Every other week, we try to distill a few things down to their essence, and offer those nuggets to you for review. Short, smart content that will inform the work you’re doing in policy and the economy today. Hopefully you find something on this list that resonates with the work you’re doing.
If so, let us know. If not, let us know that too! With that, here is your Morning Wire for Thursday, August 17.
1. NW Republicans’ response to Trump, Charlottesville
We asked each of the state’s Republican members of Congress for responses to President Trump’s comments recently related to Charlottesville. We also mined social media for posts they made recently. We’ve cataloged them here. Rep. Reichert, Rep. Newhouse, and Rep. McMorris Rodgers all should be commended for powerful, unambiguous statements against white supremacists. Republican State Party Chair Susan Hutchison also merits commendation for a very clear, strong statement. They represent the vast majority of Washingtonians well with their quick, clear condemnation.
Rep. Herrera Beutler did not respond to us with a statement. On Facebook, she made this more general declaration: “Our American ideals leave no room for hatred and bigotry. It is up to us to stand united in opposition to racist and violent groups.” This is among the weakest statements on the topic of any elected official we have seen in Washington State or America.
Of all the comments we have seen from politicians (and we haven’t seen them all) on this matter, State Rep. Paul Graves (R-Issaquah) wins the “This is how you do it” Award. He used an 18-piece Tweetstorm to speak unequivocally on the topic: “So say it over and over and over: white supremacy is wrong. Nazism is wrong. All are created equal.”
2. 70% of candidates in biggest races are female
The number of women serving in office is on the rise nationally. The graph above shows the trend. Women are now almost 25% of state legislatures. Washington State is currently 5th overall with 36.1% women in the legislature, though that’s down from the 1990’s when just over half of Washington State’s legislators were female.
But 36% – even 50% – is not 70%. That’s the number of women on the general election ballot in November in the state’s highest profile races. In the eight legislative races on the ballot this fall, 11 of the 15 candidates are women. In direct elections for mayor in the largest cities in the state, 8 of the 12 general election candidates for mayor are women. Together, women make up 19 of 27 candidacies, or 70% of the general election spots in these high profile races. That is a truly extraordinary total, one it appears is the highest participation rate among women of any Washington State election year, ever.
3. How the economy is changing warehousing space and what that means for Puget Sound
For the first time in North America, a multi-story warehouse is being built, one that allows freight trucks to drive up to the second story and forklifts to operate on the third. The project is called Georgetown Crossing, a three-story warehouse project that has the potential to re-align warehouse services towards denser parts of a metro area.
A commercial broker affiliated with the project told me “Companies like Amazon or these startups that promise delivery within an hour or two, they can’t warehouse goods in Kent to serve Queen Anne with Seattle traffic.” He explained we’re seeing warehouse lease rates double “and the market doesn’t mind paying it for the right location.” This WSJ story on the project echos this point. And, Amazon’s latest patent filing for a multi-story warehouse to support drone delivery is probably a follow-on consequence.
I chatted with some people affiliated with the project, and think there are 6 takeaways for folks thinking about the political economy of Puget Sound.
4. Being the “Establishment” in Seattle politics
There is an argument that the vast majority of primary voters voted against Jenny Durkan in the primary, so it’s unlikely Durkan will be elected mayor. Political consultant John Wyble makes that argument explicitly on his site saying simply “Jenny Durkan will not be mayor.” The knock is that as an openly gay woman, she’s just too “establishment.”
Cary Moon has been very savvy in trying to subtly fan these flames. She’s been talking about making sure every vote is counted, working to build a coalition effort, and framing her candidacy against “sunk by status quo thinking and politics as usual.” Some media outlets have been buying into the effort (here, here, here) using the phrase “establishment” to describe Durkan.
But when has an establishment candidate lost the Seattle mayor’s race? Mike McGinn in 2009 is the answer, of course. But he is the only one in decades to pull it off – and one could argue there were things about that race that were unique and don’t apply here (“Snowmaggedon,” “third term,” etc). Consequently, it’s possible that framing Durkan as the “establishment” candidate is the surest way to secure her victory.
We’ll be polling on this in September, so we’ll let you know what we see…
5. Read: “Have smartphones destroyed a generation?”
This recent story in The Atlantic has been generating buzz, among social scientists, policy makers, and parents – or at least any parent that has had to deal with the issue of phones in their kid’s hands. The experience is sometimes painful. It’s a read worthy of your time for a glimpse into the future of the American demography and economy.
The iPhone was released in 2007, making what’s known as the iGen (kids born between 1995 and 2012) the first generation to live entirely in a world of smartphones. The result: “It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.”
“Across a range of behaviors—drinking, dating, spending time unsupervised— 18-year-olds now act more like 15-year-olds used to, and 15-year-olds more like 13-year-olds. Childhood now stretches well into high school.”
“Eighth-graders who spend 10 or more hours a week on social media are 56 percent more likely to say they’re unhappy than those who devote less time to social media. But those who spend six to nine hours a week on social media are still 47 percent more likely to say they are unhappy than those who use social media even less. In 2011, for the first time in 24 years, the teen suicide rate was higher than the teen homicide rate.”