, as you heard some of the rhetoric about whether a red wave was coming, how close this may be, seeing some of the polling showing it being a very close race - how did you evaluate this race and were the results surprising for you, Dujie?

[00:10:29] Dujie Tahat: Yeah, I think my main takeaway - and I think Schrier's race was a good sort of object lesson and - is that some of the fundamental structural advantages the Democratic Party has in Washington state are set. All the polls had Schrier winning by 6, even though she wasn't securing a majority - and basically all the entire undecided block came over to the Schrier camp and she ended up winning by 6. I think that for decades now, everybody whose job it is to elect Democrats focused on swing districts, particularly suburban white women. And as the sort of national politics has gotten really rancorous and Republicans have basically turned off that block here in Washington state, I think that block is increasingly more and more entrenched, and I think you see that come through in all of these national races. I think when we dig into some of the legislative races here shortly, too, I think you see the same thing bear out. But I think Schrier, I think for a number of reasons - because of the district she represents in particular, because of its historic swinginess, because of I think also the decisiveness of that outcome, she won by over 6 points, which I think holds with what everyone predicted - all of the FiveThirtyEight projections were around that same mark. I think that that's a really good bellwether in terms of where we're at, and I think it also provides a really interesting opportunity to think about - all right, what's our job now? If that stuff is true - if it's true that we have the sort of structural advantage, now what do we need to do? And I'd like to echo back to showing up everywhere, which is how Pérez won her district.

[00:12:19] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. What about you, Kelsey?

[00:12:23] Kelsey Hamlin: Yeah, I'm really proud of our firm for kind of calling out and seeing that the entire red wave rhetoric was really just fluff. It was just fluff and nice things to say for the GOP to get out there - that a lot of folks were rather mindlessly just proliferating out into the ether and making a big sensation of it across a lot of outlets and polling places. And yeah, I think we were pretty clear that it wasn't going to be as dramatic as it was painted out to be. At max, there are about 2-4 places where we were really watching to see and knowing it was going to be close. But outside of that, we weren't worried about Democratic majorities here in Washington state anyway - and especially too with our Legislature - I know there was a lot of moving parts for our state, but yeah - we saw the whole red wave thing and saw right through it for what it was. Dujie namely had a post about that from our firm pretty early on, and I think as soon too as the primaries came in - once you collected the votes along party lines for how that was going to play out in the general, it practically played right along party lines - with the only time that that did not was in the 42nd LD. So I think Washington is - Washington Democrats have more space for growth and Washington Republicans have hit their ceiling at this point, which is really good news for us as long as we decide to capitalize on it instead of just repeating talking points from the other side.

[00:14:05] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I absolutely think that is correct and the framing of this and these races especially is curious. And I think moving forward, there is some introspection about who we listen to, what kinds of polling firms and what kinds of polls do we take to be serious and credible, exploring - okay, is what I'm talking about backed by data? Do we see anything besides a couple of firms with strong house effects saying something, or is this shown across the wider spectrum and ecosystem of polling and conversations? - so interesting to see. In these races, certainly abortion - humongous issue with the Dobbs decision - was it just about that or was it about other issues too?

[00:15:08] Kelsey Hamlin: Yeah, I feel like it's silly that we silo abortion the way we do. I think that, as a topic of conversation, has come up more and more in the past couple of weeks. But it's never only about abortion. Abortion itself isn't only ever about abortion. The decision to keep or not keep a would-be child is an economic decision at the end of the day. It's a very - do I have enough money to put food on the table for a whole another person in my life? Do I have enough money to put them in daycare when I have to go to work if I'm a single mom, or if I'm a mom who already has three kids? These decisions are ones that people make in very highly contextual situations that are not solely about abortion. So when we're talking about whether or not we're going to force people to have births and carry them to term no matter what's happening to them, that conversation is pretty silly and detached from reality. So when it comes to voters, the top of my things were inflation - we can't talk about inflation and abortion as if they're separate. They have to do with each other. We're not sitting here in our lives and being like - hmm, am I going to invite another child into my life, but then not thinking about the fact that food costs so much more now, and rent costs so much more now, and insurance costs so much more now - all these things are what we as everyday people factor into our lives about all of our decisions. So it's never just about abortion at the end of the day.

[00:16:40] Dujie Tahat: Yeah, I think Kelsey is sort of spot on, right? I think that abortion is a - one, it is protecting the right to abort if you want that. But it is also a placeholder for, I think, fundamentally an attack on freedom. I think about all of the ways that like Republicans have basically ceded freedom as a core value as they've adopted proto-fascist policy positions. And I think - and related to what Kelsey was saying, I think nationally the second and third top-of-mind issues for voters in some early exit polling was abortion and threats to democracy. And I think the thing that threatens both of those are just our core fundamental freedoms, like the choices that we get to make about my own body and then what we as a collective sort of decide for ourselves. And I think, related to also - Republicans have hit a ceiling here in Washington state. It's because they've ceded - to the extent that's true - it's because they've ceded a lot of that ground. Now, it's up to us on the left, it's up to Democrats to actually take that and then paint a positive vision. What does it actually mean to be a party of freedom? And with progressive values - bundle that up with other progressive values and tell a different story, beyond abortion access. What does abortion access actually get us? What is that future and how are we going to get there?

[00:18:08] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, absolutely. Now we have a slew of legislative races, and the Legislature - this is really interesting this year. Because early on this year, there was a lot of talk about being very concerned about a number of these races, a number of these districts across the state and control of the State Legislature. So we have - in the beginning of the year, it was just like - okay, the 5th, 10th, 26th, 28th, 30th, 42nd, 44th, 47th - several battleground districts. And at the end of the day now - as we looked at the primary results in those, they were certainly encouraging. But even throughout the general, pretty hard fought general elections - a lot of these races had - were very competitive, had quite a lot of spending in these legislative races. I guess looking at a number of them, what overall was your take in the Legislature? And then we might talk about some of these individual races. But overall, how did you see that shaping up early on, and what is your take on how things wound up?

[00:19:27] Dujie Tahat: Yeah. I think a good starting point is contrasting the results of 2022 with 2014, which is the equivalent midterm during a Democratic President. And in 2014, the Senate majority, Democratic majority flipped 25-24, even though it was not a real majority because Rodney Tom was doing his majority caucus thing with the Republicans. They lost the majority. At the same time, the House majority shrank from 54 to 40, setting the table for basically a decade of prioritizing political decisions protecting swing districts over maybe doing the right thing. And that was the context in which I think people were walking into this year. And people were afraid - we have bigger majorities than we had in 2013. And everyone is, and we have a historically unpopular president. You have this increase - a really high enthusiasm, even though it's a small sliver - of far-right noisemakers - we'll call it that. And the most amazing thing is that we increase majorities in both of the houses, right? The - I think for me, and I think that in addition to and maybe on top of just increasing majorities on both houses, I think looking at the Senate side in particular, because that's the highest leverage races is - of the 25 Senate races total that happened this year, Democrats only lost seven of them, five of which a Democrat didn't even run in, right? So you want to talk about showing up everywhere, I think it starts right there, right? There's a - I think there's another, based on some analysis Kelsey did - of the 120-something races in the Legislature, a full third of them had no Democrats running. Republicans had twice, nearly twice as many, first-time candidates running. I think we have to get - we have some structural advantages here, but it means nothing if we don't get back to the fundamentals and one of those fundamentals is showing up everywhere. Because it has a compounding effect of - we had some races and we worked out in Eastern Washington. I grew up in Eastern Washington. And when you don't run races, if you don't show up over and over again - when you show up finally with an argument, it doesn't actually land. And so I think that there is this - to my mind, having the structural advantage is great. We have that now. We prioritized that because everybody has been afraid of 2014 repeating again. We have baked that in over the last decade. But now, again, everybody's job whose it is to elect Democrats has to really have some introspection and some self reflection about - what does it mean now that we have these majorities? Now that these things are set - at least our base is - the people who we thought were persuadables have more or less become our base. Who now is the next set of persuadables? Because we need to keep growing that, otherwise we're going to be in the same position as the Republicans are in.

[00:22:34] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I think that is - I think that makes a lot of sense. And coming into this year, I think you're right - people were in a different mindset - obviously looking at trying to hold on and feeling like they're going to be more on defense. Especially with more of a traditional midterm election field - just those oftentimes are tougher for the party in power. But to your point, the map seemingly has expanded. And Republicans look like they may have challenges with recruiting and being as competitive as they have been in all of these districts before. So it seems - one, it's a mandate for action. People elect people to do things and to make things better, so certainly voters are expecting action. But to your point, this allows the party, organizations, allies to really look at the state and look at how things are on the ground. I look at the 17th and 18th Legislative Districts, which didn't wind up being winning districts for Democrats. But these are districts that have been close and that are still close - 48%-52%, 49%-51% races. And that if there is sustained activation on the ground, if there are candidates running at all different levels, if there are field programs even in off-years, and just real engagement with voters in those districts - in two years, that's ripe for turning blue in a number of these districts across the state. I think that needing to show up and talking with voters, we have a blueprint right there with what Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez just did. Showing up is half the battle. And really connecting and talking with voters there really makes a difference. What did you see here, Kelsey?

[00:24:39] Kelsey Hamlin: Yeah, along a very similar vein - you mentioned the 17th and 18th LDs - what I noticed when I ran a lot of data right before, and then right after the primaries - something as a pattern that I noticed was that in these districts where Democrats and Republicans along party lines were - where there was a ton of candidates - they were really close at the end of the day. But then you look at the funds that are given to the Democratic candidates in those districts, and it's comparatively really low. So I'm looking at, again, post-primary finalization election going to general numbers. You're seeing someone who got 45% have about $7k at the end of the primary and their challenger has $92k at the end of the primary - at the same time. And you're seeing a lot of situations where these are winnable districts - they are really close with people that do not have the funds to make it closer. And at the end of the day, you need funds on a campaign - a lot of people don't know this because campaigns are a black box in the public's eye, but the amount of money that it takes just for sheer voter outreach, just for calling people, just for texting people, just for getting to the doors with some literature for folks to look at and reference for later costs a lot of money. And so does all the postage that you add to for all of the mailers that you send to people - costs a lot of money. And so $7,000 at the end of the primary isn't even going to reach one-third of the voters that you need with mail. So it's stuff like this where I really wish, as a pattern, the Democratic Party was a lot more willing to invest funds in candidates who are showing up in these districts with or without the party backing them - have cropped up and said, I'm going to do this because it needs to happen. And then we need to meet them where they are and show up to make sure that it happens and it pushes through at the end of the day. You see that also in Skagit County - there's a race there that's really close, but not maybe not the best narrative set, but regardless - a 49.99%-47.64% race right now. And that's against - I might be looking at the wrong numbers - but very close.

[00:26:57] Crystal Fincher: Is that the Shavers race in the 10th?

[00:26:59] Kelsey Hamlin: Yes.

[00:26:59] Crystal Fincher: Yeah.

[00:27:00] Kelsey Hamlin: Yeah - that's a Republican and a Democrat. And to me - I come from Skagit County, so I've always known that on the ground, it had every potential to shift blue. And we know too, with the last presidential primaries, that that was an overwhelmingly pro-Bernie district. So there's places where all of these patterns are happening, we can see on the ground and in data numbers that this is a place where Democrats can expand - and then it's not happening on the money side and it needs to. We need to quit operating with fear and with gatekeeping to only fund people that don't even need the funds at the end of the day - some of them are operating without a challenger and they still got more than some of our swing candidates. So that's a pattern that I see.

[00:27:45] Crystal Fincher: Well, and, that's a flip one, because there was actually a lot of Independent Expenditure spending in the 10th Legislative District and a number of these others. And part of the - part of, as you talk about, campaigns are like a black box to a lot of people - and it actually takes a village to elect a candidate is kind of the thing. It takes the campaign and all of their supporters, all of their donors and their operation. In legislative races, the State Party with the Coordinated Campaign often works in conjunction with them, also with the Congressional races. And then there's Independent Expenditures - I work a lot with Independent Expenditures - and that's where that these organizations, who can't coordinate with the campaigns directly, but can participate in electioneering activity in these districts. And so when you see commercials sometimes and you hear "No candidate authorized this ad, this was paid for by some other entity" - that is an Independent Expenditure and there was a lot of Independent Expenditure spending in this district and a number of other districts - to your point, because keeping them is so important and really activating in these districts is so important.

[00:29:13] Crystal Fincher: I think another thing that was notable to me, just overall, before we talk about some individual races was just looking at the candidates that were running. And I don't know about you two, but I certainly have heard more than my share of statements like - this guy's an ideal candidate. And by that, they mean - usually - older guy, business owner, veteran, well-off, often - just this is someone Republicans can like and warm up to - it feels like code for that. And it's usually just a version of some veteran business owner - someone who they feel can connect with white, suburban, and rural America. But what we're actually seeing is that candidates who are Black, Indigenous, people of color, queer candidates are actually activating voters in suburban and rural areas to a greater degree than some of those white male business owner veteran type candidates. Higher turnout, higher percentages that they're getting, so they seem to be activating the base needed to win to a greater degree. And now whether that's because they're oftentimes more willing to speak more strongly to issues, more boldly to issues, many issues that they may be closer to feeling the impacts to than other people in the community and understand the urgency of addressing some of those things - whatever that is, voters and all types of voters, whether they're, white, Black, Brown seem to respond at this point in time, at least in over the past couple of cycles, to those candidates as much as anyone. So I do hope that as, especially as consultants, and we have these conversations and we're talking to candidates who are interested in running, that we don't discount someone who may live in a rural area but is Black, someone who may be in a suburban area but is Latino, someone who may be in an area but is queer - those are the candidates who are energizing voters and pumping up turnout and building the winning coalitions of today. That's my two cents on that one.

[00:31:42] Dujie Tahat: Can I ask you a question, Crystal?

[00:31:43] Crystal Fincher: Yeah.

[00:31:45] Dujie Tahat: I'm thinking - even in hearing what you're saying, I think - as an ecosystem - IEs, the party apparatus - everybody's job is to elect Democrats, right? I think we overcorrect and over rely on voters with a high propensity for voting, right? So and you're seeing that, I think, in Washington state - that would be places like South King County, east of Lake Washington, basically the outer Seattle metro area. And it feels like we're maybe at a point potentially where that is now, like what I'm saying earlier, that's maybe part of our structural advantage now, maybe we've done that. I'm curious what you see as what would it take, framing-wise, courage implications - what would it take for all of our various apparatuses to be like - okay, now we have to maybe shift towards motivating - instead of propensity to vote, it's likelihood to vote if they're motivated, right? Give them something to vote for in other places like Skagit or in Yakima, or just some of these places where we haven't built much of an infrastructure.

[00:32:55] Crystal Fincher: I think - to your question, right now is the perfect time to be having those conversations, because I do think that we're at a point where we can pivot to basically offense, and offense everywhere on the ground in the state. And I do think that - I think for the Democratic Party's survival overall - that if we only focus on talking to people who have been frequent voters, that we're missing out on so many others. And there are plenty of reasons why people don't vote and don't vote with regularity. And the worst thing we can do is sit from a place of judgment, which I don't think - I know that you guys are not, but there have been others in this ecosystem who have - and understand that we better be coming to people with solutions that improve their lives on a daily basis and change they can feel. So some of that - talking about action in the Legislature, action from people who have been elected - so they come back and they say, you put your faith in me to make a positive change, here is that change. And that they're doing things that people can feel on the ground, which won't be everything that everyone does all the time. Sometimes people do things that affect different people and different populations, and sometimes I may feel it and sometimes I may not. But there better be things going on that everybody can feel, there better be something you can point to and be like - okay, I heard you, I see what you're going through, and I have taken action to ease a burden that you were feeling and to make things better. So I think it really starts with governing for everyone in the district now. And whether people are documented or undocumented, whether people are of voting age or not of voting age, and whether people are regular voters or not - that you're governing for everyone in the district and taking tangible action that they can see. And connecting with those people and being in community and conversation, I think, is a very important thing. We see turnout increase when people are engaged. We've seen turnout increase, sometimes not even attached to a candidate, but attached to an initiative or an issue in an area, and people turning out for something that they can see - okay, this makes a difference.

[00:35:30] Crystal Fincher: But we also have to contend with some of the reality that people have heard a lot of rhetoric from a lot of people for a while. And sometimes they're just like, okay, everybody promises something. Until I see something, I'm going to tune out. And there's a lot that's not easy to see, right? And sometimes there's inaction that makes it easy not to see anything. So I think it is really action coupled with connection and community. And listening - I think that we have a mandate to listen as much as we do to act, and to be in community and just to say - okay, what are you going through? I'm not in your specific situation, but tell me what you're feeling, tell me what your challenges are, and let's see if we can do something about it. The more that people are doing that in community - and I think of Emily Randall, I think of Jamila Taylor, I think of April Berg, I think - there's so many that I can name that I know do a great job of that now. And that's just a model to emulate for even more people. Did that answer your question?

[00:36:43] Dujie Tahat: Yeah. Yeah, totally. I love the - govern first. Do good things.

[00:36:49] Crystal Fincher: Do good things.

[00:36:50] Dujie Tahat: Yeah - good things. Take the credit for it, show up and talk to everybody - yeah, fundamentals.

[00:36:59] Crystal Fincher: And lots of people think that political consulting and like we're sitting here, you know, with wizard hats on in the background and crunching numbers and coming up with magical stuff - and really it's just about trying to inform people about who someone is. And to let people know that there is someone who wants to help, but also making sure that they're out there and talking to people and in community. And I guess I will also say - for people who are political consultants - that we also have a responsibility in this whole thing. And who we choose to work for, who we choose to work with, the people who we lend our time and talent to help get elected - that matters, and the candidates that we choose to work with matter. It's really consequential and so, there's also just accountability to be had on our part too for what we put out there, who we help do things, and all that. I do think that that is valid and that we all have to answer for what we're doing and what direction we're moving.

[00:38:24] Crystal Fincher: Okay, okay, okay. Did you do work in any legislative races? I know you did a lot of work, but I don't know if you did any legislative work.

[00:38:33] Dujie Tahat: We didn't do legislative work this year.

[00:38:34] Crystal Fincher: Okay.

[00:38:35] Dujie Tahat: Yeah. We weren't even planning on doing really a bunch of any electoral work and then, you know, suddenly we got a phone call. Yeah, exactly - it was like August and then we got six phone calls and I was like, oh, yeah, all right - sure.

[00:38:51] Crystal Fincher: Nice. In these races, there were some interesting ones. One, legislatively, the 10th Legislative District, which is still too close to call - the lead flipped yesterday, it flipped again today. That one of the legislative districts there got a little dramatic in one of those races. Dave Paul actually looks safe in that race - I think it's safe to say that he is going to win. But whether Democrat Clyde Shavers or Republican Greg Gilday carries the day is still to be determined.

[00:39:35] Crystal Fincher: Another huge district, battleground district, and one that people were not at all clear on how that was going to end up was the 26th Legislative District - out in Pierce and Kitsap County, with Emily Randall in a race defending her Senate seat against Jesse Young, who was a Representative. And it looks like Emily Randall has won that race. I would definitely put Emily in the category of people who are in community, connect with community, and leading boldly - not afraid to say where she stands, not afraid to make the case, and take the case to people in her district - and talk with people who agree with her, talk with people who may not agree with her. But I think what we saw there, and what she found, was that she was able to find places of agreement. And people understanding that she's operating in good faith, and even if they don't agree with everything that they heard from her - on the Republican side, that they know that she listens and is willing to act and is willing to fight for a lot of things that just benefit everybody, that don't really have a Democrat or progressive label on it, but just wanting to get people cared for and healthy in the district is a big deal. That certainly was one, but a lot of people were not sure how that was going to end up, but ended up turning out well.

[00:41:13] Crystal Fincher: The 30th legislative district and the 44th - two interesting races - full disclosure, did work in those legislative districts, but saw - I think what I noticed in the 30th District especially - this is in South King County, this is mainly Federal Way, some of Auburn in the 30th Legislative District. But you had Jamila Taylor there and you had Kristine Reeves running for the seat that Jesse Johnson ended up leaving. Both were successful, but Jamila actually had a Federal Way police officer running against her in that office - and Federal Way is the city where Jim Ferrell is the mayor. He was certainly - him running for King County Prosecutor - unsuccessfully - but really talking about that punitive - as they call it, law and order - but really punitive punishment-focused rhetoric and rallying against some of the accountability measures that the Legislature took, trying to really blame that on Jamila and others there. And that really just seemed to fall flat - and pretty solid, comfortable victories there for all three candidates in that district - Senator Claire Wilson, Kristine Reeves, and Jamila Taylor. So that was an interesting one where people were wondering - okay, is there going to be a backlash? I saw an article today, I think from Scott Greenstone, where he wrote about - hey, that backlash that people were wondering if it was going to appear, just related to public safety, very much did not appear. And the 30th Legislative District was one of those districts where they really tried to hammer the Democratic candidates with that and make a case on the Republican side, and it just didn't seem to come through.

[00:43:19] Crystal Fincher: Similarly in the 44th Legislative District, but had an interesting result there - John Lovick, previous representative, now won his race to be the senator there, along with Brandy Donaghy, who was appointed to the seat, was running for this new term, as well as April Berg, who is a continuing representative there. But again, in that district that used to be a swing district - that used to be the district of former moderate Senator Steve Hobbs, as well as John Lovick, and for years they insisted that - hey, it takes a moderate to win this seat, this is a purple district, they won't elect a progressive Democrat. And then April Berg came along and said, Really? Watch this. And then it seemed to have continued, and what was once a purple district now seems to, as you both talked about before, now seems to be pretty safely blue for the time being. And just an interesting development there, because there was so much in flux at the beginning of the cycle, and now it just seems to be so definitive that they're there.

[00:44:37] Kelsey Hamlin: Can I - oh, okay. Go ahead.

[00:44:43] Kelsey Hamlin: I was going to say, because you touched on it a couple of times - around leading boldly with Emily Randall. And for that matter, like Jamila - and the races really that you just went through - these candidates who lead boldly actually are the ones that get the turnout, that get the motivation from voters that we were talking about earlier. And at the end of the day, they're also being a person, they go and talk to people, they're not just relying on ads that show up on people's TVs to just get people to feel one way or another. But you had mentioned this backlash narrative around, ultimately, police accountability measures that were passed two legislative sessions ago, and a lot of the narrative was - ooh, is there going to be backlash during this midterm? Is this going to impact electability of sitting legislators? And as a result, because that question was even posed, because we're operating from a place of fear, because we're not willing to lead boldly, except for the few great folks of, some of which you just named - that actually really, really impacted the immediately next legislative session, this early 2022 one that just finished. And so those bills were rolled back - all in the name of electability politics - but at the end of the day, when you look at the races of the people who are not involved in that rollback, who in fact opposed it, those are the folks that really pulled the ticket, brought it home. So I'm just really curious around your take of just even the framing of backlash in general, about who we're giving power to for actually taking bold action. Is it backlash, if we're actually doing what is clearly voters' will? So I'm just curious around that conversation in general, because it's played over the course of the past two to three years.

[00:46:52] Dujie Tahat: Can I also add a follow-up question, because I think I was going to ask a similar question - in terms of backlash - because I think there's also the relationship, I think, between sort of local politics, local elections, and then the nationalization. So I think we can definitively say last election cycle last year, when it was all city and county races, was a kind of backlash to - elected a bunch of conservative city council members and city attorneys. And at least in Seattle, in the Seattle area. I'm curious if there's a difference, if there's a meaningful difference between how voters behave in an off-year versus a not-off-year, and then particularly, like the voting for a state legislator versus voting for your mayor in the context of public safety and crime and police, in particular.

[00:47:49] Crystal Fincher: Okay, a few things. One, so even on just last year - and certainly for people in Seattle, they felt that there was a backlash because of the mayoral race and the city attorney race - I think that there were some other fundamentals and pretty clear fundamentals at play. And the other issue is that when you look in the suburbs, we had a number of suburbs elect some of the most progressive city council people that they ever have before. And so I think really what we had was a story of candidates. And I think that especially in the City of Seattle, where the media plays a role in elections in a different way than they do in some of the suburban and rural areas, that that also impacted some races. I think that fundamentals pretty well favored Bruce Harrell, right? I think just looking at voter communications, spending on direct voter communication - the Nicole Thomas-Kennedy race and some of the other races - they were just massively outspent and outdone with direct voter communication. So anytime that there's that much of a lopsided communication delta, it is hard to prevail in that situation. And then when you have unknown people who - it's up to you to define yourself or the opponent to define you - and in those situations, the opponent had a lot more resources to try and define those, that that impacted those races in a different way in Seattle than we saw in some of the suburbs.

[00:49:44] Crystal Fincher: But I do think that when it comes to the backlash narrative - our public conversation, the media conversation about public safety is in a very different place than people on the ground. In 2020, with the King County Charter Amendments that brought forth more accountability measures and offices, in addition to appointing instead of electing the sheriff - that wasn't just the only thing that brought forth accountability measures. And despite those charter amendments being dramatically outspent and there being opposition against them, they were passed. And they were passed in just about every council district in the county, right? So this was not - this never has been, as sometimes it is characterized, as well - just those super lefties in Seattle care about like comprehensive public safety and addressing root causes of crime and issues like that. Over and over again, we have seen at the ballot box and in polling - that voters across the county do care about accountability, that whether or not they want more police or not, they all - and I'm using the term all in a near literal sense - 80+ percent when folks at the ballot box are saying, but we also want alternate responses. We understand that - hey, even if I have no issue with an officer, and I think that it's appropriate to call an officer at some period and at some point in time - that when it comes to an issue of someone having a behavioral health crisis, or if someone is unhoused, or if someone is dealing with complex family issues - that sometimes an armed police response is - they're just not equipped to do that, right? And I think that the public conversation in the media has been - well, is it defund or not? Do you back the blue or not? - and it's very binary, shallow conversation. But most voters recognize that it's not an either or most of the time it's an and situation. And what we have done is invested a lot in some portions of the necessary public safety puzzle and have starved other areas. And so we better get to taking action on addressing some of these root causes, on enabling appropriate response.

[00:52:28] Crystal Fincher: Just yesterday, there was someone near where I lived, clearly having a behavioral health crisis, right? And there's this helpless feeling that calling the police on this is not - it won't help anyone. It won't help anyone in this situation. But there isn't anyone to call, there is not a resource available to appropriately handle this - and it's frustrating. And it makes you feel helpless. But that's what's missing. And I think lots of people see and feel that and understand that we need to buffet our infrastructure. I think being very defensive and playing into that shallow conversation - is it defund or is it not - that is such an elementary point to start the conversation. Because there's such broad acknowledgement that we do need other things, that we better pay attention to that. So painting that as some controversial lever of what side are you on, does not represent where most people in the public are at. And over and over again, they keep saying - we want you to deal with this more comprehensively. We want to do the things that evidence shows will make these issues better and not keep trying the same failed solutions. We seem to have a few leaders who are dead set on just doing the same old things regardless of the failed continued results. And some media who seem to be very interested in pushing that narrative. I think it is really hard to do that credibly right now, given - once again - the results that we saw so conclusively in the King County Prosecutor's race, the judicial races, some of these county races, these legislative races. And I do think that people understand that - really - public safety is a local issue. And Tiffany Smiley trying to blame Patty Murray just clearly fell flat. But people understand that Patty Murray isn't deciding whether or not to deploy your local policeman, right? That's a local decision. But I also think that the part that's missing is that people have to be held accountable for results there too. And then as we look at the effectiveness of some of these alternate response projects and pilots, and we're looking at metrics, and whether there's a dashboard available and what are they doing - we better be doing that with all of our emergency response, police response and making sure that we're getting out of it a justification for the money that we're putting into it. And if we're not, let's do something that's actually more effective. People's safety is at stake. And I just feel that this political conversation that has enabled a perpetuation of these failed policies that have not stopped people from being victimized are just hurting us all. That was a very long-winded answer, but I have feelings about that. What are your feelings about that?

[00:55:47] Kelsey Hamlin: I also do think there's a level of accountability that needs to happen, even on the consultant side. Who told our legislators that enacted police accountability that was complex, that was like - hey, let's not do vehicle chases anymore at really high speeds because people pretty much always die and you almost never catch anyone. Who decided that that's the thing we want to roll back? These aren't these binary conversations that led to these laws happening in 2020, 2021 and then getting rolled back in the very next year. And getting rolled back in the name of electability, right? Who is using their power to tell our legislators that they should actually in fact hold back on their boldness, that they should not enact these rather complex and very clearly data-driven laws behind not just police accountability, but public safety in general. At the end of the day, it comes down to - hey, let's maybe kill less people this year.

[00:56:47] Crystal Fincher: That was always bad advice. I don't - clearly there was some advice given with that, but - look, Democrats, Republicans are going to call you lawless, criminal-loving, all of that - regardless of what you do. And as - we talked about it on the show before, I think lots of us have talked about this - it was absolutely predictable that even though they did roll those back, Republicans attacked Democrats as if there was no rollbacks and as if nothing had happened. So instead of acting defensive and scared of what you are doing, do the right thing. Make the case for doing the right thing. Take the case to the voters. If you are actually connected to community, you can do that with credibility, right? And with success. But just looking at a poll and going - uh oh, this looks scary, we better backpedal and - yeah, that was a frustrating thing to watch happen.

[00:57:57] Dujie Tahat: And now to take it back to the start of this conversation, it's like - you didn't need to do it. We didn't need to do it because we increased majorities, despite all of the contextual historical indicators pointing to us losing majorities. We actually gained them - so we didn't need to do it.

[00:58:19] Crystal Fincher: Didn't need to do it. And yeah, that was very unnecessary. I hope there are lessons learned from that. There need to be lessons learned from that.

[00:58:29] Crystal Fincher: Just wrapping up some of these legislative races, we talked about the 44th. The 47th, which we actually did quite a bit of work in, was an interesting race. And I think the 47th Legislative District holds a lot of lessons for a lot of people there. This was a district - and it's part of Kent, Covington, part of Auburn, Maple Valley - that area in South King County. But there was - starting off - two Black Republicans - one - and then a third running in that district who was a Ukrainian refugee. There were two open seats, an open Senate seat, an open House seat, and then one incumbent running - Debra Entenman on the Democratic side. On, for the Democratic challengers, we had a primary with Carmen Goers that - it was a Black woman who was a Republican active in the Chamber of Commerce against Shukri Olow and Chris Stearns on the Democratic side in the primary. And in the Senate seat, you had Bill Boyce a Black Republican, who's currently a Kent City Councilmember, running against - in the primary - Claudia Kauffman and Satwinder Kaur. Claudia Kauffman had formerly been a Senator and then Satwinder Kaur was a sitting Kent City Councilmember. And so just - this was interesting - it's in South King County, one of the most diverse areas in the country, an area where the school district has more languages spoken than almost any other district in the country. But what we saw here was the Republican Party making some inroads with non-white candidates, at least. And the Republican Party being active on the ground and active in school board races and active in faith communities, whether it's mosques or gurdwaras or churches, and activating on the ground in a way that I don't think a lot of people have been paying a lot of attention to. But we need to, and we need to be showing up in those areas as progressives if we want to continue - to engage and continue to win and continue to advance policy in these areas. This manifested in - during, in the school district races, we have had votes in the Kent School District from people who called themselves Democrats to ban books with queer content, right? This is a weird time and a weird kind of mishmash of people and issues and interests.

[01:01:32] Crystal Fincher: Fortunately in this race, Claudia Kauffman wound up prevailing on that side in the primary. In the one House seat, that open seat, a Republican actually didn't even make it through - there were three Republicans who did not make it to the general election, the two Democrats did. Chris Stearns ended up winning that race. So this was a district where candidates ran hard. There was a lot of money spent in this district, a lot of electioneering going on. But - and it wound up still fairly close in that Senate race. And so the help and the village was needed, as it is in so many areas, to get this race across. But this is - this turned out well, but we cannot take our foot off of the gas. We can't take our eye off of the ball - because the Republican Party is organizing in ways that we're used to seeing the Democratic Party doing. And we can't take that for granted and need to be in all the spaces - and not cede faith spaces to Republicans and not cede rural communities to Republicans. And to make sure that what we're talking about helps and brings value to those people in those places, as well as everywhere else. And so just an area where good things happen - I think this is another district that moving forward is going to be more reliably blue. But it's not going to be - I think in most of these - they're going to continue to need work. These aren't places where we can be - ah, we won, we're safe. We don't have to do anything else. This is when the work begins and when action is needed - I think that is the case. Any other thoughts on the legislative races from either one of you?

[01:03:31] Crystal Fincher: With that, I just want to talk about the King County Prosecutor race for a moment. What did you see here, Kelsey, in terms of this race and why it turned out, how it turned out?

[01:03:46] Kelsey Hamlin: Oh my goodness. I think everything we've talked about tonight is - was culminated, more or less, in that race, right? Whether you want to go look at the media and the narrative going on there - and this just false take that Ferrell was going to be as high and mighty as he was prophesized to be. And whether you're looking at polling, or whether you're looking at media and some articles that came out on him, or whether the framing is the backlash that's going to happen - is literally Jim Ferrell culminated in real-time with the person. And at the end of the day, I just - I didn't see his work as fruitful. I didn't see it based in community. I know Leesa Manion's been showing up in spaces continuously - she's not a new face to me. And it just didn't - the narrative writ large didn't really track with what I felt in my gut. And it's always interesting to see it play out, given the context of NTK as a prior race - it happened locally and how big of a deal that was. And so it's really satisfying to see it turn out the way that I had felt it in my gut. And it - yeah, I just think the boldness is where it's at. And as long as you make your values clear, as long as you're clear about it and you're a real human being to fellow people - the job is not as hard as we make it out to be - if you just try and get those things there. Dujie, what was your take?

[01:05:33] Dujie Tahat: Yeah, I think for me - I'm really struck by King County voters just generally being happy with King County, like the government of King County. Leesa Manion represents an extension of the current prosecuting attorney and people seem really happy with Satterberg. And I think to our point of having, being able to hold two competing thoughts at once and not giving into the binary, I think Satterberg is actually a pretty good exemplar of somebody who's started off as a Republican during the era of punitive - just punitive - policy, to someone who is advocating very much for diversion programs. And you're seeing this also coming off of a King County electorate that just passed a bunch of charter amendments to improve policing in 2020. So you're seeing, I think, an electorate that is primed to have these nuanced conversations in a way that is totally divorced, I think, from the coverage. Like you pointed out, the narratives are what they are, but the electorate is continuing to have a more nuanced take and make it really, really abundantly clear that it actually - it's not even either-or, and it's not even really all that close, right? I don't, I can't think of - this is the closest race that I can think of at a county level that has to do with the criminal justice reform, or the executive, or the prosecuting attorney. People, I think, are just like generally pretty happy.

[01:07:15] Crystal Fincher: Yeah - it's really - this is interesting. This is also a race that we did work in with our firm. And I don't know that the - that voters were really happy with the way that things are, but they're definitely unhappy and do not like the punitive approach. And are really saying - okay, I hear from, I'm hearing one thing from Jim Ferrell - very punitive, very punishment-based, but punishment does not equate to safety. And really, it seems like voters do want action that equates to safety and have come to the conclusion that just punitive punishment does not, as the evidence shows. And I think what helped Leesa was an articulation of an expansion of some stuff, an expansion of some strategies from where they were - with the city attorney, with the prosecuting attorney's office for quite some time - but really an articulation of - okay, we are moving forward there, we do want to keep people more safe. But we're going to have to address some root causes of these issues and just throwing people in jail is not, as we have seen, is not going to get the job done. So we better have some other strategies to address gun violence, to address intimate partner violence, to address just the range of things that we're seeing and dealing with - from property crime to violent crime. And I think that she just articulated a vision that was closer to what King County voters feel is the solution. So I think - I think there were just two different visions and voters made a clear choice of where they want to be and what they want to see. And I think - also in this one - now it's time for action. And I know that she's planning on hitting the ground running, has - is very familiar with the office and this role. I also think that people valued just the familiarity and experience there. And understanding what it's going to take to make some of these changes and shifts within that office and managing people and going through that was helpful.

[01:09:52] Crystal Fincher: But I think that - I really do hope that just in the media ecosystem overall, that there is an acknowledgement that clearly we have some media entities that were really hoping for the punishment narrative to take hold, but it just hasn't, it's not a thing. Can we please move on and talk about all of the different issues, all of the different possibilities and solutions now - because there's a ton to talk about, there's a ton to explore. And if we start covering that, exploring it - we're all going to be better off and help everyone understand where we're moving, and where we can move to, and how to make people more safe.

[01:10:41] Kelsey Hamlin: Yeah. And let's name too, that it's not even just media at large, but specifically editorial boards and these columnists - that are sticking with that status quo punitive narrative that doesn't actually resonate with people, and still trying to drive that home where it's not there. I'll also name too, 'cause editorial boards have a lot of power, but I'll also name too that Leesa's message was just positive - more positive about change - and Ferrell's was the exact opposite. But that's a messaging statistic and stat and tactic that we know very well - that if you just have a more positive message, it will resonate more with people.

[01:11:24] Dujie Tahat: And I think that you are also touching on - you've made more clear what I meant, which is - it is not that maybe people are happy with the conditions as they are right now, as much as I think the county is more primed to have the conversation of where we go from here, as opposed to some of the narrative setters - I think that people generally - people have voted, specifically voters in King County, because of what has been on the ballot lately - understand that there is a more nuanced set of choices and that there's actually an alternative to the sort of binary punitive or abolish everything.

[01:12:00] Crystal Fincher: Yeah. I think you are exactly right. And so now I want to talk about a big City of Seattle election that you two had a little bit to do with there - the choice before Seattle voters to change the way that they voted. And if they did want to change the way that they voted, was it going to be approval voting or ranked choice voting? How did this play out and how did ranked choice voting prevail?

[01:12:33] Dujie Tahat: I think people wanted it - I think that's ultimately at the end of the day what happened, right? I think people understand that our democracy is not working as well as it could be. I think people in Seattle have a history of willing to make improvements that strengthen our democracy, like Democracy Vouchers and stronger campaign finance laws. And despite everything editorial boards can do to throw barriers at not changing the way we do things, people still saw through that and voted for it - not for nothing. Editorial boards were wrong on democracy - The Seattle Times editorial board was wrong on Democracy Vouchers too, they were wrong on ranked choice voting. The position that our democracy is just fine - we shouldn't do anything to tinker with it - is at best intellectually dishonest. And I think a lot of people understand what ranked choice voting is - over 50 jurisdictions across the country already use it - Alaska just elected a Democrat because of it. New York City elected a mayor and the most diverse city council it's ever had. It's pretty obvious and intuitive. The process was maybe a little complicated, and it was - it was frankly, complicated - but that shouldn't be a reason to not do the right thing, which was so often the sort of biggest argument against the campaign.

[01:14:12] Crystal Fincher: Now in this, you talk about editorial boards - you had both The Seattle Times and The Stranger editorial boards recommending a No on the first question - saying don't change the way things are voting. I think The Urbanist recommended Yes and for voting for ranked choice voting, but The Seattle times recommended a No vote and just leave the second choice about which one blank. The Stranger said a No vote, but choose ranked choice voting. Urbanist had a Yes vote and ranked choice voting. So in that kind of a situation where you have, especially entities like The Times and The Stranger that have been so consequential in elections with how they've made their choices, how did you fight against that and prevail?

[01:15:11] Kelsey Hamlin: Yeah. I think a component of it is RCV as a kind of movement and a - RCV being ranked choice voting - as a kind of movement and thing that's come up from the ground across the country, it's not just in Washington, has had the benefit of having just an organic group of people already there waiting. This isn't as if it popped up out of nowhere, at least on the ranked choice voting end. There's the same people that have advanced mail-in ballots, that have fought for same-day voter registration, that fought for Democracy Vouchers - are the same exact people that are behind the campaign asking for ranked choice voting to be on the ballot for voters to choose. A lot of that groundwork was already there and that helped us out at the end of the day. The margin isn't the biggest margin in the world for that first question about change. It's funny to me the way the endorsements landed because, just on the common sense front, it - the question is, yes, do you want change or no, we don't want change - everything's fine, democracy is fine - not crumbling at all. Like writ large it's silly on its face, but at the end of the day, the process question - the one and two - we haven't seen since - someone had pointed out today - since 2014. It's that preschool question of you have to vote Yes, and then you have to vote which thing you want. And that's really the only kind of comparable instance that we have to compare how we did to another instance that had the same setup. It was a confusing layout, but RCV itself is not confusing - Dujie has movie nights with his kids all the time, and it's always - hey, let's pick our first, second and third choice for which movie we want to watch tonight. And then you phase them out and have another go around - it's not hard. You can do it with kids. We do it intuitively when we go to any ice cream shop, or restaurant, or go to the grocery store. At the end of the day, there was a lot of organic movement in the first place that helped us out.

[01:17:17] Kelsey Hamlin: And there was a lot of field efforts across the board, thanks to that organic volunteer presence and people that were ready, where we did a lot of field effort across Seattle and not just centric to one area that we thought was strong or not. As far as patterns go for the results, I find it painfully accurate that a lot of the pro-ranked choice voting crowd, pro-let's-improve-our-democracy folks and votes tend to be with renters - it's with younger folks and with renters - that's the strongest demographic that had voted for ranked choice voting. And it also matches the core arterials that you see on land use, the multifamily zoning that you see in land use. And we see this pattern over and over again in a place like Seattle, where the more progressive voters are with renters, are in those districts that are more dense and not exclusive and more affordable. So you see this really multifaceted thing coming out in the voter results if you try to take a closer look at it,

[01:18:27] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, absolutely.

[01:18:29] Dujie Tahat: And to get at what you're saying, Crystal, in terms of what do we do once we have these endorsements that are - malpractice, to put it nicely, I think for us it became about - okay, we have more voices than the editorial board has to make a better case for the editorial boards. And we basically wanted to overdrive, to flood the ecosystem with really good op-eds basically and LTEs to sort of supplement the paid voter contact we were already doing, to supplement the organizing that was happening. And I think - we placed a lot of them in the last in the last 10 days of GOTV, and I think that those are really meaningful and really important - because in terms of - we've been having a conversation all night about narrative setting and who gets to set narrative. And I don't, personally and just as a firm, I don't think that shouldn't be left to editorial boards, right? Especially if what we have and the issues that we're representing and the communities that are going to benefit from the solutions we're proposing has a greater set of people, then what we're going to do is flood the ecosystem with those voices. And we'll do everything we can to shift that narrative. We're not maybe going to have the same symmetrical set of powers, but it's certainly - it's certainly important - we don't show up, we should. Or we don't - we don't not show up.

[01:19:56] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, absolutely. There is one last initiative, as our time is coming to a close, that I did want to talk about, that was very exciting, and I thought was very well executed. And that was the Raise the Wage Tukwila initiative to raise Tukwila's minimum wage. As you watch this play out, what were your thoughts about it?

[01:20:21] Dujie Tahat: I think that this is another sort of example of where fundamentals really bore out, right? I think that - and it's a continuation of - the Fight for $15 happened in South King County, it's only natural that South King County pushed that even further. You had the Transit Riders Union, Washington CAN - organizations who had been organizing, just doing relational organizing for years, not just showing up for this single campaign - turn on their networks for this one campaign that is a part of this broader set of things that they're advocating for. And I think, again, related to the conversation we've been having, it's like how much - people, I think what I love about our conversation, is that we all recognize that voters are pretty smart and they all actually know that if you're just showing up this one time because of a moment of self-interest, or if you're here every single day to talk to me about what my life is like, and that you're offering a solution that will actually meaningfully impact that. And that's where, how that campaign ran. I'm really interested in, and this was also a little bit modeled in the RCV campaign, but there's a distributed organized canvassing model. And trying to see how that model might apply in different parts of the state and how that might scale - I haven't had a chance to look at the numbers yet. I think there's a really interesting promise there too, and implications for other races. But all of that too is only made possible by the years of relational organizing and showing up every single day too - that's not a thing you can just build in August for your GOTV operation in six to eight weeks.

[01:22:05] Crystal Fincher: Completely agree. What'd you think, Kelsey?

[01:22:08] Kelsey Hamlin: Yeah. I mean, this - just like Dujie said, had come up after the Fight for $15. I also believe there was a SeaTac fight for wages as well, right before that. And so I think this is just a culmination of a lot of work on the ground that had already been there in the first place. So again, just like we've been talking about when you're in community, when you're showing up, when you're present and you're listening to people and not just telling them - that is when people will show up for you in return - because it matches, because it lines up, because you're on the same page. And at the end of the day, like the fight for wages and the discussion on inflation, the discussion on abortion rights, and this discussion on unaffordability and housing - these things are all connected at the end of the day. And people, voters realize that - and a lot of campaigns that oppose changes like this and even opposed ranked choice voting and don't want a minimum wage - I remember Seattle Times way back, when it first started, was very skeptical even after a study came out on it. A lot of the people that pose these types of things - one, pop up out of nowhere and then two, aren't connecting the dots between just these issues that in our real lives we experience every single day. And that's just the connection that we have to be making when we're talking to people on their doorstep. So yeah, I think it's a really great celebration and a fight that deserves a lot of applause on behalf of the organizations that are involved in them, especially Seattle Transit Riders Union and Washington CAN - they've been around for a very long time and I'm very proud of them.

[01:23:56] Crystal Fincher: I agree and well said.

[01:23:58] Crystal Fincher: And with that, the roundtable comes to a close. I want to thank our panelists, Dujie Tahat and Kelsey Hamlin, for their insight in making this an engaging and informative night. To those watching online, thanks so much for tuning in. If you missed any of the discussion tonight, you can catch up on the Hacks & Wonks Facebook page, YouTube channel, or Twitter where we're @HacksWonks. Special thanks to essential members of the Hacks & Wonks team and coordinators for this evening, Dr. Shannon Cheng and Bryce Cannatelli. If you missed voting in the election, or if you know someone who did, make sure to register to vote, update your registration, or find information for the next election at myvote.wa.gov. And as a reminder, even if you have been previously incarcerated, your right to vote is restored and you can re-register to vote immediately upon your release, even if you are still under community supervision. Be sure to tune in to Hacks & Wonks on your favorite podcast app for our midweek interviews and our Friday week-in-review shows or at officialhacksandwonks.com.

[01:25:05] Crystal Fincher: I've been your host, Crystal Fincher - see you next time.

[01:25:10] Dujie Tahat: Thank you.