Opinion

Coalitions scramble for power and cash | OUR CORNER

The best part of post-election politics is watching the reforming of coalitions and groups of political thinkers. Win or lose, the great political animal called coalitions chops off one part, adds another and rises from the ashes reborn.

This happens at all levels and all politics is local, whether national or next door.

The Republican Party is the most intriguing to follow now because the scramble is on to find the center of power and, of course, the money. Many Democrats would like to give them the 10 count. Be careful boys, that way lies madness.

My political handicapping centers on figuring out coalitions and whether the groups are rising or falling. They are always doing one or the other. Stasis is not an option.

The national Republican Party is getting more press, partly because it is entertaining for TV news, the other reality show, and partly because there truly is a mad scramble for the money to fund campaigns. Without money, campaigns don’t flutter and robo calls aren’t made, which means more losing and more guys with kielbasa heads ranting on the tube election night.

The more interesting, but less watched, are the local coalitions that form in local communities. These groups can start with just a few and grow into a force.

Black Diamond provides a good example. A number of different groups have formed and reformed into coalitions mainly around the issue of support or fighting against the YarrowBay development.

A coalition based on the fight against YarrowBay formed and successfully backed candidates during the 2011 council races, sweeping three into office. But that coalition did not hold when a change-of-government proposition went to the ballot and failed in November. I suspect because it was really seen as a backdoor recall of the mayor.

Change-of-government measures nearly always fail due to the real reason they are taken to the public, which is seldom to really change the form of government and usually to change the government — rather than waiting for another election season.

Those darn, pesky rules.

Coalitions are already taking shape in Black Diamond with the mayor’s seat and three council members up for election in November.  This is the bread-and-butter of local politics and democracy – both fascinating and fun to observe. Win or lose, the coalitions make the system work — sometimes for the better.

There are times when lines are crossed and behavior gets boorish or worse. That is why we call it politics and not sponge Yahtzee.

Another series of races to watch are in Enumclaw. There are four council seats and the mayor’s post up for grabs. Coalitions are less easily defined in Enumclaw, but they are there. Enumclaw does not have the white elephant sitting on the coffee table like some communities, but give it time.

Bonney Lake has three council seats and the mayor’s chair on the next general election ballot.

Since the days when I first started with the Bonney Lake Courier-Herald, the city has become a model of democratic functioning. Back in 2003, Bonney Lake and Covington were like Dodge City without the funny hats. Now, both are the most settled municipal governments around the region.

Funny how things change. One year the guns are blazing and the next it’s Kumbaya… American politics, national or next door.

The general election is Nov. 5

 

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