Are non-partisan endorsements a sign of ‘mission creep?’

Why does it appear that unions and political parties are starting to support candidates for nonpartisan races? Why would I be thinking that, you might ask?

Why does it appear that unions and political parties are starting to support candidates for nonpartisan races? Why would I be thinking that, you might ask?

During the past few months I have had conversations with candidates who are running for local office in Enumclaw. In two cases these candidates mentioned being pursued or encouraged to run for local office by either unions, which usually support Democrats, or the Republican Party.  The candidates were offered support and financing to run for Enumclaw City Council.

This seems to be a strange turn of events since the offices these candidates are seeking are nonpartisan. Nonpartisan means that the issues involved – repairing streets, maintaining water and sewer treatment service – are not political issues. They’re human issues. A Democrat could do as well as a Republican with these questions.

Sewer treatment and water quality and supply have no political spin, at least in my way of thinking – at least until now.  Why would unions be offering to help someone who is running for the city council? What do they stand to gain? Why would the Republicans want to endorse someone for a local office?

I’ve thought about this new trend and have come to the conclusion that both groups have too much time on their hands or more money than they know what to do with.

By supporting candidates in nonpartisan races, they are upping the ante to run for local government. If a political party or political action committee supports candidates, they are more likely to win their race.

Why, you might ask?  The reason is that some voters, upon seeing a nonpartisan candidate identified either as a D or an R, will automatically vote for or against that person. It’s like a dog seeing a piece of meat and salivating in response. Those kind of people are conditioned to vote only for Ds or Rs. Thinking is not part of the equation. Having that party edge would increase that candidate’s chances of winning by having a block of voters already committed to them.  The PACs or political parties would also add physical support for a candidate. They could set up signs and hand out voter information.  They could be used to wave the candidate’s signs on street corners. Party money would buy ads in local papers. A political party’s or PAC backing a candidate would add a tremendous advantage.

The problem for me in this apparent new trend is that politics would be reaching down to local government where it has not resided before. All of a sudden sewer pipes and garbage rates might become areas of partisan bickering. Think the U.S. Congress – do you want partisan gridlock over sewer rate hikes?  Can you hear a Republican chant “No new taxes!”?  Can you hear Democrats screaming over wages or insurance costs for city workers? Will that kind of political pressure raise or lower your taxes?

I’m glad to see there is more interest in running for public office. I’m not happy to see nonpartisan races turning political. I’d prefer to have our voters vote for candidates based upon their competency, not their party affiliation. Hot button social issues should not be a part of small-town local government.

I hope I’m wrong, but it seems that both the Democrats and the Republicans are involved in “mission creep.”  They appear to be trying to politicize nonpartisan races to increase their power and influence. I know they have that right under First Amendment free speech rights. However, I don’t believe partisan politics should be supporting candidates for nonpartisan races and I don’t believe this new approach will, in the long run, be good for America or for the small towns in which we live.

 

More in Opinion

More information needed on proposed recycling site

We want to bring awareness to your readers about a 34 acre wood recycling center that is in the permitting process with King County.

North neighbors keep a close eye on the U.S.

How much do you know about Canada? If you’re like most Americans, not much.

Trickle-down equation may not add up, Dems say

A tax overhaul plan drawn up by Republicans in Congress will be a good deal for many households, though not every one, or nearly every one, as promised by its authors.

America’s monster

I’m not sure when it happened, but I recently realized I’ve stopped asking myself, “What are we going to do about mass shootings and gun violence in this country?” Instead, I now ask, “When is the carnage going to come to Enumclaw?”

Avoiding loss means more than gaining something else

Some studies have shown that losses are twice as psychologically powerful as gains. American history and our current political situation help reveal a great deal about the American/human psyche.

Congratulations, Jan Molinaro

In every election, one person must win and the other will lose. Now more than ever, it is important to show our children how to be gracious in victory and humble in defeat.

Don’t give into the pressure of driving drowsy

Eleven years ago, a drowsy-driving car wreck left me with injuries that still challenge me today.

Baxley and Young should have showed up at public forum

On Tuesday, October 17th, was the Black Diamond Maple Valley Chamber of Commerce Candidates Forum, where the Black Diamond candidates for Mayor and two City Council positions had the opportunity to talk with the citizens of Black Diamond, and to answer questions put to them by these citizens.

Issues to be addressed in Enumclaw elections

Who should I vote for in the Enumclaw City Council and mayoral races?

Enumclaw helped raise $3,500 for Special Olympics

The last couple of weekends the St. Barbara Knights of Columbus have been involved with our annual Tootsie Roll Program.

Court grapples with school funding

When the legal battle on education funding returned to the state Supreme Court Tuesday, the leader of Washington’s public school system was closely monitoring this installment of the McCleary drama from his office down the street.

Baxley is an important choice for Black Diamond mayor

Judy Baxley has been part of our local civics for years, and thank goodness because citizen involvement is critical to monitoring big developers.