How to spot extreme politicians: evasion and silence | In Focus

Fortunato and Larkin fit the bill to a T.

After my column praising State Senator Phil Fortunato for organizing support against the proposed second King County airport, I advised my readers to vote for Chris Vance because he was a moderate and not an extremist like Fortunato. Senator Fortunato was not pleased that I called him an extremist and wanted to talk with me about my negative comments. I said sure.

When we met, I had no desire to debate. Instead, I asked the senator three questions: 1) Do you believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen? 2) What’s your position on the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection? 3) What’s your view about the House’s Special Committee investigation of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol?

Fortunato evaded answering the first question with a lot of words that talked around the question. When I pressed him, he said there were voting discrepancies, and then he cited a personal anecdote about a relative getting two ballots. In other words, his answer to my question was “yes”, although he never came out with that directly.

I never could get a definitive answer on my second question.

Fortunato’s answer for question no. three was that the House Committee hearings were “a kangaroo court”—meaning that the decision was already made before the hearings began and were prejudicial against Trump. I found this to be surprising since most of the witnesses who testified were Republicans. Almost all worked in the White House and were privy to conversations between the high-ranking White House Trump loyalists.

I also had a discussion with a conservative friend about Matt Larkin who is running for the 8th U.S. House seat against the Democratic incumbent Kim Schrier. My friend favors Larkin and is against Schrier because she voted 100% for President Biden’s agenda.

I did some research on Matt Larkin, going to his campaign website and Facebook page. Larkin had only three positions that I could nail down: He wants to make crime “illegal again.” He is for building the wall between the U.S. and Mexico. I also saw a Facebook photo of him with 31st state district Republican candidate Brandon Beynon. Beynon is an open supporter of ex-President Donald Trump. That’s all I could find.

I do research for an organization called “Common Good Government”. The goal of the organization is to find moderates to run against the extremes in both parties. One of our techniques to find issues where a candidate is silent. Silence speaks volumes. I searched for Larkin’s positions on the three questions I asked Senator Fortunato, but could find nothing.

My conservative friend suggested I contact candidate Larkin directly, so I went to his campaign website, but I could not find any way to contact him, except by going through the National Republican Campaign Committee website, which I didn’t want to do. So, I told my friend and he gave me Larkin’s email address. I asked several questions via email, including the three above. I got no response.

I’m a moderate and I’m generally happy with both Biden’s Congressional victories and his foreign affairs views and actions. I reject the Republican framing that Biden is too senile or too “sleepy” to be President. Biden and Schrier (based on her voting record) are centrists. You know where these Democrats stand. They don’t hide behind a shield of silence.

I know from national polls that only 25% of Republicans are deeply concerned for the preservation of our democracy from autocracy and fascism. National Republicans, like Larkin, really don’t have a platform. I won’t vote for anyone whose views on such important topics like the preservation of our representative democracy are not clearly and strongly addressed.

It’s important to listen to views that differ from your own. Speaking with Senator Fortunato and a supporter of candidate Matt Larkin gave me an understanding of what it’s like to be a Republican in the Age of Trump. Trump candidates might win the primary, but it’s doubtful they can win the general election on the national level. It must be a painful choice for them: Either come out in support of Trump like Phil Fortunato, or remain silent like Matt Larkin.

Neither candidate seems to have the integrity to represent me in Congress or the state legislature. That’s a sad state of affairs.