I received an unexpected piece of mail the other day from local Democrats letting me know, “they’re here”. The problem is I think they want to bring “there,” “here.”
The mailer from “NCW Dems” was funded by Democrats of Chelan County and Douglas County Democrats. Two groups that 20 years ago didn’t exist in enough numbers to have any meaningful impact on local politics.
This is the lead paragraph of a 2001 Wenatchee World story by Dan Wheat:
EAST WENATCHEE — It rained on the annual picnic of the Chelan and Douglas County Democratic parties. It’s been raining on the parties all year. They have been overshadowed by Republicans for decades. Now, the Chelan County Democratic Party may be at its lowest ebb in 50 years.
Since that time, a growing number of new North Central Washington residents from liberal enclaves, including Seattle, have arrived. Amongst other possessions, they stuff “there” into their political baggage.
Some clues that political change agents are at work in our valley include the Lee Elementary School name controversy, the rise of “Indivisible Wenatchee” and the coordinated campaign of three progressive Wenatchee School Board candidates in 2016.
Seattle Magazine writer Knute Berger was speaking for some of these recent newcomers in a 2018 article in which he encourages Seattleites to move east and change the world: “Many Seattleites want affordability and sunshine. Go east! The upside of the Apple Capital: It’s close, it’s sunny, and there’s lots of fresh fruit and nearby wineries, a Columbia River river walk and a fun public market. Oh, and there’s nearby skiing, and Leavenworth if you get a sudden craving for jägerschnitzel. Plus, if you want to be liberal missionaries, central Washington needs urban refugees to make Chelan County blue!”
NCW Dems use the same turn of phrase in their mailer, saying their goal is to turn the “12th LD (Legislative District) Blue.” By “blue” they mean depressed.
In 2000, George W. Bush won 66.6% of the vote in Douglas County and 62.9% in Chelan County. In 2016, Donald Trump polled 62.8% and 54.68% respectively, an average decrease in Republican presidential support of 6%.
The Federal Election Commission reports that in Douglas County between 2015-2018 there were 578 contributions totaling $23,450 to Democratic and liberal campaigns, averaging $41 per contribution. By comparison, there were 649 contributions totaling $336,234 to Republican and conservative campaigns, averaging $518 per contribution.
Over the same period, Chelan County was the reverse, with 4,177 contributions totaling $315,658 to Democratic and liberal campaigns, averaging $76 per contribution, and 1,298 contributions totaling $196,952 to Republican and conservative campaigns, averaging $152 per contribution.
These trends support the idea that some new residents want “here” to be more like “there.”
The residents of NCW support diversity of thought, race, gender, religion and politics. We believe all lives matter — black, blue, yellow, white, brown and the unborn. We believe in the dignity of work and that respect is earned, not given.
We appreciate and celebrate the contributions of everyone in our communities. We believe that real tolerance can’t exist in a cancel culture where liberal elites decide how we are permitted to live, think or speak.
These sociopolitical values are why NCW is a great place to live. These values are why “here” has always been attractive to those living “there.” Unbeknownst to those who live “there,” “here” thrives because of its conservative views on limited government and its emphasis on personal freedoms and responsibility.
On Nov. 3, your vote will go a long way in determining whether “here” survives or “there” arrives.
Let’s “Keep Here Great!”
Steve Piccirillo is a longtime resident of the Wenatchee Valley.